How to Prepare Your Mobile Phone for Resale—It happens to us all.

That bright, gleaming device that has been your constant companion is being replaced by the newer, faster, flashier model. Yes, you’ve got a new cell phone in your life.  Why not earn a few extra bucks by selling your old model? Specialty gadget sites like or or general online sales sites like or are there to help you.  Or you can try your local want-ads to accomplish the sale.

Image credits: Mike Rothman, Contributor

But before parting with your old device, here are the steps to back up and remove your personal data.  Fear not, Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Phone all make this relatively simple.  I’ll focus on Android devices in this article, but the process of preparing the phone for sale is similar for other leading operating systems. You may need to refer to the specific instructions for the OS you are working with.

First, start by backing up your phone’s data.  There are several apps which can handle SMS messages, call history, and other app content and settings. If your phone is rooted, choose the leader in backup, Titanium Backup for a solid, clean backup.  Titanium Backup saves your data to a desktop computer or to your Dropbox Pro account.  Any of these options will also support restoring the data later to your new device.

Next, for good measure, connect your device to your laptop or desktop and cut and paste the internal memory and SD card (if you have one) of your cell phone to your computer.  This gives you an extra layer of backup and erases the cell phone.

If you do have an SD card in your device, go to your storage settings, tap on “Unmount SD card”, and then tap “Format SD card”.  This will wipe all data from the SD card.

Your final step is to select the “Factory data reset” option to wipe your phone’s internal memory, including your Google accounts, the apps you’ve downloaded, as well as music, photos, and other media you have downloaded.  Be sure to select the option “Erase all data” to complete the wipe.

Yes, it is as easy as that.

Your phone is now ready to pass along to its next user without worrying about the confidentiality of your data.  And you are now ready for the next stage of the journey, getting acquainted with your new phone and setting it up to work just the way you like.

Have fun!

Based in San Francisco, Mike Rothman is a tech evangelist and senior writer at  Follow him @thatworksforme or email him at [email protected]

Mike Rothman
Based in San Francisco, Mike Rothman is a tech evangelist and senior writer at Email him at [email protected]
Mike Rothman
Mike Rothman
Tags: Downtime,Gadgets & Devices,Tech Culture,Technology