If you’re looking to sell or give away your old Android device, it is best to keep a backup of your personal data and wipe the device to avoid having your data fall into the wrong hands.
Although no procedure is 100% foolproof, save for destroying the device, there is a lot that you can do to make sure that your data and privacy are not compromised on handing the device to its new owner.
Before you sell or trade your Android smartphone, follow these simple steps to back up and wipe its data securely.
1. Make a full backup
To make a complete backup of your device, there are a few options you can try.
Copy files to computer
The easiest way to back up the files on your Android device is by connecting it to a computer via USB and locating your device’s storage. Open the drive and copy the files and folders you’d like to back up to your computer.
Google offers quite a few ways to back up the data on your Android device. If you go to your phone’s settings, you will find a “Backup and Reset” option that allows you to automatically sync your app data and settings to Google’s servers. The backups are tied to your Google account, so all you need to do to restore a backup is to sign in to your Google Account on a new device, and all will be synced automatically if you enable the “Automatic restore” option.
In addition, the Google Photos app offers free unlimited high quality backups of all your photos and videos which can then be accessed on any device, while Google Drive is useful for backing up your important documents with 15GB of free storage available to you.
Other Backup Solutions
If you do not care for Google’s backup solution, there are quite a few third-party backup solutions you can try.
- Titanium Backup (Root) is one of the most revered backup solutions in the Android community, but alas, it requires root access to work. It can be used to back up all kinds of app and system data and includes the option to schedule backups automatically.
- G Cloud Backup sports an extensive feature list that allows you to protect your app data, contacts, messages, photos, music or even videos safely in the cloud. All you need to do is download the app, create a free G Cloud account, and select what to back up.
- Helium Backup allows you to backup your apps and data without needing root access to function. You can use it to back up your app data to your SD Card, PC or Cloud Storage and restore from there when migrating to a new device.
2. Wipe your device completely
Once you have a proper backup of your files, contacts and settings, it’s time to wipe your device. Many people think performing a factory reset is enough, but it’s not because the data can be recovered easily if the right data recovery tools are used. To make it nearly impossible to recover your personal data, there are other steps you should take besides a simple factory reset.
Encrypt your data
Before you wipe your device, it is recommended that you encrypt it first. This process will make your data impossible to decrypt unless a special key is used. Make sure your device is fully charged before proceeding.
1. Launch the settings app and locate the “Encryption” option under Security.
2. Tap “Encrypt phone.”
It may take a few hours to complete the encryption, so make sure to keep your phone plugged in to ensure the smooth completion of the process.
Perform a factory reset
Head to “Settings -> Backup & reset -> Factory data reset” and tap “Reset phone.” This will erase all data from your device’s internal storage, so make sure you have made adequate backups. If your device has an SD Card, make sure you remove it from the device before handing it over to someone else.
If you’ve followed all the steps, it’s now safe to sell your Android smartphone or give it to a friend. Let us know if you have better app recommendations or techniques to back up and wipe an Android device securely.