Buying or moving into a new phone usually means it's time to unload your old hardware. For some this isn't the case, but for many, keeping an old phone is little more than an afterthought. Before you go packaging up your previous device though, you may want to proceed with caution, and first get it ready for a proper send off. These days one can't be too careful with personal data and mobile security. We live in a digital world and it can be all too easy to overlook a few small details that could lead to more than just some phished Facebook accounts and rogue tweets, that you swear up and down to your friends, never came from you. Thankfully, it can be quite easy to defend yourself in matters such as these. All you need is a little extra patience and some attention to detail.
Know What's Important To You: Backing Up All Your Data
The first thing that should cross your mind when preparing to get rid of your old device and swap to a new phone, is backing up your personal data and the things that matter to you. This can include your contacts, your personal media, your apps and the data within them. The best thing to do is just gather everything together that you can't live without, and make sure you do a solid backup of all of it. There are numerous ways to do this, and with a little know how and some handy Android tools at your fingertips, it can be a lot easier than you might think.
Lets start with apps, and I'll begin with the method I personally use, as I stand by its excellent track record for saving my apps and data in a pinch more times than i care to recount. First off, this method is for root users only. You will need an app called Titanium Backup, and it wouldn't hurt to have the TB premium version so you can store whatever you backup to the cloud, and for that you'll want a Dropbox account as well. With Titanium Backup you can literally make a backup of every single app on the phone, and all the data that they contain. This is different than the backup that your google account does for you, as that only does a backup of the apps you have installed, but no data. TB is simple to use, and storage can be placed on a microSD card, or wherever you place your storage directory if you have a device that doesn't have an SD card slot. From there you can simply copy the TB folder over to your computers hard drive. Once again, this a lot easier if you use TB premium(one time buy) as it will allow you to save ALL your apps and app data to the cloud. Making installs to your new device a snap.
The second method is for anyone, but is focused on non-root users as it doesn't require root access to use. You will need a simple app called Helium which is actually developed by Koushik Dutta and the Clockwork Mod Team(we all know how awesome their apps are), and the idea is pretty much the same as it is for TB. It stores your local apps and data to the designated directory, and can then be transferred to a hard drive on your computer. You can also use Helium Premium, which allows you cloud storage just like TB premium does, making your install process that much simpler.
Now that we have your apps and data covered, you should probably focus on your media next. For music, this can be as simple as only having to log in with your Google account if all your music is stored in the Play Music library. For those of you that have local media that you loaded onto the phone yourself, simply navigating to that directory where it is stored after you connect your device to your computer, then copy/pasting that folder to your computers hard drive will do the trick. The same goes for photos, but there are cloud storage options for you here as well. If you have a Dropbox account(and trust me you should) you can have all your photos and videos uploaded to the cloud, and getting those back on your new device couldn't be easier. Just log back into Dropbox on the new phone and BOOM. You're done. Well, short of re-downloading the photos back to your gallery. Of course, if you have Google's autosave feature turned on, your photos will show back up after you're done signing in. No muss no fuss.
Keep it SIM-ple
Smartphones are supposed to make your life easier, so there's no cause for making more work for yourself than you have to. If you use a GSM carrier, there is a SIM card inside your phone that handles your service. SIM cards have changed a lot in the last couple years, and while plenty phones today still use a standard size SIM, there are micro SIM cards and nano SIM cards floating around out there as well, and more and more phones are starting to shift to these smaller cards. If you have a newer phone that was released within the last year or so, chances are you have a micro or even a nano SIM. So it should go without saying that you want to make sure whether or not your old SIM card will work in the new phone. Simply check the size and if you are unsure of which one you have, check with your carrier, they should be able to help you out. If you are replacing the little guy, then make sure to cut up the old one before you toss it away in the trash.
Leave Nothing To Chance; Reset Your Device
This is probably a no-brainer, but many people still forget to do this and it's a very important measure to take. Performing a factory reset on your device is that last extra step to make sure that your personal and private information and any other sensitive data is left out of the hands of anyone who should want to use it for ill purposes. There's no point in taking a risk, and a factory reset only takes a couple of minutes of your time. Above that, if you have a device that carries an SD card, make sure to remove that too.
Doing these things can help you keep yourself safe from unwanted attacks, and its also generous as it gives whoever has purchased your old device a clean slate to work with. Once you have ensured that everything you needed to save or delete is taken care of, the device is ready to be sent off to… wherever it needs to go. Good Riddance!