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4 things you should do before trading in or recycling your smartphone

Posted at 6:56 AM, Dec 11, 2019

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The one thing expected to top wish lists this year is a new iPhone.

Recently, Apple introduced the iPhone 11, and now rumors are swirling that we could see another iPhone edition as early as this spring.

The good news is, you can offset the price of a new phone by trading in your current one, but be advised – you could be putting yourself at risk.

If you’re planning to upgrade by trading in or even recycling your current phone, don’t let a hacker ruin the party.

"I can tell you from a forensic examiner perspective, you can learn a lot about a person just by reviewing their smartphone," said cyber security expert Dave Schippers.

Schippers says we store a more significant amount of personal data on our phone than we do on our computer or in our homes. Everything from our location, to private messages, to banking apps. If that information ends up in the wrong hands, someone could use it to wreak havoc.

So here are the four things you need to do first.

Number 1: A comprehensive back up. Go to settings, your name, and back up to the cloud. Then plug in your phone and do a local backup on iTunes.

Number 2: Go in and start turning off and disconnecting services from that phone you currently have. Unpair your phone from other devices like a watch or from apps with sensitive information like Gmail and Facebook. After all, your login credentials and everything are saved within the device itself.

Number 3: Do a factory reset to wipe it free of your data! Simply go to settings, general, reset, then erase all content and settings

Number 4: You want to take out the SIM card. That SIM card stores personal information. If you don’t plan to transfer it to a new phone then destroy it. And if you have an Android, then the same thing goes for that SD card.

Bottom line: If you don't want a headache this holiday, be sure not to miss out on those important steps, so you don’t waste your money.