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How to Trade In a Smartphone

Trading in your smartphone

These days we use our phones for everything; communication, work, entertainment. They are our connection to the outside world, and with the rapid pace of technology, it’s not uncommon for people to upgrade their device every couple of years. Getting a shiny new phone is sometimes fun, and sometimes necessary, but should never be complicated. If you’re considering upgrading your phone, trading in your old one is a smart move. It’s better for the environment, makes good financial sense, and—ideally—makes the transition to the new one a little easier. However, some of the terms and processes can be off-putting. Luckily for you, your old pal, Visible is here to help break down some of those tricky steps and guide you through the process.

Steps to take before trading in your smartphone

There are a lot of options when it comes to trading in your device, so be sure to do a little research to figure out which one is right for you. Obviously, we’re a little biased, but Visible’s trade-in program is easy, affordable, and outlined at the bottom of this article. You know, just in case you were wondering.

Once you’ve selected your preferred method of trade-in, you’ll need to make sure your device meets the requirements of the program. Some common requirements include:

  • Good working condition
  • No water damage
  • Screen clear of cracks

Checking these requirements is key to making sure you get the most value out of your old device, so be sure to inspect carefully! Done? Then you’re ready for a couple of slightly more technical steps, starting with backing up your data.

Backup your data

Backing up your data is essential to ensuring a smooth transfer to a new device. You don’t want to lose any vital information, photos, or messages now do you? These instructions will vary depending on your phone, so pay close attention.

Using iCloud

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and turn it on.
  • Then tap Back Up Now.

Ensure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and plugged into power during the backup to avoid any mishaps.

Using your Mac

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  2. In the Finder sidebar select your iPhone.
  3. At the top of the Finder window, click General.
  4. Select Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.
  5. If you want to encrypt and password-protect your backup, select Encrypt local backup.
  6. Click Back Up Now.

Note: earlier versions of macOS will need to use iTunes to back up.

Backup your Android data

If you have an Android, there are a couple of different ways you can back up your phone to ensure no loss of data when you upgrade. First is a cloud backup using Google, and second is a backup using your computer. Don’t worry— we’ll talk you through both.

Using Google

Google’s built-in backup service for Android phones is probably the easiest and most efficient way to back up your phone. This service automatically backs up contacts, app data, and settings to your Google account. Here’s the process in a few simple steps:

  1. Connect to Wi-Fi and charge your device
    Before you start this process, ensure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and has enough battery to get through the whole process. Best practice is to keep it plugged into power. This is to avoid any lost data due to dropped connection or dead battery.

  2. Enable Google Backup
    To enable Google Backup, go to your device’s Settings app and select System > Backup. Make sure the toggle for Back up to Google Drive is turned on. You can also choose which data you want to back up at this point by selecting the Back up now button and toggling the options on or off.

  3. Check your Google account storage
    Google provides 15GB of free storage per Google account, which includes your backups. If you’ve exceeded this limit, you may need to upgrade your storage plan. To check this, log in to your Google account, click on the storage tab, and ensure you have enough space for your backup.

  4. Check app backup settings
    Some apps may not be automatically included in the Google Backup service, so it’s a good idea to check each app’s backup settings individually. To do this, go to your device’s Settings app and select Apps & notifications. Select the app you want to include and then go to App info. If the app supports backup, you will see an option for Back up to Google Drive. Ensure this is turned on.

  5. Verify your backup
    Once your backup process is complete, it’s a good idea to verify that your data has been backed up successfully. To do this, go to your Google Drive account, and click on the Backup tab to see a list of your backups. Check there’s a backup listed for the phone you’re planning on trading in.

Using your computer

If you don’t want to use a cloud service to store your backup, a computer will store it locally on your existing hard drive.

  1. Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable. If your device prompts you to choose a connection type, great. If it doesn't, swipe down from the top of the screen and choose from USB Mass Storage, Options, Disk Drive, or similar.

  2. If your computer automatically generates a pop-up menu, select the option that best fits:

    • Sync photos and videos with your computer. Follow the instructions to back up your photos and videos.
    • Open to view files. This lets you click and drag images and files, like your exported contacts file, to your hard drive.
  3. If the computer doesn't automatically prompt you as described above, follow the following steps:

    • Select My Computer.
    • Select the connected device.
    • Find the DCIM folder. You'll need to search through your folders to find it. (There may be a second DCIM folder on your SD card.)
    • Drag the folder to your computer desktop or other file location.
    • Browse to find any pictures and files you wish to save, and drag them to your desired backup location on your computer.

Reset your phone

Upcycling or recycling your phone via trade-in is definitely a great way to upgrade, but before you do so, you’ll want to make sure that no trace of you is left on there. That means wiping all your data from your device before you send it to whichever trade-in partner you’ve chosen. This includes everything from contacts and messages to photos, to login credentials. Not only does this ensure your privacy and security, but it also helps to protect you against identity theft and fraud. Taking the time to properly wipe and reset your phone is an essential step in the trade-in process.

Resetting your iPhone

iPhone and especially iCloud make the backup, reset, and restore process pretty simple. Here are the steps to ensure your phone is fully wiped.

  1. Sign out of iCloud or iTunes.
    Go to Settings > [Your Name] > Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.

  2. Erase your iPhone: Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Enter your passcode if prompted, then tap Erase iPhone.

  3. Wait for the reset process to be completed. It may take a few minutes, then your iPhone will restart and display the “Hello” screen.

Resetting your Android device

  1. Encrypt your phone.
  2. In addition to your backup, Android also has the ability to encrypt your data, scrambling it so that it couldn’t be read even if anybody could get access.
  3. Remove your Google account. Go to Settings > Accounts > Google and select the account you want to remove. Tap on the three dots in the upper right corner and select Remove account.
  4. Factory reset the phone. Go to Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset). This will wipe your phone clean of all data, including your apps, contacts, and photos.
  5. Confirm the reset. You will be prompted to enter your password or PIN to confirm the reset, and the process will begin.
  6. Wait for the process to complete. The reset might take a few minutes to finish. Your phone will then restart and display the initial setup screen.

Remove SIM or SD cards

This will vary by device but ensure you have removed SIM and SD card from your device since they can store data and you don’t want to send that to trade-in. Follow instructions provided by your manufacturer for more details on how to remove SIM or SD cards.

How to trade in with Visible

Now you’ve got your phone all ready for trade-in, it’s time to send it. If you’ve chosen Visible as your trade-in option, we’re stoked! Here’s some more info on our specific process:

  1. If you haven’t already, go to our trade in page to receive your estimate and start the process.
    Answer a few quick questions and get your trade-in estimate on the spot.

  2. Find your new phone.
    Browse our shop and pick your new phone. Your new phone must be purchased through Visible for trade-in eligibility.

  3. Return your device
    Print the return label, ship your phone within 21 days of placing your order. The condition of your phone will be verified upon receipt.

Note: Prior to sending in your device, follow the instructions above to wipe your phone and ensure your Find my Device (Apple) or Find my Android settings are turned off.

  1. Get paid
    Once your phone has been verified, you'll be issued a credit.

Got more questions? Check out Visible Trade-In FAQ or contact us.

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