The Ultimate Checklist Before Selling Your SmartPhone – iOS or Android

We get it, not everyone is a GizmoGrind user. Some people want to sell their phone on classified websites like Kijiji or Craigslist, or elsewhere. If you are selling your smartphone then this guide is for you!

We also made this post to encourage a safer phone trading environment. We hear too often the nightmares of buying a phone that’s locked to a different carrier or has an iCloud account signed in.

If your selling your phone to gizmogrind, this post is NOT for you. We take care of everything listed here, all you have to do is remove your iCloud account.

Run through this checklist to make sure you’re selling your phone the right way. Feel free to click on the list below to skip ahead.

1) Backup Your Data

Back up Your iOS

Once we go through the data wipe process, you won’t be able to retrieve any data from your phone. So make sure its backup before proceeding.

For iPhone users, this step is easy enough. Just make sure its backup to iTunes. As a secondary measure, make sure its backed up with iCloud.

Back up Your Android

You have a few options. For starters, all your contacts are synced with your Google account. Android users also have the perk of unlimited photo storage with Google photos.

Here’s how you check that everything is synced up:

Step 1 Check your google sync settings

Go to Settings > Accounts > Google

Google Sync Settings
Google accounts
iPhone clouds and accounts

You’ll see (below) a list of items that you can sync with google, make sure everything was recently synced and up to date. Toggle the switch off, then on if the sync date showing is old.

Google Sync Settings

Step 2 Sync Photos

Almost there, now for your photos… Open google photos If you don’t have the app installed, download it in here.

Now open the options tab by taping on the top left three bars > Then tap settings > then Backup and sync

Sync Google photos
Google account settings
Google Backup and Sync Settings

You should see this screen (below). Make sure sync is toggled on.

Backup Google account

2) Remove iCloud or Google Account from your device

A big reason why we write this checklist is the many irate online buyers of smartphones who have bought an iCloud locked device somewhere online or on classifieds. Please make sure you don’t skip this step because you’d be selling someone an expensive brick of glass and metal!

To remove iCloud, follow these steps:

Step 1: Head over to settings and Tap on the iCloud account at the very top like this:

remove iCloud account from iPhone

Step 2: Scroll to the bottom and tap sign out. You’ll be prompted to enter your password.

Sign Out from iPhone account

For Android users, remember to sign out of Google, Samsung or any other account with security features.

3) Securely Wipe your data

A standard factory reset does not mean your data is actually removed, it just marks your data as ready to be overwritten with new data.

Following these steps does take more time than a regular factory reset but its worth the extra piece of mind especially if your selling on classifieds, Amazon or eBay.

It’s very difficult to be 100% sure that all data is scrubbed from your phone without using professional software but the method we’ll show you is what we call Layered Deterrence. We’re trying to make it increasingly difficult for a would-be hacker to get their hands on your data.

gizmogrind users can skip this step, we use professional grade software that renders all data on your device irretrievable.

Step 1 Encrypt Your device


Make sure you have a passcode lock and it’s turned on. Choosing an Alphanumeric password is best. Check Settings > Touch ID & Passcode to make sure it’s on.


Now Scroll to the bottom of the same page and check that “Data Protection is Enabled

iPhone Passcode Lock


This is how it looks for Samsung but it should be similar to other androids.

Settings > Than Lock Screen & Security

Step 2 Reset Your device

IOS: Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings

Reset Your iPhone
Reset your iPhone
Erase all content in iPhone

Android: Got to Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory Data Reset

Reset Android Phone Settings
Reset Your Android Phone
Factory Data Reset on Android Phone

Now tap Reset Device

Android Smartphone Factory Data Reset

Step 3 Overwrite your Hard drive with new data

We explained earlier how a reset just marks the storage space as ready to be overwritten with new data. Although we’ve encrypted and deleted the device, with enough resources, the data can be retrieved.

If you want to go all James Bond, follow this next step to add another layer of difficulty for prying eyes trying to sneak on your phone.

Now that all the data on your hard drive is encrypted and deleted, let’s write over it with a new set of data, then reset the phone again.

  • Head over to Videezy or any other free 4K video Provider and download a couple of GB worth of data, the more the merry. Ideally filling up the memory of your device is best.
  • Perform another Rest and you’re golden

Paid Alternative: You can use software like ProtectStar and let the software do all the grunt work for you. Keep in mind it will cost you up to $59USD.

4) Check for Outstanding Bills on Your Account

Here’s another one that’s easy to miss and might get you an angry customer! If you’re on a contract, your phone can be blacklisted if you walk away with unpaid bills.

Easy fix: don’t sell a phone with unpaid bills on it. If you’re not sure, call your cell phone provider to make sure everything checks out.

You can do a quick check on the Canadian national blacklist database to be certain:

IMEI Device Check Canada

5) Assess the condition of your device

If your reselling your phone on eBay craigslist or Kijiji, repairing any defects to your device might be worth your while. You just might double your sale value.

The crowd buying phones on these sites can be pikey and most people won’t even click on your ad if there is any imperfection to your once dear phone or tablet.

Remember, being honest to potential buyers about any problems on your device will save you a lot of time in the long run from return shipping or arranging a second meeting for returns.

So take the time to assess the device and note anything wrong with it.

We’ve done the number crunching for you and figured out what is worth the repair and what you should try to sell as is or recycle.

Here is a list of repairs that are worth repairing before selling your smartphone:


  • Cracked screen but touch still works – iPhone 5s to iPhone 7 and 7 plus models
  • Volume, power and mute buttons – iPhone 5s and up
  • Not charging – iPhone 5s and up
  • Battery dies quickly – iPhone 5s and up
  • Speaker, headphone jack or earpiece issues – iPhone 5s and up
  • Microphone issues – 5s and up


  • Speaker, headphone jack or earpiece issues
  • Battery dies quickly
  • Buttons not working
  • Port covers, like with the Samsung S5 charging port or the Sony Xperia SIM and removable memory ports
  • Battery cover is in bad shape or broken – Example the Samsung S5 back battery cover

Here’s a list of what you shouldn’t fix because it may be too costly and not worth it:


  • Touch screen is non-responsive – iPhone 6 and under
  • Complete housing replacement for badly worn body – All models
  • iPhone X and 8 back glass
  • Water damage
  • SIM card reader damage – iPhone 6s and under


  • Any screen damage – most Samsung Models
  • Water Damage
  • Motherboard damage – speak to a technician for this one
  • SIM card reader damage

GizmoGrind users can sell devices in broken condition as-is so this need not apply to you.

Selling a phone in non-working condition its super hard to do on classifieds or Amazon. Instead we recommend eBay where there are buyers looking for parts.

6) Check if Your phone is locked or Unlocked

Your TELUS Phone might not work with any other Phone carrier if it’s locked. If you end up selling a TELUS Phone to a Bell customer, they won’t be able to use it.

The easiest way to check if your phones locked is by using a SIM card from a friend or family member who is signed up with a different provider. If you’re getting bars and making calls, your phone is unlocked.

Phones purchased after 2018 will all be unlocked due to new Canadian CRTC regulations.

7) Unlock Your phone

If your phone is locked, then unlocking it is a sure way to score you more cash on your sale.

iPhone unlocking:

For IOS Users we only recommend unlocking if your phone is locked to Rogers or Chatr. Otherwise, it gets way too pricey and not worth the cost.

One of the best and cheapest services for Rogers iPhone unlocking is Cellunlocker. It can take up to 4 days so plan ahead.

Samsung Users

You can unlock your phone for free. Read our quick guide for free Samsung unlocking for more info on how to unlock your Samsung without paying a penny!

Other Android Users:

The best marketplace for android unlock codes is on eBay. Sellers are jousting for the top spot by offering competitive pricing. Do a quick search for your phone make and who its locked to. For example:

Unlock codes for Smartphone

Make sure you read the sellers instructions.

8) Include These Accessories in Your listing

It’s tempting to try and keep a backup charger, but buyers are way more likely to pay attention to your ad if you include accessories. In fact, ads that include the charger adapter and USB cable sell 2.5 times faster.

For a faster sale, we recommend including the following accessories:

  • Charger adaptor and USB Cable
  • Box
  • Phone Case

9) Bring a SIM Removal Tool

SIM removal tool

If you’re selling your phone on Kijiji or on Craigslist, you’ll need a SIM removal tool to install the buyers SIM. Buyers can be really picky and some want to test every function of the phone. Power to them because you’ll be ready with your SIM removal tool.

Slip their SIM in and voila, calls and data are going through and you close the sale!

10) Remove Your SIM Card before Selling

Those little chips are so small and easy to forget. Its usually in your phone from the time you buy it until the time you sell it.

It’s super important to remove your SIM because they sometimes hold all your contact lists in them and do not require a password to retrieve them.

Here’s a tip: Write on a little sticky note behind the phone, “remove SIM Card”. That way you’re certain to remember.

You’re ready for a DIU sale of your phone. If there’s something you want us to include please share in the comments section and we’d love to help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *