The New Year is a Popular Time of Year to Upgrade Smartphones

Those planning to upgrade their cell phone and sell an old device to earn a little extra cash after the holidays may want to consider wiping the old device of all personal information. With data security risks at an all-time high, it’s important to ensure personal information, like financial information, contacts, photographs and passwords, don’t fall into the wrong hands.
“Our smartphones contain some of the most important information in our lives, and we need to prevent strangers from gaining access to any of it. Therefore, before selling – or giving away – your device, be sure to wipe it clean,” said Nathan Waddell, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Mid-South. “If you upgrade frequently to the latest cutting-edge devices, like the iPhone 7, or Samsung S7, you will want to take the necessary steps to take care of your old phone first.”

U.S. Cellular recommends taking the following steps before selling or giving away a smartphone:

• Back up the device. Save all contacts, photos, notes, files, and other information to a Cloud account, computer or external hard drive. After the information is backed up, delete them from your phone and empty the deleted items folder.
• Remove the SIM card. Take out any external storage, such as a microSD card, which is rectangular shaped and smaller than a phone battery.
• Log out of services like email and social media. Clear the data, including passwords, from these apps.
• Disconnect the phone from the Cloud account. Otherwise, the phone’s new owner could easily access sensitive information that’s stored there.
• Remove mobile payment options. These days, many people do their banking, pay their bills and take care of other financial obligations from their mobile devices. Disconnect all links, apps, and accounts that are associated with banking institutions and credit cards.
• Restore the phone to factory settings and turn off all services. Whether you decide to upgrade or sell, restoring the device to its original factory settings will remove personal information. You can do this by going to the settings feature on most smartphones.
• Disconnect service. Call the service provider and remove the device from the account. U.S. Cellular associates are available at 1-888-944-9400.
• Unregister the device. If the phone is registered with Apple by its serial number, remove it by logging into supportprofile.apple.com with the Apple ID information. Similarly, Androids will need to be unregistered. First, go to the Google Play store from a computer’s Web browser. Then, go to the gear icon at the top-right-hand corner of the screen, and select the Settings option. Deselect the device from the Google account under the Visibility option. This will hide select devices from appearing in the Play store when attempting to download a new app.

“One last tip, if you are buying a used phone, we also recommend wiping your new used phone clean before personalizing it with your information,” adds Waddell. “It will ensure that the devices settings, data, and apps are only yours. You will start with a clean slate.”

U.S. Cellular also invites all wireless users to visit free Device Workshops held on the third Saturday of every month at 9 a.m. Associates will be available to assist customers wanting to learn more about wiping mobile devices clean and the latest cutting edge devices.

About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular is the fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier offers coverage where the other carriers don’t and a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. U.S. Cellular has the Highest Wireless Network Quality Performance in the North Central Region, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study, and 99 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.