What to do before you sell your tablet

Selling your tablet isn’t quite as simple as finding a buyer and posting it. It goes without saying that you’ll want to backup your precious photos, music and documents, but just as important is wiping your tablet to a blank state.

Read on to find out how to erase any and all stored passwords, emails, online store log-ins and personal files from your tablet.

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Backup your Apple iPad

A great way to backup docs and photos is by using free cloud storage from the likes of Dropbox, Microsoft’s OneDrive and Google Drive. Apple has its own similar service that’s even easier to use though called iCloud; a service that quite possibly will already backed-up much of your data and photos automatically.

However, to transfer specific settings for apps and log-ins to a new tablet via iCloud you might have to manually set it up. First go to Settings, iCloud and move across the sliders so that everything you want to backup is green.

Then hit the Storage & Backup option, enable iCloud Backup via the slider (if you haven’t already) and tap Back up now to fully backup everything you selected on the previous page.

Backup your Android or Windows tablet

If you have an Android tablet, you can backup a lot of your important data by using the Android Sync feature. If you go to Settings and then Accounts and Sync, you can upload your documents, contacts and other items to your Google account. These can then be downloaded onto your new device.

Finally, Windows tablets use File History to backup documents, pictures, music, videos, downloads, contacts, and Internet Explorer favourites to an external USB drive or network location.

Make a note of your apps

If you’re getting a new tablet, it’s also worth noting your apps as you’ll likely want to continue using them. There’s a chance some won’t be available if you’re moving to a newer OS version of the same platform, or between OS platforms. Otherwise, installing apps on the same platform is a breeze, and iTunes and Google Play accounts remember what you’ve downloaded previously.

Indeed, if you’ve backed up your old iPad via iCloud before you sold it, you should find that your new iPad synchronises with the very same data and soon resembles your old iPad down to the last app.

Log out of your accounts

It’s sensible to do this for all apps and accounts, especially any you access through automated passwords. This could be anything from email to iTunes accounts. You should also deauthorise your old tablet from the likes of Google Play Music and iTunes which you can do by logging into your account via a PC.

Perform a reset and retain removable media

Unlike many PCs, tablets don’t contain data-retaining magnetic hard drives. However, it might be the case that on Android tablets especially, a ‘factory reset’ is not quite sufficient to entirely wipe your data. To help protect yourself completely, the best solution is to encrypt your data before running a factory reset.

To do this, first go to Settings, then Security and finally Encrypt tablet. Once you run this it will mean that all your data is only viewable with the correct PIN – a number only you will know. Next, with your old tablet fully backed-up, go to Settings, Backup & reset and select Factory data reset. If your device is running Android 5.0 or higher, encryption should already be turned on.

By encrypting before you run the factory reset it means that your data will still be password protected, even if if your old files are restored by a nefarious future owner with a data recovery tool. Finally, if you’ve added a memory card (or SD card) to your tablet, be sure to turn off your tablet and remove it before you pass the tablet onto its new owner.

NB – an iPad does the above by default, so all you need to do is run the factory reset to protect your files and folders.

Factory reset checklist by device

Follow the below instructions for performing a factory reset on your particular type of tablet

  • Android – go to Settings, Backup & reset / Backup & restore then Factory data reset.
  • iPad – go to Settings, General, then Reset and tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Windows – for Microsoft Surface tablets the key is to create an admin account, then delete all other user accounts, before you reset your tablet:
    1. Go to Start, Settings, Change PC SettingsOther accounts, Add an account, Sign in without a Microsoft Account and Local account. Complete the fields, tap Next and then Finish. Select the new account and tap Edit, change Account type to Administrator and tap OK.
    2. Sign out and log-in with the admin account. Return to Other accounts, and for each account tap Remove followed by Delete account and data.
    3. First run a search for Recovery and then under Remove everything and reinstall Windows select Get Started, Next, Fully clean the drive and Reset. This will take a few minutes and cause your tablet to restart. To ‘shred’ the data completely, you could even run a utility like Shredder 8 (Surface RT/2), File Shredder or CCleaner (Surface Pro/2) to wipe the drive, while leaving the OS intact.

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