Cultivate Your New Phone with Care

As you would with any other valuable device like a computer or smart appliance, it’s not just about taking care of the outside, but making sure its insides are equipped to handle your information. The steps in this article will help you cultivate your new phone to help protect you.

Get to Know the Lay of the Land

The best way to take care of your phone is to learn more about it. That doesn’t just mean skimming the user manual and user reviews to get a sense of its strengths and weaknesses, but also learning more about how it can best help you.

1. Fresh pick

Is your smartphone brand new (direct from the manufacturer) or second-hand (previously used by another person)? If it’s second hand, you’ll want to unburden it of its past baggage by doing a full system reset. Even if you’ve been informed that the entire system has been cleared already, you should do it yourself for good measure.


  • Settings
  • General
  • Reset
  • Erase All Content and Settings



  • Settings
  • Backup & Reset
  • Factory Data Reset
  • Reset Phone

Instructions for your device may vary, so do a web search if you can’t find this setting on your phone.

You may be prompted to enter your PIN or confirm multiple times. That’s because following these steps will erase all the apps and data on the phone and cannot be undone.

2. A rose by any other name

Which operating system (OS) did your previous phone use and which one does your new phone have: iOS or Android? For migration between two devices with the same operating system, as well as two devices of competing platforms, this will be helpful to know.

Both Google and Apple offer migration services. On iOS, this is called Move to iOS. Apple also maintains a detailed support document for migrating from Android manually, and another one for migrating between devices.

Android runs one program during setup, but it’s not as well documented. Google’s solution is to use Google Drive to backup and restore.

How do you backup?

Whether you know it or not, most likely you use “the cloud” (Google Drive or iCloud) to backup all of your photos, documents, and preferences. If so, this definitely makes transferring to a new phone easier. But at the end of the day, backing up your data to the cloud is a decision each person should make independently. What’s right for you?

Now you’re ready to turn on your new phone!

Sow the Seeds of Change

Cue the start screen intro and music: it’s alive! Now, let’s walk you through some of the options you’ll want to explore on your new phone to promote a more private and secure existence.

  1. Set up a passcode. One of the best ways to secure your phone is to set up a passcode to get into it. Make sure this is a passcode you can remember but that others can’t easily guess. Check out this article with the worst passwords to make sure yours isn’t on the list.
  2. Enable FDE if possible. FDE stands for “full-device encryption” and it is a quick way to secure your phone’s data.
  3. Ensure that Find My Phone is turned on. Find My Phone is a setting that allows you to easily track where your phone has gone if you’ve misplaced it. For your safety, be sure to only go after and retrieve it if you recognise the location it’s in (like a friend’s house or a local grocery store). If you don’t recognise the location, however, it may be that the phone was stolen.
  4. Sort out backups. As previously mentioned, this is a good chance for you to figure out how you’d like to back up your files. If you used a cloud backup before, for example, now that you have a fresh start, you can choose a different option going forward, or stick to the same flow. It should feel right for you.
  5. Lock down the lock screen. New phones tend to turn on all kinds of features that aren’t necessary, like displaying controls or settings on the lock screen. In case your phone is misplaced or stolen, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing there are no shortcuts to get in.
  • iOS: disable the Control Centre on the lock screen
  • Android: disable the “settings shortcuts” on the lock screen
  1. Turn on automatic updates. There should be an option for you to select that will only download updates when on Wi-Fi. This can help reduce your mobile data consumption.
  2. Set up your phone name. This name will be broadcast anytime you want to connect to Wi-Fi, so be sure to choose something unique, that is not personally identifiable. Learn more about who your phone talks to here.
  3. Disable pre-installed apps if possible. By default, phones come with a whole collection of apps already installed. While it’s a nice gesture, these apps can sometimes be unnecessary data suckers that oftentimes cannot be deleted. If you see apps you don’t need or want, try disabling them. You can do that by setting your default options to open another app of your choice.
  • Settings
  • Apps
  • Settings
  • Default app settings

For recommendations of more privacy-oriented apps, check out the Alternative App Centre.

Parting Ways with Your Old Phone

Once you’ve prepared your new phone, you might be wondering what to do with your old phone. Here are some quick steps you can follow to properly get rid of it.

  1. Disconnect your account from Find my Phone.
  2. Reset your device. Remember, these steps will erase your phone entirely of all photos and other data!
    • iOS: SettingsGeneralResetErase All Content and Settings
    • Android: SettingsBackup & ResetFactory Data ResetReset Phone
  3. Confirm device is showing you the welcome screen, to ensure the reset worked.
  4. Recycle it through an electronics recycling center, sell it or give it to someone else.

Great work! If you found this article helpful, check out Control Your Smartphone Data to give your accounts and settings a fresh start as well.

Last updated on: 7/14/2020