5 Checks before buying a used Android Device

When we are in the market to purchase a second-hand Android device, there are 5 important checks we must do to ensure that we don't get locked out and end up with a shiny paperweight.

5 Checks you must do before buying a Pre-owned Android Smartphone or Tablet

1 Have the owner Remove the Password

Sometimes the simplest checks can be the most often overlooked ones. Especially when you rely on the lock screen password prompt. Some users may change their preferences from immediately requesting a password from the standby mode to a few minutes of it being locked.

To ensure that the password has been properly removed from the device, have the owner click on the Settings > Lock Screen & Security.

If a password has been enabled, the software will then prompt the owner to enter it. Once inside the app, click on Swipe No Security.

Depending on the version of Android the device is running, the password removal option may be different. In most other cases, you will have to click on the

Settings > Display > Remove Password.

2 Have the owner Remove the Samsung and Google Accounts

The Samsung account lock will only apply to Samsung devices.

However, given Samsung has the second largest market share, it is important we cover it.

Even if the main password has been removed, the Samsung account may still be enabled protecting the device from being factory reset without the owner's Samsung account password. To ensure the Samsung account has been removed, please follow these step:

a) Connect the device to the internet with Wifi or Data;

b) Access Settings > Cloud and Accounts > Accounts

c) Click on the Samsung Account

d) On the top right of the screen, notice the three vertical dots and click it to Remove account.

e) The app will then prompt you to enter the Samsung password to remove itself from the device.

If the Samsung account is not in the account's profile, then no problem. You may continue with removing the Google Accounts next.

Even if the Samsung account has been removed, the Google accounts add additional levels of security. Like Apple's iCloud locks, if the Google accounts have not been removed, once the device is factory reset, the Google lock will engage. The only way to remove this lock and activate the device will be to have the original owner sign on the device with their Google account password.

Unfortunately, by this part of the deal, the seller has long since left with your money leaving you with a very expensive paperweight. To ensure the Google Accounts have been removed, please follow these step:

a) Connect the device to the internet with Wifi or Data;

b) Access Settings > Cloud and Accounts > Accounts

c) Click on Google and select the email address associated with the device. If there is more than one email address, you will have to remove each account.

d) On the top right of the screen, notice the three vertical dots, click it to Remove account.

3 Check if the IMEI is Blacklisted

For a few different reasons, the IMEI of the device can be blacklisted.

Two major reasons being that the device has been lost/stolen and the original owner has blocked the IMEI or that the owner has not fulfilled their obligation to the carrier who had subsidized the device.

In either case, once the device has been blacklisted it will not be able to be used on the data networks in North America.

To ensure you are purchasing a device with a clean IMEI, we recommend going to the following website and submitting the 15 digit IMEI number:


To find the IMEI, click on

Settings > About device > Status > IMEI Information.

Alternatively, the IMEI can be found by clicking on the phone application and keying in the code *#06#

Once the IMEI is submitted, the website will indicate whether or not the device has been reported lost or stolen or if it is on the national blacklist.

4 Check to see if your SIM card will work on the Android smartphone

Insert your SIM card into the smartphone and turn it on.

If the smartphone boots up and grants you access, then you should be comfortable that your SIM card will be compatible with the device.

If however, the device prompts you to Enter Network Unlock Code, it will need to be unlocked. In other words, the smartphone is incompatible with your SIM carrier.

You may dismiss this note and gain access to the smartphone, but you will not be able to make calls with it. We will outline the steps required to unlock the smartphone in our next blog post.

5 Reset and Reactive the Android Smartphone or Tablet

Once all of the above mentioned 4 checks have been completed, you may go ahead and reset the device.

To reset the device go to

Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory data reset.

Alternatively, once you are in the Settings app, click on the magnifying glass icon on the top right and search for Reset.

Once erased, the device will go back to factory settings and all of the previous owner's information, accounts and changes will revert back to factory settings.

Once rebooted, the device will prompt you to choose your preferred language, connect to the internet and activate it.

In case you missed a critical step and an account locks you out, it is important to reactivate the phone all the way to the home screen with the owner next to you.

We hope that by following the above-mentioned steps, you will be able to comfortably purchase your dream Android device.

Of course, nothing is foolproof and that is the benefit of shopping at A-1 Trade & Loan Ltd. We stand behind all of our electronics and offer our customers a clean iCloud, Account and IMEI guarantee. If on those rare occasions the device you purchase becomes blacklisted, we welcome the device back to give us the chance to fix it, replace it or your money back.

A-1 Trade & Loan

2641 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5N4C3


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