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What to Know Before Gifting a Phone

Is a new phone on the wish list of someone you love? Here’s what to keep in mind before giving the gift of mobile.

gifting a phone

Giving someone a phone might seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you are gifting a new smartphone to a loved one or passing down an older, used device, the process is simple if you have the right information.

Keep these quick points in mind when you are shopping around, and you’ll soon realize that the hardest part of gifting a new phone is figuring out how to tie the perfect bow around it.

Check That Your Loved One Needs or Wants a New Phone

This may seem obvious, but you’ll want to check with the recipient first to make sure a phone is a good gift. For many, there would be nothing better come holiday season or a birthday, but others simply don’t want to go through the hassle of activating a new phone, transferring data, etc.

If your planned recipient still has a flip phone or feature phone, they’ll probably be ecstatic, but you’ll still want to double check if they can afford their new phone plan in the long term. And don’t worry – even if they know you’re planning on getting them a new phone, the model and fun extras can still be a surprise.

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Know What They Like

Despite having good intentions, your Apple-obsessed son is not going to be thrilled if he receives the latest Samsung model. Simply observe the recipient’s phone preferences or ask them directly what they would like for their next upgrade. If they’ve been wanting to switch to another provider, you’ll want to note that as well. And if their phone needs certain “must-have” features, say excellent photo quality for their Instagram shots, make sure the technology in that arena is up to date.

Keep Wireless Provider in Mind

Buying the best phone is important, but choosing the right plan and provider is just as crucial. Do a bit of detective work to find out which provider the gift recipient currently has. This will help to determine which phones are compatible with their wireless provider’s network and technology. If they are starting fresh with an all-new phone, provider and plan, double check the network’s coverage map to make sure service is good where your friend or loved one lives.

gifting a phone

Transferring Their Phone Number

Choosing a phone that works with the recipient’s current provider also makes transferring their number to a new phone a lot simpler. If the new phone is using a different wireless provider, they’ll have to contact the old network and ask for a Porting Authorization Code to bring their number over. Of course, there’s also the option to start with an entirely new number, but that will mean texting all their contacts to let them know.

Transferring Data

Transferring data between two Android phones or two iPhones is relatively easy. With a newly-gifted phone, the recipient would simply make sure their information is backed up onto the Google cloud or the Apple iCloud, which will enable them to transfer their data seamlessly.

It’s also possible to make the jump from iOS to Android or vice versa. For buying a new iPhone, Apple’s Move to iOS app will get the job done. When switching to Android, backing up and syncing your data on Google Drive works just as well.

Gifting a Used Phone

If you are gifting a used phone, there are some alternative considerations. For one, you don’t necessarily want the recipient to inherit all your contacts and browser history, so you’ll need to make sure to wipe the data beforehand. Instructions for how to reset your phone from the settings is easily accessible online when searching by make and model. Before handing over the device, you might also want to install a few of the most common apps.

These are the basic considerations you want to keep in mind when gifting someone a phone, but of course the details depend on the provider and phone you choose.

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