what to do when you upgrade

Yay, it's the holidays! The festive season of giving good gadgets. I'm always kind of excited and simultaneously anxious each time I swap out my phone. It's almost like giving up my current hand for a bionic replacement. Sure, the fancy new one may be able to shoot lasers and power clean better than Chuck Norris, but it's not mine. The other one has been with me for…well…in this case, two years (the phone, not the hand). It feels like it's a part of me.

Make the Transition Easier with our New Phone Checklist

New Phone Checklist - what you should do when you upgrade

First things first. Back your data up. Every phone is different, but you can usually save your music, pics and data to a computer or cloud system. I like to save my contacts to my Gmail account so they follow me everywhere I go. If you're switching to a different phone on the same platform (iPhone to newer iPhone, Android to Android) you can often download the same apps directly from your phone account, but I take screenshots on my old phone and email them to myself so I can remember which apps I had in what order.

Ideally, you can transfer info such as contacts directly from the old phone to the new phone in-store. But you should always back it up ahead of time just in case.

Before handing over your new phone as a trade in or online sale, wipe your data by factory resetting per your instruction manual.

Tweak the settings on your new phone so that you have a ringer, font and lock screen that match your style.

Install a security monitoring app like Hotspot Shield so that your data is secure when you're browsing over wireless networks. Their VPN system even compresses your data to decrease excess bandwidth fees.

Configure apps how you want them laid out on your screens.

Sign in to to all of your social media and email accounts to get alerts when you need them.

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Want to learn more about  Hotspot Shield? Their free VPN will hide your personal information on your computer or phone. This was one of the first things I was told to install when I got my new Android, as they are fairly vulnerable to being hacked. Connect with Hotspot Shield on TwitterFacebook and their very ownHotspot Shield blog.