Photo of an unknown smartphone make and model

People usually don’t put in a lot of forethought to newly bought cell phones. The initial phase of powering on that smartphone for the first time is pretty exciting; from that point onward, the proud owner is usually on his/her own with phone security settings and configuration guide.

Wait, no… I bought my smartphone from a really good vendor and he/she set up everything:

Okay, for argument’s sake, you bought the phone from a reliable 3rd party vendor. This usually happens in most of the Non U.S countries where hand sets are sold as unlocked devices. In fact, here in Pakistan, you buy the phone from a retailers’ lot; they fill you in on the specs and everything, and you pay them the lump sum amount up front for the unlocked version.

There are no contract options available in Pakistan because smartphones are either cracked, or come unlocked directly from Amazon, Best Buy or other U.S. / U.K. websites. Considering that you bought your phone under these circumstances, the vendor will unpack it and turn it On for the first time.

The standard process goes on, touch calibration is set up and the guy gives you the phone. Usually, the entire trade duration is rather quick; they don’t bother to help you with security protocols or account configuration.

However, good vendors advise you to download a certain batch of applications to amp up your smartphone’s performance. Besides, you should know that a cell phone is a very personal gift; it sticks around for a long time – so you better assess your requirements before directly purchasing something on impulse.

Take a look at some of the tips which I am suggesting on the basis of my experience. These tips and guidelines apply to all kinds of cell phone buyers, regardless of any country or demographic limitations.

  • Smartphone settings configuration menu:

First time buyers don’t have to hesitate when it comes to exploring the smartphone options. Let’s say, you really like a particular handset, and you are standing at the vendor’s counter. You can ask them politely for a dummy set, just to help you check out the phone’s working and options. If you are satisfied, you can buy the actual brand new unit for yourself later on.

A common smartphone notification and settings menu

That being said, it is time to optimize the phone’s profile to suit your needs. If you are an office going individual, you’d rather enable a decent ring tone instead of the default ones. Especially when you are in a meeting, the tone volume and style matter a lot; people around you will notice you for your cell phone “netiquettes.”

Taking things a step further, you can configure/ turn off your phone’s keypad tone. Key press tones sound a bit cool in the first few days, but they become a constant source of irritation as time passes. Day in; day out, it drills down to a hap-tic routine not only for you but for your co-workers or family members to bear with the key press tones.

Usually, these settings are available under the “Options” menu or the “Settings” menu in the smartphone. Depending on the exact make and model of the phone, the said options might be available under a different name. For instance, if you talk about the HTC One X, its settings can be pulled down via a widget at top of the screen.

  • Installing your smartphone’s core firmware and software updates:

Over the course of time, your phone will automatically notify you about firmware updates. Also known as FW or software updates, they are essential to securing your phone against hack attempts and newly discovered bugs. Also, each new update patches up old issues, and enhances the phone’s OS performance.

Let’s say, your phone is heating up or acting a little weird in a certain way, check if there is an update available. Usually, such updates fix these vulnerabilities to a great extent. This is the general approach. If your smartphone does not notify you of any updates or installation requests, you can perform a manual check through the “Check for Updates,” “Check for Software Updates” through the phone’s options menu.

Not every update is worth installing. Some of the updates come as 3rd party software patches that are not necessary for you to install. As a matter of fact, there are installation bundles to default native smartphone applications which are more like a waste of precious memory space. So, the first step is to install the firmware or the core software update, and then move on from that point.

  • Your new smartphone’s security matters a lot:

Smartphone security, itself, is the kind of topic that is subject to a huge debate. By default, each handset’s security levels are kept to a general level. You can either customize the phone’s security profile to suit your needs, or you can leave them be. Nonetheless, the security profile is a matter of extreme importance.

The first thing you can do is perform a 3rd party installation of a famous Anti virus software from the OS marketplace. Keep an eye out for the program’s reviews, user ratings and the fact whether it consumes a lot of phone resources or comes off as a lightweight application.

The said antivirus will need its own updates from time- to- time, and it will notify you if something needs to be downloaded. In addition to anti viruses, the phone usually comes with a by-default anti-theft software. Let’s say you lost your phone or someone stole it, you can locate the device through a remote search protocol from the computer.

In many cases, you can remotely wipe the phone data and even brick it, so that the entire unit is rendered useless to the thieves. However, the person stealing the phone usually knows of these measures, and they have a way or two to overcome these “obstacles.” Still, the process does guarantee an added level of security for phone owners.

  • And finally, here is how you increase your phone’s resale value:

After a year or two, or maybe a few months later, you are going to want to sell your smartphone. The best way to do so, besides posting ads and letting others know about the phone’s availability, you should take extreme care of the box packaging and accessories that came with it during first time purchase.

Photo of a user submitted smartphone with its box and accessories intact

If the phone is in pristine condition and you didn’t even open the hand’s free packaging, obviously the resale value will be high. Make sure that the box is not damaged, and the cardboard inserts areas are intact. People, who plan to sell their phones, normally keep these measures in view because they add value to the device’s presentation.

At the time of purchasing the phone, what I usually do is that I buy a screen protector and casing. Both these accessories, especially the transparent screen protector, add to the value of the phone. The actual screen remains unscathed and does not carry any scratch marks in the long run. By the time you need to sell the phone, simply remove the screen protector, and the protective sleeve casing and it’ll look as good as new.

Screens with oily fingerprint marks, scratch marks and wear signs are the first thing that leave a bad impression on the buyer. The buyer naturally thinks that the phone was roughly used and is not as good as you advertised. If you have any tips to share, let us know through the comments section below. I am planning to buy a Samsung Galaxy tablet, but haven’t really made up my mind. Some input from your side will be very useful.