It’s a great feeling getting a new phone. The screen is shiny; the features are new; the cameras are better than they’ve ever been. But if you already erased or sold your old phone in preparation for your new one, you might find yourself facing a few headaches you didn’t expect. Here’s why you need to keep your old phone until your new phone is completely set up.
WhatsApp will soon require your old phone to sign into your new one
There are simply too many potential issues you need to solve on your old phone before you can fully set up your new phone. WhatsApp is just the latest example. As reported by 9to5Mac, the app will soon feature an Account Protect feature, which will require you to confirm your identity on your old phone before you can sign into WhatsApp on your new device. We don’t know yet what happens if you don’t have your old phone handy, but based on the feature’s current description, it looks like it’ll be tricky:
If you need to switch your WhatsApp account to a new device – we want to double check that it’s really you. From now on, we may ask you on your old device to verify that you want to take this step as an extra security check. This feature can help alert you to an unauthorised attempt to move your account to another device.
Authenticator apps can be tricky when moving to a new phone
Google Authenticator is another prime reason to hold onto your old phone. The authenticator app, which helps keep your various accounts protected with strong 2FA, is a local-only application. That means you cannot download Google Authenticator on another device and quickly access your 2FA tokens. You need the old phone in order to transfer your Google Authenticator account to the new one. If you erase or sell your old phone before setting up the authenticator app, you’ll lose your codes, and your access to those accounts.
That’s part of the reason why some prefer other authenticator apps. However, as inconvenient as Google Authenticator’s policy can be, it also means your codes are more secure. Only you, or whoever has access to your unlocked phone, can see the 2FA codes for your accounts.
Having your old phone nearby makes setting up your new one a breeze
Keeping your old phone can also make setting up your new one that much easier. Apple, for example, has a feature called “Quick Start” that lets you automatically setup much of your new iPhone when you have your old one within close distance. Quick Start does work with other Apple devices signed into your Apple ID, but if all you have is an iPhone, this is a great feature to use. You can also transfer data directly from an old iPhone to a new one during this process if you don’t have an iCloud backup to work from. Google has a similar option for Android. That goes for eSIMs, too: If your old phone uses an eSIM, having it nearby makes transferring the eSIM to your new phone much quicker.
In short, it’s just not worth the potential hassle. There are too many points of failure between selling your old phone and setting up your new one to make getting rid of the former too soon worth it. It’s better to ensure all of your important apps and services transfer to your new phone first, then erase and sell your old phone.