5 Things to Do Before You Recycle That Old Phone

So, you got a new phone. And while you’re excited about your new gadget, with all of its fancy features and cool new case, you still have unfinished business with your old phone.

Maybe you already have plans for your old phone. Maybe you’re going to pass it on to someone in your family, like your teen who’s been hinting at wanting a better phone. Or maybe you’d like to try and recoup some of your investment by reselling it, or get a little advantage on your tax bill by donating it to charity. Whatever it is you decide to do with your old device, there are steps you need to take to protect yourself and your personal information before you move on.

old iphone

1. Back up your data

Backing up your data to your computer’s hard drive or to the cloud accomplishes two things. First, it preserves your data in the event of theft or damage to your device. Second, it helps to make a smooth transition for an upgrade to a new device.

2. Terminate your cell service

Obviously, you won’t need to do this if you’re giving your phone to someone else who is on your cell phone plan. Switch your service to your new device.

3. Factory reset your phone

A factory reset returns your phone to its original out-of-the-box state. It wipes all of your data, apps, photos, and personal information from the device. If you’re not sure how to do a factory reset on your particular model, you may be able to find this information in the owner’s manual that came with the phone, or you may be able to find the steps via an Internet search.

4. Remove the SIM or SD card

If your phone is equipped with a SIM or SD card, you’ll want to remove it. Even after a factory reset has been performed, a SIM or SD card can still hold a fair bit of personal data. If your card is compatible with your new phone, you can use it there. If not, you can destroy it.

5. Test

Go through your phone again to assure you’ve erased all data. Check your contacts, photos, and calendar, and clear your browser cache.

Once you’ve finished with these five steps, your old device will be ready for its next assignment. Your personal data will have been removed from your old phone and you’ll be free to do whatever you wish with it. If you’re passing it along to someone in your household, they’ll be glad to get a device that’s clean of your information.

Smartphones are a way of life for most of us nowadays, and switching to a new phone is always exciting. Whenever you upgrade to the latest and greatest phone on the market, don’t forget about your old phone and the information it contains. Even if your old phone ends up in a drawer and never used again, it makes sense to wipe your personal information from it.