When you donate or recycle your mobile device or cell phone for cash, it is easy to forget that it may contain very personal and sensitive information that may fall into the wrong hands.
Smartphones, especially, can contain as much information as a desktop computer of yesteryear, and a lot of sensitive – even, incriminating – details and pictures (remember that selfie you send your boyfriend/girlfriend? LOL).
Tip 1: Make sure you have a complete and restorable backup of all your personal data and settings, before recycling your device.
So it’s very important to choose a respectable recycling company that has your personal data security and privacy at heart, like Smartphone TradeIn. During their recycling process, Smartphone TradeIn will remove all your personal data, including logs, emails, texts, contacts (addresses and phone numbers), sensitive information, passwords, account numbers, voicemails, and pictures, and restore the device to its original settings via a factory reset.
Tip 2: Remove or erase SIM and SD cards, because, even when you “wipe” your device, your SIM card or SD cards may retain information about you. But, if you’re keeping your phone number, remember to first ask your mobile provider about transferring your SIM card to your new device.
Of course, you could (and should) also reset your device before donating it or sending it off for recycling. Here are the basic steps to “wipe” your device, for most smartphones and iPads (courtesy of Smartphone TradeIn):
iPhone & iPad
- Click the Home Button to return to the home screen
- Tap the “Settings” icon
- Select “General”
- Select “Reset”
- Select “Erase All Content and Settings”
- Open Main Menu
- Click “Options”
- Click “Security”
- Click “Wipe Handheld”
- Click “Continue”
- Type “blackberry” when prompted (When the erasing process begins, please do not turn off your blackberry)
- Open Home Screen or Main Menu
- Tap “Settings”
- Select “Privacy”(On some devices, select “Personal” or “Account” or “Storage”)
- Select “Factory Data Reset”(On some devices, select “Backup & Reset” before “Factory Data Reset”)
- Select “Reset Phone” (On some devices, the last step is “Delete All” or “Erase All Data”)
* The exact factory reset instructions may vary slightly by Android model.