Once you’ve decided to upgrade your favorite electronic gadget, you may be so focused on getting the best deal on your new phone, tablet or laptop that you’re not even thinking about a proper way to dispose of your old one.
Whether you’ve decided to sell, recycle, toss or donate your old gear, there are some important steps you need to take before it leaves your possession–and takes all of your personal information with it.
Here’s a quick guide on what do you do when you think of getting rid of electronics the safe way.
Back That Thing Up
The most essential part of parting with your laptop or smartphone should happen long before you’re actually ready to say goodbye. Backing up your data is something that regular users should be doing consistently.
For your desktop or laptop, consider an automatic backup service, which takes the stress of remembering to backup regularly out of your hands. Otherwise, manually copy your files and information onto an external DVD or thumb drive.
When it comes to your phone and tablet, backing up your data is as simple as ensuring that you have some sort of cloud backup enabled. (For Android users, Google Auto Backup makes a good alternative to Apple’s iCloud.) Make sure to search your files and double check that everything you really need, including your pictures and contacts, have been uploaded before ditching your device.
Wipe it Clean
Never operate on the assumption that the new owner of your device will be nice enough to safely clear it of your personal information. Avoid the potential for private information getting into the wrong hands, by carefully wiping your information from your phone, tablet or computer.
Start by removing your SIM and SD cards. If you’re keeping your same number, your phone service provider might be able to transfer your SIM and its information to your new tablet or cell. Remember that even once you’ve wiped your device clean, your SD and SIM cards can contain pictures, contacts, and more. So remove them and store or dispose of them carefully before you sell or donate your gadgets.
Next, use the factory reset function on your device to clear everything off it. Often referred to as a hard reset, this is the act of wiping away all of the information, applications and other pertinent info from your electronic device. Check your device’s manufacturer website for details on how to hard reset your particular phone, computer, e-reader or tablet.
Once you’ve taken the steps to factory reset your device, it’s always good policy to double check and make sure that it’s really gone. Open your call log, voicemail, downloads, search history and photo albums to make sure they are all clear.
If you had a lot of personal data or work with sensitive information, it may be worth it for you to use a downloadable or external complete wiping software. There are several kinds on the market, so you should be able to find one specific to your device or operating system.
Discard with Care
Finally, if you are planning to recycle or just get rid of your old device, make sure you do so safely. Not all recycling centers are recycling equally, and simply throwing your electronics into a trash can is never a good idea. Check with your service provider or the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for free and safe ways to dispose of your unwanted gear.
In the article above, I have mentioned few ways that you must follow before ditching your old electronic gadget, especially if it might contain some private or confidential information. It is also a good idea to recycle a electronic device that can no longer be used. Electronic devices contains many harmful substances that when thrown carelessly, causes pollution.
What do you do when you think of getting rid of electronics the safe way ? Please share your views with us.