6 Things To Do Before Recycling an Old Phone

4 min read
Iphone Recycling

There are some essential steps to take before saying goodbye to your old cell phone.

Continue reading to find out what the steps are and how to go about recycling your phone!

6. Back it Up

Backup Phone

The first step to phone recycling is backing up your phone. It is wise to be doing this regularly anyway in case you lose your phone or drop it in water.

If you have had your cellphone for a while, then you probably have a ton of important stuff on there. Losing your favorite photos and videos would be heartbreaking, right?

Your old files can be backed up to either a memory card or the cloud. Depending on the phone model, backing up files onto the cloud varies. If you don’t have much worth keeping on your phone, it may be easiest to email yourself whatever you’d like to keep.

5. Sign Out of Every Account

Change Password

It is very important to sign out of every account on your phone. Go into your settings and remove each account you’re signed into. This helps ensure that all information identifying you is removed from the phone and is ready to can easily be recycled.

You wouldn’t want whoever receives your old phone to gain access to your accounts, would you? Your credit card information is probably attached to many of those accounts, so that would not be good!

Keeping a list of your passwords is definitely a good idea so that you can sign back into all of your accounts on your new phone.

4. Change Important Account Passwords

Sign Out Accounts Old Phone

Signing out of your accounts is crucial, but you also should consider changing the passwords to your accounts that are most valuable to you.

Depending on the person, the most important accounts will vary but are often work-related. This doesn’t mean changing the passwords to all of your social media accounts. We’re talking about your Apple or Google accounts, for example.

Your phone’s factory reset should remove any saved passwords and data, but we still recommend this extra precaution to keep those hackers away!

Don’t forget to remove your phone from services like two-factor authorization for Google Accounts. If you forget, you will be locked out of some accounts.

3. Unpair From Bluetooth Accessories

Bluetooth Unpair

Don’t forget to unpair any accessories such as headphones or speakers connected to your old phone. If you end up giving away your phone to a friend or family member, they will automatically connect to those devices unless you unpair. Whenever that person comes over, you may be forced to listen to their music. It’s also smart to unpair from printers and smart TVs.

2. Remove SIM and Memory Cards

Sim Card

Once you have backed up your phone, signed out of all accounts, and unpaired from Bluetooth devices, it is then safe to remove your SIM card. Android users will need to remove the memory card.

These hold personal data you probably don’t want to lose. You also may need to reuse the SIM card in your new phone. If you don’t need your SIM card anymore, you can cut it in half as if it is an old credit card.

1. Factory Reset

Factory ResetDoing a factory reset on your phone is a MUST. It is the easiest way to wipe your phone clean. Your personal data and all of the apps you have installed while using the phone will be deleted. The reset will put your phone back to the default state that it was at when you first bought it.  

If you’re an iPhones or Windows user, you will press “reset” in your settings. Doing a factory reset on an Androids will not remove important data, including email addresses and texts. With that said, don’t forget to encrypt your data before the reset.

Apple users don’t have to worry about encrypting their phones because it automatically does that for you. However, Android phones need to be encrypted by the user. 

Steps to encrypt an Android:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Security
  3. Tap Encrypt phone

Once that process is complete, you can reset your Android easily in Settings.

Where To Donate or Recycle Old Cellphones

Recycling Phone

When you finally have an upgrade and are ready to get a new high-tech phone, you may be confused about what to do with your old phone.

Simply throwing away your phone only contributes to the e-waste crisis. Recycling your cellphone is the way to go! Not only will recycling keep toxins out of the waste stream, but it allows recyclers to collect valuable materials for other uses.

Search Earth911 or Call2Recycle to find an e-waste drop-off site in your neighborhood!

Other recycling options:

  • Gifting it to a friend or family member.
  • Donating it to charity.
  • Order a prepaid box and mail it to Republic Services.

Best Buy has a great recycling and trade-in program for old tech. And many local charities can make good use of working devices. Cell Phones for Soldiers, Big Sky Recycling and 1Million Project repurpose your old device to help others!

However, before you go ahead and give that phone away, there are some crucial steps you should take to ensure the protection of your personal data.