Old Handsets…..How many do you have?

Christmas is on the way and it is virtually nailed on that many people will be getting a brand new shiny handset in their stocking this year.

The question remains however, what do I do with my old one?

I personally can look in various drawers and cupboards and find 6 unused old handsets just sitting and doing nothing.  It turns out that I am not alone for a survey by the mobile security company Lookout found that there are some 28 million unused devices in the UK.

Phone hoarders are a major contributor to this old phone epidemic with 55% of people in the UK admitting they have one or more unused mobile phones at home (20% have one, 16% have two, 7% have three and 12% have four or more).

There are a number of ways of disposing of old mobile phones but despite this the reasons for not doing so are numerous.

  • 25% of people said that they just didn’t know what to do with them
  • 16% said that there was still data waiting to be erased
  • 8% said that they were concerned that data could be obtained from an old handset
  • 10% said that they wanted access to apps and data still on their old device

Interestingly, 52% of people that said they would be willing to let their old handset go said that they would be happy to give it to a charitable cause while 21% said they would trade it or sell it for money and 14% would throw it away or recycle it.

Jenny Roy, Mobile safety advocate at Lookout had this to say,

“We were surprised to learn how many people hold on to old phones.  People are concerned about the personal information living on the device, and we suspect it contributes to why people are still holding on to it. Before you donate, resell or recycle your phone, it’s important to take steps to remove the data so if your phone gets a new owner, your information doesn’t get exposed.”

1.    Save the data. If you want to keep the data on the phone, there are a few ways to transfer your personal information. If you have an Android smartphone, you can download Lookout Premium (£1.99 per month/£19.99 per year) to backup photos and contacts, and restore data to a new device. iPhone owners can use iCloud to store important data.

2.    Before saying goodbye, wipe the phone clean. It’s important to remove data off of the phone before reselling, donating or recycling. For Android, Lookout Premium can wipe personal information, restoring the phone to its original settings. For other device types, do a Google search on how to conduct a factory reset. Factory resetting will restore an old phone to its original state, erasing apps, photos, contacts, call logs and more.

3.    Remove the SIM and SD card. Remove the SIM and SD card (if the phone is equipped with them) before disposing the phone to ensure that your information cannot be passed on to a potential future owner.

Having completed the above it’s then time to think about moving the old phone to another home.

A simple online search provides a number of options including giving it to a charity, recycling it or reselling it. For example, Barnardo’s, the UK’s biggest children’s charity recycles mobile phones to raise funds for their work to transform the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

John Ellis, Head of Recycling at Barnardo’s said, “Many people don’t realise that we can accept old mobile phones in addition to other donated items. We are able to recycle these to raise even more funds towards keeping our children’s services running. It’s always worth remembering this when you’re clearing out cupboards and drawers.”