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Dispose of old devices safely

Dispose of old devices safely

Smartphones and tablets that you no longer need should be disposed of with great care. The data on your device can easily be accessed whether you sell, scrap, give away or donate it, and even ‘deleted’ data can be retrieved with relative ease by criminals.

  • The personal information stored in files on your device – including contacts, photos, videos and email attachments – can be accessed and used for criminal activity.
  • Any passwords stored on your device could give access to secure websites holding your personal and financial information.
  • Any browsing history can be accessed.
  • emails stored on your device can be accessed.
  • Disposing of your device without having retrieved the information you may need in the future may cause inconvenience or disruption.

  • Ensure all data is copied from your device by syncing it with your computer - or backed up to the cloud (making sure that the cloud service provides a ‘restore’ function) - then restoring it to factory settings.
  • With Android phones, enable encryption on your device before applying the factory reset. Apple iPhones already feature hardware encryption by default - a feature that cannot be user-disabled. To be completely sure that your data is deleted, however, use a reputable data deletion tool such as Disk Wipe, DBAN, KillDisk, CCleaner, PCDiskEraser, Eraser.
  • If the device is at the end of its life and you do not intend to sell it or give it away, take it to a proper disposal facility, which will ensure that it is dismantled and the components recycled correctly and responsibly.

  • If you decide to donate, resell or recycle an old mobile phone or tablet, make sure you erase all data and apps which you have had installed.
  • You should also be able to find a ‘factory reset’ option in your device settings although this option may not delete all your personal information from the devices.