If you received a new cellphone during the holidays, don’t just toss the old one in a junk drawer or a shoe box at the back of your closet. There are many ways you can either give your old cellphone new life, or dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.
Whatever you choose, be sure to remove all of your personal data from the device. Start by backing up your contacts to your SIM card, or to your Google account or Apple ID. Next, save any photos, music, videos or documents you have on the device to an SD card, a computer, or to cloud storage, like Google Photos or iCloud. Then, perform a factory reset to clear any settings you’ve personalized, and restore the phone’s software to its original state.
To factory reset an Android smartphone:
- Open Settings.
- Scroll to Backup and Reset.
- Tap Factory Data Reset.
You may be prompted to enter a pass code, if you’ve set one, to erase your data.
To clear the settings on an iPhone:
- Open Settings;
- Scroll to General.
- Tap Reset.
- Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
You’ll need to enter your Apple ID and passcode to complete the process.
If your phone is still in good working order, consider passing it on to a friend or family member. You can even add additional lines on your existing Consumer Cellular account for them, and share minutes, text messages, and data from your monthly plan. By simply inserting one of our free SIM cards, the new user can activate your old phone, and just like that, you’re sharing connections.
You can also donate unwanted cellphones. There are a wide variety of organizations to choose from, like Cell Phones for Soldiers, which distributes them to military members serving overseas, or Secure The Call, an organization that accepts used cell phones and then repurposes them as emergency-only devices meant to dial 911 dispatchers.
If ultimately you decide your phone just isn’t in good enough shape to reuse, take a minute to check out recycling resources in your area to avoid having it go to the landfill. You can find help with Earth 911’s local search engine to find the most convenient location.
Your old phone has been a good companion to you. Even though you may be excited to have a new one, take some time to give this old friend a proper goodbye.