Here’s how to safely get rid of all your old phones

I made a strange discovery last week while unpacking my new home office. I opened a medium sized box expecting to find some keyboards or maybe my lost Cricut machine and instead found a graveyard full of smart gadgets. Beneath a mass of wires and cables, I discovered a Samsung Galaxy S7, four iPhones, three Kindles, a Kindle Fire, and two iPads.

Every time I move, I inevitably shove my old and outdated tech out of a desk drawer into a box and then forget about it. I would love to break this cycle and declutter my tech responsibly by trading in my devices, but I need to find the time to back up my personal information and ensure I completely erase all my private information before handing over my old phones and tablets to a stranger. I also don’t want to go to my carrier’s store and go through a lengthy trade-in process for my devices. It’s easier to just buy a new phone and toss the old one in a drawer.


Leave money on the table (or in a box)

I’m not alone with my bunch of old tech. A new study by device lifecycle management company MCE shows that, on average, American households own four or more obsolete or broken mobile devices(Opens in a new window) sit in drawers. The untapped technology could provide value to consumers, either in the form of cash or by lowering the price of a new device when traded in.

Additionally, 42% of the 3,000 respondents in the US survey said they had never traded in a mobile device, and 58% said they had experienced a long or frustrating trade-in process. More than a third of respondents who had never traded in a device said data backup and privacy concerns prevented them from trading in their old devices for cash or statement credit.


How sellers can improve the mobile trade-in process

The MCE study shows that customers want convenience, price transparency, speed and privacy at all points in the mobile purchase and trade-in process. More than 40% of respondents said that knowing the data on their old phone was completely erased would make them more likely to trade in the device.

MCE offered workable suggestions for mobile device sellers to improve the trade-in process.

  • Sellers could offer an app-based trade-in process. Instead of requiring a visit to the store to trade in a device, smart tech companies could create an app that guides consumers through securely transferring their data, printing a shipping label for their old device, and choosing a new device from the carrier.

  • Sellers should offer a price guarantee for trade-ins. 62% of US consumers surveyed believe they did not get a fair price when trading in their mobile device, and nearly a third of respondents said they received different price offers at different stages of the trade-in process. Take the guesswork out of trading legacy technology and gain consumer confidence with the assurance that the initial cash or credit offer on a device is what they will receive when the deal is closed.

  • Speed ​​is key. More than 40% of respondents indicated that the trade-in process for their mobile device took more than half an hour. Reducing the steps people have to go through to trade in their devices could help speed up the process and encourage more consumers to offer their phones and tablets for recycling.

  • Trade-ins must emphasize security. More than a third of respondents not considering a trade-in fear their privacy will be compromised when trading from their mobile devices. Mobile device sellers should all offer online step-by-step instructions on how to prepare devices for recycling.


Secure your mobile device before a trade-in

Ensuring your data is erased from your Android or iPhone is just one step you should take before you sell your device or trade it in for a new one. Here are three steps you need to take to safely get rid of that smart device graveyard yourself while you wait for wireless carriers to make the recycling process smoother for consumers.

  1. Back up the data stored locally on your device. PCMag provides guides on how to backup your iOS device and how to backup Android phone or tablet.

  2. Disable tracking apps and remove the device from your linked accounts. Disable Apple’s Find My (the app that offers device tracking) and Google Activation Lock on your smart device. You can also manage your Amazon smart devices online. Removing the old phone or tablet from the list of devices associated with your account will prevent new owners from accessing information about you, such as your age. B. Your name, your date of birth and your home address.

  3. Completely erase the mobile device after backing up your data to your computer or cloud. If you are using iOS, navigate to Settings > General > Transfer or reset iPhone/iPad. Follow the prompts to erase your content and settings once you’re sure you’ve backed up all data. Android users will find the Reset to default option in the settings menu on their devices.

I recommend starting the trade-in process online rather than in-store. Most major carriers offer online support for device trade-ins via phone or live chat. You may not be able to complete your trade-in from home, but you can make sure your information is in the company’s system and avoid a long wait for in-person assistance.

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What else is happening in the security world this week?

Biden acknowledges link between reproductive health rights and privacy. The recent executive order focuses in part on “protecting patients’ privacy and their access to accurate information.”

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Several state unemployment portals back online after cyber attack. Geographic Solutions restores unemployment benefit platforms in three states. The provider expects all government HR systems to be back online by the end of this week.

Apple is preparing “lockdown mode” to ward off targeted spyware attacks. The security feature will be available for Apple operating systems later this year.

NIST takes a step toward quantum-resistant encryption. The agency selects four algorithms for use in its “post-quantum cryptography standard”.

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