When you recycle your old electronics, you ensure that hazardous materials stay out of landfills while giving reusable, valuable materials a new life. In fact, in many places, electronics recycling isn’t just a smart choice; it’s required by law. Before you make arrangements to recycle, trade in, or sell your old phones, tablets, and smart home devices, there are steps you need to take to ensure that your data isn’t compromised.
Smartphones and tablets were supplements to our computers when they first hit the market, but they quickly shifted from a convenient novelty to an integral part of our lives. Just like our computers, they contain a treasure trove of personal information that data thieves would love to get their hands on. And, since these devices tend to accompany us everywhere we go, they also contain information that can be pieced together to create a map of our daily lives, with what can be alarming, down to the minute accuracy.
Recycle Electronics Safely With These Tips
Just as when you dispose of an old computer, you need to take a series of steps to wipe your personally identifying information and other data from these devices before getting rid of them. For steps on how to complete this process on your computer, see our previous post here.
Smartphones and Tablets
Deleting the files, apps, and messages from your phones and tablets isn’t enough to remove the files from your device. Follow these steps for a more secure approach, and always check with your device’s manufacturer for any additional or alternate recommendations.
- Backup your device
Just as you would when securing the data on your computer, securing your mobile devices begins with backing up your data so you can still access it once the process of deleting your data is complete. You’ll also need to unpair any accessories you may have linked to it, such as smartwatches.
- Perform a factory reset
A factory reset restores your device to its factory settings. This process will vary by manufacturer -- it may be detailed in the user manual you received at the time of purchase. It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s website, however, in case the process has changed, or additional steps are recommended.
For Apple devices, you can find instructions to restore factory settings here.
For Android devices, instructions can be found here.
- Remove your SIM Card
Even after resetting your device to its factory settings, security experts recommend removing the SIM card (if your device has one) before disposing of your phone, regardless of your disposal method.
- Remotely log out of your online accounts
Finally, after completing the steps above, log in to the online accounts you’ve accessed from your phone (either on your new device or computer) and remotely log out the active sessions on your old phone or tablet.
Disposing of Smart Home Devices
Smart Home and entertainment devices aren’t yet as integral to our lives as our phones and computers, but they are certainly catching on fast. It’s hard to deny the appeal of a device that will do your bidding, answer your questions, and even send you gifts just because you ask. It’s almost like having a personal assistant and Santa Claus (one who sticks you with the bill) all wrapped up in one device.
Alexa and her contemporaries are like Santa Claus in another way, too: they may not SEE you when you’re sleeping, but as more and more smart home devices are linked up and controlled through a central hub, they most certainly KNOW when you’re sleeping and when you’re awake.
Just as your location data on your phone can be extrapolated to create a schedule and map of your days and activities outside of the home, your smart devices contain the data to recreate your schedule and a room-to-room map inside your house. And, while your smart television may not have location-specific data or your social security number (although it very well might have that, and more), it may contain enough data to accurately predict your sleep and wake patterns as well as the times you’re home and away from your house.
Any device that stores and tracks data to improve your experience also holds information that can be used to create some or all of an accurate timeline of your day, including incredibly personal information such as what time you’ll be in the shower or when you go to bed. If you use your smartphone, watch, or another device to track your health or sleep and sync it with your home devices, they may contain enough information to accurately predict when you’ll enter the deepest stages of sleep.
While it may sound like the safest approach to modern living is a to move to an off-grid cabin in the woods, it is possible to enjoy modern conveniences while staying safe. When it comes to smart home devices, exercise caution and please treat them with the same level of seriousness that you give to your computers, phones, and other devices before disposing of them.
Just as with phones and tablets, the process for removing your personal data from smart home devices will vary by manufacturer and device.
Safe, Secure, and Professional Electronics Recycling
Did you know that Junk King offers electronics recycling? Our professional and reliable ewaste removal service offers you an eco-friendly, easy way to dispose of your old electronic devices.
Our e-waste removal team is fully insured and will call 15 minutes before they arrive at your home or office, and will provide you with with a free, transparent estimate once we get there.
We’ll haul your old electronics along with any other junk you need removed and dispose of it safely, using the best disposal method for each item to reduce the environmental impact--up to 60% of the items we pick up go on to be recycled, reused, or donated.
Ready to get rid of that junk? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.You can make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).