When you recycle your phone, what should you do with the data stored on it?
Smartphones are incredibly complex devices, just like PC’s really but in very small boxes. Just like PC’s they can also have a tendency to stop working, refuse to turn on, or to scramble information. It is therefore important to protect your data and then back it up especially before you recycle your phone so it can be restored to your new device.
This can be particularly so if you add lots of apps or 3rd party software, because any one of these may not work correctly with another piece of software on the device. Whilst in most cases it is quite easy to reset the phone back to the original factory settings you will probably lose all the data, contacts, and software stored on it. In some cases your phone may just stop working or come up with a message such as “Start up failed, return your phone to the manufacturer”.
Whilst total hardware failure is difficult to protect against (although it is always a good idea to treat your phone with respect and avoid dropping it or getting the phone wet), there are some simple steps you should take to protect your phone investment:
- It is important to back up your data, as often as possible. Some phones will connect wirelessly using Bluetooth to a similarly enabled Laptop. Alternatively, most Smartphones will come with a cable to connect them to a computer. Use one of these methods to back up your phone regularly.
- If you take a lot of photos with the built-in camera, back them up to a computer.
- Some providers have a free service for backing up contacts. Orange is a particular network that does this
- Consider hardware insurance if your Smartphone is particularly expensive, but check your house hold cover first as your device may be protected through that.
- When you upgrade your mobile and recycle your phone, remember to back up all important data and then wipe the memory before you send your old phone away. Use the ‘Restore to Factory Settings’ function to do this and then check the data has gone. (Whilst electronic equipment is meant to be wiped when you recycle your phone, as part of the recycling process you probably do not want personal information falling into someone else’s hands)