Got a brand new Android cellphone? Here's how to correctly eliminate your old one

Whether you got a smartphone under the tree or just plan to gift yourself a handset soon, we hope the joy of the holidays extends to your relationship with your new phone. 

But don’t forget about the old one! Sure, you might not need it in your pocket, but if you’re not planning to repurpose the device or keep it as a backup, then you shouldn’t just toss it in a drawer or shove it in a closet somewhere. That dated device might still have cash value, or you could donate it to a good cause (possibly for a tax writeoff). At the very least, if you don’t plan on using the phone again, then you should recycle it and ensure that the harmful materials within don’t end up in the dump. 

Whatever your plan with your old device, be sure you do it right—which extends to clearing all of your personal data off of the storage. Here’s our guide to wiping your phone and finding a new home for it, whether it’s with a buyer, a charity, or a disposal service. And if you’re the one gifting a phone this season, be sure to pass along this advice as well.

First, wipe it clean

If you used that old phone for the last couple of years, then it’s surely loaded with all sorts of personal information: accounts, contacts, photos, passwords, and other little bits of data you may not even realize. Unless you’re passing your phone off to a friend or family member, you probably won’t know who’s going to have his or her hands on it next. In fact, no matter who is taking your phone next, you shouldn’t risk it.