Tips and Tools

Helpful tips to protect your privacy online.


Get rid of your old smartphones

Tip Author: 

Smartphones and tablets don't come with an expiration date - but perhaps they should. Most people's smartphones get updates to the operating system only when the carrier gets around to it. Eventually the carrier and the original manufacturer consider them out-of-date and stop the updates.

But wifi hotspots, desktop computers and even commercial networks don't block these old devices from connecting. An old phone or tablet with security issues can still have lots of your files, passwords, pictures and data on it, and it's far easier to break into than a newer device.

What to do:

  • Often (but not always) your carrier will let you trade in your old device - ask if they dispose of data securely
  • Best Buy, Staples and RadioShack stores will recycle cellphones too - ask how they dispose of data
  • Resale marketplaces like Gazelle promise to remove your personal data before selling on
  • Here's a how-to about "wiping" your old phone's data.
  • Washington's department of Ecology has an e-cycle program that disassembles devices into parts for recycling


Tip Theme: 
Tip Confidence: 

© Copyright 2017 Washington State Office of Privacy & Data Protection