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How to Safely Dispose of Unused Gadgets

The rush of the holidays is over, all the decorations have been put away, the kids are back in school and life is settling back into it’s usual routine as the new year gets under way. Gadgets were surely on the wish list of many kids, big and small.  Some are entirely new additions to the home while others are upgrades of existing devices such as cell phones or tablets.

But what happens with all the replaced/upgraded gadgets?  Some get tossed into the junk drawer, some get sold on eBay or Craigslist or perhaps traded in.  What many people don’t consider is the data that’s on those gadgets.  These old cell phones, tablets and laptops are an identity thief’s goldmine.  Unless special care is taken to erase the data on the devices, it can easily be recovered and used nefariously.  

The procedure varies by device but the end goal is the same: to make it as difficult as possible to recover any of the data.  On iOS devices, open Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.  Once that is completed, plug the phone or tablet into a computer and sync enough music to it to completely fill the device and repeat the reset procedure.  Recovering data is possible even from a device that has been reset.  This procedure writes commercially available music over all of the space where the personal data was stored previously, making it significantly harder if near impossible to recover your data.  Call us paranoid but we recommend repeating this a minimum of two times.

On Android devices, we recommend the same procedure and if the device has a removable memory card we would either destroy it or keep it for use in the new phone.

For computers, the process is much different.  We recommend removing the hard drive entirely and physically destroying it either by drilling holes in it with a drill or smashing it to bits with a hammer, ensuring that the discs within are completely destroyed.  The computer then can be safely recycled.

These procedures apply at home and at work.  Taking a few extra minutes to do this can save a tremendous amount of time and money if your device gets into the wrong hands.  While we don’t perform house calls, we can help your business ensure that company property stays where it belongs.  Give us a call at 803.955.7737 or send us a message on Twitter @spestech to see how we can help.

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