With the pace that new technology is developed, everyone needs to upgrade their electronic gadgets from time to time. As the digital revolution has taken hold, increasing numbers of us have ended up with old phones, MP3 players, cameras and laptops gathering dust in the backs of our cupboards.
Because of the way electronics are manufactured, simply throwing them out is dangerous to the environment. It’s also incredibly wasteful, especially when you could be turning your old gadgets into cash. However, in today’s security conscious climate, you do need to take precautions to ensure that your data stays safe once your old electronics leave your home.
Backing up your data
Whether you wish to sell an oldiPad, an Android device or your old laptop, you need to back up all of your data and delete it from your machine before you part with it. For Apple devices such as theiPad, iPod and iPhones, this can be done very simply using Apples iTunes service. Android enabled devices are usually synced with Google and often come with cloud storage to allow you to back up your contacts, Play apps and calendar.
Backing up the data from your laptop and PC requires a different approach to ensure that your personal files and data remain safe. Ideally you should save all of your personal files to a cloud service or an external hard drive. That way everything can be transferred over to your new machine once you have traded in your old gadget for cash.
Deleting your data
After you have backed up everything you wish to keep you need to remove everything from your old machine to ensure that your personal details stay safe. On the iPad, iPhone or iPod you can do this by disabling the iCloud service as well as iMessage if you have it enabled. Once you have done this you need to restore your device to its factory settings. This can be done by going to Settings then to General > Reset > Erase All Contents and Settings. Users of Android devices can reset to factory settings directly from the device.
Laptops and computers are a little more complicated as files can be restored after they have been put in the trash with the use of recovery software. Instead you should take the precaution of wiping your hard drive completely. This will also remove the operating system so you will have to restore that using the disks that came with your computer.
An alternative approach is to simply replace your old hard drive with a new one before you sell. The other advantage of this is that many programs such as Adobe Photoshop and iTunes can only be authorised for use on a limited number of devices so you definitely want to remove these from your hard drive as well so you can use them on your new machine.
There is a wealth of videos and tutorials on YouTube and Google that will show you exactly how to erase your data and restore your device to its factory settings and the process is surprisingly simple. It is an essential precaution, however, if you want to sell your old electronic gadgets to make some extra cash.