How to Clear a Cell Phone Before Recycling

Today’s cell phones store all kinds of important information — far beyond just phone numbers.  There is banking information, passwords, personal photos, and email access info.  It is critical that you clear all of this information before donating, recycling, reselling, or disposing of your cell phone.

But it isn’t easy to clear all of the sensitive information from your phone.  You often have to delete photos in one place, web-browsing history in another, and phone numbers from another.

Further complicating matters — each phone is different.  But you can find out how to delete personal information from your specific phone at the ReCellular Cell Phone Data Eraser website, which has instructions on how to erase data from dozens of cell phone models, made by more than 20 manufacturers.

You can check your user manual or take your phone back to the carrier’s store for help in deleting private information.

The Federal Trade Commission has information on cell phone privacy and disposal options for your old cell phone.

Here are final useful tips when erasing data from your phone cell:

  • Transfer phone numbers and photos to the new phone before you start deleting anything on your old phone.
  • Check one last time to make sure everything really is cleared before disposing of your old phone.
  • Simply removing the SIM card won’t delete all of your private information!