Whether it's as a gift or just to treat yourself, getting a new smartphone is awesome.
Once you've adjusted settings, downloaded apps and imported your contacts, you might be left with one last question: What do I do with my old smartphone?
It's not as simple as shutting it down and stuffing it in a junk drawer. There are several ways you can use that old phone to your advantage, including trading it in or giving it to a family member or close friend.
Before we dig in to your options, there are two big steps you must take before passing it on: Back up the device's data, then erase and restore the device to what it was when it first came out of the box.
The backup will save you the trouble of inputting your contacts into your new smartphone. Erasing and restoring your old phone will prevent anyone from getting access to any data such as contacts or social media accounts. Let's break down the process by operating system:
You can back up your iPhone either wirelessly through iCloud or by plugging your phone into a computer and using iTunes. Then, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. This will completely wipe the smartphone.
Because there are so many Android devices, the process will vary. The best way to back up data is through your Google account. It should be available in Settings under "Back up and Restore Data," or something similar. The same goes for erasing the content and settings on your phone, although for Android, you will want to take the extra step of encrypting your phone before erasing data.
OK, now that the phone is back in default form, let's review your choices:
GIVE IT TO A RELATIVE OR A FRIEND
Maybe your husband or wife wants a new phone but aren't hung up on having the latest model; or you have a small child and want them to have their own device. For adults, it's simple: Give them the phone and they can replace their old phone. Giving your old phone to kids is good, too, since you don't need to have the phone connected (making it a Wi-Fi only device) and you can tailor the experience using parental controls and other settings to best manage the experience, especially if it's for a younger child.
TRADE IT IN
There are plenty of places you can accomplish this, whether it's through your wireless carrier, the phone maker itself or through third-party sites like Gazelle or Amazon. But do your homework. The price you get will vary depending on several factors — most important, the condition of your smartphone. Also, some outlets are more generous than others on the value of your trade-in.
If you're hoping to make a little extra off that old smartphone, you could try to sell it through eBay or Craigslist. The benefit here is you might be able to snag a little more cash for your phone, depending on condition.
Due to a variety of apps, smartphones can tackle a lot of clever roles, such as security camera, remote, digital photo frame, digital camera or something as simple as a dedicated entertainment device (load all those songs and movies on the old phone and save space on the new one).
If you managed to get by with an old smartphone sporting a busted touchscreen or too many scratches and dents, you could recycle it. Some device makers including Apple and carriers such as Verizon offer programs where you can recycle your smartphone. The Consumer Technology Association offers a handy list of retailers supporting recycle programs near you.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
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