Safe Disposal

Smartphones and tablets that you no longer need should be disposed of with great care. The data on your device can easily be accessed whether you sell, scrap, give away or donate it, and even ‘deleted’ data can be retrieved with relative ease by criminals. 

In addition, disposing of smartphones and tablets responsibly will ensure the minimum environmental impact and ensure that you are not breaking the law.

The risks

  • The personal information stored in files on your device – including contacts, photos, videos and email attachments – can be accessed and used for criminal activity.
  • Any passwords stored on your device could give access to secure websites holding your personal and financial information.
  • Any browsing history can be accessed.
  • emails stored on your device can be accessed.
  • Disposing of your device without having retrieved the information you may need in the future may cause inconvenience or disruption.

Safe disposal

  • Ensure all data is copied from your device by syncing it with your computer – or backing it up to the cloud – then restoring it to factory settings.
  • With Android phones, enable encryption on your device before applying the factory reset. Apple iPhones already feature hardware encryption by default – a feature that cannot be user-disabled. To be completely sure that your data is deleted, however, download and use a reputable data deletion tool.
  • If the device is at the end of its life and you do not intend to sell it or give it away, take it to a proper disposal facility (if available), which will ensure that is dismantled and the components recycled correctly and responsibly.

Jargon Buster

A Glossary of terms used in this article:


The process of converting data into cipher text (a type of code) to prevent it from being understood by an unauthorised party.


An operating system used by a number of smartphone and tablet manufacturers. The world’s most prolific operating system for smartphones.