Even though smartphones are continuously being improved with longer-lasting batteries and more features, they do eventually stop working. Like all electronic devices, smartphones have a limited lifespan, and their performance may degrade over time due to various reasons, such as wear and tear, software and hardware issues, and battery deterioration.
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Additionally, as technology advances, newer and better smartphones with more advanced features are constantly being released, which can make older models obsolete and less desirable to use. So, if you find yourself stuck with an Android that’s a dud, be sure you follow our steps to dispose of it properly.
Unfortunately, fixing or repairing a phone these days can cost almost as much as buying a new one. Before you take the plunge and buy a new one, you’ll want to be sure to securely get rid of the old one. There are also a few steps you should try and take, like backing up the device, especially if your Android is still able to turn on.
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Many carriers allow you to bring your old phone in after you purchase the new one it is replacing. In that case, you can directly transfer data from your old phone to your new device. If, however, you need to give up your old phone at the time of trade-in, sale, recycling, or donation, then you need to back up the phone before getting rid of all data. You can either back up your device manually (by physically plugging it into a device) or through a cloud service.
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Try plugging your phone into a computer. It’s possible just the screen of your Android is dead, and the device is still functioning. If you plug it in using a USB/micro-USB cord, your computer will likely show an external device plugged in. If you’re able to access the device, open it and save all the data to an external hard drive or your own computer’s files.
This way may not work if you have a passcode on your device, as your phone may require you to approve a transfer from the phone itself, but this is worth a shot to see if you’re able to back up via a computer.
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If you’ve set up Find My Mobile on Android and your device still turns on, you can back it up remotely via Samsung Cloud:
Log into Find My Mobile
Click Back up on the options for your device
Check off the apps and data you want to back up
tap Back up again
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Find out if your device is available for a trade-in here. Samsung allows trade-ins for many old devices that can count towards a new Galaxy smartphone.
Follow the steps by filling out the manufacturer, model and condition, and find out if it’s eligible.
One important note here is that your phone will only be eligible if it starts up on the home screen and functions. A reduced value may be applied if your screen or device has any breaks, cracks, or other defects that go beyond normal wear and tear.
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If you’re concerned about information on the non-functioning device, you may or may not need to be worried. Does your phone have a SIM card in it? If so, remove the SIM card before recycling any old phone. If you were using an eSIM, contact your phone carrier to have the eSIM disconnected from the device before following the next steps. You should be able to contact your carrier about installing the eSIM on your next device.
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The most important thing to note, even if your Android is completely useless and won’t turn back on, is you should not throw it in the trash. Smartphones contain a lithium battery that needs to be recycled or disposed of, but not with your household waste.
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You can bring any smartphone into most electronics stores and have it recycled for free, like Best Buy, for example. You can also recycle devices online through sites like Apple (yes, they accept devices other than iPhones), Google, or even Amazon, which has an amazing free recycling program you can use. Amazon does also offer trade-ins for functioning devices that can be redeemed as Amazon gift cards. There are other sites like Decluttr that let you sell old devices.
You can also check your local trash electronic recycling program to see where you can recycle devices locally. The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of donation and recycling programs listed.
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Properly disposing of your old Android phone is crucial for both environmental and personal data security reasons. Whether your phone is functioning or not, there are several steps you can take to back up your data and recycle the device safely. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your old phone is disposed of in an eco-friendly manner while protecting your personal information.
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