Used Smartphones and the Digital Footprint Problem

Used smartphones have become more in-demand in the secondary market, given the lengthy list of features of these devices, but that is frequently at the cost of personal privacy or protection of one’s delicate information. It appears that many people ditching the previous generation smart device, in order to acquire the latest and greatest iPhone or Android wonder, forget to dump their personal information out of the memory of the old cell phone. Or else the technology of the given phone is so structured that the information they thought was deleted or “cleaned,” in fact is not.

The digital footprint issue can be summarized by saying, with the memory of both new and used smartphones increasing (carrying as much information and storage space as some old laptops of the decade ago), it’s becoming easier to inadvertently leave behind data on the device upon passing it on to a new owner. Passwords, past contacts, phone numbers, text information, bank account or credit card numbers and other personal data are increasingly being found on the cell phone upon resale. Still more embarrassing material, in the form of sensitive photos, video, or even porn, may be found still somewhere on the mobile if the next owner looks hard enough.

The danger of this digital graveyard, of course, is that enough ofsuch information can be assembled and used for identity theft or fraud purposes. Accordingly, many people in the market for used smartphones are in fact acquiring them to perform ID theft. To avoid this problem, at the very least, the seller of the mobile should remove the SD card, SIM card or other detachable memory before putting it up for sale. The next step should be to follow the phone manual’s procedure for restoring factory settings to the device, which is supposed to eliminate existing memory and file stored on by the user. [Read Also: The Importance of a Secure Mobile Business]

While these steps to work well to purge data from iPhones and Blackberry mobiles, when it comes to Android-based devices, even a removed SIM card and factory reset does not eliminated all personal data on some used smartphones. Like many PC-based operating systems, Android may save several types of files redundantly across many memory areas of the phone, making them difficult to fully delete. Users are advised to follow all steps recommended to completely eliminate private data from their system, including learning as much about the memory capabilities of their particular phone, before facing the embarrassing prospect of seeing their identity stolen, or compromised by embarrassing pictures.

Swapping Used Smartphones for New Ones

One way to get a really good deal smart device is to sell or swap your current used smartphones for cash, towards raising the amounts needed for a new purchase of the latest generation mobile. Clearly, many valuable models like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy units, with their library of features and varied functionality, lend themselves to resale, either in direct swap covering most of the cost of the new model, or for cash with one vendor followed by using the money to help purchase the next phone.

The question remains, will you part with your perfectly sound iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy, HTC or other used smartphones to acquire the next “new hotness?” If the answer is yes, there are several approaches completed swap for sale of the old device to get to the new stuff. A number of websites boldly offer cash for smartphones, and provide comparable and competitive quotes to show you the best deals currently available. Depending on the conditions and the feature set on the phone, prices still can reach as high as $300 or more.

Ironically, advocates for “the green approach” to used smartphones technology may be a helpful alternative for this purpose, if you happen to have a handheld that is more on the cracked or broken end of the market. Because of the environmentalist’s commitment to recycling rather than junking models, your iPhone and other device may still have value, even in damaged condition. Other candidates willing to take an old phone off your hands includes fix-it shop folks who know how to refurbish models. Many of the latter people can be found or contacted at the same phone stores from which you acquired a new mobile in the first place. [Read Also: How To Protect Your Android Smartphone From Theft?]

On occasion, even the brand may offer consumers to trade in their old models for a limited time in order to be given a credit towards purchasing the newest generation unit. At the time Samsung and Apple is rolling out their newest releases, their main consideration is getting as many sales as possible. Consumers who want to smoothly roll into ownership of leading edge, brand-new devices are advised to take advantage of these situations where used smartphones can be recycled back to the company, or through the secondary vendors mentioned in order to get the best new model they can.

about the author:

Boris Zegarac is the Founder and Chief Editor of DeviceMondo. He is also web designer/developer and professional blogger. On his free time he likes to play PC games and own noobs. If you would like to reach him prove you are smart enough and assemble this email (nycboris at yahoo dot com).