Android phones have been commonplace for well over a decade. Nearly everyone who has used one has used more than one. You probably have some old phones laying around, and it’s well past time to get rid of them.
There are quite a few practical uses for an old Android phone. You can turn it into a security camera, a dashcam for your car, or even a photo frame if it’s big enough. However, if you’re not going to put an old phone to use, you really shouldn’t keep it around. Allow us to explain.
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Unsafe to Use
If your old Android phone isn’t completely dead, you may still be using it. While this is a good financial and environmental decision—and people should use phones longer—it can also be unsafe for security reasons.
Android devices are notorious for not receiving software updates in a timely manner—or never receiving them. Monthly security updates are crucial for keeping phones up to date against the latest vulnerabilities and attacks. Check out our explainer on Android antivirus apps for more information about how Android protects you.
Even Android phones that are regularly updated—mostly Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy devices—will eventually stop receiving updates altogether. They will no longer be protected against new threats. That’s when you should stop using the device.
Many Samsung Galaxy devices receive five years of software updates. Google Pixel phones receive five to three years of software updates, depending on the model.
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Unsafe to Store
Even if you’re not actively using the old Android device, it can still be unsafe to keep around. The biggest thing to watch out for is batteries degrading over time.
The safest way to store an old battery is to keep it charged around 40% and remove the battery completely if you can. Every once in a while, charge it back up to around 40%.
Sound like something you’re going to do? I didn’t think so. Most people throw an old phone into a box or drawer and forget about it. Batteries can swell and become fire hazards. Thankfully, modern batteries are not as susceptible to this as they used to be, but it can happen.
If you’re not using the phone, there’s really no reason to keep it around. You could be setting yourself up for an accident. An exploded battery is not something you want to deal with.
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How to Safely Dispose of an Old Phone
So, how do you get rid of an old Android phone? Thankfully, you have quite a few options. First and foremost, you could get some cash for it by listing it on a site like Swappa. Someone may have a use for it that you don’t.
If selling is not an option, you can either donate it or recycle it. Donating will put the device in the hands of someone who could really use it. A recycling center or service will be able to safely dispose of it and re-use some of the materials. The one thing you don’t want to do is throw an old phone away with your regular trash.
Whether your old Android phone is unsafe due to outdated software or outdated hardware, it’s time you let someone else deal with it.
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