More than half of Americans hoard old mobile phones

Pile of old mobile phones

Detailed on Lookout’s official blog, the mobile security company detailed a new study about the volume of old mobile phones that are still in the possession of consumers based within the United States. Conducted through the Google Consumer Survey program, the company discovered that sixty-two percent of U.S. consumers have a stash of unused mobile phones that were retired for newer models. According to the results, forty-one percent of the respondents have between one to two unused phones, nine percent have three unused mobile phones and eleven percent have four or more unused mobile phones stored at home.

old mobile phonesWhen asked why they were still holding on to those older mobile phones, twenty-seven percent of the audience said they simply had no idea what to do with the old phones.

Seventeen percent said they hadn’t erased personal data from their old phones and six percent wanted to hang on to the older phones in order to access applications as well as information still stored on the devices. Thirteen percent of the respondents were concerned about someone else seeing personal information on the old devices, so they ended up keeping the phones in storage for safekeeping. 

Of course, someone that wants to ditch their older phone should plug the device back in to check for data such as old contacts or photos still stored on the memory card. If they plan to sell the phone on eBay or Craigslist, it’s a good idea to revert the phone back to factory settings and remove the SIM card to avoid any future issues.

Other popular places to sell old mobile phones online include Amazon, Gazelle, Glyde and Nextworth. These sites typically require the owner to assign a quality rating to the current condition of a phone as well as include items such as original packaging, charging cables, instructions and headphones. If a mobile phone has been damaged significantly and no longer functions correctly, those older mobile phones can be dropped off at organizations that offer mobile device recycling. 

hopeline verizonOver half of the respondents stated they wouldn’t mind giving up their old phones if it went to good cause. When a Verizon customer upgrades to a new phone, the wireless provider sends out a white plastic bag with prepaid postage for returning old mobile phones. These phones are reconditioned by the Verizon Hopeline project and may be redistributed out to shelters for battered women.

According to the company site, Verizon has collected nearly nine million old mobile phones since the project started. While some of the phones are sent out to victims and survivors of domestic violence, the majority are resold in order to generate funds to keep those phones in operation.

Another good cause for donating older mobile phones is the Cell Phones for Soldiers project. This organization has recycled over ten million mobile phones since 2004 and sends out approximately 12,000 minutes of prepaid calling cards per week to help troops place free calls back home. The group recently expanded the project to help returning veterans communicate with their loved ones. Called Helping Heroes Home, the program also provides assistance to veterans in regards to “physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.”


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