How to safely donate your old laptop, smartphone and other tech gadgets?

How to safely donate your old laptopDonating your old devices is a way to help a person or organization in need, and it can make you feel good too. There are several organizations that accept donations of previous devices, and we’ve highlighted a few of them for you to consider. But before you donate your old device, it’s important to make sure you do it safely. This means protecting your personal information by saving your data and removing it from the device. Here’s what you should do to prepare your device for donation.

What should I do before donating my device?

Before donating your device, it’s important to take a few steps to ensure that personal information is removed from the device. Identity thieves could potentially use the sensitive data stored on your device for fraudulent activities. 

How to protect your personal information:

  1. Backup your data: Before erasing anything, make sure to back up your documents, photos, and other important information. You can do this by creating a copy of the data in a physical location, such as an external hard drive or thumb drive, or by storing the data in the “cloud” in a secure location. 
  2. Erase your data: Once you’ve backed up the data you want to save, delete everything on your old device, including your download folder, photos, and search history. Be sure to clear your browsing history, cookies and site data, and cached files and images. Delete all of your apps, including app cache and data. 
  3. Wipe your hard drive: Simply deleting files from your device doesn’t necessarily mean they have been completely removed. You should wipe your hard drive to ensure that all data has been erased.
  4. Do a factory reset: Follow the device manufacturer’s instructions and perform a factory reset, which should eliminate anything left on your device. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your personal information remains safe and secure when donating your device.


PCs for People offers free certified e-recycling services to help you safely dispose of used technology. We use DOD, HIPAA, and NIST 800-88 compliant software to provide complimentary data sanitization for every device. For physical assets with remaining data, we responsibly dispose of them through an eStewards or R2 certified organization. By using our services, you can prioritize your data security and maintain your organization’s reputation as a trustworthy brand.