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Technology

6 Things You Must Know About Your Used Tech

You can sell, trade in or donate your gently used castoffs.

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1. Act fast. You’ll do best if you sell your older model before a new version is launched. “The moment the announcement goes out, everyone wants to upgrade,” says Scott Steinberg, head of consulting firm Tech­Savvy Global. In general, Apple products hold their value best; on the flip side, don’t expect much demand for a desktop PC.

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2. Trade in your tablet. Online trade-in services—such as Gazelle, NextWorth, Ama­zon Trade-In, uSell and BuyBackWorld—and pro­grams offered by retailers such as Best Buy, GameStop and Target offer convenient ways to get money for your gadgets. But some accept a broader range of devices than others, and price esti­mates vary widely. For example, searching for a Verizon 32-gigabyte iPhone 5s in good condition on 10 trade-in sites pulled up offers between $120 and $199. Note: A big payout isn’t ev­erything. Amazon Trade-In offered the most, but you’re restricted to an Amazon gift card—not much use if you rarely shop online. Think creatively: Trade-in sites probably won’t be inter­ested in your ancient Rio MP3 player, says technol­ogy writer Louis Ramirez. But a tech enthusiast on eBay might pounce.

3. Know the drill. To get an instant quote, log on to the Web site and search for your device, then tick off the boxes that best describe its condition. After shipping your device free (or bring­ing it into the affiliated retailer), you’ll receive a final offer. Depending on the program, you may be paid in cash, through PayPal, or by check, gift card, store credit or prepaid debit card. Carriers may also buy back your old device, but pay­ment is less flex­ible: You’ll typically receive credit you can use only with that carrier.

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4. Sell your cell yourself? Selling electronic devices privately or through an online marketplace, such as Amazon or eBay, means you can price them however you want, but it’s up to you to manage your listing. Begin­ners may find the Glyde.com site easy to navigate.

5. You might give back. Some trade-in programs, such as Gazelle or AT&T, will let you donate your proceeds to charity. For devices broken beyond repair, recycle them through the manufacturer if it offers a mail-in or drop-off program (such as Dell’s Reconnect) or a retailer such as Best Buy or Staples. For more information, go to www.epa.gov or www.electronicstakeback.com.

6. Secure your data. Whether you sell, dispose or donate, start by backing up all your data. For phones, remove SIM and memory cards, turn off any device tracking, sign out of cloud services, e-mail and apps, and re­move passwords. Use an app, such as Lookout, to wipe your data, and per­form a factory reset. For full instructions, look in your owner’s manual or the Web site of your mobile provider or device manufac­turer. Be aware, though, that it is very difficult to remove your data com­pletely, says John Sileo, CEO of the Sileo Group. Deactivate service from your carrier, too. “De­authorize” computers that use digital rights manage­ment software (such as iTunes) and wipe the hard drive clean using software that overwrites data, such as the free Active@ KillDisk.

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