Our smart phones have become far more than just a convenience.
"Your phone could contain your whole life depending on how much you have connected it," said San Diego IT expert Mark Burgess.
That's why when it comes to trading or donating your used phone you need to consider what information is inside.
"You could have your music, you could have your documents, you could have your contacts, your stored emails," said Burgess.
That's why experts say you need to follow a series of steps before disposing of your old phone.
First, delete your personal information from the device by doing what is called a "hard reset." Most phones have a Factory Reset, which means it puts your phone back to same state that the phone was in when it left the factory. Your owner's manual or manufacturer's website should have the instructions on how to do it.
Next, remove or erase the SIM card, and if your phone has one, the SD card. There may be personal information stored there even after the phone is reset.
Mark Burgess says the easiest way is to simply remove the SIM or SD card and use it on another phone or destroy it.
If you have apps installed, remove them and delete the data. Once the phone is clear of your data, you can donate or recycle the device.
There are groups that will recycle your old phone or you can trade it in and get credit for a new phone.