How to Get Rid of Your Old Tablet

When you’re ready to upgrade your old tablet, you have a lot to think about. Beyond what should I buy next, you also must consider should you sell or donate it? How do you make sure all of your personal information is safely wiped? We answer all of those questions and more, so you can rest easy as you shop for a new device.

Note: Be sure to back up any important information, such as old documents, receipts or passwords

Clean It

If you have an iPad, here’s how to wipe it safely so you can still access your iTunes backup file from any of your other Apple devices:

  1. Launch your Settings menu, then tap General.
  2. Tap Reset, then choose “Erase all Content and Settings.”
  3. Enter your password if prompted.
  4. Tap Erase, which will delete all of your media and data as well as reset all settings.

If you have an Android tablet, here’s how to restore it to factory settings. This will wipe your personal data from the device, so make sure you’re ready to part with everything — the process cannot be reversed.

  1. Tap the Menu button on your Android tablet.
  2. Select Settings and then Privacy.
  3. Tap the Factory Data Reset button and choose whether you want to wipe all data on your device as well as all data on your microSD Card, or just one or the other. Tap Reset Phone.
  4. Confirm that you want to wipe your device by tapping the Erase Everything button.

If you follow these steps for your Android or Apple tablet, the next owner won’t be able to recover any of your personal data.

MORE: Best Tablets 2014

Sell It

Lots of online programs will trade you cash for your tablet — that is, if it’s in good condition. Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack offer trade-in programs for store gift cards. Sites such as BuyBackWorld, Gazelle and NextWorth generally offer the most bang for your buck, though, and you’ll get cold, hard cash for your efforts to spend wherever you please.

Apple’s Recycling Program gave Apple Gift Cards of up to $230 for a 16GB Wi-Fi, 4th-gen iPad as of press time, while the 2nd- and 3rd-gen models were worth $145 and $165, respectively. Unfortunately, Android tablets don’t retain their value the same way Apple products do. A  32GB Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 went for only $91.76 on NextWorth and $84 on Gazelle, while the 16GB Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch was worth $106.70 on Amazon and $50 on BuyMyTronics.

It’s also worth noting that many online retailers don’t accept older-model Android tablets, so it will be harder to sell those back. However, Android does offer some decent parental controls that make it easy to hand off a tablet to the kids. 

If you’re feeling generous and simply want to donate your tablet, many programs can ensure it will go to someone who will appreciate it. For example, thanks to an Apple program, you can donate your old iPad to an Apple Store, which will then donate the machine to Teach for America. Through other online donations services, such as Computers with Causes, Recycling for Charities and The Digital Office, you can donate your old tablet to schools, organizations or someone in need. 

Anna Attkisson
Managing Editor
A lover of lists and deadlines, Anna Attkisson heads up features and special projects for, in addition to covering social networking and accessories. She joined the LAPTOP staff in 2007, after working at Time Inc. Content Solutions where she created custom publications for companies from American Express to National Parks Foundation.