Data worries leave us hanging on rather than handing down

Sat 13 Oct 2018
Data worries are holding people back from handing down their old phones, as nearly two thirds (60%) of Australians admit that one of their biggest concerns is that someone else will access their personal data, according to new research from MobileMuster – Australia’s government accredited mobile phone recycling program.

Australia has more old phones stored away than there are people – equating to two in every household. A key reason for this is our lack of knowledge on how to remove data, with the majority of people (81%) admitting that they would be more inclined to give their old phone to someone else if they knew how to remove their data properly.

The research reveals that handing down old stuff to give it another use is embedded in our culture, with old phones sitting in the top five items that people want to pass to others. More than half (57%) of Aussies have passed on devices they no longer use, and this behaviour is being led by our desire to extend the life cycle of old items (64%) or knowing their phone will be more useful to someone else (64%).

Top five items Aussies hand down

  1. Clothes 82%
  2. Toys 62%
  3. Books 60%
  4. Baby items 55%
  5. Mobile phones 50%

Spyro Kalos, Manager, MobileMuster, said “We’re a hand-me-down nation, but unlike other items, we keep a lot of personal data on our mobile phones. Keeping our data secure is fundamental to everyone which is why we need to feel comfortable that we’ve removed all our data before passing it on.

Our findings also show that removing data can be too much hassle for many of us. This factor, combined with a worry about others accessing their personal info, is leading many people to hold on rather than handover their old phones. Based on these findings, we’ve launched a campaign to educate people on how to easily transfer and remove data so they can give their phones a new lease of life.”

When it comes to hand-me-downs, children are the most likely recipients of old phones with 34% of us saying they have passed phones to their kids.

Half of parents stated that the main reasons they would hand down old phones is to save money on buying a new device (54%) and to stay in contact with their child (50%), while making their kid happy (34%) and giving them independence (25%) are also important factors.

Despite parents’ desire to hand down phones to their children, their underlying data worries remain, with many concerned their child will rack up large bills (55%) or make purchases without their consent (42%), which could be a result of not removing all connected accounts and payment methods.

A further third (36%) of parents admitted that not knowing how to set “kid-friendly” parental controls is a concern and could be another reason holding them back from passing on their old devices.

Trevor Long, Technology Commentator, said: “At this time of year, many Australians are considering upgrading their phones and deciding what to do with their old one. Handing down old phones is a great way to give your phone a new lease of life while making your child or someone else happy. With so much technical jargon out there on how to safely remove your personal data, it can be confusing for people to know where to start. That’s why following MobileMuster’s three simple steps to removing your data takes the worry and hassle out of the handover.”

Most Australians (67%) say they would be more likely to hand down their old phone if they’ve recently upgraded, making the lead up to the end of the year a prime time for Australians to be considering whether they should hand their phones on to someone else.

Nearly half of Australians (46%) admit they would delete their data if they knew it was easy and quick (33%) to do. So this year, MobileMuster has committed to help Aussies overcome their data worries by launching its Hassle-Free Handover campaign to cut through the jargon and help Australians understand how simple it is to remove data and pass on their old phones.

“Extending the life of your old mobile supports the development of the “circular economy” by ensuring that mobiles are used until they reach the end of their useful life before being recycled the right way with MobileMuster.”

Hassle-Free Handover

If your mobile phone is still working watch our How to videos and follow our steps for managing data on your Android or iOS device. Remember that instructions can vary depending on your mobile phone. You can also follow our step by step guide.