Australia has more old phones stored away than there are people – equating to two in every household.

But when it comes down to handing the phones down to kids or donating them, many resist and 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 Australia’s only mobile phone recycling program, Mobile Muster, data worries are leaving millions of parents hanging on rather than handing down old mobile phones but the majority (81%) would be more inclined to pass on their device if they knew how to remove their data.

Parents Want To Hand Over Their Old Phones But Are Scared To

The research showed that Aussie parents have a desire to hand down their old phones to children to save money (54%) and stay in contact with their children (50%) but many are held back from passing on phones because they don’t know how to remove their data so worry that their children may access info they shouldn’t.

Big Bills

Despite parents’ desire to hand down phones to their children, the research shows 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.

Kid Friendly Parental Controls

The research by Mobile Muster also found a 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.

Spyro Kalos, Manager, Mobile Muster, 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.

Hassle-Free Handover

Based on these findings, Mobile Muster has launched its Hassle-Free Handover campaign to take the worry out of passing on old phones by showing parents how quick and simple clearing data can be. You can learn more about how to remove your data on their website: www.mobilemuster.com.au

If you’re looking to have a hassle-free handover, follow these three simple steps to ensure that you have removed your personal data:

  1. Backup – backup your data by moving your photos, videos and documents to your Cloud, Google account or by connecting your phone to a computer.
  2. Disconnect - disconnect all the accounts which are linked to your phone such as your iTunes or Google Play account.
  3. Reset – wipe the data from your device by performing a ‘factory reset’. This will return your phone to its original state by erasing all the data, including files and downloaded apps.

Mobile Muster has also put together tips for parents who want to give their child a kid-friendly device and give parents peace of mind, just follow these steps:

  • Keep your passwords safe: To reduce the possibility of receiving any surprise bills from your child making purchases without your consent, avoid sharing any account passwords or PINs that would enable your child to make any purchases, including in-app purchases, from their device.
  • Restrict access to your credit card: Ensure that your credit card is not linked to an account your child can access from their phone. This will stop them from being able to download any paid-for apps without your knowledge or consent. Consider creating an unlinked account just for your child and protect your linked account with a password or PIN.
  • Use vouchers for purchasing: Vouchers are a useful way to give your child the opportunity to purchase and download the app they desire without giving them full access to your credit card.
  • Consider setting spend limits: If you decide to allow access to in-app purchases, your child may not be aware that they are in fact spending real money. You can set up a spend limit by either contacting your mobile service provider or when you set up the App Store account.
  • Consider parental controls: Familiarise yourself with the parental controls and privacy settings available for your device and mobile apps. Parental controls can allow you to manage your child’s device, set time limits and the content they can access.

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  • I only upgrade my phone when my current one breaks so I haven’t had to worry about this yet. I thought you could do a factory reset and wipe the thing clean?


  • Thank you for the informative and helpful article.


  • This is really useful information. Thanks.


  • Factory reset – pretty easy. Or better till, get a dumb phone that doesn’t connect to the internet at all. Do kids really need access to the internet on their phones?!


  • You can go to the store which is your provider and they can wipe all your personal information.


  • My daughter uses my old phone to play with, There is no sim and I thought I had reset the factory settings however there are heaps of photos on it!


  • Tried giving mine to my son but it’s too old for him. So he didn’t get a phone until he could pay for it himself.


  • I always thought that if you re set it to the original factory settings, that’s wiping all the data on the phone.


  • We just restore to the factory settings and then that’sit.


  • Save all your photos to your computer and then just return to factory settings.


  • We have no problem handing down old phones and wiping them clean. My husband is an expert in this (not myself, lol).


  • Timely advice for me as I am about to hand over my phone. I was not aware that you had to disconnect your accounts – thought a factory reset achieved that!


  • That’s great I’m not looking to hand mine down but would love to recycle my old ones but don’t want to have my information compromised.


  • That’s no issue. Remove what you want to save, transfer to another device. Then factory reset your phone, it will be back to how you bought it. Not that many kids would be interested in the old dinosaur phones mum and dad would hand down


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