If you're recycling your computer, smartphone or tablet, there's one significant problem you may have ignored: If you don't wipe them clear of data, you could become a victim of identity theft. Merely deleting files using normal system tools won't really do the trick --- you need to do a much deeper cleaning. Here's how to do it.
(Note: This article is an update of a previous article that ran in December, 2007; while some of the older information still stands, a lot of other things have changed since then.)
Cleaning up cell phones, smartphones and tablets
Smartphones and tablets essentially pack your entire life into a small package, including your contacts, emails, records of incoming and outgoing phone numbers, social media information...and more. So you want to make sure that someone else can't get access to all that information.
You could try deleting individual apps and contacts, but the odds of doing that effectively are close to zero. Instead, you want to do a complete reset of your phone to wipe out its data and restore it to its factory settings.
How you do this varies from operating system to operating system, and sometimes even device to device. These are general instructions that should work with most devices; however, it's best to check with your manual or manufacturer just to make sure.