January 03, 2012, 3:52 PM — The holidays are over, and the memories of folks reuniting with friends and family, eating good food, and most likely opening a present or two, will linger. It's a safe bet many of those gifts were designed in Cupertino.
That's in addition to all the new e-readers, digital cameras, and other electronic devices unwrapped this season, and that means many people probably received upgrades to gear they already had. If you're one of them, you've not only got a shiny new gadget to play with, you've got to decide what to do with your old device. You could always sell it on eBay or Craigslist, but there are other options that can do even more good in your community.
Pass it on
We've all been given worn-out sweaters or an unused appliance, but not all hand-me-downs are created equal. Your old hardware could be a big deal to the younger or older user in your life who might be much more than a generation behind the latest technology.
Devices that can inspire a new hobby, or enhance an old one, can make especially meaningful gifts. Your old digital camera might become a gateway into photography, for instance, and that first-generation Kindle can introduce a reader to a whole new way to love books. Even taking your gift's recipient aside to explain how the device works can become a new way to spend quality time.
Before passing on your old device, you'll want to clean it and any of its accessories, so they look as close to brand-new as possible. If your device has built-in storage, like a Mac's hard drive or a camera or iOS device's flash memory, transfer any files you may need to your main Mac, then erase the old data. Our tips for preparing Macs for sale come in handy here, and for information about wiping your data from an iOS device, visit Apple's link.
There's nothing wrong with hanging on to old gear, if you can find a new use for it. The TV that now seems a little small for the living room might be just right for the bedroom. Or that old iPod nano, rather than your brand-new iPod touch, can be your go-to jogging partner. Reusing these and other simple devices is straightforward, but a spare Mac or iOS device can have far more utility in a wider range of circumstances.