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Diagnostics and repairs – smartphones and tablets

It’s easier to run checks on smartphones and tablets than on laptops. If you have limited technical skills, we’d recommend only accepting these smaller devices. You’ll need to make sure that they have been factory reset, otherwise you will not be able to restore them for their new owners.

By the end of this step, you’ll be able to decide if you want to work with a commercial partner or manage the restoration process yourself.


Key insights

  • Troubleshooting

    Hardware issues for smartphones and tablets can often be identified by using a device’s internal diagnostic programmes. However, although the checks themselves are simpler, any issues can be just as difficult to fix!

  • Commercial partners

    Commercial partners who restore laptops will also be able to restore smartphones and tablets, e.g. Reconome or Restore. We recommend you use the same provider for all devices.

Managing the restoration process - smartphones and tablets

Option 1. Managing the process yourself

You can use your own technical skills to diagnose any issues using one of the following means:

  • Android: using the inbuilt hardware diagnostic tools found on many devices (each manufacturer’s website has guidelines)
  • Apple: Apple recommend that only IT professionals perform hardware diagnostics however you can download third party apps to help diagnose issues (this article gives more information)
  • Third party apps: both Android and Apple app stores offer a range of diagnostic software apps


  • It’s a cost-effective solution if you already have prior IT knowledge or access to IT skills


  • Fixing issues requires technical skills and confidence
  • Devices which require minor fixes could be mistakenly deemed unsuitable if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing
  • You’ll need to partner with an E-waste disposal organisation to ensure that any unsuitable devices are safely and securely disposed of

Option 2. Working with a commercial partner

Asking a commercial partner to perform diagnostics and repairs will enable you to restore devices more quickly. They can also monetise faulty devices, so you won’t have to find an alternative means of safe disposal.


  • They’ll have the skills and capacity needed to handle bulk repairs
  • They can easily monetise unsuitable devices
  • You can be less strict about your device requirements - but they must be factory reset!


  • There will be a cost, so you may need funding support

Things to think about

  • Monetising unsuitable devices (commercial partners)

    Commercial partners are able to sell devices which aren’t suitable (e.g. due to damage or hardware errors), either as whole units or as parts. The profits they receive can be used to offset restoration costs. As well as lowering your spend, you’ll be able to promise donors that unsuitable devices will be securely recycled rather than sent to landfill.

  • Monetising unsuitable devices (doing it yourself)

    If you have the skills, infrastructure and time, you can sell unsuitable devices/parts on websites such as eBay. You’ll need to make sure that the devices are wiped clear of data, but we’ll explain more about that in a later step.

Next Step

Erasing any existing data - laptops

Our laptops contain vast amounts of personal data, including banking details, logins and photos of our loved ones. Wiping any legacy data from them is essential to safeguarding your donors’ data privacy and protecting your reputation! We provide more information about this in the Terms of Engagement.


Ready to get started?

If you’re interested in setting up a Reboot project, why not download the full Reboot playbook? Regardless of your budget and IT skills, it will help you develop a well-structured Reboot process and maximise your donations!