What can I do with my old mobile phone after WhatsApp stops working in November?

If you're looking to upgrade your model, there are ways to recycle or trade in your old device in the UAE

This week it was announced that more than 40 models of smartphones will soon be unable to access the popular instant messaging app WhatsApp from November 1.

This pertains to any phone running on a system older than Android OS 4.1, Apple's iOS 10 and KaiOS 2.5.1, rendering it incompatible with the Facebook-owned platform, according to the company's FAQ section.

This includes the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S2, the Huawei Ascend Mate and Sony Xperia Miro, to name a few. See a full list here.

So, unless you're willing to start using another messaging service altogether, such as Telegram or Signal, then you'll need to trade in your old phone for a new device.

The new Apple Inc., iPhone SE is displayed during an Apple event in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Monday, March 21, 2016. Cook is expected to unveil a smaller iPhone Monday in attempt to woo those who are holding on to older versions. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Apple trade-in

If you're an Apple product owner, then the good news is you can head to the Apple Store to trade in your device, and receive credit towards your new phone or a gift certificate.

The estimated trade-in value for an iPhone 6s is up to Dh180 ($49), for the 6s Plus it's up to Dh240 and for the first-generation iPhone SE, which is also on the list of those WhatsApp is writing off, it's up to Dh120.

Your device will need to meet certain criteria in order to avail the benefit, but if it doesn't, you can still nip in to the store and they'll recycle your device for free. Learn more here.

E-waste recycling

It might be tempting to leave old devices in a forgotten drawer at home or simply throw them in the bin, but electronics waste, or e-waste, is a growing problem.

A total of 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste, which is products that have a battery or plug – so phones, laptops, desktop computers, kitchen appliances and so on – was generated worldwide in 2019, according to The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020.

That's an increase of about 21 per cent in five years, and the report predicted it would reach 74 metric tonnes by 2030. The greatest volume of that was in Asia, followed by the Americas and Europe.

At the same time, only 17.4 per cent of e-waste was officially documented as collected or recycled in 2019.

That's why it's important to recycle old devices before buying new ones.

In the UAE, which is home to The Recycling Hub by EnviroServe, the largest e-waste recycling facility in the world, there are several ways you can do this.

Each emirate's municipality will offer drop-off and/or pick-up services. All you need to do is call them to schedule this. This includes Dubai Municipality (800 900), Abu Dhabi Tadweer Waste Management Services (800 555), Sharjah's Tandeef (800 8263333), Ajman Municipality (800 70) and Ras Al Khaimah's Waste Management Agency (800 81118).

These organisations can also advise whether there are any handy recycling facilities to drop off goods in your area.

In July it was announced that retailers in the UAE must by law supply a collection box for unwanted devices, batteries and other e-waste.

A range of private companies also offer e-waste recycling services to individuals and/or companies across the country, including pick-up and drop-off options.

This includes EnviroServe; Averda, which works with Dubai Municipality; Madenat Recycling; Recycle Emirates; and Ecyclex.

Updated: September 8th 2021, 7:25 AM
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