Mobile device hardware is typically not upgradeable. The design and dimensions of the internal hardware do not allow for replacement with upgraded hardware. Many of the components in a mobile device are connected directly to circuit boards, which cannot be replaced with upgraded components, as shown in the figure. Batteries and memory cards, however, can often be replaced with items that have larger capacities. This might not increase the speed or capability of the mobile device, but it does allow for longer run times between charges or increased storage capacity for data.

Some functionality can be added to mobile devices through the use of built-in ports and docking stations. These connections offer expandability, such as video or audio output, a connection to a docking station, or docking to a clock radio. Some smartphones can even be docked to a device with a keyboard, track pad, and LCD monitor to create a version of a laptop. There are also tablet cases that have a keyboard on the inside.

When a mobile device no longer possesses the capabilities or operates at the speeds required by the user, it must be replaced. Often, old mobile devices can be traded in for credit when purchasing a new one. The items are refurbished and resold or donated. Basic mobile devices can be donated to be reused when they cannot be traded in. Check for local donation programs in your area to find where these devices can be taken.