Black Friday: Never break these 6 rules when buying tech gifts


A shiny iPhone 12 makes for a great gift, but you should do some research before buying it for someone else. 

Angela Lang/CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Black Friday is less than a week away, meaning it’s nearly time to start saving money when you’re shopping for holiday gifts. With the holidays getting closer, time is running out to think over exactly what you’re going to give to that special someone or distant relative. But before you make that decision, keep in mind that tech gifts can be the same as giving someone a surprise puppy or kitten — just without the mess to clean up after. 

Gadgets can be personal, with a mess of unintended consequences, like saddling someone with the cost of buying extra gear, landing them with a monthly subscription or exposing their privacy in a way that makes them uncomfortable.

New phoneslaptopssmart speakers and other electronic devices can make a great present, since these devices are a means to work, play, communicate with friends or, with a gadget like a Kindle or game console, temporarily escape. They add value to a person’s life.

But gifter, beware. Keeping in mind that privacy, security and compatibility issues will go a long way in helping you make sound decisions as you shop for new phones and other gadgets. Let’s take a closer look at some best practices you should keep in mind. 

Read more: Best places to sell your used electronics   

Watch out for extras someone else will have to buy

No matter what type of device you end up buying as a gift, keep any extra accessories it may require in mind. Ask yourself — or the salesperson — if the device is ready to use right…