How to sell, trade, recycle or give away your phone


Selling or recycling your phone is always worth it. If it’s a newer phone in good condition, you’ll probably get a good price for it. an old or broken phone can be recycled for parts. Donating your device is also a great alternative, as charities can generate revenue by recycling or selling the phones. In this article, we have gathered all the necessary information you will need to get rid of your old phone.

Steps to take before getting rid of your old phone

  1. Back up your phone – Although you can manually browse your device for precious photos or files, it’s faster and easier to perform a full backup.
  2. Remove any SIM cards or microSD cards.
  3. Remove the casing. Recycling cases is a different process than recycling phones, and most trade-in offers require you to remove the case.
  4. Find the original box and charger that came with your phone. Although not strictly necessary, it is extremely useful when selling your device.


When it makes sense to trade in your phone through your carrier

Swap offers tend to be your best bet when switching carriers or upgrading to a new flagship. Carriers want to keep your business and will often suffer a loss on trade-ins because it creates a long-term relationship.

If you’re switching to a new carrier, you can often maximize your trade-in value by porting your number. With a little strategic planning and an old phone, it’s easy to score a new flagship for next to nothing when switching between carriers.

Carriers also offer strong trade-in deals for loyal customers. To get the most bang for your buck, you’ll want to time your trade-in to coincide with the release of a new flagship or during the holidays. If you don’t see a good promotion, call or visit a carrier store.

When to trade in your phone to a retailer

Retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart also offer trade-in deals. Unfortunately, they only offer credit in the form of a digital gift card, but that gives you a lot more flexibility when negotiating with a carrier. If you have a prepaid plan or don’t want to buy the latest flagship, trading in your phone through a third-party retailer is a great choice.

Again, a little research can bring you a lot more money. Trade-in values ​​are often higher during the holidays, during Amazon Prime Day, or a few months later when new flagships are announced. If you know you need a new phone but aren’t in a rush, monitor the trade-in values ​​on these sites over a month or two; When you see a substantial increase in the trade-in value of your device, act immediately – many promotions only last a few days.

When to sell your phone online

If you don’t want to trade in your device with your carrier or a retailer, Swappa should be your first port of call. When registering your phone, all you have to do is select the device you want to sell and add photos, your IMEI number and any additional details (eg any damage). As it contains all the basic information for each phone, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to add crucial details. It’s an extremely simple process and all transactions are secured through PayPal, so you won’t have to worry so much about dodgy sellers. It’s worth noting that user-to-user online marketplaces like Swappa won’t buy every phone, and they tend to pay less than what you’ll get through a carrier promotion.

While selling your phone through eBay might get you a higher return, it can be a hassle. eBay’s massive user base means a careful listing can net you a potentially high price, but you’re more likely to run into scammers. If you’re willing to do some legwork to get the best price, here are some helpful tips for selling a phone through eBay:

  • Include the full device name in your title. for example Google Pixel 5 128GB (Unlocked) 6.0 inch Sorta Sage GA01986-US
  • Be completely honest about the condition of your device. If you lie about the condition, you may have to refund the buyer and you won’t get your phone back.
  • Check completed listings first. Find the closest matches for your phone and price accordingly.
  • Provide the original box and accessories if possible.

How to recycle your phone

If your phone is old, destroyed, or has low trade-in value, recycling is the way to go. Throwing it in the trash means the phone’s precious metals are lost and you’ll be contributing to the ever-growing problem of e-waste (which is growing at the rate of around 50 million tons a year). Most services offer nearby drop-off points or free delivery to make recycling your phone as convenient as possible. Here are some places to recycle your phone:


Apple leads the pack when it comes to recycling old technology. The company partners with recyclers around the world to minimize e-waste. Just select your region on the Apple Recycling page, provide some details, and you’re good to go.

best buy

If you have a Best Buy nearby, just bring your phone in and they’ll recycle it for you at no charge. They will also recycle your charger, but not your case.


Google offers a convenient way to recycle your phone from home. Its partner RGLA will send you a prepaid shipping label, and all you have to do is pack the phone in a box, attach the label, and send it off.


Call2Recycle offers a plethora of US deposit options. Its locator will help you find the nearest drop-off location. Unlike Best Buy or Google, Call2Recycle is a non-profit organization, so they don’t make money off your device.

If you’re not interested in making money or just want to help others, many charities will gladly accept your phone. Here are some nonprofits that accept working and broken smartphones:

Mobile phones for soldiers

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a non-profit organization that uses proceeds from your phone donations to purchase international calling cards for active duty military personnel or to provide emergency funding for veterans. You can either drop off your phone at one of their drop off locations or mail it in if you have 10 or more devices to trade in.

mobile nurse

Medic Mobile is a non-profit organization dedicated to building healthcare systems for developing regions. To donate a phone, simply print one of their free shipping labels, wrap the phone in a box, attach the label, and mail it.

While selling or recycling your Android phone is a great way to minimize your e-waste, major phone makers are still failing to make major strides towards a truly sustainable smartphone. However, even if you have an older phone that is slowing down, you can extend its life by following our guide on how to speed up your Android phone.

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