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How to sell, trade-in, donate, and recycle your phone


How to sell, trade-in, donate, and recycle your phone

Whether you like to trade for the latest and greatest Android flagship every year or prefer to hold onto devices for as long as possible, you'll need to get rid of your old phone. Selling or trading a newer phone is usually a great option, but recycling or donating can be the best option for older phones.

In this guide, we gathered all the necessary information you'll need to trade, recycle, or sell your phone. But before you get rid of an older device, try these tips to speed up a slow Android phone. Hope those informations can help you a little bit!

Steps to take before your get rid of your old phone

Regardless of your method, we recommend performing these steps first to ensure your device is in the right condition and your personal data is secure.

Back up your phone. While you can manually comb through your device for valuable photos or files, it's quicker and easier to do a comprehensive backup and sort out essential files later.

Remove any SIM cards or microSD cards.

Remove the case. Recycling cases is different from recycling phones, and most trade-in offers require you to remove the case.

Find the original box and charger that came with your phone. While not necessary, it's beneficial when mailing your device to protect it from damage. However, trade-in offers often send a box or package for your phone.

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

Trade-in offers tend to be your best bet when switching carriers or upgrading to a new flagship. Carriers want to keep your business and often take 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 bit of strategic planning and an old phone, it's easy to score a new flagship for next to nothing when you jump from one carrier to another. If you're willing to deal with the hassle, you can get massive savings by regularly switching carriers.

Carriers also offer solid trade-in deals for loyal customers. To get the most bang for your buck, time your trade-in to coincide with the release of a new flagship or around shopping holidays like Black Friday. If you don't see a good promotion, call or visit a carrier store to see what's on offer.

To trade in your phone through a carrier, either head to a physical store or the carrier's website.

When to trade in your phone through a retailer

Retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart also offer trade-in deals. However, they only offer credit as a digital gift card, which gives you more flexibility when trading with a carrier. If you're on a prepaid plan or don't want to buy the latest flagship, trading your phone in through a third-party retailer is an excellent choice.

Again, a little research can score you a lot more cash. Trade-in values are often higher around holidays, during Amazon Prime Day, or when new flagships are announced. If you need a new phone but are not in a rush, monitor trade-in values for 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 listing your phone, you select the device you want to sell and add pictures, your IMEI number, and additional details (for example, any damage). As the site already contains the basic info for each phone, you don't need to worry about forgetting to add crucial details. It's a simple process. All transactions are secured through PayPal, so you won't have to worry as much about dodgy sellers. It's worth noting that online user-to-user marketplaces like Swappa won't buy every phone, and they tend to pay less than you'll get through a carrier promotion.

While selling your phone through eBay can net you a higher return, it can be a hassle. eBay's massive user base means that a detailed listing can net you a potentially high price, but you're more likely to run into scammers. If you're willing to do a little legwork to get top dollar, here are some useful tips for selling a phone through eBay:

Include the full device name in your title. For example, Google Pixel 5 128GB (Unlocked) 6.0" 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 the 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

Recycling is the way to go if your phone is old, destroyed, or the trade-in value is low. Don't throw it away. This results in the loss of precious metals. Plus, you'll contribute to the ever-growing problem of e-waste, which grows at around 50 million tons a year. Most services offer nearby drop-off locations or free shipping to make recycling your phone as convenient as possible. Some will send you shipping labels to facilitate mailing it in. Here are some of the best places to recycle your phone.


Apple leads the pack when it comes to recycling old tech. The company partners with recyclers around the globe to minimize e-waste. Select your region on the Apple Recycling page, provide a few details, and you'll be good to go.

Best Buy

If you have a Best Buy store nearby, take your phone in, and they'll recycle it for you at no cost. They'll also recycle your charger, but not your case.


Google offers a convenient way to recycle your phone from home. Its partner RGLA sends you a pre-paid shipping label. All you do is pack the phone in a box, attach the label, and mail it.


Call2Recycle offers a plethora of drop-off options around the U.S. Its location finder helps you find the closest drop-off location. Unlike Best Buy or Google, Call2Recycle is a nonprofit organization that doesn't make any money off your device.

Donate your phone to help others

Many charities will gladly accept your phone if you're not interested in making money and want to help others. Here are a few nonprofits that take working and broken smartphones.

Cell Phones For Soldiers

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

Medic Mobile

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

Sell, trade, or recycle your phone. What's best for you?

Sustainable smartphones are a long way off, but these methods can minimize the impact of e-waste. While upgrading to the latest flagship may be tempting, buy a cheap Android phone instead. The best budget phones are effective and last for years.

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