Tips to sell your smartphone

How to sell your used phone for cash

Published April 24, 2024 - Wondering how you can sell your used phone and make some cash? Learn the steps to take before selling your phone, how to find what your phone is worth, and how to get the best offer for trade-in. Let our guide help you get the most money from your old phone and offset the cost of an upgrade.

There are many millions of old smartphones lurking unused in drawers around the world. That’s a shame because not only do these forgotten phones contain rare earth elements that could be recycled, but they are also wasting value for their owners who might be able to resell them.

Maybe you have one yourself — an older model iPhone or Samsung Galaxy just sitting around your house somewhere. Why not dust off that old phone and sell it for cash before it loses all its value? You can take advantage of trade-in programs, online marketplaces, or trade-in offers from Back Market to recoup some of the investments that you made in your phone or expand your budget for a new phone.

Follow this short guide to find out how to sell your used phone, no matter its condition, and get the best possible offer.

Reasons to sell your phone

When you’re ready to move on to a new phone, you have a few options for what to do with your old device. These include giving it to someone else or recycling it. Whatever you do, just don’t throw it in the trash. Tossing your phone creates e-waste and is a big problem for the environment. Sadly, more than 5 billion mobile phones are thrown away each year when most of these could be recycled. Recycling helps limit pollution and reduces the need to mine more minerals from the Earth.

So while recycling is good for the planet, there’s another option that’s even better for you, and that’s reselling your phone if it’s still in decent condition. By passing on your phone to a new owner, you keep waste out of the landfill, someone gets a new phone, and you get cash in your pocket — it’s a win for everyone.

Steps for selling your phone

You might be wondering just how much money you can get for a used phone, or if the trade-in process is too much of a hassle to be worthwhile. Rest assured — the process doesn’t have to be complicated if you take the right steps and find the best market for selling your phone. The following tips will help make the process smoother and help maximise the money that you earn.

Step 1: Protect your phone from damage

When it comes to reselling, a second-hand smartphone in good condition is worth more than a broken or scratched one, so it’s important to take care of your device. This isn’t always easy, of course, because life happens: maybe you drop your phone in the pool, or your cat loves pushing things off the table. These are just some of the unexpected moments that can happen daily, so you should get a protective case for your new phone from day one.

The good news is that not only are phones getting sturdier, but there are more options for protecting your phone than ever before. You can find various styles of smartphone cases and screen covers, so you can protect your phone from drops and dings.

Step 2: Disconnect accounts and reset your phone

Say you’ve had a good, long run with your old phone, but the time has come to find it a second life with someone else. Now you must disconnect all your accounts and clear your data from the device. This protects your personal information and makes it possible for the next owner to use the phone like new. If you fail to disconnect one of your services, the buyer might not be able to refurbish your phone and will have to send it back to you.

Here's a short checklist to help prepare before you sell your phone:

Check that your contacts are all stored in the cloud or on the SIM card and not in the device's memory. Then, remove the SIM card.

  • Sign out of your iCloud, Google, or Samsung account (otherwise your smartphone cannot be refurbished). You can also sign out of your iCloud account remotely.

  • Erase data or remove the SD card.

  • Unlock your phone with your service carrier.

  • Restore to factory settings (this will delete all personal data from the smartphone: photos, email, apps, etc.).

The steps to perform a factory reset can vary based on the device and the operating system, so check with Android Help or Apple iPhone support for your specific instructions.

Step 3: Sell your phone at the right time

After a factory reset, your old cell phone is now ready for a new lease on life. All that's left to do is pick the right time to sell it so you get the best price. There are a couple of factors that affect the resale value of phones. The first is the age of your phone, and the second is the timing of the latest model release.

Keep this in mind: Android phones lose value faster than iPhones (the Samsung Galaxy S10 lost 50% of its value in 30 days). But in general, all cell phone values see a sharp decline after 18 months. So the sooner you decide to sell your old phone, the better.

You will also get more money if you can sell your phone before the next-generation model comes out. For example, it's best to sell your used iPhone well before the annual Apple event in September. Other brands like Samsung and Huawei also time their new releases ahead of the Christmas shopping season, so if you can avoid these peak periods, you might get more when reselling your phone.

Step 4: Find out how much your phone is worth

There are a few ways to find out how much your used phone is worth. The first option is to see what similar phones are selling for on eBay. To do this, you need to search listings for the same kind of phone that you have, including matching the specs like storage space. Also, keep in mind the condition of your phone and compare this to what you see listed for sale.

Evaluating the condition may take some time, especially if you’re using online selling apps like eBay as you estimate the ultimate cost of your phone.  However, If you sell your phone through Back Market, you'll receive a fixed price offer in advance that you can accept or reject with no pressure. You can find out exactly how much your old phone is worth without committing to a sale.

Frequently asked questions about selling used phones

Now you know the basic steps involved in selling your old phone, but maybe you have more questions about how to make sure you get the best offer. Here are the answers to some common questions to help you make the best decisions about selling your phone.

Is selling a used smartphone worth it?

Selling your old device is worth it in two major ways: you'll earn money and help the planet. Mainly, your phone is worth selling simply because you'll make money from a thing that you no longer need. If you don’t sell it, you will likely need to dispose of your old device sooner or later anyway. It can be a bit challenging to dispose of e-waste, so another benefit of selling your phone is to ensure it is handled properly.

Reselling your phone instead of throwing it away means it will be reused by someone else or disposed of correctly by experts.

Where can I sell my phone for cash today?

If you want cash for your old phone as quickly as possible, you have a few options to consider. The quickest way might be to sell it to a friend or family member if any are interested. You might also be able to sell it on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, but this can take some time and you won’t always know how much to sell it for.

As a third option, you can fill out a quick trade-in assessment on Back Market and get a cash offer for your phone within minutes. We will then help you ship your device for free, and you’ll receive the money in return.

Where can I get the most money for my used smartphone?

There are many options for selling used phones, including online auction sites like eBay where you can sell to the highest bidder. So while you could in theory make the most money on your phone this way, the downside to auctions is that you don’t know how much you'll get in the end, and you may receive offers that are much lower than what your device is actually worth.

In addition to the uncertainty about how much money you’ll receive, the whole process can take a lot of time and energy, and you could still end up stuck with your old device if you don’t find a buyer. A more convenient way is to get a quick cash offer from a trade-in program like Back Market, and you’ll be free to decide whether to accept the offer or not — no pressure, no guesswork, and no extra hassle.

How can I protect the resale value of my current phone?

The number one way to make sure you get the best resale price on your phone is to take good care of it throughout its lifespan. This means investing in a quality protective case as soon as you get the phone, and being cautious about where you leave your phone so it doesn’t get stolen or damaged.

If you buy your next phone through Back Market, you can also opt for additional protection on your device to cover theft and damage. In the long run, this can help you make more of your money back since you'll be able to resell your used cell phone at the best price.


Written by HaziqTech Expert for Back Market UK, Ireland & Australia

When not fighting the good fight for environmental sustainability, Haziq loves making reviews of everything and anything tech-related.

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