Consumers have several options for what to do with their old phone when they upgrade to a new one, something that is happening more often than ever with programs like T-Mobile JUMP! that encourages customers to upgrade their smartphone as often as every six months with a credit for up to half of the old phone’s original cost. The other big mobile operators in the U.S. have similar programs having followed T-Mobile’s lead.
- Sell it to an end user consumer on Ebay, Swappa, or other used phone websites/marketplaces. If your phone is still in good condition, fully functional with a clean ESN and ready for activation you can get a decent price. For a Nokia Lumia 900, if your phone meets all their selling criteria, the avg selling price on Swappa for June is listed at $55. If your phone is damaged or broken, you can try and salvage something by selling it on the Swappa Boneyard.
- Sell it to a used phone dealer/business. Trade it in at a mobile operator store or operator website for a promotion card good for buying more stuff from the operator, or get a credit to your mobile phone bill. Or sell it to Gazelle. You’re going to get a lot less money this way. See the screenshots below.
- Pass it on to a (junior) family member
- Destroy it with a hammer or back over it with a car (or whatever your preferred demolition method) so that it’s unusable/won’t power on, and then take it to an electronics recycler. It’s better to destroy it before recycling to ensure that your personal data on the device won’t fall into the wrong hands.
- Throw it in the trash. But that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly now would it.
- Put it in a drawer and forget about it.
- Extend its useful life with a utility/tools type app, such as a security camera, music player, or a flashlight.
With options 1-2 there is the risk of not properly wiping your phone (specifically, doing a factory reset which you would think would be enough but isn’t – on Android devices, you also need to turn on encryption) and thus leaving your data (pictures, emails, text messages, address book, and so on) vulnerable to hacking. With option 2. there is also the question of how much money you’ll get. In the case of the Lumia 900 according to the AT&T Device Trade-In Appraisal tool, the absolute most it’s worth in good/normal use condition is $10 in the form of store or website credit. At Verizon, their maximum price is $11.
At Gazelle, it’s worth $0 with a cracked screen (as shown in the featured image at the top of this blog post). On the plus side, they do provide a link to recycling resources.
If you’re not comfortable with the data vulnerability issue or can’t get the price you want via 1. or 2. and don’t have a suitable family member to give your old phone to, option 7. is not a bad one. Certainly better than 4., 5., or 6., one would think. Especially if it’s got a cracked screen, a not uncommon ailment of used phones.
See the cracked-screen Lumia 900 reborn as a Gotya security camera! Even though the screen is cracked, it functions perfectly well as a motion detection camera.
If you’ve recently upgraded your phone, let us know in the comments what you’ve done or plan to do with your old one.