Selling or recycling your old iPhone or Samsung could get you hundreds of pounds! Here’s everything you need to know to sell your old phone.
I used to upgrade my handset every time my contract ended, which meant I’d get a new phone every two years.
But for the last six years or so I’ve separated my phone from my minutes, texts and data. Through buying the handset outright, I’m saving a huge amount on my monthly payments. And since I’m not tied into a 24-month contract, I can change my handset whenever I want.
The first year I only kept the phone (an iPhone 5c) for just one year before getting the latest model, but I’ve actually kept hold of the next one for three years, and though it’s been two years since I got my current iPhone (the 7 Plus) I’ll actually keep it for another one at least.
In part the decision to keep ditch or stick has been down to features (I won’t get an 11 as it’s not 5G ready), but I’ve been tempted every year. And I’m not so worried about the cost because I know I can subsidise it through selling my old phone. And the newer the phone, the more money I can make on it.
Watch Andy’s video on How to sell your old phone
What to do before you sell
Get your handset unlocked
If you’ve bought your phone through a mobile network, it’s probably locked so that it can only be used with it. Unlock it so it can be used on any network and you’ll probably get a better price.
Some phones might be locked for a year, but it’s actually pretty easy to do. You can find more information on unlocking different handsets at Giffgaff’s Unlockapedia.
To check the unlocking has worked you can buy a £1 sim card from most pound shops, or just ask a mate if you can briefly put their SIM in your phone.
Look after your phone
I always keep my phone in a case. That means I’ve no chips or scratches, no broken screen. And that means I can sell it for a far higher price. It might be too late now, but think about it for your next phone.
Find your accessories
If you kept the box, cables and headphones they can add to the value. I never use the boxed earbuds so they’re pristine to sell-on.
Wipe all your data
Most importantly make sure you’ve formatted your phone completely and removed the SIM. Back up your phone before doing this incase something goes wrong, or if you can use it to set up your replacement phone.
Ways to sell your phone
Here’s what you need to know to get the most money recycling and selling your mobile.
eBay is usually best
It’s more hassle and you’ve got to figure out fees and packaging costs, but do it right and you’ll normally get the most money for your old phone through eBay.
Research what other handsets have gone for recently (choose completed listings in the filters) and see how your phone’s condition compares. Make sure you charge for postage that is insured as it’s an expensive thing to lose!
I went for a buy-it-now listing, though you might get more if you want to risk a standard auction.
Get a quote from CEX
Next, I’d check CEX. How much you’ll get really varies according to the phone, condition and how many they have in stock. However, it’s possible to get a really decent price on more recent handsets. You won’t know how much you’ll get until they’ve assessed it, so it might be best to pop into the shops to get a more accurate quote.
You’ll get more if you exchange for credit, but only do this if you are sure there are things you want to buy.
Compare recycling sites
If you can’t be bothered with eBay, then try one of these. It’s the easiest way to sell your phone. You can see a range of prices with the comparison sites and then click through to different companies offering to take your phone. They’ll usually send you a padded envelope
Compare and Recycle, Compare my Mobile and SellMyMobile are all good comparison sites of the leading buyers. Check reviews of the companies as a higher price might not be worth it if people have had problems.
You can go direct too and might be able to drop phones off in stores. For example, O2 Recycle often has lower but still decent prices. I’ve used them before and been happy with the service. Carphone Warehouse is also worth a look.
There are a couple of risks with many of these. First you won’t know the final price until they’ve got it – and it could be less than you hoped or were initially quoted. And there’s also the risk that it could get damaged while in the post, so it’s worth considering paying for postage that comes with insurance.
Sell to a friend
Of course you can avoid all that hassle and fees if you’ve got a mate who will buy it. Just hope they don’t start moaning if it breaks!
How much money you can make
Obviously it depends on your make, model and year for the base price. Even the colour can impact the value. You’ll get more for an unlocked phone, whle the condition of the phone can make a huge difference.
The best prices are for newer handsets, where you can get over £500 for the latest models.
I really look after my phones, so they’re in top condition. When I switched from my 5C to the 6 in 2014 I made a whopping £340 on eBay after fees – £200 more than if I’d sold it to a resale site. Remember it was only a year old so came with a premium price.
But even older phones have a decent return. My three-year old iPhone 6 could potentially have picked up £230 plus on eBay in 2017, but I ended up selling it to a friend for just a little less (£200) to save the hassle and cut out the fees.
Selling an iPhone XS
I’ve looked at how much you’d get for 2018’s iPhone XS with 64GB in Silver one year on in top condition. Obviously these prices can and will change frequently but they should give you an idea.
- eBay (sold this week): £620 to £720 (before fees)
- Compare my mobile (top price listed): £565 from Giffgaff
- CEX (A grade condition): £510 (cash); £588 (voucher)
There you go! Best of luck selling your handset, and if you haven’t upgraded yet, read my guide to getting the best value when you upgrade.