Compare and Recycle

Common Mistakes When Recycling Mobile Phones

Every new phone model's launch storms the industry, announcement of an additional world-first feature builds hype and often takes our breaths away seeding the thought: "Ohh, snap, my phone is too old now, time to put that shameless thing away." In fact your daily driver is perfectly fine and could serve a few more years saving you money and reducing the impact on the environment.

While there are still a few of us who don't even acknowledge that rapid upgrades are harmful to our planet, we're grateful that we have our customers who are taking advantage of recycling services and are joining our efforts of closing the loop between raw material mining and manufacturing processes of mobile phones.

To make our efforts even more meaningful, in this blog we're covering a few tips that you need to take into account when preparing your phone for recycling and will prevent you from making mistakes and secure the biggest payout for your ready-to-recycle device.

Key things you need to check:

Submitting incorrect model / make details

One of the key mistakes that's fairly easy to make. Identify your phone model correctly. Best way to do this is by navigating to Settings menu and tapping on About Phone if you have an Android. For iPhones go to General -> About -> Model and you can identify the model number via Apple website. With Apple devices you need to know its internal storage capacity. You can check it in General settings under _Storage _tab.

Having this information correct in the first place, you can search your phone on Compare and Recycle and get accurate estimates of trade-in options, because in order to get full working price, the device received by a recycler needs to meet the information provided in the order form.

Skipping pre-assessment of your device

Quick assessment of your phone can help you make sure it’s in good working condition. Power and volume buttons, touchscreen, Wi-Fi connection and camera as well as charging port functionality without a hitch are the essentials that can help getting you the most cash for your phone. Evaluate the cosmetic condition as well and bear in mind, excessive wear and tear won’t be accepted by a recycler within “Working” condition as well as small dents and cracked screens.

Dead Pixels and screen burn-in can be checked using an online screen checker. Inspect your device for any discoloration or inconsistency in the white, green and blue colours as this can mean a new screen will be required and significantly reduce the offer price.

Assuming water damage isn't a big deal

Water damage can result in a huge reduction in offer price, and in some cases, down to £0. And even though a water damaged phone can still work, it can lead to problems like rust and cause failure further down the line, which is why recyclers tend to steer clear away from any water damaged phone.

All phones have a little tab within the casing of the phone that can trip when exposed to water. The white tab will turn pink if there has been exposure to moisture and go deeper red if it has been submerged. Some of these tabs are easy to see yourself, for example, on a Galaxy S8, you can see the tab if you pull out the SIM tray and view inside the phone, whereas some are directly on the board and may not be able to be viewed without a screwdriver, so if in doubt, don’t go hunting for it.

Sending your phone as it is

Don't do this. Clean your mobile phone and aim to trade it in in the best condition possible. Avoid using ammonia based cleaners as they can damage your phone and make sure no liquid goes into the headphone jack and charging port. To achieve a perfect clean, use soft microfiber cloth with a small amount of liquid to gently wipe the casing, back and front of your phone. Make sure to remove your screen protector.

Ignoring your data wiping

First of all you need to back up your data. With iPhones go to Settings -> iCloud -> Storage & Backup. For Androids navigate to Settings -> Accounts and Sync. When this is done perform factory reset so your phone will be returned to factory settings, all data breadcrumbs will be cleared and all apps that you installed will be deleted. Please note that to protect your privacy, encrypt your data manually via the settings menu if you have an Android, because with Android phones factory reset doesn’t always wipe all of your data. Whereas, encryption occurs naturally with iPhones.

Sending network locked devices

Check if you are able to unlock your device. Usually for an unlocked device you can get up to £30 more than same phone locked to a network. In most cases, if your contract is finished, all you need is to request an unlock code from your network provider or depending on a network and terms it costs £10 to unlock it while still in contract (most networks will unlock it for free). You can find a complete guide with all relevant information and links on our site.

Keeping your devices locked to cloud accounts

Remove your Google, Samsung or iCloud accounts before you post your device to speed up your order processing when it reaches a recycler. If the device is locked to a cloud account, the recycler won't be able perform tests on your phone. Removing iCloud remotely might be challenging and the worst case scenario a recycler won't be able to make an offer and you might end up in the situation requiring you to pay a return fee depending on a merchant you've chosen.

We have an iCloud removal guide available on our site. If you have forgotten your iCloud log in details or ID, you can find steps to recover them on Apple website support page.

Assuming proof won't be needed

Take pictures of your phone from all angles (front, back, sides, top and bottom) before sending it off in case the device gets damaged in transit, it's better to have the proof in hand of the condition of your phone.

Always obtain proof of postage at your local post office even if you are sending your device off in a freepost pack.

Keeping add-ons

Remove SIM card and SD cards. Accessories and boxes do not increase value of a phone (excluding orders submitted under condition "New") but will for sure reduce your carbon footprint if you post them together with your phone. Be aware in case you want to return your device, in most of the cases accessories won't be returned upon your request.

Jumping in head first

Always read terms and conditions of a recycler’s service. You need to know your rights and what are the contract terms between a recycler and yourself. We often hear from customers that they missed a deadline to accept an offer because they were unaware of time frames. Take a more detailed look at payment processing terms and pay attention to return policy.

Wrap up

Who said you need to make your own mistakes to learn? This summary of oversights will do you a great favour and recycling your phone will be hassle-free. When your device has been sent off and a recycler performs inspections and software diagnostics will take place, having the right details on your order and actual condition of your phone matching recycler's criteria will eliminate possibility of delay occurrence. So, before it's too late, learn from mistakes made by others and tips we've discussed above will help you recoup the most value from your phone.


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