A lot of us want to make some quick cash for our old phones before we get new ones, but did you know that there are ways of maximising the price that you can get? If you want to know how to get the most money for your mobile phone, read on as we’re going to explain how you can make the most for your phone, no matter how old it is.
Whether your phone is old, new, broken, in pristine condition, been left in a drawer for months, or only just upgraded, there’s always a company that wants to buy your device.
Which Phones Are Worth the Most Money?
The most expensive phones of the moment will depend on how long ago it was released and software support, but historically the most expensive flagship models have been iPhones, closely followed by Samsung Galaxy S and Note series. Chinese brands like Huawei and OnePlus tend to cost a lot to buy, but their resale prices drop significantly. Especially for Huawei phones after the trade ban has been introduced and Huawei phones no longer come with Android. Then, there are the budget devices like Honor, Motorola and Nokia, where the recycling prices are going to be lower in relation to their retail price.
The higher the cost of your device when it was new, the more you will make when the time comes to sell it. So, if you splashed out on an iPhone 11 Pro Max for example, the good news is that if you want to sell it in a couple years, you should get a sweet deal. But keep in mind, every new iPhone release gradually decreases the resale value of your iPhone over time.
Here’s an example: the iPhone 5 came with the price tag of £549 for the 16GB version when it was first released back in 2012, which was reasonably expensive at the time, but has since significantly decreased in value dropping to as low as £5 for select configurations. Not only have other devices vastly superseded this model in terms of price (Apple have been releasing phones that cost twice the price since then), but other flagships now have a much higher resale value.
When Apple released iOS 13 in 2019, they did not include the iPhone 5 as one of the supported devices, which has significantly affected the device’s value and the number of recyclers willing to buy it. All of this is to say that if you’re thinking of selling your device and you want to get the most for it, you should do it sooner rather than later.
Where Should I Sell to Get the Most Money for My Phone?
There are many ways to sell your phone, including eBay, Gumtree, and other online marketplaces. While you’re likely to come across a more lucrative payout than if you were to use a reseller directly, it comes with its own set of risks such as fraud and hassles of buyers wasting your time and fees.
High Street Stores
If you want to speak to someone face to face, you might prefer to go into a high street phone repair shop. There are many shops that will buy old phones, from independent phone-shop stores on your local high street to chain stores like CEX.
If you want to sell your phone to a recycling company, you should compare the offers available online, The best tool that will get the job done for you is our comparison, where we list reputable companies that offer market-leading prices. Alternatively, you can use other online trade-in sites directly. But before you go ahead and sell your device to a recycler, make sure that you do some research regarding their reputation, returns policies and price lock-in. These are all factors which will guide your decision.
How Much Money Can I Get for My Phone?
There are a few factors which will determine the price that you will get for your phone. These include the manufacturer, model and the overall condition of your device. Firstly, you will get the most money for your device if its condition is new.
New is defined as a phone which has never been turned on or is in pristine condition - essentially a device which is fresh out of the box or has been barely used.
Following new phones are the ones which we and many recyclers refer to as working. These are the phones that have been used day-to-day but have not been damaged in any way, with no functionality issues, a broken screen and/or water damage, as these would class the phone as broken.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Lastly, there are broken phones. These are the devices that have a notable defect or have cosmetic damage beyond general wear and tear including but not limited to cracked/broken screens, deep scratches and dents. If your phone fits this category, you don’t need to worry as there are many recycling companies which will buy phones in this condition. You just need to ensure that you’ve filtered comparison results by condition broken.
Steps to Take Before You Sell Your Phone
1. Make Sure That Your Phone Works
Image by Kamil Feczko on Unsplash
This might seem obvious, but it’s very important not to skip this essential step, especially if the device has been sitting unused for a prolonged period of time. To make sure that your phone works, plug the charger in and power the device on. Look for signs of life and test the functionality of the screen, front and rear cameras, volume buttons, speaker, Wi-Fi, mobile data and Bluetooth. If it does not power on, there aren’t any signs of life or any of the features are not functioning as per manufacturer’s specifications, you can still sell your device, but it will need to be categorised as broken.
2. Identify Your Phone Model and Find Out What Storage Specification Your Device Has
Resale prices depend not only on cosmetic condition and functionality, but also on a configuration such as internal storage capacity. When buying a new phone, you will pay more for a 128GB or 256GB storage, than for a 64GB variant. So retail price differences between the storage variants transfer onto the resale market, and depending on the manufacturer the trade-in value difference between the lowest and the highest storage capacity models can be quite significant.
Hence it is important you identify this specification as well as your phone’s model correctly. If you still have the original box, this information will be written on there. Alternatively, you can go to the Settings menu and dig into the About phone tab. More on this in our guides:
3. Check If Your Device Is Network Locked
While you can sell network locked devices perfectly fine, you can get a few quid extra if your device is unlocked. Pop a different SIM card in and try making a call. If it is successful then your phone is unlocked and can be used on any network. If this experiment fails, you will need to either get in touch with your network provider or fill in a form on their website to request the unlock.
4. Delete Your Data and Restore to Factory Settings
If you’ve established that your device is working, then you’ll need to wipe your phone of its data and return it to default settings. You can find a step by step guide here. Not only will this give you peace of mind regarding security, but it will make sure that selling your device will be plain sailing.
5. Clean Your Device
The last step before sending your phone away is to make sure that it’s spick and span. To do this, first of all remove any accessories such as screen protector, skins and cases. You can use some tech wipes to scrub away any grime on the handset. To achieve a perfect clean, use a non-ammonia based cleaners (avoid window cleaner or Dettol) and use a soft microfibre cloth with a small amount of solution to gently wipe the casing, the back and front of your phone. Smaller tools such as a folded card or a toothpick can help you to access those hard to reach crevices to give your device a thorough clean.
How to Take Care of My Phone to Help Maintain its Resale Value?
As we mentioned earlier, a new device will get the most money out of all the device categories that we have listed on our site. If your handset is still new, these are our top tips to help you to get the most money for it when the time to sell it comes:
1. Case Protection
We can’t stress this enough: put a case and a screen protector on your phone from day one. There’s simply no better way of minimising any cosmetic damage. Once you’ve added both, you’ve protected your phone against common mishaps that could reduce the value of your device in the future.
2. Prevent Screen Burn In
If you have a device with an OLED screen, these are more susceptible to burn in, which basically means pixel discolouration and is something to be aware of if you want to get the highest price at a later stage. Ways in which you can prevent this from happening include regularly changing the wallpaper, using Dark Mode if your device has this capability. You can find more tips in the blog post we linked to above.
Image by KILIAN on Unsplash
Lastly, you can get cheap phone insurance from certain bank accounts, home insurance, or even as a job perk. Accidents happen and buying phone insurance lowers the cost of repair. It ensures a professional job covered by warranty to maintain a high working price when the time comes to sell your device. Unauthorised parts fitted in a phone will downgrade its resale price, and several recyclers do not offer a working price for a device on which unauthorised repairs were carried out.