3 Things You Can Do With Your Old Phone

You’re ready to upgrade your smartphone, but you’re not sure what to do with your old phone. Instead of letting it collect dust in the back of your closet, we’ve created a list of 3 things that you can do: donate it, sell it, or recycle it.

Where can I donate old phones?

A great way to repurpose your cell phone and give back is by donating it to a charitable organization. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a nonprofit that accepts cell phones in any condition, recycles them, and uses the funds to provide lifelines for troops and veterans.

Another organization to consider donating to is Secure the Call, a nonprofit that collects unwanted cell phones and distributes them to seniors and domestic abuse victims.  In addition to providing opportunities to donate a single cell phone, Secure the Call also has over 900 permanent cell phone collection barrels located in grocery stores, libraries, and other public places throughout the United States.

Remember, if you itemize your deductions come tax time, you can deduct the fair market value of your donated cell phone on your federal tax return the next year. The fair market value usually depends on the condition of the phone, and is the price a buyer would be willing to pay. You can always look on sites like eBay or Gazelle to estimate the fair market value of your phone.

Where can I sell my phone?

Speaking of eBay and Gazelle, these are also great sites to use to make some extra cash as you say goodbye to your phone. Both of these websites support the buying and selling of old phones. While eBay focuses on buying and selling products of many categories, Gazelle is solely technology focused. If you are interested in selling your old phone locally, you can use Facebook MarketplaceCraigslist, LetGo, or OfferUp. All of these sites provide easy ways to sell used items through their location-based virtual markets.  When selling through these location-based sites, be sure to exercise caution and follow basic safety guidelines:

  • Always meet a buyer in person in a well-lit and well-populated public place, like a coffee shop, supermarket, mall, or your local police station’s parking lot.
  • Beware of potential buyers who make unusual requests or who send messages that seem spammy. One common scam is for the buyer to insist on sending a check or money order for more than the asking price, and for you to refund the difference with cash. Don’t fall for this one – you’ll be out a phone and the cash difference!
  • If you’re unsure about someone’s identity, it may be helpful to connect on a short phone call before meeting in person.
  • Never give out your personal financial information to accept payment.

Where can I recycle old cell phones?

Simply throwing away unwanted electronics can cause major harm to the environment. Many electronic devices contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and cadmium that need to be disposed of properly. Call2Recycle offers drop-off locations for cell phones across the United States. Simply enter your zip code to find the closest location near you. In addition, the TIA E-cycling Central website provides a clickable map that shows recycling locations at both state and local levels.

Before getting rid of your old phone, be sure to protect yourself

Before you donate, resell, or recycle your old phone, make sure to wipe your phone of all personal data that it might have stored. This prevents any chances that future users can access your email and social media accounts, passwords, photos, and other saved information on your device. To help you keep yourself protected, we’ve put together 4 steps you can take to wipe your phone before it leaves your hands.

The first step you can take in preparing your phone is to remove any associated Google accounts that are linked to your phone. Next, encrypt the data if your phone is not already encrypted. Third, perform a complete factory reset of your device to return it to its original settings. Finally, don’t forget to remove the SIM card and SD card (if your phone has one) from your device. Congratulations! You’re now ready to safely donate, resell, or recycle your phone.

So you’ve gotten rid of your old phone, now what?

For a shiny new phone upgrade, check out Republic Wireless’s selection of the latest models of phones from Samsung, LG, Motorola, and more. Each of these phones works with our low-cost plan starting at just $15 per month for unlimited talk and text on our extensive, reliable nationwide 4G LTE network. With data priced at just $5 per GB, we are proud to offer one of the best deals in no contract prepaid cell phone plans, so you can spend less money on your cell phone bill and more money on the important things in life.

Still can’t part ways with your old phone?

No problem! Republic Wireless allows you to keep your own cell phone when you join our 4G LTE network. Ditch your expensive wireless provider today, and switch to Republic Wireless in only 4 easy steps.

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Notable Replies

  1. Check out the ‘Alfred’ app. You can use old smart phones as free security cameras…

  2. A law enforcement officer made the great suggestion to keep a no longer used cell plugged in and turned on in each room of your house. Even when not activated, they are able to dial 911. Great to have around in case of an emergency, home invasion, etc.

  3. You can plug those phone into the charger and let them run distributed computing projects, e.g. science projects that utilize your devices to study various science topics:

    BOINC (out of UC Berkeley with projects studying mathematics, astronomy, life sciences, and more):

    DreamLab (out of Australia, working on cancer): https://www.garvan.org.au/support-us/dreamlab/

  4. I would like to use my old republic moto g gen 3 only as a web browser and for select apps such as display for my wi-fi weather station, or bluetooth erg machine. I have a newer republic phone for telephone and other apps.

    Is there a way to remove or disable all the unnecessary cell tower access that Republic requires (even though my phone number is no longer attached to this phone)? Also most of the google apps are unnecessary especially gmail, and texting.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  5. Just turn on airplane mode and re-enable WiFi. You won’t be able to remove any apps that came pre-installed on the phone.

  6. Thanks cbwahistrom-- that looks like it may solve my problem. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, but no phone or cell. :star_struck:

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