With brand new smartphones being released on almost a weekly basis and sales hitting record levels, mobile customers are asking an increasingly familiar question: “What should I do with my old phone?”
Fortunately, there are now a number of alternatives to stashing your unwanted device at the back of the kitchen drawer to gather digital dust with all its predecessors. Here are some suggestions:
Pass it on
If your phone isn’t too old and you have teens or tweens in the house, then passing it along to one of your kids could be a popular solution.
Similarly, any decent phone – and by decent I mean one that still gets a signal and can hold a charge – could have real value for grandparents, a favorite aunt or uncle, or anyone in need of an emergency communication device. If you are passing it along outside of the family, just make sure that the recipient understands the monthly costs involved in setting up a plan. (In some cases, a Prepaid Plan with no monthly contract might be appropriate.)
Trade it in
One of the easiest ways to get rid of your old smartphones is to trade it in. Verizon has a program that allows you to trade-in phones, tablets and other devices for gift certificates or vouchers that can be used to buy new products or pay bills. The value of your old device is instantly assessed online and, once they receive the device, you usually get the gift certificate within 2-3 weeks. They will even pay for shipping.
If the idea of a gift card doesn’t do it for you, then you can always sell your old smartphone for cash. eBay or Craigslist are the obvious places to start, but specialty web sites like Gazelle can offer competitive prices without all the hassle of a listing or online auction.
Donating your old phone can be a selfless and worthwhile experience. Charities like Cells for Cells raise money for good causes – in this case, families battling cancer – by repurposing used cell phones. Verizon’s Hopeline program accepts used cell phones in support of victims of domestic abuse.
If you don't think your old phone has much value or you don't want the hassle of shipping it anywhere, then you can still keep it out of the kitchen drawer by recycling it. While cell phones represent the largest category of unwanted electronic devices, they are also the easiest to recycle. All the main service providers and electronics retailers have programs where you can drop off cell phones, chargers, cables and accessories for no fee. Most stores will accept any kind of cell phone from any service provider.
Before you trade-in, sell, donate or recycle your old phone, make sure you erase all your data, including e-mail, text messages, photos, media and apps. While Verizon and other carriers will automatically wipe your phone after receiving it through a trade-in deal, you shouldn’t rely on this. Backup your data using Backup Assistant Plus or another storage option and then visit Settings to erase all your data and restore factory settings.
I have been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.