Selling a Samsung Galaxy S4

How to sell your old Android smartphone or tablet and get the most money possible towards a new one

With so many sweet new Android phones coming out, you may be trying to figure out how you can budget for one of them. The most sensible way to make some extra coin in this case is to sell off your old Android phone, but there are a lot of different ways to do that, and it's hard figuring out which one will get you the most money for your used Android device.

Preparing to sell your Android device

Though you may be tempted to put up a sale listing for your Android device right away, there's quite a bit of prep work involved before getting the gears turning. These steps are absolutely essential in making sure you can get the very most cash for your phone, and are helpful to keep in mind for your next device to retain resale value.

Wipe your Android device and clear all data

You use your phone for some very personal tasks, and the last thing you want is letting someone else have access to any of that related information. That means conducting a factory reset on the Android device you want to sell. The process is very straightforward, but varies by device. Start by tapping the Settings icon, and see if there's a Backup & Reset option on the list. Otherwise, it may be under Security or Memory subsections.

Also, remember to remove or wipe your SD card separately, since it will often keep much of your data, such as photos, music, and downloads. You'll also need to remove your SIM card so you can bring your service and phone number to your new device, or at least prevent a stranger from reactivating your account.

Clean up your Android device and take great pictures

After a lengthy period of use, your Android device is going to have some wear. That's a given. Some of the dings you might not be able to ignore (and remind you why it's a good idea to have a case), but you can still clean up the device a fair bit. Clear lint out of the cracks of the device, including any USB or headphone jacks, and give every flat surface a good wipe down.

Next you'll need to take some high-quality photos of your device. Get some good light, set up a tripod, and get shooting. Though it may be tempting to gloss over the defects, be honest and include shots of the nicks your device has accumulated; buyers will act in good faith knowing what they're getting into, and make sure you get good feedback once the transaction's complete.

Include accessories and original cables

Optimus Black wires

If you're anything like us, you save your boxes from your device purchases, if only as trophies. These are good to use when selling your device to someone, not to mention including any original cables or accessories. It's entirely likely that you already had USB cables and earbuds in use when you first got your phone, leaving whatever was included in the box in good condition. Even if they aren't in great shape, try to track them down and include them in the sale for completeness sake. Even the documentation is nice to keep included. Often sellers will include their aftermarket accessories as added bonuses, which should help keep the price up. It's a sensible thing to do, since things like cases aren't going to be particularly useful with your new device.

Unlock your phone

Why limit your potential buyers to customers from just one carrier? Having a SIM-unlocked unlocked opens up how many potential buyers you can appeal to with your Android device sale. Sure, they can get devices unlocked themselves, but this saves them the extra step and adds value to your device. If you're feeling really helpful, you can identify which bands your phone supports, and say which local carriers can be used with your phone in the product description.

Putting your Android device up for sale

Now that all of the preparation is done, you're ready to box up your phone and put up a listing. We've got a few options here on where to sell your Android device, as well as some best practices when doing so. Just remember that when dealing with larger companies, you'll often have to wait until the condition of your Android device is confirmed before you get paid.

Carrier trade-in

AT&T store

You can skip the whole rigamarole of finding a buyer by going right to your carrier. Often they'll have a trade-in program whereby you earn credit towards your next handset purchase by handing over your old one. In fact, some plans, like Verizon's Edge program, are predicated on this trade-in notion, but the return for you as a seller is rarely significant (even though it's quite convenient). This can also mean you've got to sign up for another contract with your existing carrier. If you know you're going to be sticking the same service provider for the foreseeable future, this could be a viable choice.

Amazon trade-in

Amazon offers its own trade-in service for just about every type of electronic doodad, including Android devices. Amazon will pay for shipping, but you'll get paid with an Amazon gift card rather than cold hard cash. Of course Amazon has plenty of handsets you can buy, but if you've got a new device from another source already, and are just looking to get some cash from a spare device, Amazon has just about everything you might want to buy, and it's very convenient.

Gazelle

Gazelle is a third-party reseller that specializes in buying and selling used devices. Gazelle handles shipping costs, and has to confirm the quality of the device you ship in before paying out over PayPal, check, or Amazon gift card. Right now, you can get $170 for a Samsung Galaxy S4 in good condition, plus Gazelle has a promo where you get an extra $10 on your device, so long as it's valued over $50.

eBay

eBay for Android

eBay is a hugely popular way to sell anything online. A rating system vets for buyers and sellers and transactions can be kept secure through PayPal. Of course, you'll have to deal with a few extra fees and the hassle of shipping, but your device is bound to be seen through a much wider audience here than anywhere else. There are a few things to keep in mind before popping up your listing here.

  • Only ship to the confirmed PayPal address, if that's how you're getting paid. This ensures you keep PayPal Seller Protection.
  • It's really important to price competitively, especially if you're using the Buy it Now option. It's very easy to check other sales of the same item and see how much they've sold for. With a larger seller pool, it's easy for buyers to find cheaper alternatives.
  • Being honest about the condition of your Android device is more important than ever when selling on eBay. Shipping an item in the condition it wasn't described as can earn you a poor review, and potentially lead to the buyer getting their money back.
  • Use important keywords in the title and description to ensure it gets discovered. That means full market name, model number, carrier branding, memory denomination, and a mention of accessories included.
  • Mention shipping details in your description. Usually the faster the shipping the better, even if it bumps up the cost of the device, and insurance isn't a bad idea. Communicate regularly with your eventual buyer about the shipping status of the device.
  • Avoid low-feedback buyers. Odds are it's for a reason, and you can often drill down into their feedback profile to see any previous altercations a buyer has had on eBay.

Craigslist

Craigslist for Android

Craigslist will help you find a local buyer for your Android device. Obviously they'll want to check out the condition of your phone in person before agreeing to make the plunge, but meeting someone face to face can avoid the hassle of shipping. Some sellers might not be comfortable meeting up with strangers to sell their stuff, but it's fairly common occurrence, and so long as you follow some simple guidelines, everything should go smoothly.

  • Don't post your home address in the public Craigslist ad. Duh.
  • Price competitively by monitoring how much similar devices are selling. Obviously you'll have a hard time moving yours if it's put up right next to the same device for a cheaper price.
  • If interested buyers want to call on the phone, consider using a Google Voice, SkypeOut, or other temporary phone number to maintain some of your privacy.
  • When you've sealed the deal, meet up with the buyer in a public place during the daytime. Though most buyers are going to be perfectly normal and friendly, but better safe than sorry. n
  • Shipping internationally or getting offers that are astronomically higher than your asking price are typically signs of a scam. Hold off for a legit offer.

Swappa

Swappa is a dedicated mobile device marketplace with strong quality assurance on device sold. Buyers pay a $10 fee in the U.S., but what they're buying is inspected and vouched for by Swappa. They even do a check to make sure there isn't an outstanding balance on the device. Prices are decent, too; the Verizon Galaxy S4 is currently going for an average of $316.

Friends and family

People you already know may actually be in the market for a new device, and be willing to pay up for it. Assuming you're on good terms with a buyer you already know, you can count on getting a good price, plus it's convenient being able to hand off the phone to someone you might already see regularly anyway. You'll also feel good with the knowledge that a friend or family member is getting some use out of your old handset.

Get more help selling your Android device

We have a whole forum dedicated to wheeling and dealing in used devices, so be sure to check in there for any of our community members that are interested in buying. You can also check out our general help forums if you've got questions about how to go about selling your Android device

 

Reader comments

How to sell your old Android device

74 Comments

Me, too. It's the best way to get the most money. I usually make the initial post for considerably more money than I think is fair, and if I don't get a bite, I'll re-post weekly, decreasing the price by $50 each time. I always offer to sell the phone rooted or with CM installed if the person wants, which often increases what people are willing to pay. I've never once had someone try to screw me over, and I really prefer to deal in cash for this kind of thing, rather than transferring money through a third party.

You're right, best place to get the most money with no hassle, just have the person meet in a public spot, McDonald's, banks etc and you good to rock
Posted via Android Central App

+1. Everything seeks fast on craigslist. As long as it is in good condition and at a reasonable price.

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah, it happens here in LA all the time. Craigslist robbery is a trend here.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

Yes South Florida is not the best but I have still had great success with Craigslist in the Fort Lauderdale area.

I've been selling my phone on Craigslist, just have them meet me at the carrier store to be safe. But recently I signed up on Verizon Edge, thought I give it a try.

Best site to sell on in my opinion. .never had a problem...plus I bought a few with good results.

Posted via Android Central App

I think Swappa should definitely be on this list. Much easier and better quality than ebay. They guarantee only quality devices are listed and every time I have listed a device for sale they sell in a matter of hours. Plus, they only charge a $10 listing fee billed to the seller and they are great to work with.

I agree I buy and sell on swappa exclusively to avoid scams, get more money for items I sell, and sell them quicker

I got murdered in a well lit grocery store parking lot trying to sell a phone through Craigslist 2 years ago today. If you do not repost this at least once in the next 8 minutes the same thing will happen to your first born child. Plot twist - if you do not ever have a child this will happen to your favorite cousin/aunt/uncle/friend.

Gazelle may be the easiest (of what I've tried) but they give the worst possible prices! A Note 3 in perfect condition today (I just checked) is $210. That's a horrible offer. I sent them an old S3 that they offered $75 for, when they got it they lowered it to $45 because they said the battery would not hold a charge (absolute lie). I had them ship it back and got $125 on Craigslist. I'm sure people have had luck with them, and they are convenient, but you will pay a premium for that convenience.

Worst place ever. I tried selling a phone there once, a few years ago, and 9 out 10 people contacting you will just try to con you off everything you own.

I use ebay. The fees are really high though. You lose probably 20-25% of the price because of the fees.

Remember to get signature confirmation if you sell something over $250 to protect yourself. Regular tracking isn't enough on items over $250. Items you sell lower than that make sure you buy tracking to protect yourself from the "I never received it" type people. That's never happened to me but it could and without tracking or signature confirmation ebay/paypal will side with the buyer.

I just sold a keyboard for $86. $2.79 paypal fee and $8.60 ebay fee. It was about $10 to ship the item leaving me with about $64. I am not exaggerating unless you don't count shipping in which case it is about 13% but you have to get the item to them. if you charge for shipping your item will either sell for less or not sell resulting in lower final value.

You either bake in the shipping cost or recoup it depending on the cost to ship. Either way you will likely get more on eBay than you will Craigslist due to a wider audience even if you want to consider shipping a cost.

Actually, eBay fees are high. If I sell my phone for $350 in eBay I lose about 13% in fees. So at 350, after eBay and PayPal fees my profit not including shipping costs is 304.55. With swappa I only pay $10 fee plus PayPal fee of around $10 and shipping is included in the listing price. That's about half of what I would pay with eBay.

Posted via Nexus 5 Android Central App

Swappa is the way to go. Sold 2 phones on there and bought one. Cheaper to sell and buy there than on ebay, and way safer than craigslist.

No one has mentioned Glyde. They are super easy to use and I have gotten the most money for my phones there. Sold my gray Note 2 on Sprint last October and got over $300. I sold my son's S2 in October and got $114.00. I sold my daughters EVO 4G LTEs in December and received over $103.00 for each phone. The Glyde site even tells you what Gazelle and other trade in sites are offering for your device! I highly recommend them. Only drawback I found is that the transaction takes just slightly longer than Gazelle in NY experience from listing to receiving your funds.

Posted via Android Central App

Bump. I've been using glyde for a while and it has definitely given me the most money and has a relatively quick turn around time.

I also have used Glyde multiple times to buy and sell devices, and have had nothing but good and fair profit, and good and fair purchases. The prices are usually appropriate.

Posted via Android Central App

Never use trade in unless it's upgrade swap website and it's a newer phone. Always use swappa and if it's not too hard use craigslist. Also unless your forced to don't use eBay. Their fees are outrageous.

Posted via Nexus 5 Android Central App

Swappa is the best place to buy and sell recent flagship devices.
I've been buying and selling smartphones since the iPhone 3GS on ebay
but lately I use swappa, as it costs less and you have the confidence that the IMEI was checked and verified by a third party.

I had my son's old DNA with a cracked screen to trade, Verizon would only give me $10 because of the crack. The mall where I was had an ecoATM. I was able to recycle it for $65 with ecoATM. Not too bad. Especially since I took it apart and put it back together for fun. It still worked even after that.

Posted via Android Central App

Best way to get cash ASAP is maxback
http://www.maxback.com no bull crap like c list. You get a great price better then gazelle joke and if you have PayPal and are honest you'll likely get your cash that week after they do a Mei check. I got over 800$ for 3 HTC phones off of them. 2 HTC mint m7 and a HTC M8.
Posted via Android Central App

One thing eBay is good for: selling a device that's broken. I've had good luck selling devices that were non-functional for a pretty good price. People on eBay often look for devices that are broken but they think they can fix and sell for full price. Thus, you often get surprising amounts for devices that you could never move on Craiglist.

Examples:

In March 2013 I sold a semi-bricked T-Mobile Samsung GS2 for $200.
In August 2013 I sold a Nexus 4 with a broken power button for $170. I bought a pristine fully-functioning replacement on Craigslist for $220 at the same time.
In November 2013 I sold an iPhone 3G with a non-functioning power button for $75.

I've sold several of my old devices to friends, neighbors and family. I don't make any effort to sell them, but I'm usually asked when someone breaks or loses their phone.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

Only time carrier trade-in makes real sense is when they do a trade any phone for $100 kind of deal and you have a real beater to trade in that is otherwise not worth much to sell. Otherwise selling it gets more value...I have used Swappa to sell phones before, it's the only way to go.

Craigslist is better now that the Flappy Birds craze is dying out.

"FOR SALE: iPhone 4, cracked screen, bite marks, button missing, has Flappy Birds. $1,200."

Posted via Android Central App

Swappa is AMAZING!
I've sold a few devices on there and it is easiest to work with.
Craigslist can be sketchy depending on your area and I've seen that people don't want to actually PAY what you are asking for your phone.(it's like an online yard sale) That said, if you're cheap, you can find phones for cheap on there!

$25 for my HTC EVO LTE? F*ck you sprint. I can get triple that on eBay. Mines mint, with box, etc

Posted via Android Central App

I'm thinking of selling my s4 since I just bought a nexus. Maybe I will sell it on swappa; or keep it as a backup.

Posted via Android Central App

I just sold my old BB Bold on Glyde.com which does all of the work for you. Did I mention I got $70 bucks for that thing when Gazelle wanted to offer me $0 for it. You can buy beat up smartphones there too. Im going to get my kid an old droid bionic for like $40 so that he can have his own phone to play apps and crap.

Ebay uses paypal for payment processing. If you are a new ebay seller paypal will hold your funds for 21 days after you sell your phone. Just go to cellbeach and see for yourself.

After hours of comparison shopping I found the best place to sell a phone is cellbeach dot com (didn't want to post their link here). Last week I sold them my Samsung Galaxy S3 and they paid me way more than Gazelle or anyone else had quoted me. I got my check fast and they paid me what I was quoted which doesn't always happen on other phone buying sites.

Also, forget ebay. They use Paypal for payment processing. If you are a new ebay seller Paypal will hold your money for 21 days after you sell your phone.

FYI – If you sell your phone to Amazon they pay you with an Amazon gift card. Cellbeach is best.