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What do you do with your old phone after buying a new one?

Whether you buy phones outright or pay for them on monthly installment plans through your carrier, upgrading to the latest and greatest mobile tech is always an exciting time.

However, after you finally take a break from playing around with your new toy, there comes a time when you need to figure out what to do with your old phone. Should you sell it? Keep it for old-times sake? Maybe find someplace you can recycle it at?

There are a lot of different ways to answer this question, and to help break it down, here's how the AC forum community responded to it.

Normally I keep all of them. I recently tried to sell two of my S7 Edge phones, my Note 8 and a few iPhones. All I got was lowball offers so I figured I would just keep the phones. We have a guy at my job who was in prison for a while and has been doing some good things in his life and even got his monitor taken off and is proving he's a good guy in everything he does. He didn't even have a...

anon(5719825)

I keep my very first device. I have a few low cost Android devices as a backup, but I typically sell them on swappa to help pay for a newer device.

tony bag o donuts

Very interesting thread - love it! I keep my old one as a backup in case something happens to my new phone. Lately, however, my brother and boyfriend will make use of my backup phone (s) until they get new ones. 😃

Morty2264

I go back to an old Motorola MicroTAC. The only phones I haven't kept are mobiles (yes, we used to have a radio mounted in the trunk and a control head with a handset on the hump, under the dashboard) and my bag phones. But by the time I buy a new phone, the last one isn't worth anything - it's not worth the trouble of putting a phone on Letgo for $150, only to get offers of $50.

Rukbat

I've kept a few phones over the years that have some sort of sentimental value to them, but for the most part, I usually go the route of selling them to help lower the cost of whatever I'm upgrading to.

What about you? What do you do with your old phone after you buy a new one?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

37 Comments
  • I sell them on Kijiji and use that money to upgrade. I agree with one of the other posters though about low-ball offers; I always put a minimum offer at the top of the write up which seems to help.
  • My last phone went to my oldest, 2nd to last went to my other son, and my oldest is a backup/universal remote as it has the IR blaster. Previous phones were sold, except my OG Droid, which I still have.
  • I buy low-mid rangers ($200-ish), so resale value after 2-3 years is zero. So I keep them around, for long trips, when I forget to charge the main one, for my 3rd clash of Clans account, as a loaner when I get visitors from abroad (I keep a $3/month unlimited voice+texts contract on them, no data though). So I've got 2 phones in working order right now. I would have a 3rd one but it met an untimely demise when I fell from a boat; the 4th and 5th phones died earlier this year (a Galaxy Note v1 and a mysterious Chinese H3088 bought a pitance that wildly exceeded my expectations). The 6th one, an HTC HD2, is still in working order, on Android, in some drawer.
  • I usually sell them on swappa if it's a flagship that has high demand. My current Note 8 will replace my wife's Note 5 and it will become backup/travel phone.
  • Craigslist has never let me down.
  • Unless there is something wrong with them I give them all away. Seems there is always someone in need of a phone.
  • Normally I sell them on eBay. My last phone though was a Moto g4 plus and it was a wreck by the time I upgraded so i never bothered to try and sell that one. The only phone I have kept is my old Motorola RAZR flip phone. Only cause I never thought to sell it and then my dad used it up until about 2 years ago. He gave it back and I kept it for sentimental reasons (my first proper "fancy" phone!) Unfortunately it won't charge up now but sometimes I think it might be nice to ditch the smart phone and go back.
  • It depends on the phone itself, and if it is usable without a sim card. Most of them get traded back in or passed along to others, and I only keep four of the more interesting or nostalgic ones. I wish I had kept my original Startac.
    In my collection are the LG G700, which has a camera that rotates in the hinge and was the fastest phone for tethering at the time. Next is the LG Vue Plus which had a better video quality than the iPhone 4, athough the mobile TV feature was useless after AT&T reallocated the frequencies it used.
    Then there's the iPhone 5S which I keep for nostalgia despite the tiny terrible screen, and lastly is the HTC M8, which still stands as the pinnacle of audio quality. LG has the LOUD award, but they never matched the pure audio quality of the M8. I still have the remains of a Sony T610 bar phone that I keep finding (cool, but had the worst reception), and my old Siemens S66 is still around here somewhere after being trashed by my daughter when she borrowed it. The S66 was the "Ocean's Eleven" phone, and could handle a thousand contacts at the time, which was great.
  • The HTC M8 was resigned to the bathroom, where it acted as a wifi streaming device / speaker.
    My Sony Z3 it at my work desk, and has a set of headphones plugged in and is used as a FM radio. Not sure what to do with my now "old" G6 though. I guess I'll sell it.
  • Dedicate them to mining electroneum.
  • Usually keep them, because by the time I'm switching any value toward an upgrade or resale is next to nothing. If there is still life in a phone, it might go to one of the kids.
  • I keep my phones so long that they're pretty worthless as far as trade ins go so they're usually just kept as backups or remote controls for Plex/Netflix/Music. I have given a few away to careful people who did manage to break a phone. As they aren't serial upgraders, they really just need something that calls, texts and has internet access. Droid Incredible to Galaxy Nexus to LG G3 to LG G6. Definitely not a serial upgrader so my devices are very old news by the time I switch out.
  • Media remotes . Lol not worth selling after a year of me owning them usually
  • I keep them as a backup. but generally I give it to family or sell to family for a super low price who have worse phones.
  • As the others stated. I keep older phones for backup in case something happens to my phone or my wife's phone. I've got an old purple Samsung flip phone. A htc droid incredible, a galaxy s4(still works just screen in real bad shape), an LG g2(hardware damaged, screen doesn't work) a couple of those indestructible Casio phones. Of the old phones I've had, I've sold only 2. A galaxy s3 and a HTC m7.
  • The only phone I kept is the T-Mobile G1, for nostalgia's sake. Otherwise, I sell my phones as soon as I upgrade, to help mitigate the cost of the new device.
  • I use my old Android phones as Security Cameras. Works great (especially with HomeAssistant.io)! Look for the app "IP Webcam" in the Play Store.
  • I have loads of old phones around here somewhere, older Android devices I usually repurpose with a custom ROM of some description though.
  • I turn them in to the store when I get a new one.
    It's a thing in Norway. You swap devices once a year and pay a monthly fee
  • Almost always sell the phone on Swappa to help pay for the new phone. Can usually get a good price on Swappa if you're patient and ignore the low-ball offers. I feel like there are people who just low-ball everyone hoping one will cave in.
  • By the time I get a new one nobody wants the old one. My S5 still going strong.
  • I like to have one phone as a backup or beater type device. Otherwise I just trade them in or sell them.
  • I have all of my old phones. I think I've only traded one in ever. I refuse to support the system where you trade in or sell a phone for a tiny fraction of what it's worth and then they sell it for only slightly less than the actual value of a new(ish) phone.
  • With WiF to downloads maps and music makes amhreat bike computer
  • I have been trading mine in towards a new one. But I still have my s5 and my note 4. They are just in old Samsung packages put away for nostalgic at this point since I'll never use them again.
  • Long story short, I had a loaner Galaxy S3 through Telus, dropped it cracking the screen, so I now have a back-up GS3. I had a Note4, but it really p¡ssed me off, so when I pre-ordered the Note8, I frizbee-tossed the POS against a cinderblock wall and tossed the remains in a bin.
  • Every phone I have from my Nexus One to my Nexus 6p has become part of my security camera network in and on my property.
  • I always keep the one just taken out of service, just in case. Then when that becomes the 3rd runner up, it goes ebay bound. For some reason, I always get more than I pay for them. Don't know why, although I should say my phones are pristine.
  • Sell on Gazelle, Declutter or hand down to my children when theirs inevitably gets a cracked screen or dropped in milk... yes, milk! Ha!
  • I gave my Nexus 6 to my mother and sold my HTC 10. I'll keep my V20 as a backup to my XZ1 Compact.
  • I always keep my old phones because I'm a geek and enjoy seeing the progression in the technology I've owned over the years. Plus they're usually too beaten looking for me to sell them even if I wanted to.
  • I was so pissed at Moto for not upgrading my Moto z play to Oreo in may I sold it out of spite. I couldn't look at the phone anymore I was so upset at Moto I will not buy another one. Normally I hold on to the old ones. But moto pushed me passed the point
  • Use the old phones as security cameras around the house
  • My daughter just completed a project with a raspberry pi and half a dozen old phones making a security system for the house.
    Works really well.
  • Sell it or keep it as a backup.
  • I usually give them to the kids or just put them in a box in the closet. Probably close to 25 or so in there now.
  • Lol interesting re security camera idea. I always sell my old ones, previously eBay but more recent years mobile recycling sites. Got £180 for my old SGS7 so paid a good chunk of the new OP6 cost! I always keep them in a case and keep the original box, manual, etc so normally get a decent price.