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How do I sell my phone? Get the most cash for your old mobile

How do I sell my phone
(Image credit: Future)

Should I sell my phone? A common question that arises when your contract comes to an end and you have to start thinking about starting the process all over again. And out of all of the options for what to do with your old device, selling it just makes the most sense.

While you're obviously not going to get the full value back on your trusted old device, those that have kept a handset in good nick can land themselves a decent return and a hefty saving for their next mobile phone investment.

Most websites that buy second hand phones separate the condition into categories. SellMyMobile, for example, offers different sums for new, used or broken, while other sites use grade categories and some state terms like "pristine" or "barely used" with decreasing value depending on the state of your device. Yep, that's right...you can even get cash for that broken old handset that's been under your bed all these years!

And considering mobile phone deals consistently seem to creep up in price, that extra bit of cash can be a saviour. But where can you sell it? How much will you get? Is it worth trading your device in for discounts instead? We've answered these questions below.

Where can I sell my phone?

There are a lot of websites where you can sell your old mobile phones but one of the best options is SellMyMobile. Where it differs to other such sites is the fact that it brings together a host of available websites, giving you some choice.

It ranks your options based on price, how long it takes to get you paid, Trustpilot score and more. This way you can focus on the options that you trust the most and that will pay you the most.

Obviously the major benefit here is the range you are getting supplied. Instead of just getting one price, you can get an idea of how the market is looking in general and understand if the price you choose is a good one.View Deal

Of course, this isn't the only available website. There are popular options like Music Magpie but with these you're not able to compare prices to other companies so you won't know if it is the best price out there.

Many retailers offer trade-in options as well. Samsung and Apple for instance will allow you to cut down the cost of a new device by giving them your old handset.

How does selling your phone work?

If you go through sellMyMobile, there's a few steps you'll need to follow but they keep it pretty simple!

Step 1: Register
The first thing you do is go to the website, choose your device and its current condition. Then, simply choose the company you wish to go through and they will set you a price and if you agree, will send you some packaging.

Step 2: pack it up and send it back
Once your packaging arrives, you need to put your phone in it, fill out any forms that come with it - for example, whether your phone is tied to a network, its condition and your personal details.

Then, pack it all up in the envelopes provided and take it a post office to send it back.

Step 3: collect your reward
The company will review your device and see what state it is in. If it doesn't fit the state you described or they have changed their mind on its value, they will send you a new quoted figure or accept the one originally given.

If they do give a new quote that you aren't happy with, you can ask for your device to be returned to you. Happy with the figure provided? You accept and they pay you - simple!

What to do before selling my phone?

Look around at your competition

You should take some time to see what price other people are selling your exact model of phone for to check you’re not going to be ripped off.

Something to bear in mind is the storage available in your phone. For example, if you own the 64GB Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, it’ll be worth more than the 32GB version, so it’s worth looking in the Settings on your phone to ensure you know what version you own.

Take a look at the recycling, auction and sale sites in the next section below to check how much your phone is worth before you start trying to sell it. Doing this may mean you can avoid getting screwed over.

Check over your device

This can be hard to do as you may realise your phone isn’t worth as much as you’d hoped. If you have damaged your device, make sure you’re clear about it with whoever you’re selling to.

If you try to cover up the condition of your device it may damage your reputation on auction websites and some deals will even be invalidated if you’ve lied.

Reset your phone

This is something a lot of people forget to do, but you have to make sure you’ve reset your device before you then sell it on. You can hard reset all modern smartphones, which means it will then delete all of your data that’s currently on there. 

Without doing this, whoever buys you phone may have access to your data, your private accounts and you’ll likely lose things in the process too. Before resetting your phone also make sure you’ve backed up any data you want to save to use on your next device such as music, photos and videos.

Selling your phone: FAQ

When is it best to sell my phone?

There are only two factors that will affect how much you get for your phone - how long ago the phone launched and the current condition it is in. The newer the handset, the higher the price you will receive meaning brand new flagships will net you the largest amount, while old budget handsets will receive small amounts.

Then the other factor to consider is condition. Most companies offer three states - new, used and broken. Obviously you're unlikely to sell a phone new (still in the box) so if you're ready to sell your device, getting rid of it before it suffers a major break or gets too old will land you the best price.

How much cash will I get if I sell my phone? 

This completely depends on what device you're selling. Apple handsets hold on to their value the longest meaning you can get a surprisingly good return on iPhone deals. Android devices less so and Window's phones...sorry, it's not great.

As we mentioned above, it entirely depends on what you're selling, how old it is and what its original RRP was. Below we've listed a few examples of how much you could get for certain devices through SellMyMobile

These prices will depend on how good the condition of your device is, how old the device is when you sell and more so the best way to know what you can get is to compare prices right now.

*Prices correct at time of writing

  • iPhone 7 32GB - working condition - £96
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB - working condition -  £111
  • iPhone 6 - 64GB - working condition - £47
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 - working condition - £65
  • iPhone X - working condition - £297
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus - working condition - £160
  • Huawei P30 - working condition - £175
  • Google Pixel 3 - working condition - £145

Can I sell a refurbished phone?

Yes you can. However, like any kind of phone, you will have to declare the state that it is currently in. If it has scrapes, cuts or internal issues, these will bring the price you can get down.

While refurbished phones will almost always come in a good condition, there is still the chance that there is some damage that you are unaware of when it comes to selling your phone.

What if my phone is completely broken?

Unsurprisingly, the more damaged your phone, the less you will get for it. If the screen is destroyed, you'll receive a far lower valuation and if the phone doesn't work at all, it is quite likely you won't get anything for it.

In these cases, it is worth researching companies that will buy your phone for scraps. This gets the device off your hands and allows you to at least get a small amount of money for it.

What should I do if my phone is locked to a network?

There's some good news and bad news here. Yes, you can sell a phone that is locked to a network with no problems. However, SellMyMobile will reduce the amount they are willing to pay you if it is locked.

You can either a) accept the lowered price or b) unlock the phone yourself. This will require getting in touch with your network and isn't always a guaranteed option. It is worth trying though if you want the best price possible.