Old Android Phone: Donate, Sell, Recycle?

January 5, 2015 •


Between launches of new phones, year-end deals and Christmas presents, there are a lot of people who’ve recently gotten a new Android phone. Don’t let the old phone take up space in a junk drawer. Instead, find it a new home smartly and safely.

Protecting Your Data
Before sending your old phone to a new home, make sure that your personal data has been removed. Set the phone back to factory settings to avoid your apps and contacts from showing up. If you want to be thorough, you can encrypt the data before you reset by going to Settings>Security>Encryption. This will take about an hour. Don’t forget to take out your old sim card and mini SD.

Sell the Phone
Do a bit of quick research online to find out if your phone has resale value. You can use services like Gazelle and Amazon to get prices. It’s also possible to sell your phone on eBay, craigslist or a local sales group on Facebook.

Donate the Phone
If your phone doesn’t seem like it would fetch much, or if you’d rather help people out with your discarded device, you can also donate your phone. Many thrift stores are happy to take them and sell them. Cellphones for Soldiers is a charity that refurbishes old phones, sells them, and uses the funds to send calling cards to deployed soldiers.

Recycle the Phone
Mobile phones contain heavy metals and plastics that can become pollutants. If the phone isn’t suitable for resale or donation, recycling it can help you assure that it doesn’t wind up in the waste stream. Many carriers will take back their old phones to have them recycled. Charities like Goodwill will sometimes partner with local businesses to collect discarded phones for recycling. Look for drop boxes in businesses that you patronize.

Taking care of this task as soon as you get your new phone can be a satisfying way to get the year off on the right foot. Not only do you take care of what can otherwise be a lingering task; you can ensure that your old phone does some good, whether it’s putting a few bucks in your pocket or seeing that your discarded device gives some benefit to someone else.