When buying a new phone, carriers and retailers often pitch discounts in the form of trade-in offers. That’s when you send in an old phone that meets the vendors’ requirements in exchange for tens to hundreds of dollars off your new one.
Still, trading in your old cell phone is not as simple as powering off your device and handing it to your local store associate. That’s why we’ve curated this guide to help you through all the steps and best practices for a burden-less trade-in experience.
Step-by-Step Guide To Trading In Your Old Cell Phone
1. Backup Your Data
Make sure you backup your data before selling or trading in your old cell phone.
The first practice that you should always do when switching to a new phone is backing up the data and files on your old one. You wouldn’t want to lose all those pictures, videos, contacts, and text messages, right?
For iOS or Android, the backup process is fairly straightforward, with multiple options to get the job done. Just make sure that your phone is charged up (at least 75%, ideally) so that it doesn’t power off in the middle of the transfer.
2. Do a Factory Reset
When you want to sell or trade-in your cell phone, you want to ensure all your data is deleted. Otherwise, someone might use it for various nefarious purposes.
The best way to do this is by doing a factory reset. A factory reset will delete all your data, including your contacts, messages, photos, and apps. It will also restore your phone to its original settings, so it will be like you just bought it new.
Factory resetting an iPhone
Open your settings app > tap General > scroll down to Transfer or Reset iPhone > Erase All Content and Settings > Continue > type in your iPhone passcode to confirm the reset.
At this point, your phone will try to back up to the cloud. If it works, you’ll be allowed to continue. If not, you’ll be prompted to Erase anyway.
This procedure will wipe the apps and data of your device, as well as remove your Apple ID, Find My setting, and Apple Wallet from the iPhone.
To do a factory reset on an Android:
Accessing the factory reset settings on Android is a little more complicated as the pathway depends on what brand you’re using. However, one method that works for all manufacturer devices is to open your settings and searching “factory reset” at the top.
You can usually factory reset Android phones by going to Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset) > Erase all data. Enter your PIN and confirm by hitting Erase all data.
Once your phone has fully reset itself, power it off, and remove your SIM card and case.
3. Remove Your SIM Card and SD Card
Before getting rid of your cell phone, you need to remove your SIM card and SD card. These personal data storage devices contain all your contacts, photos, and other information. The new owner will access all your data if you leave them on the phone.
The only thing you need to remove the SIM card in your iPhone is an Apple SIM card remover tool (this is included in the original box in some countries, especially when you buy an unlocked device). But a small, bent paper clip, will also get the job done.
Gently insert the tool into the small pinhole opening in the SIM tray and apply a small amount of pressure until the SIM tray pops out. Don’t apply pressure at an angle, only in the direction of the pin hole. Then grab hold of the SIM tray and pull straight out.
For the SD card on Androids, you’ll need to grab your SIM card ejection tool. Place the narrow end of the tool into the tiny hole and push down gently. Once the SIM tray pops up, drop the card into your hand.
4. Gather Any Accessories and Collateral
Another vital thing to do before you sell or trade-in your phone is to gather any accessories and collateral that came with it. This includes the charger, earbuds, and manuals.
If you have the original box, that’s even better. These items will make your phone more appealing to potential buyers and help you get a higher price for it.
So, take a few minutes to rummage through your house and collect all the pieces that go with your phone. Once you have everything, you’ll be one step closer to selling it!
5. Clean Your Phone’s Body
After cleaning your phone from the inside, it’s a good idea to give the outside a bit of care too. This will make the device look more presentable and increase your chances of negotiating a good deal, especially if you’re selling the phone yourself.
Before you start cleaning your phone, be sure to turn it off, unplug the charger and headphone cable, and remove the back cover. Avoid using rubbing alcohol as it can harm the oleophobic coating of your display; instead, follow your brand of phone’s guide on how to clean your phone properly.
6. Check for and Repair Physical Damage
When you’re getting ready to trade-in or sell your cell phone, the last thing you want is for there to be any sort of physical damage that will lower the value. So, before you put your phone up for sale, look closely at it to check for any cracks, scratches, or other damage.
If there is any damage, you’ll need to get it repaired before selling it. If it can’t be repaired, make sure that you mention it when selling.