Unlike myself, you were one of the lucky ones. You patiently waited in line, and you were able to come up on a brand new out-the-box iPhone 5S or 5C. Now you’re enjoying all the benefits of the fingerprint sensor, slow motion video camera, and (if you were really lucky) elegant gold look of your new device. So what happens to the old one? Does your older model smartphone end up in that gadget graveyard drawer in your office where outdated electronics go to die? If starting an Apple museum doesn’t sound like something you’d be interested in, here are a few other things you can do with your iPhone.
1) Trade it in: Apple offers a Reuse and Recycling program where they will buy back your old iPhone. All you have to do is visit the website, answer a few questions about your device, and you get an immediate no-obligation quote on price that is guaranteed for 30 days. You also get free shipping to send your smartphone to Apple’s recycling partner, PowerOn. Once your phone is received and evaluated, you get an Apple Store gift card that can be used towards a new iPhone, iPad, or accessory. I checked the trade-in value of my iPhone 4 and found out I could get $140, which is definitely not too shabby for a device that is more than 2 years old. All four of the major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile) also offer some sort of trade-in program as well, but terms and conditions vary, so make sure you’re getting what you expect before you ship.
2) Sell it: If you just wanna get your hands on some cold hard cash, you can always sell your smartphone. I love the idea of ecoATM, a new way to get an instant payday for smartphones, mp3 players, and tablets. The ‘ATM’ kiosks are located in over 300 malls and shopping areas around the country and give out cash on the spot, even for gadgets that might not be in the best condition. You can also walk in to any Best Buy, Radio Shack, or Costco to try to make a sale, just keep in mind that these stores probably won’t accept damaged devices. A good list of online sales and/or trade-in sites can be found here.
3) Donate it: There are a few different organizations that come to mind when I think of donating a smartphone. Hope Phones is an innovative way to fund an organization called Medic Mobile. The mission of the group is to improve health in underserved communities around the world using mobile technology. The phones are used to enroll people in rural areas into healthcare services, send text message reminders for immunizations and other routine exams, and determine medical supply levels across clinics. Cell Phones for Soldiers uses donated phones to provide free communication to active duty military members and veterans. And your local domestic violence shelter is always in need of cell phones to distribute to women, a small donation that could potentially save a life.
Whether you trade it, sell it, or donate it, we should all be considering some alternate option for our old gadgets that ensures they don’t end up in a landfill. But before you do, make sure you remove the SIM card or reset the factory settings on the device to protect your personal information—after you’ve backed it all up, of course. Go out with the old (responsibly), and enjoy your new phone!
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