Few things in the world are more enticing than a new smartphone. With so many great brands, models, and features, it seems hard to decide on what precisely will be the best phone for you. Fortunately, if you find a new phone with better features or a new feature that can really improve your life, you can just sell your old phone and buy the newest, shiny model.

How to Sell Your Phone

Selling your phone can be trickier than you expect. For example, you may not be able to sell your phone outright. If you decided to pay for the phone in installments, you have to fully pay for the phone before you can sell the device.

Regardless of how you’ve paid for your phone, it loses value as soon as you take it out of its package. Like cars, smartphones begin to depreciate almost as soon as they are first touched by their new owner. Worse, when new models are announced, there’s a further drop in the value of your phone regardless of which brand it is.

Finally, anyone who places a value on your phone, from third-party buyers to your own phone company, will use dings or scratches to lower the value of your phone.

This seems like a difficult world to navigate, but there is hope. You can learn the best methods for selling your phone so you can get the most value. We’ll cover:

  • How the season of electronics announcements and releases can affect your phone.
  • Where you can sell your phone for the best value.
  • The difference between trading your phone in and selling it outright.
  • How different brands change prices over time.

Electronics Season: New Phone Model Releases and Pre-Sales

If you’ve decided to sell your phone, the first step is to determine whether you still need it or not. You can sell your phone right away after you’ve saved any necessary contacts and information, unpaired devices, and wiped the device clean or restored factory settings. However, if you still need access to a smartphone and do not have a replacement, you may have to wait, which can decrease the value of your phone.

It is also important that your phone is in good condition. Cracks in the screen, places where the electronics are coming apart, and problems with features or hardware may not impact you when you use the phone, but they are unsightly, and these problems typically get worse over time. Companies do not want damaged devices for resale, so you are less likely to find a buyer or to get enough money to put toward your new phone.

As long as your phone meets the basic standards of a well-kept device and you can get rid of it soon, you are ready to get the most money for your phone. But different times of year can be better times to sell your device. Electronics shows feature announcements of all kinds of new devices, from phones to computers to drones, so an announcement about a new style of smartphone can cause the value of your current phone to plummet.

Here are the times of year that most impact what your phone’s value will be:

  • During the Consumer Electronics Show in January
  • When manufacturers announce new models (Samsung announces in February or March.)
  • When the new model is on pre-order, a few months after the announcement (iPhone preorders often happen in September.)
  • If a phone carrier announces a deal on a certain device

Sometimes, a manufacturer of a specific model of smartphone has enough market control that the price of their older devices will not drop as drastically.

iPhone, made by consumer electronics giant Apple, typically does not decrease in price as rapidly as other brands. Google’s Pixel is still relatively new to the smartphone market, but these devices offer similar benefits.

In contrast, Android devices like LG or Samsung lose value very quickly after they are released. There is much more competition in the Android market, so new devices that are very similar are released all the time.

The Financial Pros and Cons of Trade-Ins or Upgrades

Selling your phone can help you get money you need to buy a new phone, and this process works well if you want a new device on a different phone carrier or from a different phone manufacturer — like if you want to upgrade from an old Samsung to a new iPhone. However, if you like the make and model of your current phone, most phone plan carriers let you turn in your old phone for an upgrade when a new model becomes available.

Some benefits of trading up include:

  • Time savings. You may not get cash in hand, but you will have your current phone carrier easily port information off your old device onto your new one. This simple service saves you loads of time, and time is money.
  • Less quality concern. If your phone is in any way damaged, even with minor scratches for general wear and tear, selling your phone can be tough. Trading it in to your phone carrier for an upgrade may be a good solution, as long as the device still runs.
  • Few complex steps. You do not need to know how to wipe your phone or factory reset it, and you do not have to worry about a third party dealing with your personal information. Your phone carrier may refurbish the device, but their professionals will thoroughly and securely clear information off it before they resell it.

Of course, there are downsides to sending in your old phone for an upgrade instead of selling it. Some of these might be:

  • No cash in hand. If you’re looking to sell your phone because you want money, trading it in for a new phone will cost you the difference between the old phone and the new device, and it will not provide you any cash. Selling through a third-party site or directly to a person will get you the cash you want.
  • Switching devices or carriers is harder. Sometimes, phone carriers offer deals to switch from your current service to their service, and they may accept a device from another phone company. However, this is a deal-specific situation, and you cannot assume that you will get the latest model smartphone when you switch carriers.
  • You won’t get the best value. Even if your phone carrier will take a slightly damaged device, they have some incentive to suggest a lower value for the device during an upgrade since they make more money from you.

Although you save a lot of time and personal hassle when you trade in your phone for an upgrade or store credit, you are not likely to get the best deal on your phone. Instead, finding an online marketplace can help you connect to someone who needs the make and model you currently have.

Save Time and Money

There are several places you can sell your phone once everything is in place. Online marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay offer the most name recognition, but they may not be the best options for you. There are several third-party sites that can estimate the value of your device based on information you provide, and they can connect you to interested buyers with little fuss.


Where to Sell Your Old Phone for the Most Money. (February 28, 2018). Techlicious.

The Three Best Times to Buy a New Cellphone. (July 6, 2018). Money Talks News.

When’s the Best Time to Buy a TV, Laptop, or Smartphone? (May 2, 2018). CNET.

How to Sell or Trade in Your Old iPhone. (September 13, 2018). Macworld.

Don’t Trade in Your Phone, Sell It for More Money. (March 31, 2018). How-To Geek.