What to do with old mobile phones?

What to do with old mobile phones?

Whether you’ve just received an upgrade or you’re looking to declutter your drawers, there are a variety of ways you can safely dispose of your old phone without throwing it in the bin. From trading-in to refurbishing, we reveal exactly what to do with old mobile phones and take you through some environmentally friendly practices you can benefit from. You could even earn some cash or do some good at the same time.

Option 1: Donate your old mobile phone


Donating your old mobile to a charity organisation is a great way to redistribute your handset for a worthy cause. You can usually donate a phone in any condition if you find the right kind of charity just make sure to let them know. Some will give a working old phone to a person in need, some will sell them to shoppers, and some will be happy to take a broken phone off your hands and sell it to a recycling company to raise funds.

Option 2: Recycle your old mobile phone

80% of mobile phone parts can be recycled, so if you want to do the planet a favour, avoid throwing your old ones in the bin. Metals and plastics can easily be repurposed, and there are several valuable components, like silver and cobalt, which can be extracted from your device and reused. By recycling your old device, you can avoid sending these useful elements – some of which are in shortage – to a landfill.


What’s more, you can recycle your old mobile even if it’s damaged or broken. So, whether it’s a cracked screen or everyday wear and tear, recycling is always an option.

Option 3: Trade in your old mobile phone

Many companies are willing to offer money in exchange for your old phone. Once you hand in your device, the company will check to ensure it operates correctly, and then sell on to another user. It’s worth noting that if your mobile is in poor condition and scratched for instance, then this will decrease your handset’s overall worth.


At Mobiles.co.uk, we accept your trade-ins from a huge range of brands including Apple, Samsung, and many more. Here’s what to do with an old phone if you’d like to sell it to us:

  1. Search your handset with our mobile finder tool. Tell us whether it’s working or damaged, or if you’d like our help to recycle it.
  2. Tell us if your mobile is locked to a network.
  3. We then offer you a price for your handset and if you’re happy, simply fill in your details.
  4. You'll receive an envelope and return your old device to us within 14 days.
  5. Funds will then be transferred into your account within 3-5 days of us receiving your mobile.
  6. We’ll refurbish your phone and put it on sale for buyers that want a good, working phone for a cheaper price and don’t mind if it’s been previously used.

Option 4: Sell your old mobile phone privately

If your phone isn’t damaged and you’ve got the time, you could sell it independently. Consider selling yours to a family friend or put the word out on social media. By sending your phone to a buyer via a courier, you can ensure the phone is reliably delivered. You’ll also know exactly when your delivery is confirmed.


On top of that, PayPal is a safe online payment method to use. They provide an excellent buyer and seller protection system that protects you against any fraudulent payments.

How to dispose of your old mobile phones safely

It’s important to think about your privacy and protect your data when you dispose of an old phone. If you don’t follow these instructions, your phone could fall into the wrong hands and that person will have access to your photos, passwords, messages, and files. Here’s what you need to do:


  1. Back up your phone to a cloud service or an external storage device, like a hard drive. That way any important files, content, and data won’t be erased forever.

  2. Restore your handset to factory settings. On iPhone go into ‘Settings’, then find ‘General’, and tap ‘Reset’. Select ‘Erase All Content and Settings’ to complete.

Resetting your Android handset may differ depending on your model. A common way is to go into ‘Settings’, scroll to ‘System’, tap ‘Advanced’, and then select ‘Reset’. You’ll then see either ‘Factory Reset’ or 'Erase All Data'.

  1. Record your phone’s unique ID number for future reference

Ready for an upgrade? Whether it’s Android or Apple, you’ll find a huge range of handsets available with SIM-free and contract deals for both new and existing customers at Mobiles.co.uk.