How to assess the condition of your phone

Nowadays, more people sell or recycle their old phones than ever before. Question is: how do you tell if your old mobile is actually worth anything? Well, here’s a few ways recyclers, also known as resellers, decide how much to cough up for old handsets…

Before we get stuck in, though, there are some important things you’ll need to do before you sell your mobile.

Before you sell your device…

First, give your smartphone a thorough spring clean. Obvious perhaps, but a shiny phone makes it easier to erase any nicks and scratches before you take it to a reseller. Make sure to give the screen a proper wipe and get stuck into any nooks and crannies around the volume buttons, too.

Wipe your data

Next, for security reasons, you’ll need to wipe any important or sensitive data from your device. Consider backing up any personally significant stuff - pictures, documents, messages, etc. If you’re an iPhone user, you can back up your data on the cloud - just hit Settings>iCloud>Backup.

Conversely, if you’re an Android user, go to Settings>Backup>Personal>Reset.

For more information on how to wipe data from your phone, check out our handy guide.

How to wipe your phone data

How to assess the condition of your phone

Naturally, when assessing the quality of your phone, phone-recycling companies will consider how old the device is, how well it works and what colour it is before paying out.

Don’t worry if your handset has a bit of cosmetic damage - most resellers will still pay a fair whack for it, especially if it’s the latest model from a popular brand.

Here are some ways to judge the condition of your handset:

  • Excellent - this means the phone probably hasn’t left its box. Unsurprisingly, phones in this condition will be worth the most cash. Heck, if your handset is one to two years old and it’s a high-end model, you could pocket as much as £700.
  • Very Good Condition - as the name suggests, this means the phone is in decent nick - give or take a few smudges and some light wear and tear. In this condition, resellers expect the battery to work, the screen to light up and the device to connect to the internet without any problems.
  • Good - As above, the phone should work well, though resellers are more forgiving of scratches. That said, more significant damage, such as a broken screen, could reduce its value substantially.
  • Not working - if your phone can’t turn on, or some of the key features have broken, then chances are, it won’t be worth a whole lot. Still, even if the device is broken, some recyclers might still pay for the parts, so its’ still worth comparing, anyway.

How much can you get?

As we say, this largely depends on, age, condition and model. But even the colour of the phone you’d like to recycle can affect its value.

To stand the best chance of getting the most money, your phone must be:

  • A newer model - around one to two years old, preferably.
  • A popular colour: Neutral colours such as black, white and grey fetch the best prices. Yep, we know they’re pretty boring, but they tend to sell more than brighter colours.
  • A first-class device - an iPhone SX, as opposed to an XR, for example.

How much is my phone worth?

Popular brands, such as Apple or Samsung, will usually be worth the most. Right now, for example, we list the iPhone XS Max in good condition, with 64GB of data, for almost £700.

All that said, as long as your phone turns on, can make and receive calls and connect to the internet, you should get some cash for it. And, if it looks like new - no visible scratches or marks - you could be in for quite a hearty payday.

Conversely, if your phone does none of those things, don’t expect to get much cash - perhaps a few quid for parts. Still, it’s better than leaving it to languish in the drawer.