The time has come where it is time to upgrade your old phone. But this time around, you want to do things right.

No more leaving your old phone in your drawer until the next one gets added to the collection.

Instead, you’re looking to get value for your old phone.

But what you have a ton of questions like: 

At Glyde, we believe in helping you find the best, easiest, and most dependable way to trade-in old phones. We made this guide to help you learn everything you need to know about trading in old phones – to give you the confidence and the resources to get the best value out of your old phone. Let’s get started.

What Happens to My Old Phone Once I Trade it In?

So you are ready to trade will you get for the phone? What happens to your phone?

The first thing carriers or used vendors will do when you trade-in your phone is to determine the condition of the phone. This will ultimately determine what kind of value you will receive. 

By knowing the various paths your phone could take based on condition, may help you decide what you want to do with your old phone.

Across the phone industry, there are 4 main classifications for used phone condition: 

  • Great
  • Good 
  • Okay 
  • Poor

1. Great

The phone has no visible cosmetic damage. It seems almost new even though you have been using it. There are no hardware issues that you know about. Every button is in working order. There are no screen cracks or image issues. It is near perfect. 

Carriers or trade-in companies will keep these and resell them. Often they will run diagnostics to determine the true internal condition of the phone. They may even discover something that needed fixing. If they fix anything in the phone, this is often resold as a refurbished phone. If nothing needs to be fixed and it passes all the diagnostics, it can be resold as like-new or even premium pre-owned.

2. Good 

Good phones usually have some cosmetic damage. Much of this damage can actually be buffed away. They are still working phones, but look like they have received some use. Rarely do screen cracks fit in this category.

Trade-in companies will take these phones and either resell them on their own or place them into another market such as Amazon or eBay. The pricing on these will be based on cosmetic damage. As a consumer, you hope that the retailer has done the correct diagnostics on these phones. Many companies will publish the diagnostics they complete, but not always, especially if it is found on a bidding site.

3. Okay 

Okay phones will have cosmetic damage and possibly cracked screens. They are still working phones. The LCD is still in working order so there will be no long term display issues. Many companies will replace the screen and check other diagnostics. Batteries can often be an issue for these phones because they have degraded over time and don’t hold a charge as long as newer phones. Sometimes, batteries will be replaced. Any internal work on the phone will be considered refurbished. 

Okay phones are sold to wholesalers. Most wholesalers will sell these in bulk to international markets such as Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Many times they will not do the repair work themselves but only serve as a middle man to international companies who might refurbish before they sell into their own markets. Just because they are sold to international markets does not mean they will not show back up in international markets. Many times these can be found on online bidding sites in the US sold by international companies.

4. Poor

Your phone is considered poor if it very old or does not work. Broken LCDs that still work will usually fit into this category. The cost to fix an LCD issue is usually greater than the value any retailer can get from the phone.

Poor phones will eventually find their way into the hands of recyclers where they are melted down and sold as scrap. Trading in a broken or poor phone may not gain you much in terms of value, but it is a better option than it ending up in a landfill where it might even cause environmental damage.

Is Trading in My Old Phone Safe? 

It depends. There are two potential dangers when you turn in an old phone: 

  1. First, you may send it off with the promise of receiving value, but after the company runs its diagnosis, you may receive nothing. You may never hear anything back and will find it difficult to have your phone returned so you can shop for value elsewhere.
  2. Second, you could expose your personal data to unscrupulous people. You store a lot of confidential data on your phone. This goes well beyond text messaging, photos, and internet searches. Think of all the passwords that are stored on your phone. You probably have other information such as social security numbers and credit card information as well. All these can be accessed if you do not wipe your phone properly.

A credible retailer will give you instructions on how to wipe your phone before you place it in the mail. If they don’t, this could be a red flag that the vendor may not reputable. Even with a trusted reseller, you should always take the liberty to prepare your phone for trade in.

Because of both these concerns, it is very important that you trust the vendor before you place anything in the mail. Check reviews and read the terms and conditions before you ship. If the value they give you for the phone is much greater than other sites, or it feels too good to be true, you might want to move on.

How Much Money is My Old Phone Worth? 

Your phone may have value even though it is used, and even if it’s broken! Take this quick 7 question quiz to figure out the value of your old phone. You can even get trade-in credit towards a premium used or new on sale.  

what is my old phone worth

What Affects the Value of My Phone? 

How exactly is the value of your old phone determined? Here are the main factors that influence value: 

1. Cosmetic Damage

A small scratch on the back of the phone may seem like a big deal, but usually small blemishes can be buffed out. Often people buying a used phone understand these cosmetic issues as well. If the cosmetic issues are small, they will not diminish the value too much. Other cosmetic issues such as crushed corners or dents in the phone will lower value more than scuffs and scratches.

2. Screen Issues

Screen issues fall into two may categories: the screen and the LCD. Screen issues are usually due to surface cracks or webbing. These often look terrible but have no real impact on the usability of the phone. The display itself is in working order. LCD issues are much deeper. If the LCD is damaged, the phone has almost no resale value and will be considered scrap. 

The cost to repair the LCD is high and is not worth it for most retailers, so the price you will get for this type of damage is minimal, but they are still used for scrap. You can tell if you have an LCD issue if there are color variations or bleeding on the screen. Often parts of the screen with not work and you can not manipulate the touch-screen in those spaces. Consider your phone dead if you have an LCD issue.

3. Hardware Problems

Hardware issues are other items that affect your phone’s performance. Examples of hardware issues are buttons that don’t work such as the home button or even the volume button. Sometimes the wifi or Bluetooth won’t work either. The other major hardware problem is the ports. Headphone ports can be an issue in models that still have them. 

The biggest port problem is the charging port. Many consumers assume this means their phone has no more value, but this can be an easy and cheap fix. Many of these phones can be fixed by replacing cables inside the phone. Resellers will buy them for fair value. 

4. Battery Life

Battery issues are the last category. As a consumer, you can tell if you have battery issues. Your phone may not hold a charge anymore or the battery life drains quickly. Again much like hardware issues, this may not be as detrimental to value because it can be replaced, but you should consider the labor and replacement costs when assessing your own value. 

5. Type and Model of the Phone

Some phones hold their value longer than others. 

Apple & Samsung and the most popular cell phone brands in the world. Apple leads the US markets, while Samsung tends to be stronger in the rest of the world. Google, Sony, and LG do well, but currently, Apple leads the pack in holding value. Currently among all cell phones, the Apple iPhone XS, the iPhone X, and the iPhone 8 lead the way.

The longer you have your phone, the less you will be able to get back for it. And the last model does best. Typically with iPhones when they release a phone, the model prior will tend to go up in resale value. 

How Can I Trade in My Phone Safely? 7 Easy Steps to Protect Yourself

  1. Backup Your Phone. Make sure all data is stored somewhere in the cloud. This is especially important for contacts or any saved passwords.
  2. Encrypt Data. Only necessary if you have an Android phone. 
  3. Unregister the Phone. This is only really necessary with the iPhone. It will clear the phone from your iTunes account. 
  4. Unlock the Phone. This removes the tether you have to a specific carrier such as Verizon or AT&T. You will need to contact the carrier to accomplish this process. It will make the phone more valuable in the resale market.
  5. Perform a Factory Reset. Once again this will clear the data and protect your personal information.
  6. Remove Any SIM or SD cards. This is a data protection measure as well.
  7. Clean Your Phone. Physically clean up the phone and make it look presentable to the vendor. This goes a long way in helping with final valuation.  

Is Trading in My Old Phone Worth It? 

Yes. Unless it is completely broken, there is value in your old phone. Even if it doesn’t turn on or hold a charge, you an still get good value for it. By trading in with Glyde, you can get credit to trade up for a better premium used phone that you can trust at a massive discount.  Our phones must pass a rigorous 30+ point internal and external quality test – a test only 7% of used phones pass.

Who Gives the Best Trade-In Value for Phones?

This is a tough question to answer. Every site has different quality standards and offers different pricing. – this is because there really aren’t defined quality standards for used phones.

Trust is paramount when trading in your phone. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. We strongly suggest looking for a company that offers dependability and trust over a few extra dollars of value.  

When you trade-in your phone with Glyde, it is a very simple transparent system. The first step is to calculate the value of your old phone by taking our simple 7 Question Quiz. 

From there, we offer you trade-in value towards a premium used Samsung or Apple phone. We take pride in offering only the highest quality used phones that must pass through over 30+ rigorous tests before reaching you.

Once we have your old phone, we run it through internal and external tests to determine the true value – giving you a value based on the actual condition of your phone – not just averages from pools of used phones that may have damage, which can bring down your trade-in value. 

You need a simple, easy, affordable, and trusted way to trade in your old phone. Glyde offers that with our easy online trade-in program. Take the quiz to get one step closer to getting fair value for your old phone, and upgrading to a newer model for a great price!

how to trade in your old phone safely

More Phone Trade-In FAQ 

Let’s take the time to answer some questions about trading in used phones that we get asked often. Hopefully these will help you figure out which option is best for you when it comes time to trade in your old phone for a newer model. 

What does Verizon do with trade-in phones?

It depends on the condition of the phone.  They may resell it internally. They could send to a wholesaler. If the phone is in really poor condition, they recycle it.

Is trading in your phone worth it?

Yes. You can always find value in your current phone. You may have the opportunity to trade it for a better model. Just do your homework and make sure you trust the company and trade-in process.

What do they do with old phones?

Old phones are usually resold in the pre-owned market. This market could be in the US or in the international market. Some resellers will refurbish phones prior to resell or sell to people who do the work.

Is it better to trade in or sell?

If you are trading the phone, you will often get more credit for your next phone. If you sell it outright, the value you receive may be similar, but you won’t get the benefit of the upgrade.

How do I prepare my phone for trade-in?

The biggest thing to remember is to protect your data. Don’t just clean the outside of the phone but clean the inside by backing up data, restoring to factory settings, and removing the SIM or SD.

Does factory reset remove all data?

Mostly. It will remove most of the data, but it always helps to remove the SIM and any memory cards to further protect your information.

Is it safe to sell your old phone?

If you trust the buyer it is safe. If you don’t remove your data, you can open yourself up to identity fraud issues. We walk you through how to get your phone ready to trade-in.

Do you remove SIM card when trading in a phone?

Yes. Again this is a data protection step. You need to do this to keep your information safe.

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