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How to sell your mobile phone for the best price

Whether you’ve come to the end of your current phone contract or you’ve found an old mobile in a drawer, many of us find ourselves wondering how to get the best price if we sell our used handset. While you obviously won’t get all your money back, selling an old device that’s in good condition could result in some much-needed cash. A vital addition to your budget calculations on your next top-of-the-range purchase.

If you’ve never sold a phone before and don’t know where to start, follow this easy step-by-step guide to selling your mobile. It’s sure to help you get the very most for your surplus handset.

Whether you always snap up the latest must-have upgrade to the iPhone or look for the earlier – and now cheaper – option, having the right  insurance in place is crucial. That’s why Gadget Cover works so hard to provide the best iPhone insurance targeted at these sought-after gadgets.

What to do before selling your phone

To have a hope of getting the best price for your mobile phone you really need to put in some effort beforehand. Here are five top tips to get sorted before you try to sell.

  1. Do your research

Looking around at your competition means you’ll be able to work out what’s a good, fair price for your phone and what’s not. An important precaution to stop you getting ripped off.

However, because there are so many models around, when comparing your phone with other sellers be sure to compare like with like. Is your phone a particularly desirable colour, or a limited edition of a popular model?

Any tweaks to the model specifications will always be important to consider. For example, if you own the 64GB iPhone 11, it’ll be worth less than the 128GB version. So always make sure you double check in Settings to ensure you know which version you own.

Knowing when the next model is due for release is also worth researching. Older models lose significant value every time a new model comes on the market. So, often the best time to sell your old mobile phone is right now!

  1. Check for damage

Hopefully, when you first bought your current handset you kept in mind that one day you might have to sell it. No doubt you invested in a smart screen protector and sturdy case to prevent the usual wear and tear our phones are subject to.

From arranging the best iPhone insurance to having a regular cleaning routine to cut down on dirt and grime, your mobile phone should still have plenty of life left in it. Keeping your phone in good condition is important if you want the best price.

However, with the best will in the world sometimes damage does occur. And when reselling you will really need to be realistic about that. While it will mean it won’t be worth as much as you’d hoped, you’ll still need to be honest with potential buyers. An unhappy buyer will probably ask for their money back if you haven’t been straight with them.

  1. Search out the accessories

High-profile manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung really pride themselves on their packaging and little extras. These are well worth searching out when it comes to selling your phone.

The original box and accessories such as the SIM slot key, charger and earphones will all make a good impression on buyers. Showing you’re a genuine and responsible owner means you can hopefully achieve a higher price.

Additional accessories such as Apple AirPods that complement your phone can also command some pretty high prices and aren’t easily replaced. That’s why with iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover we’ll replace any accessories (up to £150) if they are lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your gadget.

  1. Don’t forget to reset

Particularly if a handset has been lying forgotten in a drawer for a while it’s all too easy to forget to do this. So always double check you’ve reset your device before handing it over to a buyer. A hard reset is easy to do and should delete all of your data from the phone.

If you neglect to do this then the buyer might be able to gain access to your data and even your private accounts. It’s no good getting a great price for a phone if you end up a victim of cybercrime!

Before a hard reset, always make sure you’ve backed up any music, photos and videos you want to transfer to your new device. You can replace your phone, but you can’t replace memories.

  1. Unlock your phone

You’ll get a better price if your phone is unlocked. Get in touch with the phone’s network provider and ask them to unlock it. This is usually done either remotely or by sending you a Network Unlock Code. It will take two to three working days, and some networks may charge.

Deciding where to sell your phone

There are a whole range of places where it’s possible to sell your mobile phone for easy cash.

Online recycling websites

A quick internet search finds many recycling websites offering cash for old handsets. From like-new to damaged phones, you could get a range of prices depending on condition.

If your phone's only slightly worn then it’s always worth checking how much you'd get if it’s fully working. For example, replacing a worn-out battery could lead to a higher sales value. But you’ll have to factor in the cost of the replacement.

Even if a phone has a badly dented case or won't turn on, it could still net you some cash. However, water damaged or broken handsets or those with unresponsive screens probably won’t.

See what price you can get for a damaged phone by selecting the 'damaged' or 'faulty' box when searching for the best price.

Once you’ve been offered a price and accepted, you’ll receive a padded envelope or prepaid postage label to send the company the phone.

Be warned, these free postage options don’t include insurance. So, to guard against any mishaps during transit it may be worth paying for recorded delivery.

Charge the phone before sending and remove any SIM or memory cards. Security or Pin codes can also hamper phone testing so perform a factory reset beforehand. If you happen to have a sim only contract on your phone, check out our pros and cons of sim-only contracts on our blog.

When the recycling company receives the handset, they might offer a reduced price if they don’t think it’s up to the standard you claimed. You can either accept this or choose to have the phone returned.

With so many companies offering this service you need to make sure you’re using someone reputable. To be on the safe side, take the following precautions:

  • Read reviews on sites like Trustpilot.
  • Check social media for previous customers’ reviews.
  • Read the small print. For example, how long do you have to accept or reject an offer? Do you have to pay for your phone to be returned if you reject a reduced price?
  • Are the company’s contact details genuine? Does it have a complaint process in the event of a problem?

If you’re feeling a bit bewildered by all the choice then check out some of these top retailers that offer this service:

Who pays the most?

There are many recycling companies out there, and depending on what handset you have and its exact specifications, prices can vary hugely. So that’s where comparison sites come in. No single comparison site covers all the mobile phone recyclers, so at least check all three of the biggest ones:

Consider other options

These recycling websites aren't the only way to make money from your old phone. While they might be the quickest and easiest route for busy people, there are other potentially more lucrative options worth considering.


The UK’s biggest games exchange CeX is also well worth investigating. It can sometimes beat the prices offered by the specialist recycling sites. You can sell your phone to them online and send it through the post. Alternatively, if you live near a CeX store, you could take in your handset and get your cash in hand. You’ll get more for your phone if you’re happy to accept CeX vouchers for use in store.


For those prepared to put in a bit more effort, you can often get a better price on eBay. However, like all auction sites there are no guarantees and it can be more work if you’re not used to the site already. You'll have to list your phone yourself, deal with any communications and when it's sold, safely package it up and send it to the auction winner.

Consider how much you would be happy to sell for and set a reserve price to reflect that. Be aware that if you haven’t used eBay before then you’ll probably receive a lower amount than someone who has used eBay a lot and is a trusted seller.


Amazon Marketplace could be the ideal place if you're selling a recent iPhone or Android model that's still in demand. However, it's worth noting there will be plenty of competition from other sellers, too. So, spend time getting to know the site and tricks for good selling.

Sell to a friend

Selling a phone to a friend or relative could result in a win-win situation for you both, earning you more and costing them less. If you’re unsure on how to decide a fair price then simply take the best price from the phone recycling companies and add 10%.

Trade in

If you're not getting much joy from other options, then see if you can trade it in with your new phone provider. For example, Carphone Warehouse offers decent prices on old phones and has an easy trade-in calculator to see how much you'll get. Big names like Samsung and Apple also offer trade-in options as well. An environmentally friendly way to allow you to cut down the cost of a new device by giving them your old handset.


Just because your phone contract has come to an end, it doesn't mean you need to get rid of your old phone. Simply unlock your phone and get a tempting deal on a new network – a great way to reduce your mobile phone bills.

You could also keep your phone as a handy emergency back-up, a phone for your children or for you to use when you holiday abroad.

iPhone insurance cover through Gadget Cover can help you with any of these options. Cover can be extended to anyone in your immediate family. So, if your child loses or damages your phone you’re also covered. Your policy can also be extended to include use of your gadget anywhere in the world, up to 180 days in any one year.

Give to charity

There are many ways to donate your old phone to help a charity. However, if yours is a mid- to high-value phone then it might be more efficient to sell it yourself and just donate the cash instead. That way the charity will receive more cash and because of the 'Gift Aid' scheme, it can reclaim your tax, too, which means an extra 25% on top!

iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover

Whichever way you decide to sell your phone, when you get your new device, you’ll want to get it insured as quickly as possible. That’s why the dedicated team at Gadget Cover will set you up with an iPhone insurance policy to suit your device and budget.

Policies arranged through Gadget Cover include protection for common hazards like accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage. And for an extra premium your iPhone will be covered against loss, too.

So, if you’re looking at a new phone then don’t delay looking for the best insurance deal around. Call our team of specialists and protect your tech with iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover.

Get a quick quote today.

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