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What To Do With An Unwanted Cell Phone

How many cell phones have you got hanging about the house? Maybe you’ve got one you don’t use any more or are looking to buy a new one – here’s a guide to your recycling and re-using options for your smartphone.



Got an old Nokia languishing in the drawer? As mobile phone technology becomes more and more prevalent, lots of us have extra cell phones hanging about the house. You should see the state of SellCell HQ – we’ve got loads!


Now, instead of letting your old mobile pointlessly gather dust in a never-looked-at drawer, put it to good use by recycling it,  donating it or breathing new life into it. Here’s some things you can do with an unwanted cell phone.


Recycle it

In 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled about 87 million tons of this material, according to government estimates. That sounds a lot, but there’s still more to be done to bring us up to speed with some of the better performers.


So why not start by recycling your mobile phone? At SellCell we compare tonnes of cell phone recycling companies across the US. Simply enter your phone in the search box, find a buyer and bingo – sell your cell. SellCell compares more phone buyers than anyone else – so you’re guaranteed to get the most for your mobile.


Currently you can get up to $495 for an Apple iPhone 6 Plus!


Donate it

Lots of organisations and charities will gladly take an unwanted mobile phone off your hands. They either recycle them to raise money for vital causes or put them to good use around the world – giving people a vital communication tool many of us take for granted.


Let’s take American Cell Phone Drive as an example. You can donate a cell phone at a donation collection box near you – just enter your zipcode.


Or you could donate it via Freecycle – this is a listings network that allows people to give away unwanted items to someone else for free. It’s all about keeping items out of landfill – from sofas to deckchairs to cell phones to televisions. Just find your local Freecycle group by entering your town or city into the search box on the homepage.






If you simply can’t bear to part with your favourite old cell phone then here’s some alternative uses for it…


Use it as an alarm clock

In need of an alarm clock? Make sure you get up for work on time by turning an old mobile phone into a wake-up device. This probably won’t work for Android phones (if you turn them off, the alarm function tends not to work) – but a good idea for an older Nokia or BlackBerry.


It’s your latest kitchen gadget

If you have an unwanted smartphone, consider turning it into a kitchen whizz by loading it up with helpful cooking apps. As well as the timer function (perfect for frying tonight’s fish to perfection), you could download MealBoard – an interactive menu planner through which you can create shopping lists and plan create weekly menus. Perfect if you’re always in a rush.


And an emergency flashlight too…

Having an emergency torch around the house is a great idea – you never know when the power’s going to cut out. Keep an old mobile phone with a decent torch function in your bedside table or other handy location – you’ll be thankful for it if you need to change a lightbulb in the middle of the night!


It can double as an in-car music system

Cram an old phone with as many MP3s as you can shake a stick at, connect it to your car’s stereo and you’ve got your very own in-car music system.


Do you have any tips for alternative uses for a cell phone? Let us know!



So what do we use our mobile phones for?

  1. Sending text messages
  2. Reading text messages
  3. Reading emails
  4. Surfing the internet
  5. Setting an alarm clock
  6. Making calls
  7. Sending emails
  8. Checking the time
  9. Using the calculator
  10. Checking Facebook

According to a survey of 2,000 people by Hailo

Cell phones of the stars


Just like us, famous folk are fond of their cell phones – and just like the celebs themselves, our smartphonesare now part and parcel of our everyday lives. We use them to call, text, do work, take selfies and much more. Here we pick some of our favourite celebrities and the phones they use.


Stephen Fry



Unsurprisingly, Apple advocate, gadget geek and polymath Fry is the owner of several mobile phones. Although his fondness for all things Apple is, of course, well documented, the Brit once blogged that he owned the following:

  • A Samsung Galaxy III
  • A BlackBerry Z10
  • An iPhone 5
  • An HTC Windows 8x
  • An LG Nexus 4

Someone’s got a busy life…however, despite the prevalence of phones, the BBC TV presenter did proclaim the iPhone 6 the “best and most beautiful mobile telecom technology ever yet produced”, so maybe that takes pride of place in his gadget cabinet. High praise indeed.


Barack Obama




Nearly everyone else hates them, but not the president. He’s a fully paid-up member of the BlackBerry club. On becoming president in 2009, Obama’s security team warned him off his beloved BB, but he resisted, saying: “I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry…they’re going to pry it out of my hands.”

Here’s some other world leaders and their cell-phone-of-choice:

  • Angela Merkel – the German chancellor is thought to use a Nokia 6260 Slide and a BlackBerry Z10
  • French president François Hollande is a fan of the iPhone 5
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un reportedly uses a HTC Butterfly





Once upon a time, payphones were so popular you’d see people forming (orderly) queues just to use them. Today, though, they look like relics of an ancient, pre-mobile-phone age. At least, that was until Barbadian singer Rihanna opted to use a payphone late last year (from the White House, admittedly).

Then RhiRhi really switched things up by using an old-school flip phone, those throwbacks to the glory days of the ‘90s, with other celebs including Vogue boss Anna Wintour and actress Kate Beckinsale also using them.


Lindsay Lohan



Earlier this year the actress was spotted in London using what looks to be an iPhone. In the past she’s been known to use a BlackBerry too. Like many of us, Lohan is fond of her tech and it’s rumoured she became addicted to mobile phone and internet use, seeking treatment for this during a stint in rehab, where her use was capped at 2 hours a day.


Celebrities who don’t have a cell phone…

Not everyone likes being contactable 24/7. For us mere mortals an influx of calls, texts and email pings can be stressful; in parazzi-flush celebrity-land, it’s likely much worse. The following celebrities are thought to happily shun the modern world:

  • Vince Vaughn – the actor is thought to employ the ‘buddy system’ – borrowing a pal’s cell when he needs it
  • Christopher Walken – in an interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show once, the actor said he doesn’t own a mobile or a computer. When he’s on set, he’s given a mobile to use

How To Back-Up Your Cell Phone To A Cloud Service

If you lose your cell and it’s not backed up, you could lose lots of precious things, from treasured photos to vital work documents. Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of cloud-based storage systems which ensure your digital possessions are secure should you misplace your smartphone.


However, many of us still avoid backing up – because it sounds complicated, or time-consuming, or boring. So here’s a handy step-by-step.




Which cloud service should I use?


There are lots of competing cloud services in the digital sky, and most of the big players have their own. Some of the main ones are:



Most offer free storage, but only up to a certain point. Once you reach a data ceiling (typically 10GB or 15GB), you’ll have to pay if you want more space.


Top tip: remember that a cloud system might already be linked to your phone. This will offer the easiest and most direct way to protect and preserve your data.


OK – once you’ve settled on a cloud service, it’s time to back-up. Let’s look at how to do it for Android, Apple and Microsoft phones.




For Android


Uploading your information to Google Cloud couldn’t be simpler on an Android device.


  • Head to ‘Settings’ and select ‘back-up & Reset’
  • Log-in to your Google account
  • If it’s not already ticked, select ‘Automatic Restore’ – this will remember your data and preferences when reinstating any app


For iPhone and iPad


Apple’s iCloud is also one of the more fiddly clouds to deal with.


  • Start at ‘Settings’ – selecting ‘iCloud’, then ‘Storage and back-up’
  • On this screen, turn on the switch for ‘iCloud back-up’
  • Next, go back one screen. Here, there are toggle options to turn on or off the data you want backed up from your Apple apps.
  • To save data from any other apps, return to the ‘Storage and back-up’ page and select ‘Manage Storage’. Your device will be listed at the top of the screen.
  • Next, select ‘Show All Apps’. This will list all of your treasured apps, so you can choose the data you wish to save.


Top tip: When you’re deselecting an app, it may offer you the opportunity to ‘Turn Off and Delete’. That may sound dramatic, but it’s fine to proceed – this is only referring to deleting the pre-existing back-up, and the app and its existing data will not be harmed.


  • Once you’ve sorted that – plug your device in, connect to the WiFi and leave your phone locked while you go and make a much deserved cup of coffee.


For Windows Phone


Really simple.


  • Navigate to Settings from your App List.
  • Select ‘Back-up’. To back-up manually, select ‘Apps + Settings’, then turn on ‘Settings back-up’ and choose ‘Back-up now’.


Top tip: If you want to protect your app data as well as your phone data – crucial particularly for work documents and those priceless email threads – make sure to turn on ‘App back-up’ once you’ve selected ‘Settings back-up’. That’ll do it.


A matter of minutes, and that’s all your data safe in the cloud, ready for when you need it and updating automatically. Who said it had to be difficult?

5 Ways To Locate Your Cell’s IMEI or MEID Number

If your cell gets stolen or you want to sell or recycle it, you’ll probably be asked for the device’s IMEI or MEID number. Here are 5 ways to locate them.


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So what’s the difference? Well, not much. Both of these numbers do the same thing: they’re used to identify mobile phones. Most likely you’ll need an IMEI or MEID number if you want to:


  • sell or recycle your phone
  • unlock it
  • tell your carrier if it gets stolen or you lose it
  • get it repaired


The reason we’ve written a blog about it is that you’ll have one of these numbers depending on what type of phone you have:


  • if your phone is on the CDMA network you’ll have an MEID number
  • if it’s on the GSM network then you’ll have an IMEI number


Luckily for you, and for us, both numbers are usually to be found in the same place. Let’s take a look at 5 easy ways to hunt them down.


1. Got an iPhone? Check the back

Depending on which model iPhone you have, the IMEI should be printed on the back of your device. Top tip: turn the IMEI number into a MEID number by taking off the last digit. Bingo.

It’ll be in small text though, so you might need to get your binoculars out. If you don’t have one of these models, then…


2. Dial-in *#06#

Some phones will give up their IMEI or MEID if you simply dial-in *#06# to the keypad. So here endeth this blog post? Sadly not – because this trick doesn’t always work (I just tried it on my HTC One and got an error message). So if this method fails…


3. Check your cell’s Settings menu

The IMEI or MEID should be findable from the Settings menu (or similar) on your device. Here’s a step-by-step using my HTC One to find the IMEI:


Go to SETTINGS then jump to the bottom and touch About:





Then touch Phone identity:




Et voila:




4. Check the battery

If steps 1 through 3 haven’t worked, check under your mobile phone’s battery. Pull it out, clear out all the dust and the IMEI or MEID number should be helpfully located on a sticker somewhere.


5. Kept your phone’s box? You’re in luck…

If you’re one of the few people to actually keep hold of packaging, well done. Dig it out, fish out whatever you’re storing in it and the IMEI or MEID number should be on the back.


Once you’ve found your cell’s IMEI or MEID number, jot it down and store it somewhere. It may well come in handy in future!


Looking to sell your phone and get a new one? Come to us – we’re the numero uno cell trade-in comparison site in the US!


How to Prepare Your Phone When Shipping it Through the Mail

One of the most important parts of trading in your phone is preparing it to get shipped through the mail. After all, the chances are you are going to be sending a device that costs a couple of hundred dollars through the American postal system. The last thing you want to happen at this stage of the process, is the phone to be damaged or even worse, go missing.

How to Prepare Your Phone When Shipping it Through the Mail

We have heard many horror stories where phones haven’t been packaged properly, only to be damaged before they make their way to the buyback companies HQ. At the end of the day a broken phone means a substantial cut on the original price you were quoted.

The purpose of this guide is to show you the steps that you need to take before posting off your phone or tablet, from packaging ideas to postal services that you should choose. So, before you get too eager and send your phone off, take a look at these tips.

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10 Retro Cell Phones That Will Make You Feel Old

If you are above the age of 25 the chances are you will remember some of the phones that we are about to feature in our top 10 list. To teenagers today these probably look like old bricks but in reality these are phones that were revolutionary for their time, whether it was the first phone to come with a camera, or the first phone to sport a colored display, in some way these phones were groundbreaking and we loved them.

10 Retro Cell Phones That Will Make You Feel Old still see a number of these come through our doors, with 6.5% of old classic cell phones being traded in each year.

Can you remember your first cell phone? Mine was a Nokia 5110 which boasted snake, 10 message storage, and the ability to swap cases. Back in the later part of the 1990’s a phone like this would set me back $150-$200 and today that same phone is a ‘classic’, which makes me feel old.

Here are the top 10 retro cell phones, starting with that Nokia 5110:

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