How to prepare your phone for trade in?

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Last updated June 20, 2023

When you want to get a new phone, you will no doubt be looking to trade your old device in to make some money to put towards the upgrade costs. If you choose to sell or trade-in your old phone you need to know how to prepare it for trade in, especially since this can take quite a bit of time and energy on your part.

What to know before trading in your phone

While finding the best place to trade in your phone is essential and so is getting a good price, there are quite a few details you need to know before moving forward.

1. Your phone’s model

Yes, we know it sounds silly, but remembering the exact phone model can be difficult, especially if you’re one to swap devices every so often. So if you’re a bit lost on exactly what phone model you have, here’s how you can find out:

  • Android: Go to Settings > About phone
  • iOS: Go to Settings > General > About

2. Know who your carrier is

Another thing you have to make sure you know is who your carrier is. This can influence how much money you get for your phone, so let’s see how we can get you the right information:

  • Android: Settings > About phone > Network/Carrier
  • iOS: Settings > General > About > Network/Carrier

Of course, if your phone is unlocked, this isn’t something you need to worry about. Similarly, if you purchased your phone through a carrier and you’ve already paid off your contract, you can ask said carrier to unlock your phone. This could potentially give you a better resale value and the carrier should do this for free, so it’s a win-win situation.

3. Know your phone’s capacity

We don’t know about you, but details such as our phone’s capacity sometimes slip by us. As long as we’re not getting an error because the phone is full, we don’t really care that much, right? Well, if you want to prepare your phone for trade in, this is a detail you’re going to want to know because any website will ask for it. Here’s how you can get the information from your phone:

  • Android: Settings > Battery and device care > Storage
  • iOS: Settings > General > iPhone Storage

4. Properly evaluate your phone’s condition

It’s hard to be objective, but you’re going to need to do it this time. Take a good hard look at your phone and figure out what condition it’s in. Here are some examples.

A phone that’s “like new” looks brand new with no signs of use and it’s in flawless condition without any kind of scratches or bumps. Plus, it’s 100% functional.

A phone that you can consider to be “good” shows off some light and moderate signs of wear, or small scratches. It’s also still 100% working in proper condition.

Then, if your phone has suffered through loads of drops and shows heavy signs of wear, like deep scratches or even body dents, you can put this one down as being in “poor” condition, even if it’s still working perfectly fine.

A “faulty” phone is one that comes with a smashed screen, a faulty camera, an unusable charging port, and so on.

The evaluation technique will vary from site to site, but this should give you a general idea on the things you have to consider when grading your device

Man looking at condition of his phone

Where to trade in your phone?

On top of the many things you have to do with your device before trading it in, you should ensure you get a good price. It’s a job that requires a lot of time to ensure you don’t get scammed.

Use SellCell to find the best price

Using SellCell on Computer

Our recommendation is to take a look at our site and use SellCell as a comparison tool to get the best offer for your device.

SellCell works as an independent platform and compares all offers available on the market so you can get the best price.

  1. Visit SellCell and type in your phone’s model in the search bar on top.
  2. Pick the network your phone is locked in or choose unlocked, pick the right storage capacity, and your phone’s condition to get the right trade in price from all available.
  3. SellCell will deliver a list of companies that can take your phone off your hands, as well as the price you will be able to get. Pick the one you like best.

As you’ll notice on the SellCell results page, each company on the results list comes with a rating regarding their truthfulness level, as well as details regarding whether or not you get to ship your phone for free and just how quickly they send you the payment for the device you’re trading in.

Trade in your phone with your carrier

When considering trading in your phone with your carrier, there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind. On the upside, trading in your phone can make upgrading to a new device more affordable, since your carrier may offer trade in credits or even buyout options to help offset the cost.

Additionally, trading in your phone with your carrier may also be a more convenient option. You’re able to make the transaction in-store or online with relative ease, and your carrier likely has all of your account details on file, which can streamline the process.

However, it’s worth noting that there are a few disadvantages to trading in your phone with a carrier as well. Firstly, you may not get as much money for your old phone as you would if you sold it independently. Additionally, you may have to deal with restrictions on the type of phone you can upgrade to if you trade in your old device with your carrier.

Finally, it’s important to read the fine print and understand all of the terms and conditions associated with a carrier trade in program, as some may levy hidden fees or other charges that can be frustrating in the long run.

Trade in your phone with a big retailer

When it comes to trading in your phone, there’s also the option of going for a major retailer like Amazon and Best Buy, but both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s start with Amazon. One of the main advantages of trading in your phone on Amazon is the convenience. You can easily send in your device and receive credit toward a future Amazon purchase.

However, one major disadvantage of trading in your phone on Amazon is the lack of transparency. You won’t know the exact value of your phone until after it’s been inspected by Amazon, and there have been some reports of customers receiving lower-than-expected trade in offers.

On the other hand, when it comes to trading in your phone on Best Buy, one major advantage is the immediate gratification. You can walk into a Best Buy store with your old phone and walk out with credit towards a new purchase, which is great for those who are in a time crunch or want to avoid the hassle of shipping.

Best Buy also offers a price match guarantee, so if you find a better trade in offer elsewhere, they will match it. However, one disadvantage of trading in your phone at Best Buy is that the trade in values may not be as competitive as other retailers.

Ultimately, these two, as well as other major retailers, can be a great choice if you want to purchase a new device from either of them and you could use the credit towards the new device.

How to prepare your phone for trade in

Trade in your phone with Apple or Samsung

Trading in your phone with Apple or Samsung has its share of advantages and disadvantages. One of the most significant advantages is the convenience of upgrading to the latest technology without the hassle of finding a buyer for your old phone. Apple and Samsung both offer competitive trade in values that can help offset the cost of the new device.

Additionally, trading in with the original equipment manufacturer ensures that you receive a fair and reasonable value for your old phone. It’s essential to note that trading in with Apple or Samsung may not always be the best value proposition, as third-party trade in services may offer better prices. There are occasions, however, when it’s best to check. If you want to sell your Samsung phone, they sometimes offer Enhanced Trade in, but that’s often still not as much as you can get from other places.

On the flip side, trading in with Apple or Samsung may limit your options to purchase a new phone from other manufacturers. Additionally, there may be some delays in receiving the trade in credit, as processing times may vary based on the type and condition of the device.

Moreover, it’s important to consider that the trade in value offered by Apple or Samsung may not always align with the actual value of your device in the resale market. SellCell, for instance, will invariably find better offers for your device. Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of trading in and consider the monetary and non-monetary factors that drive your decision.

Trade your phone on online marketplaces

If you want to sell your phone on Facebook Marketplace or eBay, then these options also come ith plenty of pros and cons. On the plus side, it is a convenient and cost-effective way to upgrade to a new device. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of sending your phone to a company and waiting for them to inspect and send you a check. Instead, you can list your phone for sale and negotiate directly with potential buyers. Additionally, you could potentially make more money than you would with a trade in program from a carrier or retailer.

On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages to consider. For one, there is a risk of scams and fraud when dealing with strangers online. You need to take precautions to protect yourself, such as meeting in a public place to complete the transaction or using a secure payment method like PayPal.

Furthermore, listing your phone for sale can be time-consuming, especially if you want to get a good price. You may need to take multiple photos, write a detailed description, and respond to inquiries from potential buyers.

Frankly, the way we see it, that’s too much time spent on researching to vet the buyers, private meetings can potentially be dangerous, and so on.

Preparing your phone for trade in

Now that you’ve done the research about trading in your phone and you know where you’re going to go, it’s time to make sure it’s worth the money you’re getting.

Here’s a quick checklist of the things you have to do before trading in your phone:

  1. Reset your device.
  2. Remove the case and your screen protector
  3. Use a different phone or camera to take pictures of the device so you have proof of its condition before trading it in.
  4. Clean the phone so it’s sparkly clean, but make sure you’re not going to let any cleaning solutions in the phone’s ports. Now’s a bad time to damage your device.
  5. Package your phone properly, making sure to secure it in the box and then using bubble wrap.
  6. Make sure you check the buyer’s shipping conditions and check for courier or postal insurance options in case the phone gets damaged in transit.

Read on and find out more about these steps, so you’ll know exactly what you have to do.

How to reset your iPhone before trading it in

Preparing your phone for trade in

We have an article dedicated to all the steps you need to take to erase your iPhone before selling it, but we’ll go over them again.

When it comes to selling or trading in your iPhone, it’s important to properly erase all of your personal information from the device to protect your privacy. Resetting your iPhone to its factory settings is the most effective way to ensure that all of your personal data is erased and cannot be accessed by the next owner.

Before you even go that far, however, there are other things you have to take care of. Here’s a quick checklist for you:

  • Backup all data on your iPhone.
  • Unpair your device from Apple Watch.
  • Cancel any AppleCare plans you have for the device.
  • Turn off Find My iPhone.
  • Log out of iCloud and iTunes.
  • Bonus: If you’re switching to Android, deactivate iMessage
  • Reset your iPhone

1. Backing up your iPhone

Before you sell your iPhone, it is crucial to back up your data to ensure that none of your personal information is lost or compromised. Your iPhone contains a vast amount of sensitive data such as contacts, messages, photos, videos, and even financial and health information.

Without a proper backup, all of this information can be lost permanently during the trade in process.

Moreover, backing up your data is relatively simple to do and won’t take much time. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your valuable data. If you don’t know how to do this, make sure to follow the detailed steps we offer in our guide.

2. Unpairing Apple Watch

You also need to unpair your Apple Watch to ensure that the new owner of your iPhone is not able to access your iMessages, call logs, and other sensitive data.

Unpairing your Apple Watch essentially means that you are disconnecting it from your iPhone. Doing so will wipe all the data stored on your Apple Watch by default, but it will also make sure that the watch is disconnected from iCloud, making it impossible for anyone to access your messages or any other information.

3. Canceling AppleCare plans

AppleCare is an extended warranty program offered by Apple that can provide additional coverage for your iPhone, including repairs and replacements. If you have an active AppleCare plan on your device and don’t cancel it before trading it in, the new owner could potentially benefit from it. This means that you could be responsible for paying for repairs or replacements for a device you no longer own.

4. Turn off Find My iPhone before trading in your device

It is imperative that you turn off Find My iPhone before trading in your iPhone to protect your personal data and prevent any potential issues with the new owner. If you do not deactivate this feature before selling your device, the new owner will not be able to activate it on their own. This can create a lot of inconvenience for the new owner, and they might not be able to use their new iPhone to its fullest potential.

Moreover, if you do not remove the device from your iCloud account before selling it, all the personal data on your phone, including contacts, photos, messages, and other sensitive information, will remain accessible to the iCloud account holder. This can be a significant privacy concern, as anyone with access to your iCloud account can easily access your personal data. By turning off Find My iPhone and removing the device from your iCloud account, you can ensure that your personal data remains safe and secure.

5. Log out of iCloud and iTunes

One of the most crucial steps to take before trading in your iPhone is logging out of iCloud and iTunes. This is an essential step that cannot be ignored if you wish to protect your data and ensure that it does not end up in the wrong hands.

When you log out of iCloud and iTunes, you prevent any unauthorized access to your personal data, which is critical in maintaining the privacy and security of your information. Failure to log out of these accounts will mean that the new owner of your iPhone will have full access to your sensitive data, such as photos, videos, emails, and even payment information. Make sure you follow all the steps we laid out in our guide on erasing your iPhone before selling it.

6. Deactivate iMessage (if switching to Android)

If you’re going to stick to Apple smartphones, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you’ll want to ensure you’re also going to have to deactivate iMessage so you don’t’ run the risk of getting future messages routed to your old device.

7. Resetting your iPhone before trading it in

Now that you’ve gone through all the other steps, you can go ahead and finally reset your iphone. Follow these steps to get it done – Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Erase All Content and Settings. You’ll be required to enter your Apple ID password and confirm your choice to reset the device.

How to reset your Android phone before trading it in

How to reset your android phone

If you’ve gone through all the other steps and are convinced you’re going to trade in your Android device, then you have some work to do.

One thing that’s super important before giving your phone to someone else is to erase everything that’s on it. However, before you even reach that step, there are many other things you have to take care of. Here’s everything you’re going to have to do to make this work:

  • Backup your data
  • Encrypt the data
  • Remove your accounts
  • Take out the SIM and memory card from your device
  • Erase all data on your Android

1. Backing up your Android data

It is crucial to back up your data before selling your Android phone. Deleting your personal data is not enough as it can still be recovered using various tools. Backing up your data ensures that your essential files, including contacts, photos, and important documents, are safe and can easily be transferred to your new device. Make sure to check on the exact details on our guide on erasing an Android phone before selling it.

2. Encrypting your data

Simply resetting your phone to factory settings is not enough, as most data can still be recovered. This can leave your sensitive information, such as login credentials, bank details, and personal photos, vulnerable and accessible to strangers. There is also the risk of identity theft if your personal information falls into the wrong hands. Thankfully, Android devices offer the possibility of encrypting the phone.

3. Remove your accounts

Before selling or trading-in an Android device, it is vital to remove all the accounts linked to it. Failure to do so may result in unauthorized access to personal information, which can lead to identity theft and fraud. This is why wiping off the device’s data entirely should be a top priority before handing it over to the new owner.

Moreover, removing accounts from the device ensures that the new owner cannot access any stored data or have the device associated with the previous owner’s account, which is a security risk. If the device is still linked to the previous owner’s Google account, it can lead to apps and services associated with that account still having access to sensitive data.

4. Erase all data on your Android device

Performing a factory reset on your Android device before trading it in is of utmost importance. Not only does it protect your personal data from falling into the wrong hands, but it also ensures that your device operates at its best potential for its new owner.

It’s also worth noting that many trade in programs and resellers require devices to be factory reset before accepting them. Therefore, taking the time to perform this step can save you time and hassle down the line.

Go to Settings > General management > Reset > Factory reset data to remove all information from the device. For a full rundown make sure to visit our guide on erasing an Android device before selling it.

How to clean your phone before trading it in

Clean your phone

If you’re planning on trading in your old phone for a new one, it’s important to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Not only will a clean phone increase its value, but it will also help protect others from potential viruses. Follow these simple steps to clean your phone before trading it in:

  1. If your phone has a case, take it off and clean it separately. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe it down and remove any dirt or grime.
  2. Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe down the screen, removing any fingerprints or smudges. Avoid using harsh chemicals or alcohol-based products, as these can damage the screen.
  3. Use a perfectly dry toothbrush or a cleaning brush to gently clean the ports on your phone, including the charging port and headphone jack. Make sure to remove any dust or debris.
  4. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down the body of your phone, removing any dirt or grime. If there are any stubborn stains, you can use a small amount of rubbing alcohol to clean them off.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure your phone is in top condition before trading it in.

How to package your phone before trading it in

When it comes to trading in your phone, packaging it properly can make all the difference in getting the best possible offer. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your phone arrives in pristine condition and ready for trade in.

  1. To get started, you’ll need a few materials. Grab a sturdy cardboard box, ideally one that’s slightly larger than your phone, as well as some bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or crumpled paper to fill any empty space in the box. You could also use that old phone box you’ve been keeping around.
  2. Next, secure the phone by wrapping it in a layer of bubble wrap or foam padding. This will help protect the phone from any potential impacts during transit.
  3. Carefully place the wrapped phone in the center of the cardboard box. Then, fill the empty space around the phone with additional packing materials. Be sure to add enough so that the phone doesn’t move around or shift during transit.
  4. Once you’ve filled the box, close the lid and apply packing tape to all seams. Finally, label the box with the address of the trade in company and any other relevant information, such as a return address.
  5. Our recommendation is to also take multiple pictures of this entire process so you have proof of the phone’s condition.
  6. Don’t forget to double-check all of your work before sealing the box – a little extra effort now can go a long way toward getting the most out of your trade in.

Get shipment insurance for your trade in phone

Insurance when using a courier to send in your phone

When it comes to shipping off your trade in phone, insuring your package should be a must. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, the reality is that accidents happen, and the cost of replacing or repairing a damaged or lost phone far outweighs the cost of insurance.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that once your package leaves your hands, you no longer have control over its safety. Whether it’s being shipped via ground or air, there are countless factors that can lead to damage or loss – from rough handling to extreme weather conditions. Insuring your package offers you a safety net in the event that something goes wrong, ensuring that you won’t be left empty-handed if your phone is lost or damaged.

Another key reason to insure your package is the potential value of your trade in phone. Whether you’re upgrading to the latest model or simply looking to get rid of an outdated device, the value of your phone can range from a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand. Without insurance, the cost of replacing a lost or damaged phone could easily exceed the value of the device itself – leaving you with a hefty financial burden.

Will your courier sell you insurance?

You can purchase shipping insurance from most couriers, from USPS to UPS and DHL. FedEx has something similar called Declared Value, but it’s not quite the same. Analyze them all and choose the best courier for your package.

Overall, insuring your package is a smart and responsible choice when it comes to shipping off your trade in phone. With the potential costs and risks involved, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and protect yourself and your device. So before you send off your phone, be sure to invest in insurance – it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind and security that comes with knowing your phone is safe and protected in transit.

Your phone is all set for trading in

As you can see, there are a lot of things you have to take care of in order to prepare your phone for trade in but the effort is all worth it since you’ll get more money. Using SellCell to trade in your phone is the best solution to getting a fantastic offer. Not only that, but you will save time on research and that’s priceless. Ultimately, that means you have more money towards your new dream phone.