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Things To Know When Selling Old Unwanted Tech Online

Things To Know When Selling Old Unwanted Tech Online

The amount of electronics and tech being thrown away each year is staggering. Over 5 billion mobile phones are thrown out every year, many of which still hold value. Recycling electronics including smartphones can be financially beneficial, and help the environment.

Yet, 83% of e-waste is not being collected according to the World Economic Forum. Cupboards, attics, and drawers are full of old mobile phones, iPods, and laptops. All of which could be sold for reuse or recycled for their components.

Why don’t more consumer electronics get resold or recycled? Partly because of apathy. With the price of tech dropping over the years, many people may become blase about the value of their older electronics. Free mobile phone upgrades take away some of the incentive to sell a previous model. And some individuals may just not realize how much their pre-loved tech is worth and how easy it is to sell.

The benefits of selling and recycling your old electronics

Obviously, the main benefit of selling old tech is from receiving cash in return. However, there are plenty of other gains to be had from selling old smartphones and iPads. If you trade in your Google Pixel you may receive a significant cash sum. And you’ll be doing the planet a favor too.

The environment

Electronic waste contains a number of components that harm the environment. Heavy metals such as mercury and lithium can be found in consumer tech. E-waste in landfills can end up polluting waterways.

About 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste arrive in landfills each year. That is a serious amount of potential toxins polluting the Earth.

Your finances

Selling on your old smartphone will bring some financial gains. Certain phones such as the Google Pixel hold their value well. The sale value can be used toward future tech purchases or just put in the bank.

It was reported that in 2022 alone, about $6,374,000 worth of smartphones were relegated to the back of cupboards. And that was just the UK.


Precious metals are used in the production of computers and smartphones. By recycling your old tech you are reducing the need for mining for materials. This in turn helps the environment again.

It has been estimated that 5 billion mobile phones could contain around $8 billion worth of gold. As you can see, recycling e-waste is financially beneficial

What should you know before selling used electronics?

If you decide to sell your old tech or send it to a recycling center, then there are a few things to know. Mobile phones and computers contain sensitive data which will need erasing. Further down the article, you will see a few salient points regarding these types of electronics.

For now though, how to sell for the highest price may be your immediate concern.

Things to understand when selling old tech:

  • Where to sell
  • How to conclude a transaction safely
  • How to cover yourself in a dispute
  • How to get the best price

Where to sell your unwanted mobile phones and other tech

Most people will have only one or a couple of devices they wish to sell. However, there does lie the possibility of setting up a side hustle dealing in second-hand electronics. The top open-source shopping platforms are worth checking out if you wish to create some kind of side venture.

The majority of people though will opt for eBay, Amazon, or specialist buyback companies. The latter businesses specialize in buying smartphones and other electronics to either refurbish and sell or recycle.

How to conclude a transaction safely

Other channels include private listings such as Craigslist. Yet, mobile phone-buying companies and online marketplaces offer better protection. Using third-party payment portals such as PayPal will also help to protect you.

You can find reputable buyback companies by checking out reviews and reports on consumer websites. And eBay and Amazon allow consumers to rate sellers and buyers for reputation.

How to cover yourself in a dispute

Ensure your listing is accurate and contains honest information regarding the condition of your old tech. And when shipping, always obtain a tracking number for proof of delivery.

How to get the best price for your old tech

Smartphones are mentioned frequently in this article because they are perhaps the one device that gets frequently replaced. Of course, gaming machines and computers get upgraded. But, new smartphones are launched far more often than Playstations for instance.

The simplest way to recycle or sell a mobile phone is to use a company that specializes in buying old smartphones. Models such as iPhones and Pixels are very popular. These companies usually work by giving a quotation online and then providing prepaid shipping labels. If the device is received in the condition expected, payment will be made to the seller.

Nevertheless, you may wish to pursue other channels. There are 138 million active eBay users now. So, while eBay has lost ground to Amazon, it still has scope for successful auctions and sales.

1 Be honest about the condition of your tech

Whether you are selling a smartphone or laptop, be honest about the condition. Include any scratches or cosmetic problems in the description.

2 Take clear photos

If you sell your device to a buyback company you will only need to answer preset questions. But, if you choose to use Amazon, for example, you will need to include photographs.

3 Price your item competitively

Electronic device buy-back firms will offer you a quote that you can either accept or decline. However, if you sell through another channel you will have to compare prices and select yours accordingly.

What to remember when selling smartphones, computers, and tablets?

It is important to always use reputable platforms for selling your old devices. Amazon and eBay have consumer safeguards in place. And electronic firms such as Buyback Boss are rated highly by the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

Nevertheless, there are some things you need to do to protect your sensitive data.

Backup data and files

Firstly, backup all your contacts and media. Any photos that you wish to keep should be backed up on the cloud or to another device.

Log out of accounts

Then log out of all apps and websites such as online banking and Google. If you remain logged in then the next owner could potentially access your accounts. Although the risk is slight, being overly cautious is the best option. You can also remove accounts completely along with paired devices.

Factory reset

Now, perform a factory reset. Setting your device back to its original state will erase all of your data from the phone, in theory. There is some potential for data to be restored after a factory reset so logging out of apps beforehand is an extra precaution.

Remove SIM and memory cards

Ensure you remove all SIM and SD cards from your devices too. And you will need to remove any screen lock or passwords so that your buyer can access the device themselves.


How much you make from your old tech will depend on the condition and the model. The channel you use to sell will also make some difference.

Nevertheless, recycling or selling your old devices will help to reduce electronic waste and help the environment. And it should provide a modest amount of cash to put toward an upgrade.

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