What to do with old mobile phones

Don’t leave that once-loved gadget in the drawer to be forgotten. Give it a new lease of life with these top tips…

29 Jan 2021

We’ve all done it. A new phone comes out that ticks every box, and boom! You’ve bought it and you’re upgrading. You back up all your files and apps, pop the SIM out of your old phone and into the new and that’s it. You’re all moved over and ready to crack on with your new, next-gen smartphone. But what are you going to do with your old phone?

Whether you want to sell your phone, donate it to charity or keep putting it to good use, there’s always a better option than simply ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Here are just a few of them:


Keep using your old phones

Too often, our old, trusty tech isn’t dispensed, but left in a drawer out of the way. Of all the used phones that are kept and forgotten about after an upgrade, most of them can still function well. And even if they're showing their age with battery, speed or camera capability, there are certainly ways to keep putting them to good use.

One of the best things you can do with an old handset is turn it into a security camera for your home. Plenty of apps let you view the live camera feed of one device on another, and setup is incredibly easy. Just place your old phone in a good spot and download Alfred. With this brilliant app, all you need to do is sign into the same account on both phones to keep tabs on what’s happening at home. It’s got motion detection, two-way talking and even low-light filtering, so it’s just as handy at night as it is in daylight.

Or, if you have a toddler or baby at home, why not turn that old smartphone into a baby monitor? Just place it near their cot or bed (keeping it plugged in if battery is an issue) and you’re halfway there. You can either video call the old phone over Wi-Fi using Skype or similar services, or go for a specialist app. If it’s an Android phone, the BabyCam app is made for doing just this job. All you need is two devices on the same Wi-Fi network and you’re ready to go.


Sell old mobile phones online

Even if you’re not out to make loads of money, it’s surely more worthwhile to sell your old mobile phone than leave it hidden away somewhere. Make sure you’ve removed all your data and performed a factory reset, so it’s like new when it powers up. If it’s a flagship from a few years ago, you could try your luck on Facebook MarketplaceeBay, or Gumtree , get a quote from a site like Fonebank, or take it to a gadget store and see what they’ll offer.

When you shop with Currys PC World, you can trade in your old phone and get a gift card to spend on new tech – but more on that later.


You could donate old mobile phones to charity...

Old phones, provided they’re in full working order, are a welcome sight in charity shops. They tend to make for a higher ticket item, the money all goes to a good cause, while the buyer gets to grab a great handset at a bargain price. It’s an all-round win.

We mentioned Fonebank before, which is a great site for getting a fast quote for that old mobile and selling it quickly. But they’ve also got a fantastic charity initiative with Water Aid. When you sell your phone, you can choose to donate a percentage, or the full value of your phone directly to Water Aid. Why not clear your home of unused tech and do a good deed at the same time?


Go green and recycle old mobile phones

Did you know that roughly 80% of the materials used in your phone are recyclable? Among the materials your phone is made from, some are precious metals. If you can’t find a secondary use for your phone, and you don’t want the hassle of selling it, consider going for the green option and recycling it.

You can recycle old mobile phones at most local recycling centres, so check to see where your nearest one is. Or why not put an ad on Freecycle or Freegle to see if you can find any takers locally? But, as with selling a phone, make sure you’ve cleared all your data and that you’ve got all the files you need, first.  

And at Currys PC World, we have our own recycling initiative. When you buy new tech with us online or in one of our stores, we can take your old tech off your hands and recycle it. That goes for old phones and chargers, too.


Trade your old phone

Got your eye on something new and cutting edge? Put the value of your old phone against the price of new tech at Currys. When our stores are able to reopen, you can trade your old mobile phone and receive a gift card to spend on something brand new. And don’t worry about any leftover data. We’ll wipe your old device in line with government standards.

Got some more old gadgets lying around unused? Check out our guide to getting rid of unwanted tech.

Related in Mobile

How to achieve tech-life balance with a phone detox

15 Feb 2021

5 tips and tricks for your new S21

29 Jan 2021

5 tech tips to help you get the best pics from your Samsung Galaxy S21

28 Jan 2021

Find your zen with these meditation and wellbeing apps

18 Jan 2021

First look at the epic Samsung S21 Series

18 Jan 2021