What to do with your old mobile phone

Discover how to sell, donate, recycle or trade-in your old mobile phone in Ireland to save money or give to charity.

Once your mobile phone contract has ended and your handset’s been paid off, you’ll probably be looking to buy a new phone.

Before you discard your old one though, find out what you can do with it to earn some money, help the environment or support a charity. Here are the main things you could do with your old handset:

  1. Sell it
  2. Trade it in
  3. Donate it
  4. Recycle it

Selling your your old mobile phone

You can sell it yourself by advertising it online or locally, or you can sell it to a company that buys used tech.

To get an idea of how much your phone might be worth, search for the make and model you’re looking to sell on places like Facebook marketplace or eBay.

Sell it yourself

If you choose to sell it yourself, you could try one of these options or advertise it locally.

  • Facebook marketplace - free to use
  • eBay - fees may apply
  • Gumtree - generally free to use

Sell it to a company

If you’d rather sell it directly to a company, here are some options:

Shop around to get the best price for your phone and be sure to check the terms and conditions.

For example, the initial price shown often assumes the phone’s in perfect condition and has the highest storage capacity. So, if your phone doesn’t match up, you’ll get less money for it.

Don’t wait to sell your phone as they quickly become outdated and are worth less when a new model comes out.

Trading in your old mobile phone

This is probably the easiest solution as you can trade your old handset when you buy your new phone. It also means you can offset the trade-in price against things like:

  • Your new handset
  • Accessories
  • Your monthly bill
  • Pay as you go top ups

Most network providers like Vodafone, and some mobile retailers let you trade in any phone on any network.

When you trade it in, the retailer is likely to refurbish your phone or recycle it, so it’s a way of being paid to do the right thing for the environment.

Donating your old mobile phone

Many charities accept old phones if you’re not bothered about getting any money for your phone and want to do a nice thing.

If it’s not stated on their website, just call ahead and check to save a wasted journey.

Charities can make money from your phone by passing it on to a company that will recycle it - so it’s also environmentally friendly.

Before you donate your phone, turn it on, check that it’s working, then go into the settings and wipe everything to ensure your personal and financial data is safe.

Recycling your old mobile phone

If you want to be greener, recycling your phone is a great step towards this and you could make some money from it too. Here are some options to try:

  • Mobile providers - they’ll often recycle phones from any network
  • Apple
  • envirofone

You also have the option of taking your old handset to a Civic Amenity Site or WEEE recycling point, to be recycled with the electrical items. This ensures that each component is either disposed of safely or reused and doesn’t end up in landfill. It’s free to do this, but you won’t get any money back.

Use the mywaste waste service locator to find your nearest electrical recycling facility.

What to do before you get rid of your phone

However you decide to get rid of your phone, there are a few things you should do first:

  • Back up your data e.g. photos, music, messages, emails, contacts etc
  • Turn off any payment services e.g. Apple pay where your card details are stored
  • Sign out of apps that hold your personal details e.g. Facebook, Gmail and LinkedIn
  • Ensure the ‘Find my iPhone’ feature is switched off if you have an iPhone
  • Delete any saved passwords on your browsers
  • Remove your SIM card and any external storage
  • Do a factory reset to wipe the phone

You should also pack the phone up in the original box if you have it, along with any accessories it came with, if they’ve been agreed as part of the sale.

If you’re not sure how to do any of these steps, you could check your user manual, your operator’s manual or call your phone provider.

Should you keep your phone?

It’s easy to get into the cycle of buying a new phone as soon as your contract ends, but is it always necessary?

Once your contract has ended, your phone is paid off. This means you can simply switch to a SIM-only deal, which is much cheaper because you’re just paying for the data, texts and minutes you need. Keeping your existing phone is a great way to save money.

SIM-only plans are really flexible and usually on a rolling 30 day basis. So, if you decide to swap your phone a couple of months down the line, you won’t have to wait for a lengthy contract to end.

You could also keep your old handset as a spare, in case something goes wrong with your new phone or it goes missing.

So, if your phone’s in good condition and has all the functions you need, you might want to hang onto it and consider a SIM-only bill pay deal instead.

Get a SIM only deal with the calls, texts and data you need for less.

It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving.

How to find the best phone deals

Before you upgrade or buy your new phone, find out how to get the best mobile phone plan.

Whether you’re looking for an iPhone, Samsung, or Huawei, we compare some of the best deals in Ireland and help you understand each handset’s features.

If you’re investing in an expensive handset, our guide: Is mobile phone insurance worth it? is also well worth a read.