How to sell your phone

How to sell your phone

Selling your current phone is a great way to fund an upgrade. And, while the cash you get from selling your current phone may not be able to fully fund your new phone purchase, there are ways to maximize the cash you get from the sale.

Selling mobile phones shouldn’t be overwhelming, and the process isn’t overly difficult. So, in this post, we’ll be going in-depth about how to sell your phone, and helping you to discover the best place to sell your phone, what you need to do to prepare your phone for sale, and how to create your listing.

Ultimately, this should all go towards helping you learn how you can get the most out of your sale, and when we refer to the most — we are referring to the most cash in your pocket.

Where is the best place to sell your phone?

The best place to sell your phone will depend on how you want to sell your phone. On a high-level, there are three common ways to sell a phone. You can sell it online, sell it locally, or use a trade-in service.

Selling online and selling locally both start out the same. With an online sale or a local sale, you begin by creating a listing, an online advertisement, for your phone. The difference between an online sale and a local sale is what happens once the phone is purchased. With an online sale, your buyer would make a payment, often using a service such as PayPal, and you would then package your phone and ship it off to your buyer. With a local sale, you would meet up with your buyer and exchange your phone for their cash.

Selling for cash vs. Using a trade-in program

Using a trade-in service is a bit different. With a trade-in, you aren’t selling to another person, but to a company. The trade-in process is safe and convenient, and generally very simple. However, that simplicity comes with a catch. In most cases, you will get less money when using a trade-in service. Your payment from a trade-in service also often comes in the form of gift cards, which limits where the money can be spent.

Simple can be good, but we suspect that you not only want to figure out where you can sell your phone but figure out where you can sell your phone for cash — that can be used anywhere, as opposed to being limited by a gift card.

Where can I sell my phone for cash?

Selling online is how you can sell your phone for cash — and get the most money. Online marketplace sites such as eBay and Swappa allow users to create listings for their phones, but not all marketplace sites are created equal. As a seller, you should check to see what the sale will cost before beginning the listing process.

Some sites charge a seller fee, or a listing fee, and not having to pay a fee as a seller will help towards maximizing the amount you get.

Swappa has a sale fee, but the sale fee is paid by the buyer — not the seller. That means more money in your pocket.

Similar to sale (or listing) fees, you also want to consider the cost of the payment you will be receiving. Swappa, and other marketplaces such as eBay, use PayPal for payment processing. PayPal charges a fee for all payments they process, but you get PayPal seller protections in return. Swappa uses PayPal for all payments due to those protections.

Where can I sell my phone near me?

Shifting from selling online to selling locally. Users can sell locally using a variety of sites such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Swappa Local. Using Swappa Local you can create a Local listing and sell your phone near where you live. A buyer would find your listing on Swappa Local and make the purchase. From that point, you both meet up at your pre-set swap spot meeting location and swap your phone for their cash, actual cash, as opposed to a payment through PayPal. A local sale means not only selling your phone near where you live but also helps to maximize the amount you get because you do not have the payment processing fee. Similar to a regular Swappa listing, the sale fee for a Swappa Local listing is paid by the buyer.

Where can I get the most money?

While a trade-in service is simple, you will not get the most money for your phone using this type of service. In order to get the most money from your sale, you should look towards selling online or selling locally. Just make sure to review each marketplace to see what fee(s) you may be responsible for as the seller. In some cases, a fee cannot be avoided, such as when receiving a payment through PayPal. But as a seller, you should make sure to look for a site that does not charge the seller a sale fee or a listing fee — such as Swappa.

By using Swappa, or Swappa Local, you should be able to maximize your sale and get the most money.


What to do before selling your phone

Once you’ve decided where to sell your phone, the next step is to prepare. The preparation stage should include four steps:

  • Inspect
  • Clean
  • Backup
  • Factory Reset

Inspecting and cleaning go hand-in-hand, and can essentially be done at the same time. But…each is equally important. You want to carefully inspect your phone and take note of any marks, scuffs, or other damage — even if it seems small and/or insignificant. Buyers will always be looking for an accurate description. They want to see an honest representation of the phone you have for sale.

Cleaning should always be done using a soft, lint-free cloth. You do not want to use anything abrasive, or anything with excessive moisture. You should be careful not to get moisture into any openings on the phone, and you shouldn’t spray anything directly on your phone. Otherwise, Clorox Disinfecting wipes and/or 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes can be used.

Moving to the backup and factory data reset steps. With these steps, you will want to make sure you remove any security settings that may lock a phone to your personal accounts. This includes properly removing your iCloud account from an iPhone or your Google (or Samsung) account from an Android phone. After these accounts have been removed from your phone you can move onto the factory reset, which will remove all data on your phone.

How to backup your phone, and how to wipe your phone, will depend on which phone you have — iOS or Android.

iOS backup and factory data reset

How to backup your iPhone

You can backup your iPhone using iCloud or your computer. With iCloud storage being limited to 5GB of space (on the free account), we recommended using your computer to backup your iPhone.

  • Connect your iPhone to a Mac or Windows computer. On a Mac, with macOS 10.15 or later, open a Finder window. On a Mac, with macOS 10.14 or earlier, or Windows, open iTunes.
  • Once your iPhone is connected to your computer you may be prompted to enter your device passcode or to Trust This Computer. If this happens, enter your passcode when prompted or follow the on-screen prompts to establish trust.
  • Locate your iPhone on your computer and follow the prompts to begin the backup process. Within the information section for your iPhone, there will be an area for Backups. You will have an option to backup your most important data, or to back up all of your data. You will also have a checkbox to encrypt your backup file.

Given you are using your computer for the backup, there should not be any issues with available storage, so we recommend you backup all of your data, as opposed to only the most important data. We also suggest that you encrypt the backup. But this comes with a warning — make sure you carefully note your password when encrypting your backup — because if you forget the password you will not be able to access the backup file.

How to factory reset your iPhone

With the backup complete, you can now begin the process of removing your personal accounts and factory resetting your iPhone. Sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store:

  • On an iPhone with iOS 10.3 or later — Navigate to Settings -> [Your Name] and then scroll down and tap Sign Out. You will then be prompted to enter the password for your Apple ID and then tap Turn Off.
  • On an iPhone with iOS 10.2 or earlier — Navigate to Settings -> iCloud -> Sign Out. You then need to tap Sign Out again and then tap Delete from My [Your Device Name]. At this point, you’ll need to enter the password for your Apple ID. After that, you go to Settings -> iTunes & App Store -> Apple ID -> Sign Out.

Factory resetting your iPhone:

  • Navigate to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase All Content and Settings.

Android backup and factory data reset

How to backup your Android phone

Backing up your Android phone can be done within the Settings app.

  • Navigate to Settings -> System -> Backup -> Back up now -> Continue

From this point you can get your backup service turned on, for which we recommend using Google Drive. When backing up your Android phone using Google Drive — the following items are backed up:

  • Contacts
  • Google Calendar (events and settings)
  • SMS messages (but not MMS)
  • WiFi networks and passwords
  • Wallpapers
  • Gmail settings
  • Apps
  • Display settings (for brightness and sleep)
  • Language and input settings
  • Date and time

This backup option will also include settings and data for apps that are not made by Google. However, it is important to note that this will vary by app, and not all non-Google apps will be fully backed up. You can also backup your images and videos using the Google Photos app.

How to factory reset your Android phone

Once your data has been backed up, the next step is to get all your personal information cleared and factory reset your phone.

  • Remove your Google account from your phone by navigating to Settings -> Accounts (Users & Accounts) -> Google -> Tap on your email address -> Tap the (three dot) menu icon -> Tap Remove account -> Reconfirm by tapping Remove account again.
  • Navigate to Settings -> System -> Reset options -> Erase all data (factory reset) -> Reset phone -> Enter PIN if prompted and tap Continue -> Tap Erase everything

How to list your phone for sale

With your data backed up, and your phone factory reset, the next step is to list your phone for sale. You can begin creating your listing by clicking the “Sell on Swappa” button located in the upper right corner of the Swappa website, or by visiting the sell page directly.

From the sell page, you will be prompted to click on the model phone you have, or you can search for your model using the “Search to sell” option. Once you’ve found your phone, the listing can be started by selecting whether you have a carrier model or an unlocked model.

At this point, you then click the green “Sell on Swappa” button, and you will be prompted to start entering the details for your listing. The listing details will include basics about the phone, and you can also enter a description, any details for shipping, and images.

When creating your listing make sure you include all pertinent information, such as the model number, the amount of internal storage space, and the condition of the phone. You’ll also want to make sure the listing includes high-quality (clear and well lit) images showing the phone from all angles. You can get started with your listing by clicking the green button below.


If you are selling your current phone to fund an upgrade, keep in mind that Swappa can also help you save some money on your next phone. Depending on the specific model you are shopping for, there is the potential to save hundreds of dollars when shopping for a newish phone on Swappa, as opposed to shopping for a new phone at regular retail pricing.

On Swappa you’ll find a wide variety of phones, including the iPhone, as well as Android phones from Google, Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and more.