How to Get the Most Value for Your Old Phone

Americans have an estimated $33 billion of old technology just collecting dust in their homes.1 So why not trade in some of your old tech and put that value toward a newer model?

Before you trade-in, follow these steps

Step 1: Back up your information

Don’t forget about your personal data. You’ll want to back up your contacts, calendar, music, photos or app data from games on your device. While the iOS and Android clouds will save your data, there are also several apps you can download to protect your information.

Step 2: Turn off “find my phone” programs

Before you reset your device, you should also turn off any “Find my device” programs that you may have installed.

If you’re using Apple’s Find My iPhone, go into the settings and tap your name. From there, go to iCloud, tap “Find My iPhone” and turn the program off.

For Android devices, go to settings > Security and location > Find My Device and then turn off “Find My Device.”

Step 3: Perform a factory reset

For the final step, you’ll need to perform a factory reset. This will restore your device to its original, straight-from-the-box settings. Only do this after you’re sure you’ve backed up anything you want to keep on your phone to the cloud.

On iOS, open the Settings menu > General > Reset. Click “Erase All” to wipe all data from your device.

On Android, open the menu and select Settings > Privacy > Factory Data Reset > Reset Phone.

Let’s make a deal: Getting the most for trading in your device

U.S. Cellular’s trade in and recycling program follows three simple steps: appraise it, ship it, get paid. Depending on the age and condition of your old phone or tablet, you could earn big bucks to put toward that new device you’ve been eyeing. Even better: when you trade-in with us, you can be sure that even if we can’t refurbish your trade-in, it will still be recycled responsibly.

Learn more about our trade-in program and shop the latest devices at U.S. Cellular.


  1. Collins, Larry. “Americans Have $33B in Unused Technology in Homes: Survey.” NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, 10 May 2018,