What to Do with Old iPhones?

Old iPhone propped on the couch

As a result of upgrading our smartphones, many of us are left with old iPhones that no longer work. While these devices can occupy valuable space in our homes and may even end up in the trash, there are several ways to recycle these devices that benefit the environment and those in need.

By selling it or trading it in at a retail store, you may be able to earn a decent amount of money based on its model and condition. Donating your old iPhone to an organization that refurbishes and distributes it to those in need, such as low-income families or schools, is another option. Besides reducing electronic waste, this can be an excellent way to give back and help others.

If your old iPhone is no longer functional, you can still recycle it through various programs offered by Apple or other electronics companies. This ensures that the device is disposed of properly and the materials are reused or recycled. By considering these options, you can make a positive impact on the environment and potentially help someone in need.

Selling Old iPhones

If you’re looking to get some cash for your old iPhone, there are a few different options available to you. Here are some of the most popular ways to sell your device:

1. Sell it yourself

One option is to sell your iPhone yourself on online marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist. This can be more time-consuming than other options, but it can also be the most lucrative. When selling your phone yourself, you’ll need to take pictures of the device, write a description, and set a price. Be sure to be honest about the phone’s condition and include any flaws in your listing.

2. Trade it in

Many electronics retailers and carriers offer trade-in programs where you can get credit towards upgrading your device by trading in your old one. Some popular options include Apple, Best Buy, and Verizon. When trading in your device, you’ll typically need to provide information about the phone’s condition and its storage capacity to get an estimate of its value.

3. Use a buyback service

There are also several online services that buy your old iPhone from you. Some popular options include Gazelle and Decluttr. No matter which option you go with, please remember to wipe your phone before selling it. Remember, the value of your phone depends on its condition and storage capacity, so be honest when describing it to potential buyers or trade-in programs.

Donating Old iPhones

You can help others in need by donating an old iPhone that you no longer use. There are many organizations that accept old iPhones and use them to help others.

One option is to donate your old iPhone to a local school or library. Many schools and libraries have technology programs that can benefit from having access to older devices. Your old iPhone could be used to help students learn about technology or to provide internet access to those who don’t have it at home.

Another option is to donate your old iPhone to a non-profit organization. There are many non-profits that work to provide technology to underserved communities or help those in need. By donating your old iPhone, you can help these organizations continue their important work.

Before donating your old iPhone, erase all personal data from the device. You can do this by going to the Settings app, selecting General, and then selecting Reset. From there, select Erase All Content and Settings. This will wipe your iPhone clean and ensure that your personal information is not accessible to anyone else.

Overall, donating your old iPhone is an excellent way to give back to your community and help others in need. By donating your old device, you can make a real difference in someone’s life.

Recycling Old iPhones

Recycling is a great option for disposing of old iPhones. Not only does it keep the device out of landfills, but it also allows the valuable materials inside to be repurposed.

Apple has a recycling program called “Apple Renew” that accepts old devices and refurbishes them for resale or breaks them down for parts.

Another option is to use a third-party recycling service. Many companies, such as Gazelle and ecoATM, offer cash or gift cards in exchange for old devices. These services typically wipe the device clean of personal data and then either refurbish or recycle the device.

It’s important to note that before recycling an old iPhone, it’s crucial to erase all personal data from the device. This can be done by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Additionally, it’s a good idea to remove the SIM card and any accessories before recycling.

Recycling old iPhones is not only environmentally responsible but can also provide financial benefits. By taking advantage of recycling programs, individuals can ensure that their old devices are being properly disposed of while also receiving compensation for them.

Repurposing Old iPhones

There are so many cool things you can do with old iPhones. I have tried everything from a home security hub for my Ring system to a streaming-only device on the wall in our kid’s room. So let’s talk about a few ways to repurpose that used iPhone.

Home Security System

I can repurpose my old iPhone as a home security system. All I need is a security camera app like Manything or Presence, which can turn my iPhone into a security camera. I can then place the iPhone in a strategic location in my home and use the app to monitor my home remotely. These apps also have motion detection and sound alerts, which notify me of suspicious activity.

Dedicated Music Player

Another way I can repurpose my old iPhone is by turning it into a dedicated music player. I can load my old iPhone with my favorite music and connect it to a Bluetooth speaker or headphones. I can also use apps like Spotify, Apple Music, or Pandora to stream music. This way, I can keep my old iPhone in my car or use it while working out without worrying about draining the battery on my primary phone.

Digital Photo Frame

I can also turn my iPhone into a digital photo frame. I can use the built-in Photos app to create a slideshow of my favorite photos and display them on my iPhone. I can then place my old iPhone in a picture frame or holder and use it as a digital photo frame. I can also use apps like LiveFrame or Picmatic to add extra features like weather updates or news headlines.

Personal Streaming Device

Lastly, I can repurpose my iPhone as a personal streaming device. I can use apps like Netflix, Max, or Hulu to stream movies and TV shows on my old iPhone. I can also use apps like YouTube or Twitch to watch videos or live streams. This way, I can keep my old iPhone in my bedroom or use it while traveling without worrying about using up my primary phone’s battery.

Overall, there are many ways to repurpose iPhones, and these are just a few examples. By repurposing my old iPhone, I can save money and reduce electronic waste.


There are several options available for dealing with old iPhones. Depending on the condition of the device and personal preferences, one can choose to sell it, trade it in, donate it, recycle it, or repurpose it.

Selling or trading in a used iPhone can be a good option for those looking to make some extra cash or upgrade to a newer model. However, it’s important to research and compare prices from different buyers to ensure a fair deal.

Donating an iPhone to a charity or non-profit organization is an excellent way to give back to the community and help those in need. Many organizations accept old electronics and refurbish them for reuse.

Recycling old iPhones is also environmentally friendly. Many electronic retailers and manufacturers offer recycling programs that ensure proper disposal of electronic waste.

Finally, repurposing an iPhone can be a fun and creative way to extend its useful life. Some ideas include using it as a dedicated music player, a security camera, or a remote control for smart home devices.

Overall, the decision of what to do with a used iPhone ultimately depends on individual circumstances and preferences. By considering the options outlined above, one can make an informed decision that benefits both the wallet and the environment.

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