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Smart Ideas for Old Smart Phones to newer smart phones periodically can help boost productivity for you and your staff. The majority of Americans do so every one to two years. What to do with the old ones?

Selling old smart phones

Your old smart phone may be worth some cash to you. The old phone must be in good condition, meaning that it’s functional and that there are no cracks in the case. Sites that buy them include:


You may save some money by trading in your old smart phone. Check with the seller of your new version to see what trade-ins are accepted. For example, Apple accepts not only old iPhones, but also Androids and Blackberries that can be reused.

From a tax perspective, when you trade in any equipment—a car or a computer—for a new version, you may only get a small write-off for the purchase price of the new smart phone. Under tax law, with a trade-in, the tax basis of the new phone is the remaining basis of the old one, plus any additional cash you pay. The basis of the old phone is zero if you already wrote off the cost of the old phone as is likely; your depreciation write-offs (or first-year expensing) for the new phone is limited to the additional cash you had to pay for the phone.


If you can’t sell or trade in the old phone (e.g., it no longer works), be sure to dispose of it properly. The Federal Trade Commission offers these steps:

Step 1: Remove your personal information
Step 2: Recheck step one
Step 3: Recycle

Consider donating your smart phone (e.g., I gave mine to my local Sheriff’s office under a program where it scrubs the personal information and gives phones to domestic abuse victims for use in an emergency). Alternatively, use environmentally acceptable disposal methods (e.g., return to the carrier). Apple stores accept all smart phones for recycling.