What You Should Do With Your Old Cell Phone?

Updated: May 26, 2023

Have a junk drawer filled with old cell phones? With phone companies recommending you to get a new cell phone every couple of years, it’s likely that you have a few older models lying around the house. If that’s the case, it’s time to start clearing out those drawers because there’s a lot you can consider doing with them.

what do you do with old cell phonespryzmat/Shutterstock
Photo: pryzmat/Shutterstock

What Do You Do With Old Cell Phones? Sell It

The most immediate response when trying to get rid of an old phone is seeing if you can get any money for it. Along with the usual sites like eBay or Amazon (yes, you can actually trade in old phones for new ones), you should also consider sites such as Gazelle, ecoATM, and SellCell.com

Old Cell Phone: Donate It

You may have a junk drawer filled up with old cell phones, but there are many people around the world who can’t even afford a phone at all. Help out by donating your old cell phone to charities that collect electronic items such as this. Some cell phone companies even have specific projects to help collect and donate cell phones to others. A few of these programs include:

Old Cell Phone: Repurpose It

Don’t feel like getting rid of it quite yet? That makes sense—you spent a lot of money on this piece of technology, might as well use it! Turns out there are quite a few genius ideas that are great for repurposing your phone (especially if you have a smartphone with a large screen).

  • Alarm clock: Looking for an updated alarm clock that isn’t that dinosaur machine that you bought ten years ago? Give your nightstand a new look by setting up your phone as an alarm clock.
  • Remote control: Why buy a universal remote when you can turn your smartphone into one? There are a few apps that allow you to do this, as well as programs including Apple TV, Roku Player, Chrome Cast, and Amazon Fire TV.
  • Kid’s Camera: Pixltoys is actually creating cameras for kids out of old cell phones! Get a box that comes with a Pixlplay Camera, a wrist strap, sticker sheet, and two activity sheets for photographs. Simply slip the old phone into the camera and turn it into a camera! Here’s the full list of phones that will work for the camera.
  • GPS: Why eat up the battery life of your actual phone while driving when you can use your old phone? Set it up like an old-school GPS and save your most-used destinations for easy access as soon as you get in the car.
  • Security system camera: It has a camera, so why not use it? Set it up as a doorbell with a camera so you can always see who’s at the door.
  • Emergency phone: Even though a phone may not be under a provided plan at the moment, it can actually still make emergency calls. All phones connect to 911 regardless of having a phone plan or not. It may be smart to have an emergency phone (or two) placed in certain locations—like in a car, or the kitchen.

Old Cell Phone: Recycle It

Want to get rid of that old phone for good? Well, throwing it in the trashcan is not what to do with old cell phones. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you recycle it instead. Electronics can be hazardous if not recycled properly, so find out how the EPA recommends recycling your phone.

Now, how about laptops? Here’s what to do with your old computer.