Turn old tech into cash

If you’re interested in the latest gadgets and tech, there’s always something new to buy, isn’t there? Some mobile phones and tablets get updated twice a year, which means it’s never long before your tech is relatively obsolete – but there are things you can do to claim back some of the cash you spent on it.

According to research from Standard Life,  a third of us are  now selling belongings we no longer need to be more “financially efficient”. So if you have an upgrade coming your way over the next few weeks – or if you simply want to raise some extra funds in the run-up to Christmas – here are some ideas on how to turn your old tech into cash.


The most straightforward way to get cash for your old tech is to send it for recycling, in return for cash. If the gadget is in good enough condition, it’ll be refurbished and, most likely, be sold on in a developing country. If it isn’t, it’ll be stripped for parts and precious metals and potentially melted down.

Not only will you get a bit of money for it, you’ll also be helping to improve access to communications in developing countries, or easing the environmental burden that comes with mining for the rare materials used to build components in phones and tablets.

And how much cash can you get? Well, that depends on how new the tech is, its specifications and condition. For example, if you were lucky enough to get the new iPad mini 2, you’d get £164.25 for recycling your old, working iPad mini (16GB, wifi-only) with MoneySuperMarket’s recycling partner (at time of writing).

However, if you were trading in an older model, say, a working Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, you’d get £102.50. And if you trade in something relatively new, but not in working order, you’ll also get less. For example, a non-functional 16GB iPhone 4S, you’d get just £58, compared to £150.25 for a working one.

If you are going to recycle your old phone or tablet, be sure to shop around to see which of the recycling companies is offering the best price for your tech – and read reviews to find out which offers the best service.

Auction or online classifieds

If you’re willing to take on the extra hassle, selling your tech online using an auction site eBay, or a classifieds site like Gumtree and Amazon Marketplace, can earn you more than recycling. For comparison, several iPad minis (16GB, wifi-only) are selling on eBay for close to £200, again at time of writing.

If you don’t have an eBay account already, setting one up is free. While you will pay a small fee to list your items for sale, you can set a reserve to make sure that your tech will only sell once bidding surpasses the reserve. Rachel Wait takes an in-depth look at selling on eBay in this article.

Gumtree is different in that there is no bidding – you simply set an asking price and buyers will contact you if they’re interested.  The site’s help pages explain everything you need to know, and can be found here.

In both cases, you’re able to control how much your tech sells for – and if you’re not offered what you want for it, you don’t have to sell.

Donate to charity

The season of giving is upon us, and while it’s not cash in your pocket, donating your old tech to a charity shop is as good as making a charitable donation. Some charity shops have rules about what they will and will not take in terms of electrical items, but many will be happy to accept them.

Repurpose it

Again, this isn’t strictly earning you any cash – but it could save you from spending any more. Phones and tablets have in-built flash memory of anywhere between 8 and 64GB, which is memory you could put to use simply for data storage.

Devices with decent cameras can be kept for taking with you on your travels, where it doesn’t matter quite so much if it’s lost or damaged. Many smartphones have sophisticated satnav functions we don’t use that much because they sap the battery – but if you’re no longer relying on it for calls and texts, why not use it as a standalone satnav device?

If you have an old Android phone, there are tons of apps you can use to repurpose it. The IP Webcam app can turn it into a desktop webcam. If you have a smart TV, there are apps that will turn your phone into a spare remote control. Have a look at the app store and be creative!

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