What Can You Do With an Old iPhone?

Most consumers upgrade their iPhones on a regular basis – if not every year, then every few years. With the latest model of iPhone, you’ll likely get access to longer battery life, more storage, a better camera, and tons of other advanced features.

Let’s start with an important point: what you can’t (or shouldn’t) do with an old iPhone. Some consumers are tempted to simply wipe their old device and throw it in the trash with everything else that they no longer want or need.

This is a bad idea, and for several reasons. For starters, in most areas, it’s illegal to throw away a cell phone, or any kind of old electronic device. That’s because electronics are packed with different components and toxic chemicals like lead, cadmium, platinum, and even arsenic, which is deadly to humans. If these chemicals end up at the bottom of a landfill, they can eventually get into the soil and groundwater, resulting in massive amounts of ecological damage – especially if there are many phones in the same heap.

No matter what, throwing away your old iPhone isn’t an option. So what can you do instead?


Owners of older iPhones often wonder, “how do I sell my iPhone?” And indeed, selling your iPhone is one of the most beneficial and most straightforward options. You can get rid of the phone, make some extra money, and ensure your phone’s internal components are reused or recycled, all at the same time.

There are several ways you can go about this:

  • Manufacturers and resellers. Some manufacturers and authorized retailers have buyback programs, trade-in programs, and other incentives to help consumers get rid of their old electronics. If you’re buying a new phone, for example, you may be able to trade in your old phone to get a discount on it. You may also be able to sell your phone directly for a small amount of cash.
  • Electronics purchasers. A better option is to find an online business that specializes in buying old electronics from consumers. These organizations tend to offer much better prices than manufacturers and resellers, and they accept a wide range of different devices as well – including old iPhones. From there, they may refurbish and resell your old iPhone or recycle it for parts, depending on its condition and current demand for the model.
  • Third party platforms. You may also be able to sell the iPhone yourself using third-party reselling platforms like eBay. However, there’s no guarantee someone will be interested in buying your device, and you may encounter other hiccups and obstacles to completing the transaction.
  • Donation. It’s not technically selling your iPhone, but you can also donate your phone to someone in need. If your donation counts as a charitable cause, you can even use it as a write-off on your taxes.

Reusing and Repurposing

You can also try to reuse or repurpose your phone, allowing it to serve a new and different function in your life.

For example:

  • Surveillance cameras and baby monitors. Set your old phone up as a baby monitor or security camera for your home.
  • A dash cam. Install the phone in your car to work as a dash cam.
  • A VR headset. Affix the phone to a headset to get an immersive VR experience.
  • A game console. Attach a gamepad to the phone and turn it into a mobile game console.
  • A smart home remote or media hub. Use your phone as a remote for your smart home, or use it to play movies and music from a central location.
  • A portable tracker. Attach your phone to a bike or other important possession and make it easier to track.
  • A secondary phone. You could also use your old iPhone as an additional phone when you have access to Wi-Fi – or use it for additional data storage.


If all else fails, you can also wipe your phone of all personal data and recycle it. You can drop it off at your local recycling facility, or place it in a phone recycling drop-off bin you find at a local business. Once collected, your phone will be reduced to its individual components, which will then be melted down and reused in future devices.

If you want to be responsible, never throw your old iPhone away. Instead, find a way to reuse it and give it new life, sell it to an authorized organization, or recycle it to make the most of its internal parts.