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Recycle your phone (and other gadgets) for cash in 3 easy steps

Lauren Forbes 20th May 2022 6 Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Knowing how to recycle your gadgets for cash could make you a tidy little profit. Recycling companies don’t only hand over cash for mobile phones – some will also pay you for cameras, MP3 players, games consoles and more. Here MoneyMagpie looks at how to recycle your gadgets and make a profit. Our message? Recycle now!


How to recycle your mobile phone

Recycle your mobile phone

Every year millions of defunct gadgets get shoved up in the loft or dumped onto a scrap heap. Once they’ve served their purpose, most of us want them out of sight and out of mind. But this attitude could stop us from earning some easy money, whilst seriously damaging the environment.

Go here now to sell your phone for instant cash!


sell your other gadgets too

Gadgets with recycle symbol on

There are recycling companies around such as musicMagpie who are desperate to get their hands on our gadgets.   musicMagpie are not only offering cash for mobiles, they’ll also recycle games consoles, cameras, MP3 players and other such devices.

Whether its that PS3 you never play anymore or the iPod Nano you’ve long since moved on from, musicMagpie could be an excellent way to clear out some clutter, and make yourself a little cash as well.

Again, just put the name of your gadget into musicMagpie‘s search bar to get an instant estimate.


 How much could I make selling my gadgets and phone?

Man throwing money in the air

Prices vary depending on the make and condition of your gadget. For example, recycling an Apple iPhone 11 128GB with giffgaff could bring you around £230.

giffgaff’s easy to search website means you can get an estimate on your device in seconds, and they even make it easy for you to recycle (for free). Even better, the money will be in your bank account on the same day they process your phone.

Really old devices might not go for that much, but you’ll be doing something good for the planet, as well as your pocket.

Always remember to erase everything securely

It may seem like the best way to remove your personal files before recycling your gadgets is just to press the delete button, however this DOESN’T actually delete them! When you “delete” something on a computer, what you’re actually doing is hiding the file and telling the system that it can write over it, if you kept using the computer eventually it would be rewritten with different save data, but if you’re just wiping and sending on, the person at the other end can actually recover that data (yes, even though you deleted it!).

So if your phone, computer or gadget is still operational, it’s very important to make sure you completely remove all that personal data to prevent identity theft.

Here’s how to make sure that your private information is really gone forever:

Wiping a Mobile Phone

Step 1: Remove Factory Reset Protection

You’ll have to start by removing Factory Reset Protection (FRP). An extra layer of security introduced by Google in Android 5.0 Lollipop to prevent thieves from being able to steal your phone, wipe it, and then use it or sell it. If you factory reset a phone with FRP still enabled and then try to set it up as a new device, it will prompt you to enter the user name and password for the last Google account registered on the device. If you don’t have those details, then the phone will remain locked and will be un-useable. Obviously, this is no good if you’re trying to sell it or give it away.

Here’s how to disable it:

  1. This step will differ slightly depending on your phone make. On a Samsung Galaxy, go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Screen lock type and choose None. On an LG G6, go to Settings > Display > Lock screen > Select screen lock and choose None. On a Google Pixel, go to Settings > Personal > Security > Screen lock and choose None.
  2. The next thing you must do is remove your Google account. If you have more than one Google account registered with your phone, then make sure you remove all of them.
  3. If you have a Samsung Galaxy, then you should remove your Samsung account, too.

Step 2: Encrypt Your Data

When you do a factory reset on an Android smartphone, it’s supposed to wipe it clean, but it doesn’t. It deletes the location information for your data, so it can’t find it, but it doesn’t actually overwrite the data. Because of this, it’s possible for someone to use off-the-shelf recovery software and recover some of that data.

To ensure your data cannot be recovered you need to encrypt your data. This option is built in to Android and needs to be done manually through the setting menu (with iPhones this happens automatically). When you encrypt your phone, everything becomes scrambled, and your data is made unreadable.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Completely charge your phone or keep it plugged in while running this process as it can take several hours depending on how much data you have.
  2. The next step differs slightly from phone to phone. It will generally be Settings > Security > Encrypt phone. But on a Samsung Galaxy, for example, you want to go to Settings > Lock screen & security > Protect encrypted data. You have the option to encrypt the SD card as well, but if you’re passing the phone on, we would recommend removing it instead.

Note: If your phone came with Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, it should be encrypted by default

step 3: Factory Reset The phone

Make sure everything you want to keep is backed up now because once you have done this your data will be GONE.

This bit is fairly simple, just follow these simple steps (it should be the same general pathway for most phones):

Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset and then tap Reset phone or Reset device.

On a Samsung Galaxy go to Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory data reset and then tap Reset device.

When the process is done, your phone will be wiped and any data that could be recovered will be encrypted and should be impossible to decrypt. It’s now safe to sell your Android smartphone, or pass it along.


Wiping a Computer Hard-drive

Step 1: Download a free data destruction program.

There are actually several ways to completely erase a hard drive but using data destruction software is the easiest and still allows the hard drive to be used again. DBAN is probably the most widely used hard drive wiping tool. See this tutorial if you’re nervous about hard drive wiping or prefer a more detailed walk-through (it has screenshots).

Here are some examples of programmes you could use.

step 2: Install the software

Complete whatever steps are necessary to install the software or, in the case of a bootable program like DBAN, get the ISO image on a CD disc or USB device like a flash drive:

If you’re using a CD or DVD, this usually involves burning the ISO image to a disc and then booting from the disc to run the program.

If you’re using a flash drive or other USB drive, this usually involves burning the ISO image to the USB device and then booting from that USB drive to get started.

Step 3: Wipe the hard drive according to the program’s instructions

Yep, pretty simple. After properly wiping a hard drive, you can be confident that whatever information was on the drive is now gone for good.


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1 year ago

mine they didnt accept tried to recyle mine through giffgaff they never heard of my phone

4 years ago

getting money for gadgets esp phones is only an option for those with smartphones or up to date phones that are no more than a year old. anything beyond that you tend to get nothing, some of us use things for many years and only get new when the current one used doesn’t work. not everyone has a smartphone or the latest tech.

8 years ago

There is not the amount of companies that recycle old printer cartridges as there are other products that’s a fact. It has made me think and look further into this.

11 years ago

INK SAVE WEBSITE SAYS Cash for empties scheme closed on 1-10-12 due to manufacturers building in failure to cartridges – preventing recycling as best they can.

14 years ago


Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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