Determining the Value of an Old Phone: Factors to Consider

Wondering if old phones are worth anything? The value of an old phone can vary depending on a number of factors, such as model, age, and condition. Some older phones may have little to no value due to their age, while others may be more desirable and worth more.

There are a few key things to consider when determining the value of an old phone:

  1. Age: Older phones may not be as valuable as newer models, as they are less in demand.
  2. Condition: A phone in good condition is generally worth more than a phone that is damaged or in poor condition.
  3. Model: Some models of phones may be more sought after than others, depending on their popularity and demand.
  4. Storage capacity: The more storage capacity a phone has, the more it is worth.
  5. Network carrier: Phones that are network unlocked are typically worth more than those that are network locked.
  6. IMEI Status: Whether your phone has a clean IMEI will also affect its value
  7. Demand: If there is a high demand for a particular phone model, it may be worth more than a similar model with low demand.

It is worth noting that the value of your old phone can vary, and it may be challenging to determine the exact value without research. If you are looking to sell an old phone, it may be helpful to research the current market value of similar models to get an idea of what it might be worth. Below we go in-depth on how to determine the value of an old phone.

Are Old Phones Worth Anything: Important Factors

Old phones can be worthless and at the same time very valuable. The value of an old cell phone depends on several factors such as age, condition, model, storage capacity, network carrier, and sometimes even color. These are some of the many factors that affect the value of your phone.


Generally, older phones are worth less than newer ones however sometimes there are exceptions. For example, a sealed 1st generation original iPhone from early production sold for $35,000 at auction. In contrast, a brand new iPhone 14 Pro is currently $1000. On the other hand, a used 1st generation iPhone 2G on eBay can be purchased for around $100. The iPhone that sold at auction was sealed, which drastically increased its value of it. This illustrates that the age and condition of the phone can significantly affect its value.


The condition of your cell phone can also affect the value of your device. Typically phones that are damaged or cracked are worth less than those that are in good shape. The severity of damage also affects the value. For example, devices with damaged LCD panels are worth less than those that are just cracked with no LCD damage. An iPhone 12 Pro Max with a damaged LCD is worth nearly $100 less than one with just a cracked screen.


The model of an old cell phone will also affect how much it’s worth. Some brands and models are more popular and in higher demand. For example, brands such as Apple and Samsung may be worth more than lesser-known brands. Phones with extra features or higher-quality materials may also be worth more.

Storage Capacity:

Storage capacity can also affect the value of an old phone. In general, phones with more storage tend to be worth more. This is because phones with higher storage allow users to store more data, such as photos, videos, and applications. As a result, cell phones with more storage are usually more valuable.

Network Carrier:

The network carrier of your old phone can also impact its value. Factory-unlocked phones are typically worth more than network-locked phones because they can be used with any network provider. Additionally, some network providers may be more desirable, such as Verizon which automatically unlocks after 60 days. On the other hand, prepaid network providers like Boost Mobile and Straight Talk may be less desirable, which can decrease the value of your phone.

IMEI Status:

The IMEI or ESN status of your phone will also affect what it’s worth. Phones that are financed, blacklisted, or blocked will be worth less than those with a clean IMEI. You can expect 20% to 40% less for your phone if it’s financed, blocked, or blacklisted. Keep in mind some buyback companies do not buy blacklisted devices.

We surveyed 25 cell phone shops to see how much less a financed phone is worth. We were surprised to find that financed phones are worth significantly less. Twelve cell phone shops reported devices that are financed are worth 40-50% less. If you are looking to sell a phone that is financed, you should expect to receive a slightly lower price for the device.

Can I sell my phone if it’s not paid off?

How much less is a financed phone worth?Votes
5-10% less2
30-40% less11
40-50% less12
25 cell phone shops were surveyed


The color of your cell phone may also affect its value. Specific colors may be more desirable or rare, making them worth more. For example, the purple version of the current iPhone 14 Pro Max is worth about $40 more than other colors in the secondhand market. This is primarily due to its higher demand. While the retail price is the same for all colors, the value in the secondhand market may vary based on the color’s popularity.

Supply & Demand:

Lastly, supply and demand is arguably the most important factor that will affect the value of an old cell phone. It is a fundamental principle of economics that affects the price of goods and services. When the demand for a particular phone is high and the supply is low, the price or value of the phone will be high. On the other hand, when demand is low for a particular device and supply is high, the value or price may decrease.

What’s My Old Phone Worth?

As mentioned previously, the value of an old phone can vary based on a variety of factors such as age, model, condition, storage capacity, network carrier, IMEI status, and demand. Newer phones are generally worth more than older ones and phones in good condition are worth more than those in poor condition. When determining the value of your old phone it’s important to do research to get an idea of what it might be worth.

If you are looking to sell your old phone, it may be helpful to compare it to similar models in the market to get a sense of its value. A great place to start is by looking at eBay’s sold history along with Swappa price trends. This will give you an idea of what similar models have sold for recently. Keep in mind eBay and Swappa charge selling fees so you will get a bit less after shipping and fees. Alternatively, you can also try contacting a buyback company like We Buy Cell Phones. These companies can give you an idea of what your phone might be worth.

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