Check your device for free.

Are you purchasing a pre-owned device? Check the device IMEI here to ensure the device hasn't been reported lost or stolen.

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Buying a used smartphone?

Check Network Compatibility

You can't use all used smartphones with all wireless carriers. The big dividing line is between CDMA networks and GSM networks. As a rule, if you're buying a used phone, plan to stick with the same type of network the phone started on.

Figuring this out will be easy if you're buying a phone from the same carrier but may be trickier if you're shopping with another seller. Be sure to check the product specs carefully.

One strategy is to buy a phone that has the hardware needed to work with all U.S. carriers. Most modern phones are capable of being used on all networks, granted they're not network locked. A great tool called WillMyPhoneWork lets you check the compatibility of quite a few phones. You'll need to type in the phone's original cell provider, model number, and the provider you plan to use. The site will then tell you if the phone will operate on that carrier.

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Make Sure It Wasn't Stolen

The first step is to check the phone's unique IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) using our free device check tool. On most phones you will find the IMEI in the device Settings, or by dialing *#06# on the dialer keypad.

Today's smartphones have anti-theft features that can cause problems for someone buying a used smartphone, especially if the seller is a person rather than an established company.

The iPhone has a feature known as Activation Lock. It allows a user to completely lock the phone if it's lost or stolen. Android users have a theft-deterrent as well. It's called Android Device Manager and allows users to locate, lock, or erase the data on a lost or stolen phone. Ensure these features are disabled on any phone you're thinking of purchasing.

Selling a used smartphone?

Finding a buyer.

Many online retailers and websites buy used phones. For instance, Gazelle recently quoted me $149 for a used Samsung Galaxy S9 (64GB).

It doesn't cost anything to use online retailers with buy-back, or trade-in programs to find out what your device is worth, and if the price is right, you can usually complete the process and be paid within a matter of days with little to no trouble at all.

Selling your device yourself using sites like eBay may net you a little more than some of the buy-back or trade-in programs do, but it can be more of a hassle as well. You'll need to share a lot of specific details about your device, and hope the buyer is satisfied with the purchase in the end. Always be honest, and up-front about the specifics regarding your used device.

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Securing your data.

It is especially important that anytime you're getting rid of a used device, you remove anything that may be sensitive, such as photos, emails, text messages, and more. A factory reset will generally handle this for you.

You should find the option to factory reset your device in your Settings Menu. On Android devices, this option is usually found in the Backup settings option. On Apple devices, this option is found in Settings, General, and then Reset. Depending on your device, you may also have an extra measure of security, such as Activation Lock, found on Apple devices running iOS 7 or later. You will need to ensure these options are removed or disabled before selling your device.

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If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to contact us anytime.

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