Selling Mobile Phones To Pawn Shops: Learn How Pawn Shops Buy iPhone & Android Smartphones

Selling Mobile Phones To Pawn Shops: Learn How Pawn Shops Buy iPhone & Android Smartphones

Mobile phones are often bought and sold at pawn shops. Learn how pawn shops value smartphones.

Last updated November 22, 2022

Person holding iPhone 13

Source: Pexels / Caleb Oquendo

Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives and they enable us to stay connected with family and friends, access the internet, and even pay for goods and services. According to Statista, 85% of US adults own a smartphone, and 147 million smartphone units were shipped in 2021. Many pawn shops buy and sell smartphones - pawnbrokers offer anywhere from $20 up to $500 for used smartphones. Our post will help you better understand how pawn shops buy phones, and things you can do to get more money when you sell your phone.

Selling Your Mobile Phone To A Pawn Shop

Many pawn shops buy iPhones and Android mobile phones, but not all do. We recommend using Pawn Shop Map’s tool to find pawn shops with electronics near you. You should contact the pawn shop before you take your mobile phone in for a quote.

The cost of new mobile phones depends on the make and model. Prices start at around $99 for an entry-level smartphone, and prices can be more than $1,300 for a top-of-the-line iPhone and $2,000 for a Samsung Galaxy Fold.

The cost of used smartphones varies depending on the model, condition, and other factors. Generally, you can expect pawn shops to offer you anywhere from $20 to $500 for a used mobile phone. You can read more in this post about how pawn shops determine value. Below are various factors that will influence the pawn shop’s offer.

  • Make / Model: The manufacturer and model are the biggest drivers in used smartphone prices. Apple iPhones are accepted at pawn shops. New make and model phones command a premium over older phones. Other Android OS phone models pawn shops accept include:
    • Samsung
    • Google
    • Huawei
    • OnePlus
    • Motorola
    • LG
    • Sony
    • HTC
    • Xiaomi
    • Oppo
    • Nokia
    • Vivo
    • Realme
    • ZTE
    • Asus
  • Condition: The pawnbroker will check the condition of the phone looking for any signs of wear and tear, such as scratches, dents, or cracks. Also, pawn shops want to make sure all the buttons, ports, and features work properly. We recommend following our cleaning tips below before you take your phone into a pawn shop.
  • Carrier Lock: Some mobile phones are locked to a specific carrier (for example, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, etc). Unlocked phones tend to sell for more than locked phones. A carrier lock is a security feature that prevents a mobile phone from being used on any other network than the one it was originally locked to. This is done by the phone's manufacturer, who locks the phone to a specific network when it is first purchased. The phone can only be unlocked by the network provider, allowing it to be used on other networks.
  • Display: The display of a mobile phone is another important feature that influences value at a pawn shop. The size, resolution, and type of display all affect the overall user experience. Generally larger displays and higher resolution will fetch more money at pawn shops. Pawn shops do not want phones that have cracked screens.
  • Camera: Phones with a good camera resolution and features such as optical image stabilization and autofocus sell for more at pawn shops.
  • Battery Life: Phone batteries can degrade over time with use. Pawn shops will check the battery to make sure it is in working condition. Pawn shops buy phones that have good-condition batteries.
  • Storage: Storage is important for storing music, photos, and videos. Phones with more storage sell for higher values at pawn shops.
  • Connectivity: The phone’s cellular technology, such as 5G, 4G, and 3G influences how quickly it can download data. Phones with 5G tend to sell more than older phones with 4G and 3G.
  • Processor: The processor of a mobile phone is important for multitasking and running apps smoothly. Mobile phones with fast processors sell for more at pawn shops.
  • Biometrics: Security is an important factor to consider when buying a mobile phone. Pawn shops will pay more for mobile phones that have the newest biometric security features (face recognition and fingerprint scanner).
  • Operating System: The operating system of a mobile phone is the most important feature to consider when buying a mobile phone. Android, iOS, and Windows are the three main operating systems used in mobile phones. Make sure your phone’s OS is up-to-date with the latest software before you take it to the pawn shop. Read the section below for instructions on how to upgrade your OS.
  • Accessories: Premium headphones such as AirPods and nice cases help increase the value of your used smartphone.

Common iPhone models pawn shops accept

iPhone 14 Pro Max
Source: Apple
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 5

Smartphone Uses

Samsung Galaxy Fold
Source: Samsung

Smartphones are typically equipped with a touchscreen display, a microphone, a speaker, and a battery. Many mobile phones also come with a variety of features, such as a camera, a GPS, and a variety of apps. They are also used for entertainment, such as playing games, watching videos, and listening to music. Mobile phones are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, so you can find one that fits your lifestyle and budget.

Mobile phones have come a long way since their inception and now come with a variety of features and capabilities. They are now more powerful than ever and can be used for a variety of tasks, from sending emails to streaming movies. They are also more affordable than ever, making them accessible to a wider range of people.

Cleaning Your Mobile Phone

Person cleaning phone
Source: Freepik

Pawn shops will give you more money when you bring in a clean smartphone. Spend 10 to 15 minutes cleaning your mobile phone with common household items before you get a quote at a pawn shop. You can follow our simple instructions below:

  1. Start by turning off your phone and removing the battery (if possible).
  2. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe away any dust or dirt.
  3. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the ports and buttons.
  4. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any remaining dirt or debris.
  5. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the phone and remove any streaks.
  6. Use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove any dust or dirt from the crevices.
  7. Use a screen protector to protect the phone from scratches.

Resetting Your Mobile Phone / Erasing Data

You should always erase personal information from personal electronics like phones, iPads, and computers before selling them to pawn shops. Many scammers buy used electronics to harvest data left by prior users. Back up your smartphone first, then reset it to factory settings. The entire process should take less than a couple of hours.

Resetting an iPhone

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset.
  • Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Enter your passcode if prompted.
  • Tap Erase iPhone.
  • Enter your Apple ID password if prompted.
  • Tap Erase.
  • Your iPhone will now be reset to its factory settings.

Resetting an Android phone

  • Open your device's Settings app.
  • Tap System.
  • Tap Reset options.
  • Tap Erase all data (factory reset).
  • If you're asked to enter a password, enter your device's pattern, PIN, or password.
  • Tap Erase all data.
  • When your device has finished erasing, select the option to reboot your device.
  • Your device should now be reset to its factory settings.

iPhone vs Android

Comparison illustration

The most obvious difference between Android and iOS is the operating system. Android is based on the Linux kernel and is developed by Google, while iOS is based on the Darwin kernel and is developed by Apple. Android is an open-source operating system, meaning that anyone can modify and customize it, while iOS is a closed-source operating system, meaning that only Apple can modify and customize it. Android also has a much larger app store than iOS, with over 1.5 million apps available, while iOS has around 1.2 million apps.

Another difference between Android and iOS is the user interface. Android uses a more traditional user interface, with a home screen, app drawer, and widgets, while iOS uses a more modern user interface, with a home screen, app switcher, and Control Center. Android also has a more customizable user interface, with the ability to customize the home screen, app drawer, and widgets, while iOS is more limited in its customization options.

The last major difference between Android and iOS is the hardware. Android devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with different hardware configurations, while iOS devices are limited to Apple's hardware. Android devices also have a wider range of features, such as expandable storage, removable batteries, and USB-C ports, while iOS devices are limited to Apple's hardware features.

Updating Your Phone

Pawn shops will offer you more money when your smartphone has the latest operating system (OS). Pawn shops do not want to spend extra time repairing and installing software, so they will give you a better offer when your phone is ready to sell.

Apple’s official guide is here, and Android’s official guide is here.

Updating Your iPhone

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Tap Download and Install.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted.
  6. Tap Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  7. Tap Agree again to confirm.
  8. Your iPhone will begin downloading the update.
  9. Once the download is complete, tap Install Now.
  10. Your iPhone will restart and the update will be applied.

Updating Your Android Phone

  1. Open your device's Settings app.
  2. Tap System.
  3. Tap Advanced.
  4. Tap System Update.
  5. If an update is available, follow the on-screen instructions to download and install it.

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