This Old iPhone:  What to do with that old iPhone 4

This Old iPhone: What to do with that old iPhone 4

According to Apple, 5 million people acquired  The New Shiny this past weekend in the form of the new iPhone 5. If you are one of them, you might be wondering, like us, what to do with the “old” one? (Though the device that prompted this post is just 6 months old.)

So we looked into the options, and here’s the skinny, along with our own personal pros and cons for each:

Cash for iPhone from MacLife online magazine, San FranciscoSell it.

Apple quoted $255 for our good-as-new white iPhone 4S in the form of an Apple gift card. The carrier quoted us $230 with the same terms. Free shipping with either packaging supplied by the service or our own packaging.

Pros: That’s good money toward a shiny new iPhone 5. (The owner of the phone in question wasn’t one of the 5 million.)

Cons: Both Apple and Verizon offer gift cards, which aren’t the same as cash, so we can’t use it for anything other than a purchase.  And both take 2-3 weeks after the company’s receipt of the old device to send the gift card.  To use the funds to purchase a new iPhone 5 while minimizing the number of days without a phone, a service like Gazelle may be the ticket. Gazelle offered $180-$190 “cash” in as soon as 7 business days using PayPal or Amazon instead of requesting a check.

Repurpose it.

a nonprofit based in Seattle that aims to empower young people to use technology in creative ways.Use it as a spare camera to keep in a place where it’s needed, such as in a purse or car. Send it with a child to capture shots on a field trip. Prop it with an easel case on a desk at work can serve as a rotating slide show. Use it as a piece of running gear and save the “good” device from wear and tear.

Pros: It would not go to the landfill, and it would serve a creative purpose.

Cons: It could end up with other phones of days gone by – in the junk drawer.


Pass it on.

Give it to a child or parent.

Pros: Kids would have a hand-held device to play games, music and videos on, and they’d be reachable by phone or text to coordinate pick up and drop off times for activities. Mom would actually have iOS 6 instead of whatever came on the iPhone 3GS given as a hand-me-down a couple of years ago.  (She has not upgraded, and until yesterday did not know that was “a thing.”)

 Cons: As a phone, this would require a new line and service fees. It’s one more thing for the kids to lose or have stolen at school. Mom might be attached to her current device and be frustrated by new features.


Secure the Call collects used cell phones and provides them as free 911-only phones to the elderly and victims of domestic violence.Donate it.

There are many charitable organizations that will give a gently used device a new home with someone who needs it for emergency calls., and the National Network to End Domestic Violence ( are a few links I found in a quick search.

Pros: We’d feel good that a soldier, elderly person or domestic violence victim would carry it with a new sense of safety and wellbeing.

Cons: Not sure there are any, other than concern in selecting an organization that would deliver on their promises.



Given that kids and parents can get iPhone 4 for free with a 2-year agreement, and iPhone might be wasted as a 911-only phone, we’re going with the trade-in for a new shiny.

So what about you? Take the money and run? Or share the love and pass your iPhone 4 on?   –^AshleyW


2 responses to “This Old iPhone: What to do with that old iPhone 4”

  1. […] Link. Stick H2O voice only SIM and make kid phone. by jgordon on September 26, 2012  •  Permalink Posted in share Tagged s […]

  2. booch221 says:

    Off contract AT&T iPhones can be used on the AT&T Gophone prepaid plan. You are not allowed to have data but can use WiFi.

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