Do you keep your old phone when you upgrade it?

If you’re looking for a new replacement phone, Apple, Samsung, Google, Motorola, and other top brands have just released new devices. Major phone carriers like T-Mobile have also just stocked up their inventory. So, you can even lease the cell phone you want at low monthly installments. As an existing customer, however, do you have to turn in your old phone when you upgrade or it’s already yours to keep?

Well, first, various cell phone providers have different rules when it comes to upgrading your device. If it’s free government cell phone companies like Assurance Wireless, you have to contact them before you can transfer your SIM on another device.

Meanwhile, some prepaid MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) like MetroPCS allow you to upgrade your phone anytime. Then, others like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile require you to be eligible before you can upgrade.

Reasons Why you Should upgrade Your Phone Regularly

Do you upgrade your phone often? Well, you should, but many people only think of it when their previous phone meets its end life. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to be a miser, but having the latest tech in your pocket isn’t a bad idea either. Why?

As you’ll come to notice, a cell phone behaves more like a laptop or desktop computer. The longer you hang onto it, the buggier and slower it becomes. That means you might be unable to make the most of your device as you used to.

But, anyway, here are the top six reasons you should consider upgrading your phone regularly:

  1. Get a faster system with a higher processor will enable you to install more apps and perform heavier tasks without bogging down.
  2. Access latest apps that require a faster processor, more RAM, and the latest operating system to run. Adobe Creative Cloud is a good example.
  3. Have more storage space, especially with iPhones that only have internal memory
  4. Capture better quality pictures and record vibrant videos right from your phone
  5. Access 5G and 4G LTE networks for crispier HD call quality, seamless streaming, and fast download speeds
  6. Improved overall experience with a phone with longer battery life and more responsive touchscreen
do you have to turn in your old phone when you upgrade
Upgrade Your Phone

NOTE: It’s worth reminding you again that AT&T will be retiring its 3G network in February 2022. So, make sure you have a 4G/ 5G-capable device if you want to continue getting service. The same applies if you’re still using a Sprint device as T-Mobile is planning to shut down both 3G and LTE by summer next year, 2022.

The Various Ways You Can Upgrade Your Phone

As was mentioned earlier, various phone providers have varying methods and policies regarding device upgrades. The five common ones include:

1. Lease the new cell phone

In this method, the idea is to use the financing option from your cell phone carrier to upgrade to your desired device. It’s common with companies like Verizon and T-Mobile that offer their phones on a monthly payment plan.

Speaking of the plan, you could take advantage of the free phone deal when you Switch to T-Mobile and upgrade at up to 100% off. But again, the offer is only available to new customers and you have to switch with a new line to qualify.

Anyway, back to leasing your upgrade phone, the carriers require your line to be eligible for an upgrade. You can check your upgrade eligibility on your mobile line account based on the provider you’re using.

Other than eligibility, you must have paid off the payment agreement of your current device before you can upgrade.

2. Purchase the Device at Full Price:

If you have enough budget to purchase your new device outright (at full retail price), you’re free to upgrade anytime. This applies to almost all prepaid carriers, including the Big Three and their MVNOs.

3. Bring in your phone

If you can’t lease or purchase your desired phone outright, you can bring it to your service. You just have to make sure your carrier supports the BYOD option and that the device you want to bring has the appropriate frequency bands. Otherwise, it won’t be compatible with the network you’re using if it doesn’t support its bands.

On the plus side, this method necessarily doesn’t need you to have all the cash to get your dream phone. You can use one of those buy now pay later catalogs, like Afterpay, Affirm, or Zebit to finance your phone. That way, you can even upgrade while you still have a payment agreement on your current device.

4. Transfer Upgrade Eligibility

That’s right. It’s very possible to upgrade your phone while using the eligibility of another device. Yes, many carriers don’t offer the option, but Verizon does have it. However, the original mobile line with the upgrade must be the primary account. Then, the device you want to transfer the upgrade has to be eligible for the feature.

Note, the original line will no longer be eligible for upgrading after you’ve transferred the upgrade to the other line. Then it (original line) assumes the payment agreement of the other device.

5. Use the Device Trade-in program

Last but not least, you can upgrade your phone through the trade-in program. In this method, the old device that you’re trading in will provide the credits to help finance your new device. You only need to estimate the value of your device so you can know how much you need to top up.

If your old device’s still on a payment agreement, you could also trade it under an early upgrade program. Although it depends on the carrier, you must have paid at least 50% off the device’s price. Also, don’t forget, the trade-in phone must be in good working condition, without any significant damage.

Note, you can trade in your phone at your carrier’s local store or online. If you opt for the latter, make sure you stick the shipping box with the return label that the manufacturer has sent or asked you to print.

Do You Have to Turn In Your Old Phone When You Upgrade?

As we’ve just discussed, there are different ways, five to be exact, you can choose to upgrade your cell phone. In most cases, however, we usually use the term “upgrade” while referring to the device payment program. So, the question of whether you have to turn in your old phone when you upgrade is either a yes or no.

That’s, YES, you’ll have to turn in your old phone if you’re using the early upgrade program. However, the old device has to be in good working condition and must meet all the requirements the phone provider requires. Some of these requirements include a functioning battery, display with no cracks/ breaks, can power on, and should be able to charge.

If your old device is in an Apple brand, operators like Verizon also require you to disable “Find My iPhone” before sending it back.

Meanwhile, you won’t need to turn in your old phone when you upgrade by purchasing the device at full retail price. The same applies if you’ve paid off 100% of your phone payment agreement or upgraded by bringing your own device.

However, just because you couldn’t turn in your old phone doesn’t mean you don’t have use of it. If the device can still turn on, you can:

Keep it as your spare

True, you can. If the device can still power on and everything else, including the touchscreen, is fully functional, you can keep it as a backup. Alternatively, you use the phone as a spare for reading, streaming movies, or playing mobile games. You could even use the mobile as a CCTV camera or baby monitor

Donate it

Indeed, this can also work if the phone is in good working condition and you feel you need to lend a helping hand. Quite many people can benefit from it, either directly or indirectly from selling it. if you don’t find anyone to give, you could donate the phone to organizations like Cell Phones For Soldiers or HopeLine from Verizon,

Sell it

If the new upgrade phone has eaten up all your savings, you could resell the old device through marketplaces like eBay or Of course, you’ll only get a fraction of what you bought it, but still, you’ll have some extra cash.

The 9 Best 5G Upgrade Smartphones in 2022

5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology and currently the fastest you can have for learning, working or entertainment. Also, cellular technology brings you much lower latency than 4G LTE. Thus, you can now enjoy HD video chatting, multi-playing gaming, and other real-time experiences with virtually no buffering or lag.

Sadly, you need a 5G-capable phone to access 5G service. Some of the best options in the market include:

Cell Phone BrandCurrent Retail PriceRelease YearKey Features
Apple iPhone 13$799.99Coming Soon6.1” display, A15 Bionic chip, 128-512GB memory, & 12MP dual camera
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G$1599.99 (limited-timer offer)August 20217.6” display, Snapdragon 888 processor, 256-512GB memory, & 12MP camera
OnePlus 8$391.94 (limited-time offer)April 20206.5” display, Snapdragon 865 processor, 128GB memory, & 48MP camera
Apple iPhone 12$729.99October 20206.1” display, A14 Bionic chip, 64-256GB Memory, & 12MP Dual Camera
Motorola Moto G Stylus$399.99June 20216.8” display, Snapdragon 480 5G, 128Gb built-in, & 48MP quad camera  
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G$899.99 (Limited-time offer)January 20216.8” display, Snapdragon 888, 128-512GB memory, & 108MP quad camera
Motorola Moto G 5G$249.99December 20206.7” display, Snapdragon 750G, 128GB Memory, & 48MP quad camera
Apple iPhone 12 Pro $779.99October 20206.1” display, A14 Bionic chip, 128-512GB memory, & 12MP Triple camera
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G$899.99 (Limited-time offer)August 20206.9” display, Snapdragon 865, 128-512GB memory, & 108MP Triple camera

To conclude:

It’s important to upgrade your phone regularly- after every one year if possible. Of course, it’s optional, but it will ensure you always have the latest wireless tech in your hands.

Luckily, it’s not a must you have all the money so you can upgrade your buggy, laggy phone. In the article, we’ve seen you can trade-in or get special financing for your new device at low monthly payments.

After you’ve ordered your upgrade device, don’t forget to back up your old phone if you’d want to access its files later. And after you’ve switched to the new phone, remember to erase all your personal information on the old device. That includes disconnecting from your online accounts and also destroying the old SIM card if you won’t be needing it again.