TIME Smartphones

BlackBerry Just Announced the Ultimate Dad Phone

BlackBerry Classic
BlackBerry Classic, BlackBerry Passport, BlackBerry Bold BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Classic is the anti-iPhone

BlackBerry’s new BlackBerry Classic, unveiled Wednesday, looks just like the BlackBerry your dad used to use — and that means your dad’s going to love it.

These days, most smartphone makers have ditched hardware keyboards in favor of bigger touchscreen real estate. But that doesn’t mean everybody wants touchscreen keyboards. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard business-types in particular lament over their long-lost BlackBerry and its keyboard, like the BlackBerry Bold above to the right.

That means the long-flagging BlackBerry has an opening, however small, to differentiate itself from Apple, Samsung and its other competitors by going long on the keyboard for customers who want one. That’s exactly what it’s doing with the Classic, seen above left, which it’s is pitching as a no-frills, all-business communications machine that’s comfortably similar to your old BlackBerry.

“BlackBerry Classic is the powerful communications tool that many BlackBerry Bold and Curve users have been waiting for,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a statement that sounds like it’s meant for people who fondly reminisce over their BlackBerry days. “It’s the secure device that feels familiar in their hands, with the added performance and agility they need to be competitive in today’s busy world.”

The BlackBerry Classic boasts a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, 2 gigs of RAM, 16GB of storage that’s expandable to 128GB and two cameras, an 8MP in the back and a 2MP up front. Those aren’t the most impressive specs, but if you’re the kind of smartphone buyer who just needs an email and text machine, they’ll do just fine. And while the Classic may be a step backwards innovation-wise from the interesting (if a little weird) BlackBerry Passport seen above in the middle, that’s exactly the point. BlackBerry’s past may just be its future.

TIME Smartphones

Here’s How to Fix Your Cracked iPhone Screen

Broken iPhone
Simone Becchetti—Getty Images

Advice from someone who has broken every model

With apologies to Sir Jony Ive, I have managed to break every version of Apple’s iPhone, in one way or another. From getting water in the original iPhone’s dock to dropping and shattering an iPhone 6 within one day of its release, I’ve done it all. Heck, my iPad even took a face-plant on the sidewalk once, resulting in shards of glass everywhere.

But to date*, I’ve paid $0 to get each device repaired. Now that’s pretty much because Apple’s Genius Bar staffers did me a solid, each and every time I got a case of the dropsies (a string of favors that I imagine will end with this story.)

Still, if you’ve got a broken iPhone screen — depending on the model — there is more than one way to get it fixed.

Original iPhone

Seriously? Just upgrade it. If you’re still lugging around a seven-year-old handset, you probably also have a seven-year-old cellular plan. Carriers will give you an iPhone 5C for free, and your plan will still be cheaper. And no, your original iPhone isn’t worth money — unless it’s sealed in the box, comes with another, opened box original iPhone, and a souvenir gift bag—all in mint condition.

iPhone 3G (and 3GS)

See above. But in case you were wondering, my iPhone 3G screen held up just fine — including when I put it in the washing machine.

iPhone 4 (and 4S)

Sadly, see above, again. But the real problem here isn’t that you can’t get these screens replaced, because you actually can. It’s just that these older phones are officially obsolete, unable to load the newest versions of iOS. And, in addition, it’s currently less expensive to buy an iPhone 5S ($99) than it is to fix a broken screen on these older models ($149 each, except for iPhone 4S, which costs $199). These repair prices were quoted by Apple, and tend to be higher than third party repair services or do-it-yourself options. But still, it’s less expensive to simply upgrade to a new handset.

Still, if you like the challenge of doing it yourself, this guide by iFixit can help you field strip your iPhone like it was a wide-mouthed bass. But before you rip into it, grab a display replacement kit, which has all the tools and hardware you need and typically costs less than $20.

Alternatively, if, like me, you broke iPhone 4’s rear glass cover, you can easily swap it out, and get some pretty cool colored or brushed aluminum replacements in the process.

iPhone 5 (and 5S)

Apple’s out-of-warranty cost for replacing these handsets’ screens is $129, which again, begs the “why not upgrade” question. But in this instance, the answer to that might be because your iPhone 5 is still too new to toss — and I’d argue that even if you can upgrade, this phone is still plenty powerful and worth holding onto (at least as a backup).

Replacing the iPhone 5 on your own is also a little more involved than its predecessor, invoking the need for special suction tools, as iFixit demonstrates. For $59, the company provides everything you need to fix your broken iPhone 5 screen, but if you have a busted iPhone 5C or a smashed up iPhone 5S, make sure you get the proper kit — they aren’t all the same. (In fact, the replacements for the colored and Touch ID sensor phones cost $89.)

As the costs of replacement parts soar, it might be worth considering having someone else fix up your iPhone. A local third-party repair shops that I contacted recently quoted just over $100 to replace my shattered iPhone 5 screen. Yup — I’ve broken one of those, too. Well, my wife did, a month after I broke my brand new iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus)

Before I go into display replacement options for Apple’s newest iPhones, two pieces of advice. First, buy a case. The brushed aluminum backing on the new iPhones is smooth and particularly slick. With its wider form factor, the phone is more difficult to grip. I recommend Apple’s leather case, it’s the best protector I’ve ever had — and no, I didn’t have one when I dropped my iPhone 6 in the garage, 23 hours after I bought it.

Secondly, buy the AppleCare Plus warranty. In my 15 years as an Apple user, I have never bought one warranty, but if I could take a mulligan on this device, I would. Many people opt out of AppleCare Plus because the cost of replacing the newest iPhone’s display is an all-time-low $109 ($129 for the iPhone 6 Plus). But the $99, two-year plan is a good investment because it allows for two accidental incidents. (Meanwhile, AppleCare’s default plan lasts just six months and only covers manufacturer’s faults.) You’ll want these protections because even the non-plus-sized iPhone 6 is wider than you think, and you will drop it. I repeat, you will drop the iPhone 6.

Also, it’s entirely possible that iPhone 6’s screen replacement services are currently unavailable, because demand for the new phones are so high that replacement displays are hard to come by. This would mean that Apple could only replace your iPhone 6, a repair option that costs $299 for an iPhone 6, or $329 for iPhone 6 Plus. If you had AppleCare Plus, that would cost $0.

Given how new the iPhone 6 is, its replacement parts are still very expensive, and third-party repair shops are having a difficult time matching the Apple Genius Bar pricing. A call to a local shop just generated a $250 quote for an iPhone 6 screen replacement, and the iPhone 6 Plus’s screen costs $370 for them to fix.

And likewise, it’s still early for do-it-yourselfers to make their own repairs. This walk-through explains how to swap out a new screen for a broken one. They also sell replacement display parts, but starting at $166, you won’t save any money fixing your iPhone 6 on your own. Just do as I’ve done every time: bring it back to Apple, be very nice to the lovely people there, flash a smile, tell a funny story about how you destroyed the super-computer in your pocket, and know that it will all work out in the end.

*With my recently broken iPhone 5, this is likely to change soon.

TIME Smartphones

‘China’s Apple’ Is Still Getting Obliterated by Apple Itself

A Xiaomi Corp. Mi 4 smartphone is arranged for a photograph at the company's showroom in Beijing, China, on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Xiaomi is known for its cheap smartphones — but its low prices are affecting its bottom line

While the popularity of Xiaomi’s smartphones have earned it the nickname of “China’s Apple,” its profits don’t come close to those of the Cupertino, Calif. company.

China’s Xiaomi, the world’s third largest smartphone company, pulled in only 347.5 million yuan ($56 million) in net profits from a revenue of 26.6 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) in 2013, Reuters reported Monday based on regulatory filings made by the company.

Meanwhile, Apple reported $25.4 billion of net sales during 2013 in Greater China, where nearly all Xiaomi smartphones are shipped. Apple’s profit margins stood at about 33%, towering over Xiaomi’s 1.8%.

Investors are continuing to question whether Xiaomi’s strategy of selling smartphones below what’s considered market price is sustainable. Xiaomi’s earnings, which Reuters confirmed with a Xiaomi spokeswoman, rebuke a November report in the Wall Street Journal which cited a “confidential document” saying Xiaomi had netted $556 million in profits in 2013, which would have been a massive spike in earnings.


TIME Smartphones

This Is Where You Can Get an iPhone 6 for $129

Wal-Mart iPhone 6 Sale
The iPhone 6 plus, left, and iPhone 6 are displayed, in Cupertino, Calif. Marcio Jose Sanchez—AP

Wal-Mart wants to lure in more shoppers before Christmas

Wal-Mart is slashing its iPhone 6 prices by $50 to attract customers in weeks leading up to Christmas.

The retailer will reduce the price of the 16GB iPhone 6 from $179 to $129, while the 16 GB iPhone 6 Plus will be reduced from $279 to $229, Bloomberg reported Friday. Those prices are with two-year contracts, while available carriers are AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

The cheaper iPhones are only one incentive for shoppers to visit Wal-Mart between Black Friday and Christmas. Other deals include the iPhone 5S reduced from $79 to $49 with a contract, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 reduced from $139 to $79.

Less than 10% of shoppers have completed their holiday shopping, according to Wal-Mart.



TIME Smartphones

9 Steps to Make Your Smartphone Totally Hacker-Proof

Getty Images

Don't use public Wi-Fi networks that aren't password protected, for instance

If you use an iPhone, your days of lording its security features over Android users are numbered.

When it comes to the seemingly endless head-to-head showdowns between the two operating systems used by 94% of Americans, Android’s major selling point is also its Achilles heel. Its customizability means Android users can download apps from anywhere, increasing the risk of infection via malware that can skim sensitive info, send spam messages, or freeze the phone until the owner coughs up a ransom.

Spyware is still far more prevalent for Android devices than iPhones due to Apple’s tight vetting of apps before they make it onto the App Store. Android’s greater market share has a lot to do with it, too, as cyber-criminals can attack more Android phones with a single infusion of malicious code.

But a recently discovered piece of malware called WireLurker attacked iOS devices through a compromised computer, indicating that not only are malware creators increasingly focusing on mobile, but that Apple may soon represent as good a piece of game as Android.

What about Windows Phone and BlackBerry, which make up just 5.9% of US smartphone users combined? “These haven’t attracted the same kind of attention from malware authors that Android has,” says Jeremy Linden, Senior Security Product Manager at Lookout security firm.

However, as our smartphones become our go-to devices for everything from shopping to business, it’s likely that the tiny computer in your hand – no matter which operating system it runs – will increasingly become a target for cybercriminals.

Here are nine things you can do to ensure the security of your device now:

1. Log out after banking and shopping

Using online banking on your smartphone browser should be as safe as using it with a desktop browser, assuming the bank implements the appropriate security measures, says Linden.

Just make sure you log out when you’re done. Signing out from your account prevents cyber-offenders from viewing your personal financial data if your smartphone is hacked. The same goes for shopping sites, where your credit card info may be visible to anyone snooping on the transaction.

Or use your bank’s official app. “Banking apps are set up to be encrypted and protect your information even if the network you’re using has been compromised,” Linden says. Ensure you’ve downloaded the real app and not a malicious copy. Earlier this year, Lookout found a clone of the app for Israel-based Mizrahi Bank, designed to steal customers’ login credentials.

2. Only use public Wi-Fi hotspots that require passwords

Use public Wi-Fi only on secure networks requiring a password to access, ideally only from providers you trust such as the coffee shop you’re at, a city’s official Wi-Fi or a telecommunications operator. Unsecured networks allow hackers to view all web traffic over the network, including passwords and even the contents of unencrypted email (that is, most people’s email).

If you’re planning to connect to public Wi-Fi a lot — for example, while traveling abroad — use an encryption app such as Freedome (Android or iOS) that can secure your connection to any Wi-Fi network so that your data is unreadable. The app also blocks tracking while you’re surfing the web.

3. Set a password on your lock screen

The humble password can prevent an even more insidious crime: allowing someone you know to install spyware onto your device.

Last year, Lookout found that 0.24% of the Android phones it scanned in the United States included spyware designed to target a specific person. That’s tens of thousands of people whose calls, messages and photos were being monitored by someone close enough to access their phones.

No matter what type of smartphone you use, a good password is also your first line of defense against the most basic security issue: losing your phone. As long as you don’t pick an easily guessed combo like 1111, a password can hold off a would-be thief long enough for you to locate and remote-erase your device via the Android Device Manager, Find My iPhone or Windows Phone sites. (BlackBerry users need to have previously downloaded the BlackBerry Protect app, unless the device uses the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.)

4. Check permissions requested by new apps

According to Lookout, adware is the most common security risk with apps. While ads help app makers turn revenue, some contain adware that may collect personal details or usage habits without your consent, send messages with links to buy fake products or force your device to send premium-rate SMS text messages.

Before downloading an app, read through what permissions it requests from you. If a Flappy Bird clone wants access to your contacts and call history, for example, it’s probably best to cancel that download.

If you suspect you’ve already downloaded adware (based on symptoms such as a deluge of pop-up ads or in-app messages asking you to click on a link), uninstall the app that is delivering the aggressive advertising.

5. Get a security app

If you don’t know which app is the culprit or if you simply want to check your phone’s bill of health, a free security app such as Lookout (Android or iOS) or Avast Free Mobile Security (Android or iOS) can scan the apps on your phone for malware including adware, spyware and viruses. If malware is detected, the security app will remove it.

These apps can also locate your device if you lose it, sound an alarm or message it in case someone has found it, back up your contacts online and remote-erase everything if all hope of getting your phone back is lost.

Check out our comparison of free and paid security apps for more information.

6. Review your download habits

“Non-jailbroken iOS devices are less likely to download malware,” says Linden. (The same goes for Windows and BlackBerry phones.) But if you’ve performed tech surgery to rid your iPhone of its limitations or if you use an Android phone, Linden recommends avoiding downloads from third-party app stores, where malware is much more prevalent. Install a security app that can alert you to suspected malware.

Even if apps are on the official app market, only download from trusted developers, and check the reviews for complaints.

7. Disable app downloads from unknown sources (Android only)

Lookout recently identified a piece of malware called NotCompatible.C that allows your phone to be used without your permission. For example, ticket scalpers could use the malware to route bulk ticket purchases through a group of infected phones, thus hiding their identity and location.

NotCompatible is downloaded secretly onto Android phones from sites harboring it; links to such sites have been found in phishing emails. To avoid similar sneaky malware downloads, disable app downloads from unknown sources, found in the Settings/Security menu.

In general, it’s best to avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown senders or, according to Lookout, clicking on shortened URLs like bit.ly, since you can’t see the domain it leads to.

8. Don’t grant apps administrator access (Android only)

Back in July, an intimidating type of Android malware made the rounds. The so-called FBI ransomware froze infected phones, popping up a message that the FBI had locked the phone because the owner had violated federal law by visiting illegal sites including child pornography websites. To access the phone (and its data), victims were asked to pay several hundred dollars.

Ransomware may also request administrator rights at installation, giving the wayward app the ability to lock the phone, read notifications and remote-wipe your data. Once given, you may never be able to retract the access, as in the case of the trojan Obad.a, which hid itself and set to work scraping users’ info, spamming contacts and downloading more malware.

“When ransomware is downloaded to a phone from a malicious website, it takes the form of an APK (Android application package), often disguised as an anti-virus app,” Linden says. “Or it may in some way trick you into launching the app. To avoid this, do not grant applications administrator access unless the app is reputable.”

If you must travel off the beaten path for apps, only download non-app store apps from trusted third parties.

9. Install OS and app updates

Finally, the obvious but biggest way to protect your smartphone security: Download software updates for your phone and its apps whenever they’re available. Updates are designed to patch bugs and vulnerabilities.

This article was written by Natasha Stokes and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

Researchers Develop a Smartphone Screen that Corrects for Vision Problems
Amazon Now Lets You “Make an Offer”
1.2M Smartphones Stolen in 2013, Thefts Down in 2014
Colleges Using Big Data to Track At-Risk Students

TIME Smartphones

It’s Suddenly Super Easy to Buy The Most Exclusive Android Phone

OnePlus One
OnePlus One OnePlus

The OnePlus One is now available without an invite

The Chinese-made OnePlus One is widely considered one of the best Android phones on the market — but it’s also been incredibly difficult to purchase. If you wanted one, you needed an invite from somebody who already owned one. OnePlus has said that’s because it wanted to “cut out the middlemen” and “let our fans do the talking.”

Now, that’s no longer the case.

As part of a holiday promotion, OnePlus is shipping the One to anybody who wants it while supplies last. It’s $299 for the 16GB white version and $349 for the 64GB black version, both unlocked. As TIME pointed out in a review of the One, that’s remarkably cheap for a phone with its specs: A 5.5-inch display, 13- and 5-megapixel rear and front cameras, respectively, and a Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.5GHz Quad-Core CPUs.

From TIME’s review:

It’s easy to see why Android geeks are clamoring for the OnePlus One. It has all the hallmarks of a high-end Android phone, including a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, 3 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera.

But at $350 unlocked, it’s roughly half the price of an unlocked iPhone 5s or Samsung Galaxy S5. While you can get subsidized phones for cheaper, an unsubsidized plan from AT&T or T-Mobile would save a lot of money in the long run when paired with a OnePlus One.

OnePlus promises any orders placed will be delivered in time for Christmas Day, though it makes an exception for delays caused by situations like bad weather.

MONEY Kids and Money

Teach Your Kids Financial Values…Via Cellphone

boy on smartphone in kitchen
Catherine Ledner—Getty Images

A child's first smartphone can be a tool for teaching about budgeting, the value of work, and other important concepts.

After I have helped clients prioritize their financial goals, they commonly ask me a followup question: How do we teach these values to the next generation?

Start early, I tell them. And use a smartphone.

Let me explain. For many children nowadays, a smartphone will be their first valuable possession. They start asking begging for one when they’re around 8 or 10 years old, depending upon how many of their friends already have one.

We don’t know what impact early adoption of technology will have on our children once they become adults. As a financial coach, I see that parents are overwhelmed. New technologies are available every year, making parents feel like Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess character on Downton Abbey: “First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel.”

The purchase of a child’s first smartphone is an ideal opportunity for parents to pass on their values to children. I encourage active discussions between parents and children about the family’s intent for the phone, many of which may be reflected in the values below.

Open communication: From the beginning, outline the consequences if a child dodges her parents’ calls or ignores their texts. Talk about how this cellphone is meant to keep the family connected, not just to fuel her social life.

Hierarchy: Parents can exercise their authority through a variety of smartphone parental controls.

  • Check-in at tuck-in: Parents enforce this by keeping the charger in their room or in the kitchen. The cellphone needs to be in that spot when the child goes to bed, thereby preventing distractions from the phone and friends during sleeping hours. One client who uses this system was surprised when her daughter handed her the phone before she left for a sleepover: “I guess I need to check this in,” she said. Success!
  • Geolocation: If a parent would like the security of knowing a child arrived at a destination safely, or technological proof that a kid is being truthful, they can track the phone’s location with an app such as Life360.
  • Setting limits on texting/minutes/data: Some carriers offer this feature with unlimited family plans. Or parents can take the more rudimentary route below.

Wise resource management: What messages do we communicate when we give a kid this unlimited resource without requiring any payment from them? How do we engender a strong work ethic? One way is to subscribe to a plan that charges by the minute or unit. You won’t save money, but your child will learn to budget her resources. You can buy a TracFone, give her a monthly allotment of minutes, and explain she has to buy her own if she surpasses the allowance.

Work orientation: Taking this line of thinking a bit farther, if a child uses up her monthly allotment on a pay-as-you-go plan, she now has a choice. Either she stops talking — which could backfire if she can’t check in with parents — or she finds a way to get more minutes. TracFone minutes can be purchased anywhere at increments as small as $10, so it’s easy for a child to get more minutes if she’s willing to earn the money. Or alternatively, she can ask for minutes as gifts for holidays and birthdays. Either way, the child will need to become resourceful, and it’s never too early to exercise that muscle.

Predictability: Americans love to control our environment. In the financial realm, that often takes the form predictable expenses. In the past, roaming charges could exponentially increase your bill if you weren’t careful. These days, data usage (used for streaming video, sharing photos, or downloading apps when a phone isn’t on a wi-fi connection) is the variable that can quickly escalate the monthly total. Take these variances into account to select a plan that works best for your family, and make sure everyone understands the plan’s overage policies to avoid nasty surprises when the bill arrives.

In sum, a smartphone is an opportunity to teach a child about what really matters. Technology is just like money: It is simply a tool to make us more effective in the important stuff. But children are especially likely to subvert that understanding, mistaking technology or money as the end goal in life. So it is worth the time to guide their consumer choices, and their values, while they are still at home.


Candice McGarvey, CFP, is the Chief Story Changer of Her Dollars Financial Coaching. By working with women to increase their financial wellness, she brings clients through financial transitions. Via conversations that feel more like a coffee date than a meeting, her process improves a client’s financial strength and peace.

MONEY cellphones

Sprint Will Cut Your Phone Bill in Half

The telephone company is offering a tempting discount for selected cellphone users.

TIME Smartphones

How Text Messages Are Being Killed and Replaced

Vanessa LeBlanc (R), Susan Mygatt (2nd R
Vanessa LeBlanc (R), Susan Mygatt (2nd R) and others compete in an early round of the LG National Texting Championship, 21 April 2007, at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, sponsored by LG Mobile Phones. STAN HONDA—AFP/Getty Images

On the anniversary of the first-ever text, the medium deserves our consideration

The world’s very first text message, sent Dec. 3, 1992, was a cheerful, if early, holiday greeting: “Merry Christmas,” it read, short and sweet.

Twenty-two years later, texting has been used to communicate every kind of message there is — but if texts were to send a birthday missive of their own this year, it might be “please save us.”

Text messages, with their character limits and lack of embeddable media, are dying a slow death, getting replaced by more advanced messaging services that can include longer messages photos, videos and, yes, even poop emoji.

Apple’s iMessage service, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and similar services all look and act a lot like traditional texts. But, unrestricted by decades-old technological limitations, they are really the evolution of the now-outdated text message, enabled by innovations like smartphones and mobile broadband. Their benefits over SMS? There’s no character limit, you can use them to send lots of photos and videos, they’re largely free (save the bandwidth cost in using them) and many of them are platform-agnostic — that is, sending a Facebook Message to an iPhone user looks exactly the same as sending one to an Android user.

As any more evolved creature does to its primordial ancestors, these apps are displacing texts. We saw their first victory stateside in 2012, a win that was replicated just this year over in the U.K. A 2013 report from Informa, meanwhile, predicted that year’s messaging app traffic would be double its SMS traffic.

But we shouldn’t start digging text messages’ grave just yet.

SMS messages still have a few advantages over their newfangled brethren: It’s often easier to squeeze out a text message when you don’t have good data service, for instance, and they’re a lifesaver if you’re running the risk of going over your mobile data plan. SMS texts are also widely used in parts of the developing world, where smartphones and mobile broadband haven’t seen widespread adoption yet. And SMS messages have gotten more photo-friendly thanks to Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).

Traditional text messages will stick around for some time; radio didn’t suddenly disappear because TV zapped onto the scene. But as texts start fading into the background on this, their 22nd birthday, it’s worth thinking about how they changed the way we stay in touch: They turned our phones, intended as a means to connect us by voice, into a means to connect us by the written word — Alexander Graham Bell could’ve never seen that one coming. And the more-evolved progeny they inspired, with their photos, videos and emoji, mean we’re now just a few smartphone taps from a more intimate form of instantaneous communication than has ever been possible. So thanks, text messages — we couldn’t have gotten here without you.


3 Ways to Get Cash for Your Old Tech Gadgets

Drawer with old cell phones in "91" arrangement
The average sale price of that old cellphone in your drawer is $91. Stuart Fisher—Prop Styling by Shane Klein

Planning on getting a new cell phone for Christmas? Here's how to get some money for your old one.

Half of consumers say they own at least two unused cellphones. On recycling comparison site SellCell.com, the typical phone sale comes to nearly $100. (Keep in mind that people are more likely to sell valuable phones.) So why isn’t everyone putting old tech on the market? A third of people say they don’t know what to do with it, according to SellCell. Here’s a primer.

Start online: There’s no steadfast rule about where to get the most money for your device, so shop around. Online is the easiest place to start. Gazelle.com will buy your item via check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card, while SellCell.com sifts about 25 recycling programs to find a buyer.

Get some credit: Planning to buy a new gadget with your profits? Save a step by swapping your device for a gift card at a Best Buy, Target, Staples, or Walmart store. You can use the retailers’ websites to get a quote, but be warned: It may not match what you’re offered in the store.

Hit the ATM: For fast cash, try an “ecoATM,” says Euromonitor analyst Tim Barrett. These machines, in 1,100 locations in 44 states, analyze your device, then spit out up to $300 (you can also choose to donate a portion to charity). See locations at Ecoatm.com.

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