Apples555

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 4, 2012
176
21
I'm going to eventually upgrade to the new iPhone from the old 3GS (while keeping my old plan with unlimited data). What do people do with their old phones? AT&T has been pushing me to trade it in. Should I? Does the phone work without the SIM card?

I've seen people on these boards say that I should ask AT&T to unlock the old phone and sell it online. Is that possible? If so, how do I ask them to unlock it and what does that do?

Thanks all.
 

JayLenochiniMac

macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
12,819
2,388
New Sanfrakota
Yes, it'll work as an iPod or for surfing the internet. You can unlock it after getting your new iPhone by going to https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/ and sell it but you won't get too much money for it as it's rather old. Personally, I'd keep it as a backup.
 
Comment

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,974
68
What do people do with their old phones?
Depends on who you ask. Some repurpose them. Some sell them. Some keep them. Some give them away. Some recycle them.

Does the phone work without the SIM card?
It will for anything that doesn't require the cellular network.

If so, how do I ask them to unlock it and what does that do?
Unlocking is the same for all devices -- it allows one to use a SIM card from a carrier other than what the device was locked to.
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
23,345
16,858
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
My old 3GS is a media device and my kids use it for games. It was my sister's, but she's on AT&T and so I can't activate it (I'm on Sprint). I used it to acclimate to the Apple ecosystem so I wasn't too lost when I bought my iPhone 5. It also familiarized me with jailbreaking.

Anyway, I also used it as a backup phone. With Google Voice and Talkatone you can use it as a phone on WiFi. Talkatone also uses GV's messaging system so you can still text (using Talkatone) and iMessage still works. Just use an email address instead of a phone number.

Still useful.
 
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BenTrovato

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
2,972
2,051
Canada
I'll see if someone close to me needs (or wants) my phone, if they do I'll give it to them, or else sell it. May as well have someone else enjoy its use instead of collecting dust.
 
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mpantone

macrumors 6502
Mar 20, 2009
450
0
Depends on who you ask. Some repurpose them. Some sell them. Some keep them. Some give them away. Some recycle them.
Takeshi74 is correct. There is no single way of handling an old iPhone.

I sold my old iPhone 4S to Amazon.com for store credit, less of a hassle than doing the typical eBay/Craigslist private party sale, albeit it for less money.

Having a spare iPhone isn't important to me; I do have a spare dumb phone though and an iPad mini Retina with LTE.

More than anything else, I couldn't be bothered administering Yet Another iDevice. Two is enough (iPhone and iPad).
 
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Pharmscott

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2011
624
2
Sacramento, CA
One vote for Gazelle.com here. I sell all of our old devices there and it's quick and easy. Shipping is free and you can get an actual check to deposit in your bank (instead of credit with Amazon and others). It's not the most lucrative way, but I'd argue that it's the easiest.
 
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Hustler

macrumors 6502
May 31, 2010
382
21
I'm keeping my wiped clean 3GS on the Bose sound dock with nothing but music app and pandora installed.
 
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