Smartphones: The perfect couch phone

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. I upgraded my smartphone, but my old smartphone still works. I tried selling it on, but the $10 offered will hardly pay the cost of shipping my phone. Is there another place where I might sell my older smartphone for more money?

A. Gazelle ( is a mobile phone, tablet, and computer recycling company that purchases selected used smartphones for fees (as of April 5) ranging from $10 for less popular phones, up to $360 for the latest iPhone 6s Plus in flawless condition (plus a $20 store credit toward a replacement smartphone). Gazelle covers the cost of shipping your phone by supplying you with either a U.S. Postal Service or FedEx label, so in your case you would net the full $10 from Many similar companies also purchase used phones; for example, you might investigate eCycle Best (, which offered to pay up to $521 for the latest iPhone 6s Plus in flawless condition on April 5, and BuyBackWorld (, which offered to pay as much as $485 for the latest iPhone 6s Plus in flawless condition, also as of April 5.

As an alternative to selling your old smartphone, you might instead consider using it as a utility device to run a wide array of useful apps. For example, you might use it as an extra universal TV remote control device. One of many apps in this category is the Smart TV Remote app (, which enables you to control smart TVs, cable boxes, audio receivers, and media players using any infrared-enabled smartphone (as pictured below). The app also allows you to define your favorite channels and pick channels based on the station's logos, rather than channel number. In addition, you can select inputs (HDMI 1, HDMI 2, Component, PC, etc.), activate a child safety lock, and skip, block, or ignore channels you never intend to watch. A purchase option allows you to avoid the ads that appear in the free version of the app. 


About the author

J. Carlton Collins ( is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2007 through 2016 versions, unless otherwise specified.

Submit a question

Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to We regret being unable to individually answer all submitted questions.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.