How to Unlock a Locked Phone

Do you have a phone locked with a carrier that you want to finally set free? Then you’ve landed on the right page. This article will let you know what you need to unlock your device and show you how.

 Before your phone can be unlocked, you have to meet some setting prerequisites:

  1. Make sure your device isn’t blacklisted. That is, it hasn’t been reported as lost or stolen. Also, your account with your current or former carrier needs to be in good standing.
  2. If you bought your phone on a contract or installment plan, your device has to be fully paid off. This doesn’t apply to Verizon-contracted phones.
  3. All your phone bills have to be fully paid, and you can’t have any past-due balances.
  4. The device you want unlocked has to have been locked to the carrier for a certain period. This period varies between carriers but usually ranges around 40–60 days, and some carriers like Boost Mobile require your phone to have been locked for at least a year.

What You’ll Need:

Your IMEI Number

To check your IMEI on Android, all you have to do is dial *#06#.

To check your IMEI on iPhones. All you have to do is open Settings > General > About. Scroll down to find the number.

Your Details

Before you start the unlocking process, you have to get the following details ready:

  • Account
  • Account holders’ names
  • Social Security Number
  • The phone number associated with the device to be unlocked

If you’re in the military and about to be deployed abroad, you’ll have to provide some extra documents, like your deployment papers. This will prompt your carrier to expedite the unlocking process. Additionally, as a military member deployed abroad, you can unlock your device while still under contract.

How to Unlock Your Locked Phone

Unlocking a Verizon Phone

Unlock your old verizon phone

If your device is locked to Verizon, then there isn’t much you’ll have to do to unlock your phone. According to Verizon’s policy, newly purchased devices are automatically unlocked after 60 days. Unless the device is deemed stolen or purchased fraudulently, This policy applies to both prepaid and postpaid devices.

So, if your device is locked to Verizon’s network and it’s been more than 60 days since you bought it, then your phone has probably already been unlocked. On the other hand, if you need to unlock your device before the 60-day post-purchase period, then you’ll have to wait. According to Verizon, they can’t unlock your device before the 60 days are up.

 For Deployed Military Personnel

If you’ve been given relocation orders outside of Verizon’s coverage, you can contact them and your device will be unlocked. As stated earlier, you’ll have to provide your deployment documents.

Unlocking a Phone Locked With AT&T

Go to the AT&T unlock phone page, then hit “submit an unlock request.” Once you press that, you’ll be taken to a page with a form. Fill in the form correctly. After you fill in the form, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your unlock request. The email link only lasts for 24 hours. Confirm your unlock request with the link sent to you in the email. After you confirm it, in a few minutes, you’ll receive another email saying your request was approved.

For iPhone Users

Once you receive your request’s approval, your device will be unlocked. No further action is needed from you.

For Android Users

In the unlock request approval email, you’ll be given a unique unlock code. What you do next is take out the AT&T SIM from the locked device and insert a SIM from a different network. Once you do this, a page will pop up asking you to input your unlock code. Type the code you received from AT&T and then click “unlock.” Then it’s done!

Unlocking Your T-Mobile Phone

T-Mobile now notifies customers when their device is eligible to be unlocked. Here’s what you need to be eligible.


  • On prepaid accounts, the device must have been active for at least a year or have received more than $100 in refills since the initial usage date. Additionally, it must have been bought more than 14 days ago.
  • If you’re using T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Plan, or if your phone is leased through JUMP! On demand, all payments must be made, and the device must be fully paid for.
  • Less than two unlock requests per line have been submitted by you in the past 12 months.

Most T-Mobile-locked Android phones can be unlocked through your settings once you meet the eligibility requirements. Other devices, such as older Samsung phones and the Google Pixel, can use T-Mobile’s device unlock app. iPhones, on the other hand, need a little more effort before they can be unlocked from T-Mobile. You’ll have to contact T-Mobile directly through a live chat or call, and they’ll help you unlock your device.

How to Unlock a Sprint Phone

 According to Sprint SIM, unlock-capable devices released after 2015 will be unlocked automatically after they become eligible for postpaid accounts. If your device is a Sprint phone and was released before 2015, unfortunately it’s most likely permanently locked.

If your device is currently inactive, you’ll have to call Sprint’s customer care service at 866-866-7509 to get the device unlocked.

Other Options

If you have a phone locked with a carrier that isn’t listed here, your best option is going to be calling their customer service department and asking about their unlocking process. They will walk you through that company’s specific process.

If you’re having issues using the official methods provided by your carrier, then you can opt for an IMEI unlock with third-party sellers. And yes, this method is safe and similar to the official way. Here are some trusted lock breakers:

Doctor Sim

Express Unlock (iPhones Only)



USB-C: The Preferred Charger Of The Future

USB-C Charging cordYou’ve probably heard the news by now that the EU is mandating a single universal charging standard on most electronic devices. The chosen charging technology is USB Type C for obvious reasons, like the fact that there’s currently no better charging technology on the market. The law was adopted in October of 2022 and will go into full effect for most electronic devices by 2024 and for laptops by 2026.

 So what does this mean for you and me? What impact will it have on our everyday lives?

Impact Of The Universal Charging Law

By year 2024, devices that don’t rely on USB-C to charge will not be allowed to be sold in the EU, unless they were produced before the law came into effect. That means that in the next year, all your electronics will use USB-C, ending the need for people to have multiple chargers. Now one can do it all.

Under the new laws, fast charging speeds will be standardized. In other words, devices that support fast charging will have the same charging speed. Also, there’s a chance that cables will be removed from new phone boxes to stop consumers from getting chargers they most likely already have, thereby reducing e-waste and saving raw materials from being used unnecessarily. From the look of things, this will be optional. So you’d have the option of getting a phone box with or without a charger.

And don’t think that because you don’t live in the EU, this law won’t affect you. It will impact those outside of the EU just as much, because:

  1. It doesn’t make sense financially for companies to have two separate product lines just because of different charging technologies. So, companies will most likely adopt this in all regions, not just the EU.
  2. The rest of the world will follow suit with similar legislation. In fact, the US Congress has already hinted at passing the same law. And that’s probably the first of many.

Devices Affected by the Law

  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets and e-readers
  • Digital cameras
  • Handheld video game consoles
  • Headphones, earbuds, and portable loudspeakers
  • Wireless mice and keyboards
  • Portable navigation systems

Lastly, as said before, all laptops will fall under the mandate by 2026. This is because laptops consume more battery, so manufacturers need more time to adjust.

multiple chargers for your different devices will no longer be necessary with the universal USB-C charger.multiple chargers for your different devices will no longer be necessary with the universal USB-C charger.

Pros And Cons Of The Common Charger Law



Chargers currently amount to over 11,000 metric tons of e-waste every year. The new law will effectively help reduce the number of chargers needed in a single home, as one charger works for all. It’ll also help consumers save money and time.

Conserving Resources

Resources used to make other charging technologies will no longer be needed, thereby saving them. Also, due to the fact that most people already have a USB-C charger, there won’t be as much demand to produce USB-C chargers as before.


Possibly the best pro, less cords, less clutter! Now all your devices won’t need different chargers, as your USB C charger can charge all your devices.



The main goal of the EU in passing this is to reduce e-waste. But this law might just be doing the opposite. For example, iPhones currently use Lightning to charge, so there are lots of lightning cables in use right now. As a result of the new law, the next generation of iPhones will include USB-C ports. Current iPhone users who upgrade are most likely to throw out their lightning cables as they no longer have any use. As a result, e-waste increases.

The good news is, this can be offset by extending the life cycle of your out of date devices by selling them to a smartphone resale store like SmartphonesPLUS. Keeping older generations of iPhones in the hands of consumers keeps the old charging cables out of the landfill.

Did We Really Need it?

Sure, standardizing everything is good, but was it really needed in this situation? Most of the world has already moved to USB-C; even budget phones now come with USB-C. Except for the iPhone, Apple had already adopted USB-C for all of its devices. So, did we really need this? Especially considering all of the e-waste doomed lightning cables and our next point, slowing down innovation. 

Slowing Down Innovation

With USB-C now being made mandatory on electronic devices, it’ll bottleneck future wired charging innovation because companies cannot adopt the charging technology, even if it is better than USB-C. As a result, mass or public release or testing is impossible. If the EU recognizes it and wants to adopt that technology, it’ll take at least another few years, considering the recently passed USB-C law has been in talks since 2014.

Is USB-C Really the Best?

What distinguishes USB-C from the plethora of other charging standards available? Let’s take a look at how USB-C fares when compared to its main counterpart, Apple Lightning.

USB-C vs. Apple Lightning

USB-CApple Lightning
Power DeliverySupports up to 240W fast charging12W/2.4A native power support

20W or higher fast charging with USB-C to lightning cable.

DurabilityHas a chance of outlasting Lightning Tighter physical connection than USB-C
CompatibilitySupported by most modern devices. Soon to be universal.Supported on Apple devices only
Data Transfer SpeedsUp to 40 Gbps transfer speedUp to 480 Mbps transfer speed


From the table it’s clear that USB-C is the superior cable and charging technology.


Overall, we do see that regardless of the pros and cons of this change, it is coming in the near future and is something that will impact us when using our everyday technology.



SmartphonesPLUS has joined the Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance!

SmartphonesPLUS announces a new partnershipSmartphonesPLUS is a Member of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance!

SmartphonesPLUS is so excited to announce our partnership with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. The CRMEA’s mission is to drive economic, workforce, and population growth in the Cedar Rapids community. They also place a large emphasis on striving to help local businesses succeed. We are so grateful to be a part of this awesome group!


The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance provides tons of benefits and resources for local business and is currently partnered with over 1,200 member businesses. The Economic Alliance is dedicated to creating and maintaining a strong business environment to support the Cedar Rapids community. To do this, they facilitate various networking events, professional development programs and provide business support. 

  • Programs: The Economic Alliance offers a variety of business development programs to facilitate networking, leadership development and collaboration. Some of these programs include: Peer insight forums, ImpactCR, Business Support Programs, and Leadership for Five Seasons. 
  • Business Support: CRMEA strives to create a supportive and sturdy business environment that supports local businesses and employers of all sizes. 
  • Community Development: This aspect of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance focuses on growing core districts in CR while supporting existing communities. To do this, they conduct community events, plan for quality of life improvement, and offer core area housing support. 
  • Economic and Workforce Development: This is how CRMEA works to grow and sustain both new and existing businesses.
  • Public Policy: The economic alliance is committed to advocacy for businesses and community members alike through public policy.

SmartphonesPLUS and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

How SPP & CRMEA will work together

SmartphonesPLUS is incredibly eager to have the support and resources provided by the Economic Alliance at our disposal. This will help further our growth as a business, expand our inventory, and help us to better serve the corridor community. Through our partnership with CRMEA, we can also connect with other local businesses for more exciting collaborations and future partnerships. We are excited to continue our journey of spreading the word about SmartphonesPLUS, and getting affordable, quality phones into the pockets of the Cedar Rapids community!


How to Pick the Perfect Phone for You

Choosing a new device isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be a herculean task, especially if you’re trying to find the perfect device for you. And considering how important our pocket’s best friends are to our daily lives, the importance of getting the perfect device for your needs can’t be overstated. So in this article, we’ll show you how to pick the perfect phone for you.


The first thing you need to consider when searching for the perfect phone for you is your budget. That is how much you are willing to spend to get your new phone. If you want to get the newest and best phone, then you’ll have to set your budget somewhere around $800 to $1200. If you don’t want to spend too much and just need a mid range phone, then you can allot around $400–$600. There’s also budget handsets, which go for $250 and less. If you have your eyes set on a foldable phone, then you’ll need to be willing to set aside anywhere from $1000 to $1800.

If you want to squeeze the most value out of your hard-earned money, then going refurbished is the best way to do so. The best part about buying refurbished goods is how inexpensive they are compared to buying brand new. In other words, you’d be able to get a better phone for way less. Check out this blog post for all you need to know about refurbished phones.

Android or iOS?

Iphone and Android standing side by side for comparison

One of the most important considerations when purchasing a new smartphone is the operating system. As you are probably aware, there are currently two major mobile operating systems: iOS and Android.

If you want a more intuitive and simplistic experience, then iOS is best for you. On the other hand, if you want a customizable, personal, and diverse experience with a lot of options, then Android is the mobile OS that will suit you best. Different Android phone manufacturers have different skins on top Android. So you’ll have to consider that too.

If you’ve ever used or owned a smartphone, you’ve most likely used one of the two main operating systems. In order to avoid the back and forth of learning new stuff on a new OS, it’s best to stick with what you’re already used to.

Separate Your Needs From Your Wants.

We all have features we like to have on our smartphones and use from time to time, and then we have those features that we use all the time and absolutely can’t live without. When shopping for a new smartphone, it’s important to identify the features you need and those you’d like to have but can live without. Doing this will help you avoid making the mistake of buying a phone that lacks features that are crucial to you.

Make sure to keep your budget in mind when listing out your needs, as some features are only available on phones within certain pricing categories.

Make a List

Now that you know how much you’re willing to shell out for your new device, the operating system you want, and the features you cannot live without, it’s time to start searching for phones that check all those boxes. If you’re going for iOS, then your choice should be much easier, and you won’t spend too much time making your list.

To do this, go to any store that you feel prices their products fairly, whether that be online or to an in-store location. Then go to the mobile phone section. If you’re an online shopper, you can easily use the filter option to add to your price range, so only phones within your budget will show up. If you’re going offline, then you can just tell the shop attendant your budget, and you’ll be told which phones fall within it.

Now that you have the phones that check the budget box, it’s time to make a list of 2-3 phones that have the features you need.


A smartphone’s real-life performance cannot be judged by just its spec sheet, no matter how packed it is. There have been many devices that featured high-level specs but were underwhelming when put to the test of real-life usage, and vice versa. The Pixel 7 is a good example of this.

Here are some ways to do proper research on your potential new phone

  1. YouTube: Watch reviews of the devices you listed online. Try to watch reviews from different sources so you can get a variety of opinions. Also watch test videos like camera comparisons, battery tests, etc. Try and search for comparisons or tests between phones in your list; it will make your decision easier.
  2. Use Reddit: Check Reddit to see what people are saying about the device, especially Redditors who actually own it.
  3. Ask Questions: If you have any questions about the devices on your list and how they hold up in day-to-day usage, you can make a post on Reddit. Of course, in the appropriate community. You can even ask how devices on your list compare to each other. You can also head over to a smartphone store around you. The attendant should be able to answer any questions you may have. And if they have any of the devices on your list, then you can try them out there.

Make a Choice

By now, you’ve probably nearly made up your mind on what your next device will be. But before you go ahead and buy, it’s best that you rethink your decision to avoid regretting it later. Reflect on why you think this particular device is the best for you and why you think it’ll serve you better than other devices on your list. 

After following all the steps, you’re now ready to buy the perfect phone for you and enjoy your best phone.

The Best Refurbished iPhone Options

Buying refurbished is the best way to save money while buying an iPhone. It also prevents the need to go into lengthy contracts, keeping your device locked to one network. In this article, we’ll tell you about our top 5 best refurbished iPhones.

iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro still packs a punch, even though it’s been well over 3 years since it was released. It has a triple dual-camera setup that still beats most of 2022’s mid-range phones. The battery life of this phone was heads and tails above competitors when it was released, so you can be sure to get a full day’s usage out of this phone. The iPhone 11 series is also the last to have curved sides. So if you dislike the idea of flat, pokey sides on a phone and like the thought of a very affordable deal, then the refurbished iPhone 11 Pro is for you.

Memory & Storage64GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 4GB RAM, 512GB 4GB RAM
Display5.8 inches, Super Retina XDR OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision
ProcessorApple A13 Bionic
Rear Camera12MP Wide

12MP Telephoto, 2x optical zoom

12MP Ultrawide

Front Camera12MP 
Charging Speed18W wired
Battery Capacity3046 mAh

iPhone 13 Pro Max

iPhone 13 Pro Max

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is last year’s latest and greatest from Silicon Valley. Although it may now have a year-old hardware, it’s still one of the best phones money can buy. And when you buy refurbished, it becomes a no-brainer deal. The year-old iPhone 13 Pro Max still sports one of the best cameras on a mobile phone and incredible battery life that even its successor, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, struggles to beat.

Memory & Storage128GB 6GB RAM, 256GB 6GB RAM, 512GB 6GB RAM, 1TB 6GB RAM
Display6.7 inches Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision
ProcessorApple A15 Bionic
Rear Camera12MP Wide

12MP Telephoto, 3x optical zoom

12MP Ultrawide

Front Camera12MP
Charging Speed27W Wired

15W Wireless

Battery Capacity4352 mAh

iPhone 12 Mini

iphone 12 mini

The refurbished iPhone 12 mini is the best device for you if you’re sick and tired of large-screen phones and also the hand gymnastics that come with them.

The iPhone 12 mini sports a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen with HDR10 for easy one-handed usage and a beautiful viewing experience. Apart from its size, there’s nothing mini about this iPhone. It packs a very impressive 12MP main and 12MP ultrawide dual camera setup, the Apple A14 Bionic for top-level performance, stereo speakers, and 20W fast charging, just to mention a few.

Memory & Storage64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 4GB RAM
Display5.4 inches, Super Retina XDR OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision
ProcessorApple A14 Bionic
Rear Cameras12MP Wide

12MP Ultrawide

Front Camera12MP
Charging Speed20W Wired

15W Wireless

Battery Capacity2227 mAh

iPhone XS Max

iPhone XS Max

The refurbished iPhone XS Max is a great phone for you if you’re looking for a big-screen iPhone under $400. The iPhone XS Max has aged very well. The cameras are still very good, the battery life is good enough, and the phone will still receive major updates for at least another 2 years.


Memory & Storage64GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 4GB RAM, 512GB 4GB RAM
Display6.5 inches, Super Retina OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision
ProcessorApple A12 Bionic
Rear Camera12MP Wide

12MP Telephoto, 2x optical zoom

Front Camera7MP 
Charging Speed15W Wired
Battery Capacity3174 mAh

iPhone SE 3 (2022)

The iPhone SE (2022) is the latest iteration of Apple’s Special Edition lineup. The iPhone SE (2022) is the best iPhone for you if you’re still stuck on the idea of a home button but you also want a 2022 phone with 2022 specs. 

Memory & Storage64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 4GB RAM
Display4.7 inches Retina IPS LCD
ProcessorApple A15 Bionic
Rear Camera12MP Wide
Front Camera7MP
Charging Speed20W Wired

7.5W Wireless

Battery Capacity2018 mAh

Easy Ways to Extend Your Battery Life

Smartphone battery

Over the years, battery life on smartphones has seen improvements with each new generation; but it’s still not perfect. We can all agree that it’s overly frustrating when your phone dies while you’re in the middle of something important. In this article, we’ll show you how to save your smartphone’s battery life.

Your Display

The number one battery eater on a smartphone is its display. Especially now, when some devices have high-refresh rates of up to 165 Hz and brightness levels of up to 2000 nits.

So to save your battery, what you can do is lower your phone’s high refresh rate (if it has one) and reduce its brightness. Learn how to lower your iPhone’s refresh rate here.

Use Wi-Fi

Mobile data uses a lot more battery than a Wi-Fi connection. This is because signal towers are usually far away from the device. As a result, your phone must send and receive signals over a greater distance than when using Wi-Fi from a nearby router. Another reason that data drains your battery faster, is that your smartphone will be constantly searching for a signal. The effects of this on your battery gets worse when you’re in an area with poor signal. Some apps will also use your mobile data in the background, causing more battery drain.

To save your battery, it’s best to use Wi-Fi more and turn off your mobile data when you don’t need it. Also, don’t forget to turn your Wi-Fi off when you’re not using it and aren’t connected to any Wi-Fi.

Stop Apps From Running In The Background

There are a lot of apps that consume battery in the background. And most times the services those apps provide by staying active in your background are ones you can live without.

It is possible to reduce background app activity to stop it from draining your battery. To do this,  go to battery usage in your settings, then check the apps with the most activity in the background. Then go back to your app drawer and press and hold an app until a menu pops up. Click “app info,” then press “battery.” Toggle Background Activity off.

Dark Mode

Switching to dark mode is an effective way to preserve your battery.

If your phone uses an AMOLED or OLED screen, then this is for you. If not, you can skip this section.

For smartphones that use AMOLED or OLED screen technology, dark mode is a very good way to extend battery life. Using a darker wallpaper is also helpful. The reason for this is because of the way AMOLED and OLED screens work. In order to produce the color black, AMOLED and OLED displays completely turn off the pixels in that area. In other words, wherever there’s true black on your screen, that part is turned off.

Switching your phone to Dark Mode will make more parts of your phone’s UI and apps dark, thereby making your screen use less power.

Disable Your Mobile Assistant

Mobile assistants like Google and Siri are some of the most powerful and resource-hungry programs on your mobile device.

Assistants use a lot of resources in the background just to keep working properly. For example, your assistants keep your mic on at all times to hear your activation command (like Hey Google). They are also always connected to the internet or using mobile data to instantly answer your query.

To increase your battery life, it’s best to turn off your phone’s assistant. So here’s how to:

Google Assistant

Toggle off Google Assistant by opening the Google app, tapping your profile image in the top right corner, then going to Settings, Google Assistant, General, and turning it off.


 Turn off Google Assistant by saying Hey Google> Assistant Settings> Turn off Google Assistant.


Open your settings then, Siri & Search>Turn off Listen for “Hey Siri”

And toggle off “Press side button for Siri”


Turning off Bixby isn’t as straightforward as the others; Here’s a link to a full guide on how to turn Bixby off.

Your smartphone can run out of battery at the most inconvenient times.

Switch to Lite or Progressive Apps

As smartphones have continued to advance over the years, so have the apps within them. Apps have progressed to become very powerful and resource-hungry. Even simple apps consume more battery than you’d think. Hence the recent increase in the release of “lite” versions of apps.

Lite apps are basically watered-down versions of other apps. Lite versions typically take up less space and have fewer features, requiring less power and resources. Progressive web apps are app versions that can only be accessed through your browser. They can be installed and used offline. PWA consumes significantly less battery and resources.

So, switching to the lite and PWA versions of your apps (if available) is a great way to increase your battery life.

Power saving mode

I don’t think I have to talk too much about this, but power saver mode is the number 1 way to save battery on your smartphone. It dims down your screen, and reduces CPU performance which are two major battery hogs in devices. It also cuts off some features.

To turn on power saving mode, go to your quick settings in your notification panel, and you should see Power Mode or something similar to that. Click it to turn on your power-saving mode. Long press to bring up a detailed menu with all of your power-saving modes and settings.


If you’ve tried all of our tips and tricks and are still seeing consistent low battery and quick power drainage, it may be time to replace your battery. Luckily, SmartphonesPLUS has you covered! Learn more about our quick and affordable battery replacement process by stopping in to one of our two Midwest locations.


iPhone Camera Tips

Tips on using an iPhone camera

iPhone cameras, and really all smartphones in general, have made mind-blowing progress in the last decade. So much so that Sony, one of the biggest DSLR camera manufacturers, has come out to say that in the next 3 years Smartphone cameras will outperform DSLR cameras. Now you can grasp how powerful that small circle at the back of your iPhone is. In this article, we’ll show you how to increase your iPhone camera experience and take better advantage of your iPhone’s powerful camera.

Play Music While Taking Videos

Have you ever tried recording a video while listening to your favorite song? If you have, then you know how annoying it is when as soon as you hit the record button, the song stops.

To stop this from happening, all you have to do is open your camera app as usual, but instead of swiping to video mode, stay in photo mode, then hold down the capture button. In less than a second, your phone will begin to record a video. And yes, your song will keep on playing.

Never Miss the Perfect Shot

Burst mode is an iPhone camera feature that allows you to take a lot of photos in very quick succession, capturing ten pictures per second. This is really useful for capturing the perfect moment, especially if you’re trying to shoot a moving subject. Once you’re done shooting, just go into your photo apps and pick the best picture. You won’t have to worry about missing your shot because you didn’t hit the capture button at the right time anymore.

Live mode

I’m sure you already know that using Live mode on your iPhone camera captures everything that happens for a few seconds before and after you take a photo, including the audio. But did you know that you can go into your photo editor and pick any recorded frame as your key photo? This feature is really useful if you don’t trust the photography skills of the person behind the camera. So if you don’t like the result, you’ll always have other options.

To do this, open your gallery, then go to the live photo that you want to change its keyframe for. Press the edit button in the top-right corner. Next, tap on the Live Photo icon at the bottom of the screen. Now you’ll see a slider with all available frames in the live photo. Once you’ve found a frame you like, tap on “Make Key Photo.” Then you’re done, and you can always revert your changes later on.

iphone camera set up for long exposure photo

Long Exposure

Long Exposure shots are those cool shots you see where moving objects are blurry, and still objects look normal. You know, like those shots where cars are blurry in the background while people on the street look sharp

 To do this with your iPhone, you’ll need a tripod or at least some way to keep your iPhone very still, as holding it won’t cut it. You’ll also need a moving subject. When you’re ready, take a long exposure shot by following these steps.

  1. Open your camera app, then turn on live photos.
  2. Set the self-timer to 3–10 seconds.
  3. Place your phone on a tripod or any other way you can think of to keep it steady, then frame your shot.
  4. Take a live photograph.
  5. Open up the photos and click the photo.
  6. Swipe up to reveal the effects menu.
  7. Swipe left until you see the long exposure effect, then tap it.
  8. And your long-exposure photo is done.

 If you don’t like the end result, you can always undo the effect in your editor.

Try a New Angle

This next tip will help you take pictures with awesome foreground details and give your picture a new perspective. To do this, place your phone very close to the ground, then flip it upside down and tilt it up. This is going to give your photo dimension, add foreground, and direct lines toward your subject.


To read more about some new updates and specification to iPhone’s latest iPhone 14 Pro, check out our blog!

How to Sell Your Used Electronics Offline

Various electronics displayed on a table

Since Covid, it’s only become easier to sell your used electronics online. But what are your options if you prefer in person transactions?  This article will show you how to get money for your used devices and electronics offline and in-person.

Buyback or Trade-in Your Used Device

Arguably the best way to quickly sell your used device offline is by selling it back to retailers. There are a lot of credible companies that offer buyback or trade-in services. Here are some of the best.

Refurbished phones on display at SmartphonesPLUS


SmartphonesPLUS is a dependable retailer that buys back gently used devices from across the country. If you live in Iowa, you can easily head over to any of their two storefronts to trade in your device. If you don’t live in Iowa and aren’t stuck on selling your device purely offline you can still send in your device for a trade-in from anywhere in the United States. They offer free shipping, fair prices, and a quick payout for your used devices.

List of accepted devices


Android devices including Google Pixel, Motorola, OnePlus, LG, Blackberry, and CAT

Samsung Devices, including the Galaxy S series, Note, Z series, and A series

Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Tablet





And more!

The best part about trading in your device with SmartphonesPLUS is that you get paid within 24 hours.

Wireless Carriers and Retail Stores

Most mobile carriers offer buyback programs to their customers. To sell your device to your carrier, head over to the store closest to you with the device you wish to sell in hand. Inform an attendant of your intentions, and they’ll be able to give you all the details regarding your specific carrier’s by-back process.

Many chain retail stores also offer buyback or trade- in services.

Popular retailers that offer buyback or trade-in services

  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • Gamestop
  • Walmart


Selling your gadgets to a pawn shop is another way to sell your electronics offline. Pawn shops will most likely offer you a price below your device’s current market value in order to turn a profit when they resell it. So, before going to a pawn shop, research the market value of your device online to avoid being taken advantage of and to negotiate a fair price.

Garage sales

Garage sales have always been a good and popular way to sell off used stuff. You can easily hold a garage sale to sell off your used electronics, especially if you have a lot you want to sell.

Smartphone displaying the Facebook app

Unable to hold a garage sale due to your location? The good news is, there are plenty of online marketplaces where you can sell your used electronics, such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

Recycle Your Device with EcoATM

Recycle your used smartphone with EcoATM

Another fast, and easy way to recycle your device quickly and still get some cash is with ecoAtm. The best part of ecoATM is that you get paid instantly. Yes, you will be paid on the spot.

To receive a quote for your device, you can go to the ecoATM website, fill in your device details, get your quote instantly, and then lock it. This allows you to sell it for the same price when you go to the kiosk. You can also opt to get your quote at the kiosk.

For a better rundown of how selling or recycling your device with ecoATM works, click here.

EcoATM accepts the following electronic devices:

  • iPhones
  • Broken iPhones
  • Broken Samsungs
  • Other Apple products
  • Android tablet devices
  • Amazon readers like the Kindle Fire
  • Motorola cell phones and smartphones
  • HTC cell phones and smartphones
  • Blackberry personal data devices
  • Samsung Devices, including the Galaxy S series, Note, and more

 There are over 2,000 ecoATM kiosks in every state in the United States, so this will be a readily accessible option for most people.

In Conclusion…

Overall, if you’re looking to sell your device off the web, you’ve got plenty of attainable options to choose from. If all else fails, there are a variety of avenues you can take to sell your used device online as well that are just as safe and effective as selling in person. Regardless of which option best suits you, we hope you consider getting a quote from SmartphonesPLUS. We are credible, transparent, and offer a fast payout for your old phones and tablets.


5 Reasons to Buy Refurbished


5 Reasons to buy refurbished

The refurbished phone market has seen a lot of growth in recent years, and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. Of course, as the market grows and becomes more popular, so do questions about refurbished devices. In this article, we’ll go over the top reasons why you should buy refurbished phones instead of new or used ones.

No Contracts

By going refurbished, you avoid the need to lock into expensive 24-month contracts.

Most refurbished phones come unlocked. That is, your smartphone isn’t tied to one particular carrier network. So you’re free to use your phone with any network you choose, all while saving more money.

 Here’s an example to give you a perspective on just how much money you can save by going refurbished. Currently, if the S21 FE is your dream phone and T-Mobile is your preferred carrier, It’ll cost $29.17 for 24 months. Let’s say you’re an average user, so you opt-in for T-Mobile’s Bare Essential 20GB unlimited data plan at $45 (tax and charges excluded). That’ll cost you $74 per month. When you sum up your total cost after 2 years, It’ll round up to $1778.88 in 2 years.

 If you instead decide to shop with SmartphonePLUS, you can get the refurbished S21 FE for anywhere from $300-$500, and we also offer the option of splitting your payments into 4 installments over 4 months. 

 As you can see, going refurbished has the potential to save you a lot of money. This leads us into our next point…cost.

Very Affordable

One of the biggest advantages refurbished devices have over brand-new smartphones is their affordability. Most of the time, refurbished phones are over 30% cheaper than their brand-new counterparts. They’re certified, and in perfect working condition. So when you buy refurbished from a reputable dealer like SmartphonesPLUS, you save a significant amount and get more value for your money.

Better Than Used

Did you know? There actually is a difference between buying a “used” phone and a “refurbished” one. Refurbished phones are generally a safer and better buy than used phones due to the fact that most credible refurbished phone sellers like SmartphonesPLUS run a thorough check to make sure every device in their possession is 100% functional. And if any part of the device is found to be faulty, it is taken in for repairs. This is generally not the case with used phones. Most of the time, the phone is sold as it is.

 Also, when you opt for a refurbished device instead of a second-hand smartphone, you are more likely to get a warranty and in-box accessories like charging cables.

Better for the environment

demonstrates recycling electronics

It’s no secret that it takes a lot of natural resources to make brand-new smartphones. And then, just 2 years after so much has been put into making a single device, it just ends up in a landfill as E-waste. E-waste comprises a whopping 70% of all toxic landfills and smartphones alone make up over 10% of that figure.

So, by buying refurbished phones instead of brand-new ones, you extend the lifespan of the device. This then translates to fewer phones being dumped into landfills, reduced toxicity, unnecessary use of raw materials to make new phones, and overall less e-waste.

Get a Better Phone

Hand holding multiple different iPhones. These are an example of phones you could purchase refurbished.

Refurbished phones are always more pocket-friendly than brand-new ones. That means more people will be able to get better smartphones. Money that could only afford you a high-mid range brand new device would now be able to get you a premium/flagship device.

If you’re looking for more refurbished smartphone options from a reputable source, check out UpTrade, a credible reseller that makes it easy to find the perfect device for you!

Should You Upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro?

iPhone 14 pro colors

With the release of the latest iPhone, upgrading is the topic on everyone’s mind. The new iPhone 14 Pro does not disappoint, and is one of the best phones money can buy right now. It packs a whole lot of useful and mind-blowing features. But with all the iPhone 14 Pro’s features and specs, is it worth the upgrade from your current device? Well, in this article, we’ll tell you three reasons why  you should upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro and three reasons why you may want to stick to your current device.

Reasons to Upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro

Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island

The old notch has finally been done away with on the iPhone 14 Pro series, and it’s been replaced with a pill-shaped cutout called Dynamic Island. Unlike cutouts from competitors, Dynamic Island doesn’t just serve as the housing for the iPhone 14 Pro’s selfie camera and Face ID. It also serves as a live activity tracker and a multitasking bar. It does this by displaying live activities like music playing or timers that are ticking in the background.

Right now, the capabilities of Dynamic Island are limited to system apps. Once the Live Activity Api is released by Apple, it’ll give developers the chance to tinker with the Dynamic Island feature and continue developing its uses. Then it’ll be a really great feature, and certainly one worth upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro for.

Life-saving new features

Crash detection feature on iPhone

The new iPhone 14 Pro packs a really great set of new features. The two that stand out from the rest are the Satellite Connectivity and Crash Detection features.

 The Crash detection feature, as the name suggests, is a feature on the iPhone 14 series that can detect when a vehicle has been in a crash and alert emergency services. Satellite Connectivity is a feature that enables the iPhone 14 series to connect with a satellite to send messages when cell network is unavailable. The only downsides to this feature is that it’s only available in the US and Canada, and it’s also a paid service.

 If you absolutely want these new features, then the iPhone 14 Pro is a worthwhile upgrade.

Best Camera

Close up of camera on iPhone 14 Deep Purple.

The iPhone 14 Pro has arguably the best camera system on a smartphone to date. It sports a new and bigger 48MP main sensor, a 12MP ultrawide, and a 12MP 3x telephoto sensor. With these camera updates, you’ll be able to capture arguably the best pictures possible with any smartphone. And using ProRaw mode, you’ll be able to shoot some incredibly detailed and sharp pictures.

The iPhone 14 Pro also packs spectacular picture processing software within the Photonic Engine. The Photonic engine goes through each pixel when a picture is taken and improves the quality. When it comes down to it, the camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro is definitely enough reason to upgrade.

Reasons Not to Upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro

Pill-shaped cutout

iPhone's Pill-Shape Notch

Looking past the Dynamic Island branding, the pill-shaped cutout is what it is: an obtrusive hole on your screen that’ll cut into your content.

If you watch a lot of full-screen content, then you’ll most likely hate the pill cutout. You could even end up hating it more than the notch because it’s lower on your screen. The cutout on the iPhone 14 Pro is a bad sight compared to the hole-punch cutout on Android phones. If this obtrusion on the iPhone 14 Pro is going to bother you, you may opt against upgrading.

The iPhone 13

If you’re currently using an iPhone 13 Pro, then the iPhone 14 Max isn’t worth the upgrade. You’ll be better off sticking with your current iPhone 13 Pro series. That is, unless you’re upgrading from the iPhone 13 Pro to the iPhone 14 Pro because of a bigger screen.

Another thing about the iPhone 13 Pro is that it’s a better value than the iPhone 14 Pro right now. You get one of last year’s best phones with an extremely capable processor and a notch that’s arguably less intrusive than this year’s cutout at a cheaper price. The iPhone 13 is already great value for your money, and you can save even more by buying one that’s been refurbished at SmartphonesPLUS

USB-C on iPhone 15

If you haven’t heard, the EU passed a law that will force Apple to adopt the USB type-c charging method. The latest iPhone 14 series does not use USB type-c because the law is not yet in effect.

 The law will officially come into effect in 2024, so any small smartphone that doesn’t use USB-C by 2024 will be banned. With that being said, the iPhone 15 series will undoubtedly ship with USB-C. Thus ending the confusion, inconvenience, and waste of having to carry two different charging cables for your iPhone and Macbook.

 If USB-C on iPhones has been something you’ve been hoping for, then skipping this year’s iPhone 14 Pro might just be worth it.