Does Ecoatm Take Locked Phones?

EcoATM is a popular automated kiosk that allows people to easily trade in their old, used, or broken phones for instant cash or store credit. But one common question people have is whether EcoATM accepts locked phones. The short answer is yes, EcoATM does take locked phones in many cases, but there are some important caveats.

What is an EcoATM Kiosk?

An EcoATM kiosk is essentially an automated recycling machine for cell phones and other small electronics. There are over 2,500 EcoATM kiosks located across the United States, mostly in shopping malls and large retail stores.

The kiosks use advanced technology to evaluate and price people’s old devices. Selling your phone to an EcoATM is quick and convenient – the whole process takes just a few minutes. All you have to do is place your phone in the kiosk, answer some questions about it, and then the EcoATM scans and assesses its make, model, and condition. Finally, it provides an instant cash offer if your device is accepted.

Why Do People Sell to EcoATMs?

There are several key reasons why selling to an EcoATM kiosk is an attractive option for many people:

  • Convenience – The kiosks are located in high-traffic retail areas, so you can easily stop by on a shopping trip. No need to mail anything or arrange a meeting with a buyer.
  • Speed – The entire transaction only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. You get your cash instantly.
  • No fees – EcoATMs don’t charge any transaction or listing fees like many online buyback sites.
  • Secure – The kiosks are under video surveillance and require a driver’s license scan, so the process is safe and secure.
  • Instant offers – You can get a cash offer right away instead of waiting days or weeks to sell online.

Does EcoATM Buy Locked Phones?

The majority of phones bought and sold in the world today are locked to a specific carrier. So it’s perfectly understandable that people may be wondering if EcoATM accepts carrier-locked phones.

The answer is yes. EcoATM readily accepts and buys carrier-locked phones. The kiosks and the company’s recycling partners are able to reuse and resell these devices.

Being carrier-locked to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or another network does not impact the value of your phone when selling to EcoATM. They buy and accept phones locked to any carrier.

Limitations on Locked Phones

However, there are two important limitations regarding locked devices that you should be aware of:

1. No iCloud Locked iPhones

EcoATM does not accept or purchase iPhones that are locked to an Apple ID or iCloud account. This security feature prevents the phones from being usable by another person.

So if you have Find My iPhone enabled or if your old iPhone is asking for your Apple ID and password, EcoATM will not purchase it. The kiosk will detect the iCloud activation lock during the evaluation process.

Before selling your iPhone, you’ll need to turn off Find My iPhone and fully sign out of iCloud on the device. This removes the activation lock so EcoATM can buy it.

2. No Blacklisted Phones

Phones that have been blacklisted also cannot be accepted by EcoATM. The blacklist or denial list is a database of devices reported as lost, stolen, fraudulent, or otherwise unsuitable for reuse.

Carriers and other companies use IMEI blacklisting to block unwanted phones from cellular networks. So if your phone has been blacklisted by a carrier for any reason, EcoATM will not be able to buy it.

The kiosk automatically checks a phone’s IMEI number against the industry blacklist database during the evaluation. Blacklisted phones are promptly rejected.

How to Check If a Phone is Locked, iCloud Locked, or Blacklisted

Before taking your used phone to sell at an EcoATM, it’s a good idea to check its status so you don’t have your time wasted. Here are some tips:

  • Carrier lock – Try inserting a different SIM card. If the phone displays a “SIM network unlock” error or something similar, it is most likely carrier locked.
  • iCloud lock – On an iPhone, go to Settings > [Your Name] > Find My > Find My iPhone. If this is On, your phone is iCloud locked. Also check it doesn’t ask for an Apple ID when powered on.
  • Blacklist check – On any phone, you can check the IMEI number against the global GSMA blacklist database online. Just search for “GSMA IMEI checker” and enter your IMEI.

Knowing your phone’s status upfront ensures you don’t run into any nasty surprises at the EcoATM.

How Much Does EcoATM Pay for Locked Phones?

Will having a locked phone impact how much EcoATM is willing to pay you for it? Thankfully, the answer is no.

EcoATM pays the same amount for locked and unlocked phones, as long as everything else about the device is in good order. The kiosks make their cash offers based primarily on the device make, model, and condition – not the locked status.

For example, an AT&T locked iPhone X with some minor scratches will get the exact same cash offer from EcoATM as an unlocked iPhone X in the same cosmetic condition.

The kiosks accurately evaluate a device’s real resale value regardless of carrier lock status. Of course, if the phone is iCloud locked or blacklisted, those issues will kill any offer.

What Types of Locks Does EcoATM Accept?

To recap, here are the types of locked phones that EcoATM kiosks will and will not accept:


  • Carrier locked (locked to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.)
  • Passcode/PIN locked
  • Pattern locked
  • Fingerprint locked

Not Accepted:

  • iCloud locked (Find My iPhone activated)
  • Blacklisted (reported lost/stolen, banned by carriers)
  • Google account locked (Pixel phones only)

As long as your device is free from iCloud and blacklist status, the EcoATM will buy it regardless of carrier locks or screen locks enabled. But always double check before visiting a kiosk.

Tips for Selling a Locked Phone to EcoATM

If you want to get the maximum payout when selling your locked device to an EcoATM, follow these tips:

  • Fully charge the battery – Phones with at least 50% battery charge get higher offers than dead devices.
  • Remove SIM and memory card – EcoATMs can’t accept devices with cards inserted. Take them out ahead of time.
  • Bring accessories – Having at least the charger can increase your phone’s appraisal value.
  • Clean the device – Remove any major dirt, dust, debris or stains from the body, ports, speakers and camera(s).
  • Check all functions – Make sure the screen, buttons, cameras, microphone and everything works properly. Defects lower value.
  • Factory reset – For privacy, do a full reset before selling. Just remember to remove iCloud activation lock afterward on iPhones.

Follow these tips and you’ll get the maximum payout from EcoATM for your locked phone, while also ensuring a smooth transaction.

The Bottom Line

Selling your old locked phone, whether carrier-locked or passcode locked, is quick and convenient with an EcoATM kiosk. As long as the device isn’t iCloud locked or blacklisted, EcoATM will accept it and offer competitive cash based on its model and condition – regardless of lock status.

Just make sure to unlock it from any iCloud activation before visiting the kiosk. And remember to factory reset it to protect your personal data. By taking these simple precautions, you can turn that old locked phone into fast EcoATM cash with minimal hassle.


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