The Best Phone Accessories for Your Next Upgrade

The Best Phone Accessories for Your Next Upgrade

By 2025, experts predict 7.49 billion people worldwide will be mobile users, infusing everyday life with the fun and convenience we've come to expect from today's smartphones. Each seasonal phone debut brings with it another round of interesting upgrades and impressive specs — but is that enough?

Mobile accessories let you create a truly one-of-a-kind smartphone experience to improve how you complete tasks and navigate the world around you. Whether you're close to the average and check your phone about 262 times per day or you only use your device for work responsibilities and staying connected with loved ones, there is an accessory to personalize your experience. This article covers some of the top mobile gadgets you should consider for your next smartphone upgrade.

Wireless Chargers

Wireless charging eliminates the need for a charging cord — goodbye, broken and tangled cables! — and instead delivers a charged electric current through coils in the receiver of the pad where you set your smartphone. Apple® and Android devices have supported wireless charging since the iPhone® 8 and Galaxy S6® era, and manufacturers have applied the format to all types of ports, docks, platforms, stands and even furniture pieces. Smartphone companies have also started distributing their own, brand-specific wireless charging technology, such as the magnetic "click" with Apple® MagSafe® accessories.

Wireless charging is simple, though not as portable as packing a wired charger and taking it on the road with you, nor is it as fast as a traditional charging cord. You're also unable to use the device while charging since it has to stay in the same position to maintain the charging current. While wireless charging works with most cases, you may need to remove those made from obstructive materials, like thick leather or metal, as well as any attached smartphone accessories that could make charging challenging.

Consider the following features before investing in a wireless charger for your smartphone:

  • How many devices can fit on a single wireless charger
  • Which devices and models the charger is compatible with
  • Average charging speed for your phone
  • What type of input port it has, such as micro-USB or USB-C
  • Any additional features the charger has

One popular type of wireless charger is the portable charging case, which holds charge inside the case and keeps your phone juiced up without the need to plug it on or set it on a stationary platform. Car chargers are another favorite, which let you charge your phone on the go through your vehicle's lighter or built-in USB port.

The Best Phone Accessories for Your Next Upgrade

Wireless chargers

Wireless listening

Controllers, keyboards

Ring lights, photo lenses

Armbands, EKG monitors

Mounts, extra storage

Skins, cases, protectors

Wireless Listening

Wireless listening works through infrared, radio or Bluetooth technology, though Bluetooth is the most common type you'll find for cell phone accessories. These mobile phone accessories let you listen to your favorite playlist, podcast, audiobook or even have a phone call, all without the need to touch your phone or keep it on your person. They're perfect for traveling, going for a run or getting some housework done.

Three options for wireless listening include:

  • Earbuds: Earbuds are lightweight and sit just inside your ear for pocket-friendly portability. Many smartphone users prefer buds over headphones when they're hitting the gym since they don't rest directly against your skin. Many of today's top wireless models, like AirPods or Raycon buds, come with a charging case to keep your battery ready to go when you need it.
  • Headphones: Headphones sit over your head and ears, offering sound-muffling comfort and clear sound delivery. These are a good fit for you if you need wireless listening for loud, busy places or want to avoid having an in-ear device.
  • Speakers: Place a wireless Bluetooth speaker anywhere you want your music to be loud and proud, like your backyard barbecue or in your bathroom to transform your shower karaoke. There are endless types of wireless speakers available, ranging in cost, audio quality and listening distance. Research the best one for your phone before purchasing.

Always check manufacturer compatibility before investing in a wireless listening device — Android phone accessories rarely work with Apple products and vice versa.

Entertainment and Productivity

Cell phones may have started as a way to stay in touch on the go, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't rely on them for work and fun, too. From social media and video platforms to focus apps and digital notebooks, it's easy to see why 72% of people are predicted to be mobile-only when accessing the internet by 2025.

Go beyond app downloads with accessories like:

  • Connectable controllers: If mobile gaming is your favorite way to pass the time, level up with a connectable controller like the Sony® DualSense®, SteelSeries Stratus Duo® or Xbox® Core Controller. Check whether the controller connects via Bluetooth or wired port to ensure compatibility before purchasing.
  • Pocket projector: Attach a pocket projector to your smartphone and turn a blank wall or pull-down screen into the perfect place to present projects or host movie nights.
  • Attachable keyboard: While you may be able to attach any USB keyboard to your laptop, you can invest in a small Bluetooth-enabled device to stay productive when you can't bring your laptop with you.
  • Stylus: Some smartphones come with a stylus already, like the Samsung®'s Galaxy Note line, but you can buy your own stylus to use with those that don't provide one for you. A stylus is perfect for digital artists, notetakers or anyone who wants more control over the screen.

Video and Photo

Cell phones have grown from having no camera features at all to boasting two, three and sometimes four professional-grade lenses. Smartphone cameras have become one of the most important selling features with new releases, and even 64% of surveyed professional photographers say they use a camera phone for at least half of their photos. Smartphone photography has even spawned its own app and accessory market, offering everything from advanced photo editing software to portable studio lighting attachments.

Capture your favorite moments or take your digital presence to new heights with these Android and iPhone accessories:

  • Attachable camera lens: Today's smartphone cameras may rival professional cameras when it comes to picture quality, but it can be challenging to find a phone with your exact wants and needs, especially if you dabble in smartphone photography. Attachable lenses let you choose the best lens type for you, like wide-angle or telephoto, and clip onto your existing lens to alter or enhance it.
  • Photo printer: Most portable picture printers work via Bluetooth wireless or attach through your phone's USB port. These cool phone accessories are great for snapping a group picture and printing a copy for each person to remember the day by, and they're a lot quicker than waiting to order prints from a web store. Many portable printers have smartphone apps that let you tweak things like size, color and finish.
  • Ring light: Take your video meetings or social media posts to the next level with an attachable LED ring light. LED lighting gives you a professional, studio-like finish without the need for expensive standing mounts or studio lighting kits. Plus, you can take it on the go for perfect lightning no matter where you are.

Capture your favorite moments with attachable lenses or a ring light.

Health and Accessibility

Wearable fitness trackers and pedometer apps were only the beginning of leveraging smartphones to set and meet new health goals or make everyday tasks more accessible for users of all abilities. It's a testament to technology that we live in a world where a phone can keep us entertained, productive, connected and even help us stay healthy.

Today, we've got a market full of accessories, including:

  • Glucose meters: Monitor your glucose with tools like the Dario Health All-In-One Glucose Meter®, which holds test strips and a lancing device and connects directly to your smartphone to send and store daily results. Simply open the app and share the information when you're ready to review or discuss them with your doctor.
  • Magnifying glass: Attachable magnifying glass accessories are working to make the world around us easier to read, especially those who struggle with fine-print text. Some magnifiers reach such high levels of magnification that you can use them as a microscope!
  • EKG monitor: Personal heart monitors, like KardiaMobile®, can help you stay on top of conditions like arterial fibrillation and tachycardia by capturing medical-grade EKG readings and sending them to your smartphone, where you can share the information with your doctor.
  • Armband: If you're on a fitness journey, a phone holder that wraps around your arm is the perfect accessory for cardio and other exercises. Keep your device close while you're on your morning run, so you can focus on your path and reaching your goals instead of keeping a grip on your phone.

Always consult your doctor before using any medical or health tracking device to ensure it has all necessary certifications and approvals and won't interfere with your existing tracking and treatment plans.

Health and Accessibility

While mobile devices are already pretty convenient and easy to use, there's always room for improvement and upgrades. Every phone user is different, and the market — though saturated with new releases every year — could never realistically meet each individual's unique wants and needs for their next smartphone. Accessories let you customize your smartphone experience and fit your daily life, whether you're a busy professional, dedicated college student or the next social media star on the rise.

Create the ultimate usable device with apps like these:

  • Phone grips: Phone grips, like PopSockets®, attach to your phone case or the back of your device to improve your grip, reduce slips and even act as a stand when watching videos. Several styles and shapes are available, like rings and handles, and you can find grips in virtually any color, pattern or design.
  • Kickstands: Attachable kickstands sit against the back of your device — often as part of a phone case or phone grip design — and have a built-in, hinging stand similar to a picture frame that you can set up for hands-free viewing.
  • Tripods and mounts: Phone mounts, including selfie sticks, car phone holders and standing tripods, provide more stability for smartphone photography and video recording and let you get in the frame yourself without being behind the lens. These phone gadgets are especially popular with travelers and sightseers who want to snap photos of themselves enjoying their surroundings or to get a better angle for landscape shots.
  • External storage: Add an extra layer of backup security for your important mobile files and pictures with external storage accessories, like USB drives and SD card adapters.
  • Wallets and card phone attachments: Opt for a phone case that doubles as a wallet or attach a cardholder to the back of your smartphone, so you can carry your card, cash and other small necessities without grabbing a bag or taking up too much space.

Customize your smartphone experience and fit your daily life with the right accessories.

Style and Protection

As smartphones prices have continued to rise, Americans are starting to tire of costly investments that could easily break tomorrow. Only 10% of United States respondents say they would be willing to spend $1,000 on a new phone — an amount that is currently at and sometimes below the market expectation — and one contributing reason is likely the phone's longevity. We store everything on our smartphones — upcoming meetings, banking information, precious family photos — so anytime a device breaks, we usually feel the loss far beyond our wallets.

Personalize and protect your investment and everything on it with accessories, including:

  • Screen protectors: Screen protectors keep your screen safe from scratches, chips and other cosmetic damage that could interfere with usability. Quality screen protectors are thin and durable, offering optimal protection without sacrificing any usability. Look for one that has additional built-in features, like blue light filtering or fingerprint smudge resistance.
  • Cases: Drops and falls were the leading causes of smartphone damage in 2018, and a high-quality cell phone case is the best way to protect your device from common mishaps and everyday clumsiness. You can find phone cases available in a wide range of sizes, textures and styles, offering something for everyone. Choose a slim design if aesthetic and usability are your most important factors, or look for a thick design with built-in bumpers for optimal protection.
  • Skins: Unlike phone cases, skins do not protect your device. Instead, they attach to your phone like cut-out stickers, so you can personalize it with your favorite color, pattern or even TV characters. Pair a skin with a see-through protective case, and you have the ultimate custom phone that you can change whenever the mood strikes.

Sell Your Unwanted Phone to ecoATM

Preparing for your next phone upgrade? Bring your unwanted device into an ecoATM kiosk near you and get cash to put toward your next smartphone or smartphone accessory purchase. It's a win-win situation — you clear unnecessary clutter, and you prevent your unwanted devices from ending up in the trash we get to help you protect the environment by keeping toxic e-waste out of landfills.

Preparing for your next phone upgrade?

Sell Your Unwanted Phone to ecoATM

Learn more about the ecoATM process and price your device today to get started!