iPhone trade-in: Your best options for selling an old iPhone before buying a new one

New iPhone season is upon us, and meaning it is time to determine what to do together with your current cellphone. Whether or not you are upgrading to a brand new iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro or ready for a superb worth drop on the iPhone 12 (or the iPhone 11, and even the iPhone SE), the cellphone in your hand may be offered to assist make that new iPhone that rather more reasonably priced. However with so many locations on the market accepting trade-ins or permitting you to record your cellphone on the market, it may be troublesome to search out the appropriate choice for you. 

So allow us to do the work! Here is a group of the most effective methods to get money to your cellphone and how much payout you’ll be able to count on. 


Promote your previous iPhone to assist cowl the prices of your new iPhone.

Angela Lang/CNET

Methods to promote your previous cellphone, choice 1: Promote it to a buy-back service

In search of a fast and straightforward choice? Take into account promoting your previous machine to a buy-back service. Though it isn’t fully with out threat — if the previous iPhone is not within the situation you stated it was, for instance if it’s a damaged iPhone, it’s possible you’ll not get the complete worth quoted by the client — it does decrease the time and problem, particularly in contrast with making an attempt to promote it your self on, say, eBay or Craigslist.

There are conventional trade-in choices like these supplied by Apple and Finest Purchase (see the subsequent part), after which there are buy-and-sell marketplaces like these listed beneath. Earlier than you spend a number of time hopping from one to a different to get quotes, head to Flipsy, which compares US trade-in values at a number of buy-back shops. It exhibits you the cost strategies, price-lock length (that is how lengthy you’ve gotten earlier than it is advisable to ship the cellphone in) and worth based mostly on the situation of the previous machine. (As a result of every buyback program and retailer is little totally different in the case of “situation” definitions, Flipsy does not drill down past cellphone mannequin, provider and storage.) SellCell is another price-comparison service for anybody seeking to rating high greenback for an previous iPhone. 


Flipsy makes it simple to match buy-back charges and resale worth from varied companies. Right here, for instance, you’ll be able to see what an unlocked iPhone X would possibly web you and what your choices are.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

If you happen to’d somewhat take a look at some particular person marketplaces your self, I’ve singled out some I feel are price a glance. Primarily based on what standards? For starters, I seemed for a TrustPilot “TrustScore” ranking of no less than 4.5 stars based mostly on no less than 500 consumer opinions. I additionally seemed for pace and ease in acquiring a pattern quote. My take a look at topic: an unlocked 64GB Apple iPhone X in “good” situation. Be aware that the quotes listed below are what I acquired on the time of this writing; your mileage might differ.

Decluttr might have the quickest quote-generator of any buy-back web site. You kind the model and mannequin of your cellphone, select it from the record that seems and presto: Prompt quote. (You might have to click on a number of instances to alter the provider and the cellphone’s situation.) It is price noting that Decluttr’s “good” choice is the most effective situation you’ll be able to choose; it would equate to “mint” or “wonderful” elsewhere.

TrustPilot rating: 4.5

iPhone 12 quote: $488

BuybackBoss made it simple to get a quote, with just one head-scratching second alongside the best way: selecting the situation of the cellphone. In between “mint” and “truthful,” you’d look forward to finding an choice referred to as “good.” However as an alternative, it says “used.” I imply, they’re all used. 

TrustPilot rating: 4.7

iPhone 12 quote: $445

Though GadgetGone might not have the title recognition of, say, Gazelle or Swappa, it has the very best TrustPilot rating of the companies I investigated for promoting an Apple machine, and it supplied me essentially the most money for my iPhone mannequin.

TrustPilot rating: 4.8

iPhone 12 quote: $515

I am going to give an honorable point out to Swappa, which has a sky-high TrustPilot rating (4.9) however is not actually a buyback service. Moderately, it is a market designed to attach patrons and sellers. Suppose eBay, however with a deal with gadgets like your iPad, iPhone or different Apple product. To record your older iPhone (which does not assure a sale), it’s essential to first create a Swappa account after which join a PayPal account. You additionally set your asking worth, which essentially features a sale price, however not any further PayPal charges that will apply.

Price the additional effort? Maybe: Swappa really useful a sale worth of $426 for my iPhone, whereas noting that the identical cellphone had not too long ago offered for $345 — nonetheless increased than most buy-back companies. However a market is sort of at all times going to web you the next revenue (see beneath). 

Methods to promote your previous cellphone, choice 2: Commerce-in for credit score towards a brand new one

Need to minimize out the intermediary, so to talk? You can begin by going again to the supply. That may be both the producer or a big-box retailer, the most important of which usually provide stable trade-in choices for a brand new machine. Take into account two of the largest fish within the pond: Apple and Finest Purchase. (The trade-in deals may even be the best thing about Apple’s new iPhone 13. You’ll be able to even get one “free.”)

Apple’s iPhone trade-in program gives a straightforward solution to higher afford a brand new iPhone, as cellphone trades web you Apple Retailer credit score.

For instance, listed here are the present estimated trade-in values for choose fashions, all of them in “good” situation: 

  • iPhone 8: As much as $120
  • iPhone X: As much as $220
  • iPhone 11: As much as $390

These charges are moderately aggressive, however it is best to positively store round. Apple’s trade-in program does not think about how a lot storage your cellphone has, nevertheless, so an iPhone X with 64GB will web you an identical trade-in worth as one with 256GB — which could be very totally different elsewhere.

Finest Purchase gives a trade-in program as properly; at press time, a 64GB iPhone 12 in good situation would fetch you $520. (Taking an unlucky cue from Apple, the 256GB mannequin does not elevate the worth.) Curiously, the Finest Purchase trade-in program does not settle for unlocked-iPhone trades, solely people who come from one of many Massive 4 carriers. I chosen AT&T for my quotes.

As with Apple, your Finest Purchase cellphone trade-in leads to a Finest Purchase present card — tremendous in case you’re a Finest Purchase fan, or plan to purchase your subsequent iPhone there. There’ll often be further promotional gives from Finest Purchase, which might add worth to the trade-in. 

The important thing takeaway right here: Store round. There are many companies with program choices that can purchase your previous iPhone or take it in commerce, however you would possibly do higher promoting it your self.

Methods to promote your previous cellphone, choice 3: Promote it your self

Promoting an iPhone your self will normally web you essentially the most revenue, but it surely’s not with out dangers and hassles.

Craigslist might be the riskiest option, however patrons can pay chilly, arduous money for iOS and Android gadgets. The largest problem right here is not discovering prospects — it is getting them to indicate up. Be ready for flakes.

If you happen to do determine to make use of Craigslist or one other in-person choice to promote an iOS machine, ensure you meet your purchaser in a well-lit, public place (many police departments offer their parking lots as transaction sites). For the smoothest transaction, make the settlement clear previous to assembly — your buyer ought to know the worth, the situation of the cellphone and its wi-fi provider (particularly if the cellphone is not unlocked) prematurely.

I think about this an enormous step up from Craigslist, as a result of not solely are your listings free, however Fb removes a lot of the anonymity from the transaction of your Apple gadget. You’ll be able to test the profile of any purchaser. You can too management the place your itemizing is seen and by whom. I’ve offered a lot of gadgets this manner, and whereas I’ve had my share of last-minute no-shows, a lot of the transactions labored out properly.

If you happen to do not thoughts placing in a bit of work — itemizing, delivery and paying a small gross sales price — eBay is arguably a greater place to promote a used cellphone than both Craigslist or Fb Market. That is as a result of it gives buy safety, which makes individuals extra comfy shopping for from strangers.

The draw back? Charges. eBay expenses a gross sales price for merchandise which can be offered by its web site: 10% of the ultimate promoting worth. 

To determine a ballpark promoting worth to your machine, seek for your mannequin and test the “offered” listings.

If there is a draw back to promoting your iPhone on eBay, it is the potential threat of purchaser’s regret. eBay gives safety to each the vendor and purchaser, however customer support tends to facet with the client within the occasion of a dispute. Scammers know methods to reap the benefits of this. You’ll be able to decrease your threat by documenting all the things (together with taking images or screenshots of the cellphone’s IMEI quantity) and ensuring to get signed proof of supply.

When to promote your previous iPhone: Proper now

Your previous cellphone is dropping worth by the day. In truth, it is estimated that inside 24 hours of a brand new iPhone’s unveiling, your old phone loses up to 30% of its trade-in value.

One concern is that in case you promote your previous smartphone instantly, you will be phoneless till the brand new one arrives. Fortunately, lots of the aforementioned buy-back and trade-in companies offer you a grace interval (often known as a “worth lock”) of up 30 days after promoting your cellphone earlier than you must ship it in — time sufficient, hopefully, to buy and obtain your new cellphone and get all the things migrated over (together with the SIM card — do not forget that!). Since the iPhone 13 is already here, that is much less of a problem at the moment.

What to know earlier than you promote your previous iPhone

Whether or not you promote by your self or commerce to a third-party firm, ensure you prep your iPhone properly before selling it. Listed below are some ideas:

  • Again it up: Again up your whole vital knowledge — together with contact, images, movies and apps — utilizing Apple’s iCloud service or a third-party cloud storage service.
  • Flip off Discover My: Apple’s Find My app (previously often known as Discover My iPhone) is a safety function that should be turned off earlier than you promote your cellphone — or no person else will have the ability to use or reset it. To show off Discover My, open the Settings app in your iPhone and go to Settings > [Your username] > Discover My and switch it off.
  • Wipe it: Signal out of all apps, companies and related accounts (like your iCloud account). Then, open the Settings app and go to Common > Reset > Erase All Content material and Settings to erase all the things out of your iPhone. As soon as that is full, you can even go to Common > Reset > Reset All Settings to revive the iPhone to manufacturing facility settings, simply in case.
  • Take away the SIM card: Do not forget to come out your SIM card, which you will seemingly want for the brand new cellphone to maintain your current quantity and repair.

You will obtain essentially the most cash to your cellphone if it is in tip-top form, however you’ll be able to nonetheless do properly if it is in “good” situation: No cracked display screen, no huge dents or scratches within the casing, no water harm, and all the things working properly (which means the cellphone activates, holds a cost and so forth).

In case your cellphone is broken, you’ll be able to in all probability nonetheless get one thing for it, even when the machine does not activate. It is not price it to restore a cracked cellphone display screen earlier than you promote, but when your display screen is barely barely broken — a small hairline crack within the nook, for instance — it’s possible you’ll need to promote it by yourself as an alternative of buying and selling it in. A person could also be keen to miss superficial display screen harm for a superb worth.

Have you ever already been by this sell-old-to-buy-new course of with a previous cellphone or machine? What choice did you select, and the way was the expertise? Inform us about it within the feedback!

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