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


New iPhone season is upon us, and which means 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 Professional or ready for value drop on the iPhone 12 (or the iPhone 11, and even the iPhone SE), the cellphone in your hand will be bought to assist make that new iPhone that rather more inexpensive. However with so many locations on the market accepting trade-ins or permitting you to listing your cellphone on the market, it may be troublesome to search out the fitting choice for you. 

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So allow us to do the work! Here is a set of the very best methods to get money in your cellphone and what sort of payout you may count on. 

Promote your outdated iPhone to assist cowl the prices of your new iPhone.

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How you can promote your outdated cellphone, choice 1: Promote it to a buy-back service

On the lookout for a fast and straightforward choice? Take into account promoting your outdated gadget to a buy-back service. Though it isn’t completely with out threat — if the outdated iPhone is not within the situation you stated it was, for instance if it’s a damaged iPhone, you might not get the complete worth quoted by the client — it does reduce the time and trouble, particularly in contrast with attempting to promote it your self on, say, eBay or Craigslist.

There are conventional trade-in choices like these provided by Apple and Greatest Purchase (see the subsequent part), after which there are buy-and-sell marketplaces like these listed beneath. Earlier than you spend loads 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 reveals you the fee strategies, price-lock length (that is how lengthy you might have earlier than you’ll want to ship the cellphone in) and value primarily based on the situation of the outdated gadget. (As a result of every buyback program and retailer is little totally different on the subject of “situation” definitions, Flipsy would not drill down past cellphone mannequin, service and storage.) SellCell is one other price-comparison service for anybody trying to rating prime greenback for an outdated iPhone. 


Flipsy makes it simple to check buy-back charges and resale worth from numerous providers. Right here, for instance, you may see what an unlocked iPhone X would possibly internet you and what your choices are.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

In the event you’d somewhat try some particular person marketplaces your self, I’ve singled out some I feel are price a glance. Based mostly on what standards? For starters, I seemed for a TrustPilot “TrustScore” score of not less than 4.5 stars primarily based on not less than 500 consumer evaluations. 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. Observe that the quotes listed below are what I obtained on the time of this writing; your mileage might range.

Decluttr might have the quickest quote-generator of any buy-back website. You sort the model and mannequin of your cellphone, select it from the listing that seems and presto: Prompt quote. (You could have to click on a number of instances to vary the service and the cellphone’s situation.) It is price noting that Decluttr’s “good” choice is the very best situation you may choose; it would equate to “mint” or “glorious” 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 anticipate finding an choice referred to as “good.” However as a substitute, it says “used.” I imply, they’re all used. 

TrustPilot rating: 4.7

iPhone 12 quote: $445

Though GadgetGone might not have the identify recognition of, say, Gazelle or Swappa, it has the best TrustPilot rating of the providers I investigated for promoting an Apple gadget, and it provided 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. Relatively, it is a market designed to attach consumers and sellers. Assume eBay, however with a concentrate on gadgets like your iPad, iPhone or different Apple product. To listing your older iPhone (which does not assure a sale), you should first create a Swappa account after which join a PayPal account. You additionally set your asking value, which essentially features a sale payment, however not any extra PayPal charges which will apply.

Price the additional effort? Maybe: Swappa beneficial a sale value of $426 for my iPhone, whereas noting that the identical cellphone had lately bought for $345 — nonetheless greater than most buy-back providers. However a market is nearly all the time going to internet you the next revenue (see beneath). 

How you can promote your outdated cellphone, choice 2: Commerce-in for credit score towards a brand new one

Wish to reduce 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 biggest of which usually supply strong trade-in choices for a brand new gadget. Take into account two of the largest fish within the pond: Apple and Greatest Purchase. (The trade-in offers might even be the very best factor about Apple’s new iPhone 13. You’ll be able to even get one “free.”)

Apple’s iPhone trade-in program affords a simple technique to higher afford a brand new iPhone, as cellphone trades internet 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’s best to positively store round. Apple’s trade-in program would not consider how a lot storage your cellphone has, nonetheless, so an iPhone X with 64GB will internet you an identical trade-in worth as one with 256GB — which could be very totally different elsewhere.

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

As with Apple, your Greatest Purchase cellphone trade-in leads to a Greatest Purchase reward card — high quality for those who’re a Greatest Purchase fan, or plan to purchase your subsequent iPhone there. There’ll often be extra promotional affords from Greatest Purchase, which may add worth to the trade-in. 

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

How you can promote your outdated cellphone, choice 3: Promote it your self

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

Craigslist might be the riskiest choice, however consumers can pay chilly, arduous money for iOS and Android gadgets. The most important problem right here is not discovering clients — it is getting them to indicate up. Be ready for flakes.

In the event you do resolve to make use of Craigslist or one other in-person choice to promote an iOS gadget, be sure you meet your purchaser in a well-lit, public place (many police departments supply their parking heaps as transaction websites). For the smoothest transaction, make the settlement clear previous to assembly — your buyer ought to know the value, the situation of the cellphone and its wi-fi service (particularly if the cellphone is not unlocked) upfront.

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 examine the profile of any purchaser. You too can management the place your itemizing is seen and by whom. I’ve bought plenty of objects this fashion, and whereas I’ve had my share of last-minute no-shows, many of the transactions labored out effectively.

In the event you do not thoughts placing in somewhat work — itemizing, transport and paying a small gross sales payment — eBay is arguably a greater place to promote a used cellphone than both Craigslist or Fb Market. That is as a result of it affords buy safety, which makes folks extra comfy shopping for from strangers.

The draw back? Charges. eBay fees a gross sales payment for merchandise which can be bought via its website: 10% of the ultimate promoting value. 

To determine a ballpark promoting value in your gadget, seek for your mannequin and examine the “bought” listings.

If there is a draw back to promoting your iPhone on eBay, it is the potential threat of purchaser’s regret. eBay affords safety to each the vendor and purchaser, however customer support tends to aspect with the client within the occasion of a dispute. Scammers know the right way to benefit from this. You’ll be able to reduce your threat by documenting every part (together with taking pictures or screenshots of the cellphone’s IMEI quantity) and ensuring to get signed proof of supply.

When to promote your outdated iPhone: Proper now

Your outdated cellphone is dropping worth by the day. In actual fact, it is estimated that inside 24 hours of a brand new iPhone’s unveiling, your outdated cellphone loses as much as 30% of its trade-in worth.

One concern is that for those who promote your outdated smartphone instantly, you will be phoneless till the brand new one arrives. Fortunately, most of the aforementioned buy-back and trade-in providers provide you with a grace interval (also referred to as a “value lock”) of up 30 days after promoting your cellphone earlier than it’s important to ship it in — time sufficient, hopefully, to buy and obtain your new cellphone and get every part migrated over (together with the SIM card — remember that!). Since the iPhone 13 is already right here, that is much less of a problem at the moment.

What to know earlier than you promote your outdated iPhone

Whether or not you promote by your self or commerce to a third-party firm, be sure you prep your iPhone correctly earlier than promoting it. Listed here are some suggestions:

  • Again it up: Again up your entire necessary knowledge — together with contact, pictures, movies and apps — utilizing Apple’s iCloud service or a third-party cloud storage service.
  • Flip off Discover My: Apple’s Discover My app (previously often called 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, providers and linked accounts (like your iCloud account). Then, open the Settings app and go to Common > Reset > Erase All Content material and Settings to erase every part out of your iPhone. As soon as that is full, you may as well go to Common > Reset > Reset All Settings to revive the iPhone to manufacturing facility settings, simply in case.
  • Take away the SIM card: Remember to come out your SIM card, which you will doubtless want for the brand new cellphone to maintain your current quantity and repair.

You will obtain essentially the most cash in your cellphone if it is in tip-top form, however you may nonetheless do effectively if it is in “good” situation: No cracked display, no large dents or scratches within the casing, no water injury, and every part working effectively (which means the cellphone activates, holds a cost and so forth).

In case your cellphone is broken, you may most likely nonetheless get one thing for it, even when the gadget would not activate. It isn’t price it to restore a cracked cellphone display earlier than you promote, but when your display is just barely broken — a small hairline crack within the nook, for instance — you might wish to promote it by yourself as a substitute of buying and selling it in. A person could also be prepared to miss superficial display injury for value.

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

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This put up was printed beforehand and has been up to date with new info.

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