iPhone Trade-In: The Best Places to Sell an Old iPhone Before Buying a New One

If you are wanting to improve to the current-gen iPhone 13, and even the highly effective iPhone 13 Pro, from the iPhone 12 (or the iPhone 11, and even the iPhone SE), you do not want to put your previous iPhone within the drawer. Instead, use it to subsidize your new buy. There are methods to commerce in an previous iPhone to earn lots of in the direction of your new telephone. But there are a lot of various choices. 

Fret not. We’re right here to assist. We’ve gone forward and put collectively a checklist of one of the best locations to promote so you will get a good worth to your previous iPhone. Below, you will discover three alternative ways you may make some money, in addition to when to make the sale and what you may anticipate from the method.  

an iPhone peeking out from behind a wallet overflowing with hundred dollar bills

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


Angela Lang/CNET

1. Sell it to a buy-back service

Looking for a fast and simple possibility? Consider promoting your previous gadget to a buy-back service. Although it isn’t completely with out danger — if the previous iPhone is not within the situation you stated it was, for instance whether it is a damaged iPhone, chances are you’ll not get the complete worth quoted by the customer — it does decrease the time and trouble, 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 provided by Apple and Best Buy (see the subsequent part), after which there are buy-and-sell marketplaces like these listed beneath. Before you spend a lot of time hopping from one to one other to get quotes, head to Flipsy, which compares US trade-in values at a number of buy-back shops. It reveals you the cost strategies, price-lock length (that is how lengthy you’ve gotten earlier than you want to ship the telephone in) and worth based mostly on the situation of the previous gadget. (Because every buyback program and retailer is little totally different when it comes to “situation” definitions, Flipsy does not drill down past telephone mannequin, service and storage.) SellCell is another price-comparison service for anybody wanting to rating high greenback for an previous iPhone. 

flipsy-iphone-x

Flipsy makes it straightforward to evaluate buy-back charges and resale worth from numerous providers. Here, for instance, you may see what an unlocked iPhone X would’ve gotten you in May 2020.


Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

If you’d reasonably try some particular person marketplaces your self, I’ve singled out some I feel are price a look. Based on what standards? For starters, I appeared for a TrustPilot “TrustScore” score of no less than 4.5 stars based mostly on no less than 500 person evaluations. I additionally appeared for velocity and ease in acquiring a pattern quote. My take a look at topic: an unlocked 64GB Apple iPhone X in “good” situation. Note that the quotes listed below are what I acquired on the time of this writing; your mileage could differ.

Decluttr could have the quickest quote-generator of any buy-back web site. You kind the model and mannequin of your telephone, select it from the checklist that seems and presto: Instant quote. (You could have to click on a few occasions to change the service and the telephone’s situation.) It’s price noting that Decluttr’s “good” possibility is one of the best situation you may choose; it would equate to “mint” or “wonderful” elsewhere.

TrustPilot rating: 4.5

iPhone 12 quote: $425

BuybackBoss made it straightforward to get a quote, with just one head-scratching second alongside the way in which: selecting the situation of the telephone. In between “mint” and “honest,” you’d anticipate to discover an possibility referred to as “good.” But as a substitute, it says “used.” I imply, they’re all used. 

TrustPilot rating: 4.7

iPhone 12 quote: $421

Although GadgetGone could 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 probably the most money for my iPhone mannequin.

TrustPilot rating: 4.8

iPhone 12 quote: $431

I’ll give an honorable point out to Swappa, which has a sky-high TrustPilot rating (4.9) however is not actually a buyback service. Rather, it is a market designed to join consumers and sellers. Think eBay, however with a concentrate on gadgets like your iPad, iPhone or different Apple product. To checklist your older iPhone (which does not assure a sale), you could first create a Swappa account after which join a PayPal account. You additionally set your asking worth, which essentially consists of a sale payment, however not any extra PayPal charges which will apply.

Worth the additional effort? Perhaps: Swappa beneficial a sale worth of $426 for my iPhone, whereas noting that the identical telephone had not too long ago bought for $345 — nonetheless larger than most buy-back providers. But a market is nearly at all times going to internet you a larger revenue (see beneath). 

2. Trade in for credit score towards a new one

Want to reduce out the intermediary, so to communicate? You can begin by going again to the supply. That could be both the producer or a big-box retailer, the most important of which usually supply stable trade-in choices for a new gadget. Consider two of the most important fish within the pond: Apple and Best Buy. (The trade-in deals may even be the best thing about Apple’s new iPhone 13.)

Apple’s iPhone trade-in program presents an straightforward approach to higher afford a new iPhone, as telephone trades internet you Apple Store credit score.

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

  • iPhone 8: Up to $100
  • iPhone X: Up to $170
  • iPhone 11: Up to $300
  • iPhone 12: Up to $420

Those charges are moderately aggressive for an Apple trade-in, however it is best to undoubtedly store round. Apple’s trade-in program does not think about how a lot storage your telephone has, nevertheless, so an iPhone X with 64GB will internet you a similar trade-in worth as one with 256GB — which may be very totally different elsewhere.

Best Buy presents a trade-in program as properly; at press time, a 64GB iPhone 12 in good situation would fetch you $350. (Taking an unlucky cue from Apple, the 256GB mannequin does not increase the worth.) Curiously, the Best Buy trade-in program does not settle for unlocked-iPhone trades, solely those who come from one of many Big Four carriers. I chosen AT&T for my quotes.

As with Apple, your Best Buy telephone trade-in ends in a Best Buy reward card — fantastic if you happen to’re a Best Buy fan, or plan to purchase your subsequent iPhone there. There will often be extra promotional presents from Best Buy, which might add worth to the trade-in. 

The key takeaway right here: Shop round. There are loads of providers with program choices that can purchase your previous iPhone or take it in commerce, however you may do higher promoting it your self.

3. Sell it your self

Selling an iPhone your self will often internet you probably the most revenue, however it’s not with out dangers and hassles.

Craigslist might be the riskiest option, however consumers pays chilly, arduous money for iOS and Android gadgets. The greatest problem right here is not discovering clients — it is getting them to present up. Be ready for flakes.

If you do determine to use Craigslist or one other in-person possibility to promote an iOS gadget, be sure 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 prior to assembly — your buyer ought to know the value, the situation of the telephone and its wi-fi service (particularly if the telephone is not unlocked) prematurely.

I take into account this a massive step up from Craigslist, as a result of not solely are your listings free, however Facebook removes a lot of the anonymity from the transaction of your Apple gadget. You can verify the profile of any purchaser. You can even management the place your itemizing is seen and by whom. I’ve bought plenty of objects this manner, and whereas I’ve had my share of last-minute no-shows, a lot of the transactions labored out properly.

If you do not thoughts placing in a little work — itemizing, transport and paying a small gross sales payment — eBay is arguably a higher place to promote a used telephone than both Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. That’s as a result of it presents buy safety, which makes individuals extra comfy shopping for from strangers.

The draw back? Fees. eBay costs a gross sales payment for merchandise which are bought by means of its web site: 10% of the ultimate promoting worth. 

To determine a ballpark promoting worth to your gadget, seek for your mannequin and verify the “bought” listings.

If there’s a draw back to promoting your iPhone on eBay, it is the potential danger of purchaser’s regret. eBay presents safety to each the vendor and purchaser, however customer support tends to aspect with the customer within the occasion of a dispute. Scammers understand how to make the most of this. You can decrease your danger by documenting all the things (together with taking photographs or screenshots of the telephone’s IMEI quantity) and ensuring to get signed proof of supply.

When to promote your previous iPhone: Right now

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

One concern is that if you happen to promote your previous smartphone instantly, you will be phoneless till the brand new one arrives. Thankfully, most of the aforementioned buy-back and trade-in providers offer you a grace interval (also called a “worth lock”) of up 30 days after promoting your telephone earlier than you’ve gotten to ship it in — time sufficient, hopefully, to buy and obtain your new telephone 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 an concern at present.

What to know earlier than you promote your previous iPhone

Whether you promote by your self or commerce to a third-party firm, be sure you prep your iPhone properly before selling it. Here are some ideas:

  • Back it up: Back up your whole essential information — together with contact, photographs, movies and apps — utilizing Apple’s iCloud service or a third-party cloud storage service.
  • Turn off Find My: Apple’s Find My app (previously generally known as Find My iPhone) is a safety function that should be turned off earlier than you promote your telephone — or no one else can be ready to use or reset it. To flip off Find My, open the Settings app in your iPhone and go to Settings > [Your username] > Find My and switch it off.
  • Wipe it: Sign out of all apps, providers and linked accounts (like your iCloud account). Then, open the Settings app and go to General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to erase all the things out of your iPhone. Once that is full, you may also go to General > Reset > Reset All Settings to restore the iPhone to manufacturing facility settings, simply in case.
  • Remove the SIM card: Don’t neglect to come out your SIM card, which you will doubtless want for the brand new telephone to preserve your present quantity and repair.

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

If your telephone is broken, you may in all probability nonetheless get one thing for it, even when the gadget does not activate. It’s not price it to restore a cracked telephone 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 your decision to promote it by yourself as a substitute of buying and selling it in. An particular person could also be keen to overlook superficial display screen harm for a good worth.

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