Are you about to buy a new iPhone? Learn how to sell the old one you have without getting a bad deal on it.

t’s likely that you are considering pre-ordering a new XS or XS Max iPhone. If so, it’s likely they’re going to cost you a pretty good amount. One thing you can do that can help reduce your out-of-pocket expense is to sell your existing iPhone. Just make sure that when you do it that you get the best possible price for the old one. If you put it off for too long though, it could cost you.

How to sell your iPhone the right way

Don’t waste your time because the closer it gets to when you can preorder a new XS, the less your old iPhone will be worth. You could lose as much as $100 on what you might get for that old phone once the new one comes out.
Often the newer iPhone models can lose as much as 20% on their resale value a few weeks after the announcement.

  • Opting for a trade-in website the same time you pre-order will allow you to freeze the current price and send in your old phone up to 30 days afterward.
  • Selling the iPhone yourself through a site like eBay will earn you a little more but you will have to send the iPhone as soon the buyer commits. Ideal if you have a spare phone to use while you wait for the new iPhone to be delivered.

There are other options which we will go into later, but these were the best options we found.

iPhone trade-in checklist

Ignoring the backup of your old iPhone, these steps will only take 5 minutes:

Backup your old iPhone: Regardless of whether you trade it in or sell it yourself, there are certain things you want to do to ensure that the data that exists in the phone is safe. You should begin by backing up everything that is important and this can include your videos and photos, as well as apps and contact information. You can use the iCloud service by Apple or any other third-party cloud storage service.

Turn off Find My iPhone: You should turn off the Find My iPhone feature so that the next person can’t use it or reset it. To do this you simply open the app settings and toggle off the Find My iPhone function.

Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Turn off Find My iPhone

Remove your data: You will then wipe it by signing out of your apps and other services and then erase everything. To do this go to General settings, then reset all settings so that the iPhone returns to the original Factory standard settings.

Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings > Then follow the prompts

As you would expect, it is easier to get a better price if the condition of your iPhone is excellent. Hopefully you don’t have any cracks in the screen or noticeable scratches or dents and of course, there shouldn’t be any water damage. If everything is working well and it still holds a charge, then you’re in good shape.

What can you do if your iPhone does have damage?

It is still possible to get something for your phone even when it’s damaged. Often you can get something for it even if it doesn’t turn on or you have a cracked screen. Typically it’s not worth the hassle of getting it repaired as you’ll get a similar price selling it directly with damage than paying to get a repair – most these companies have large in-house refurbishment operations that do it anyway.

In most situations, a company will not distinguish between a hairline crack and a regular crack when trading in the phone. Likewise, when looking at the screen, excessive scratches could be interpreted the same as a smashed screen as they will still have to replace it if they plan to sell it after the refurbishment.

This means they’ll all go into a particular category even though your phone’s damage may be superficial. This will reduce what you’re likely to get for it, this may sound menacing however in every case we’ve seen the online stores require you to confirm the phones damage before quoting so you just have to be honest and read what they define in the conditions.

1. Use an online iPhone trade-in company

Gazelle: This is a third party company that takes trade-ins and they pay cash by check or PayPal. Another option is to take an Amazon gift card worth the agreed-upon amount. Even if the phone you have is broken or if it doesn’t turn on anymore they will still often offer reasonable cash for the iPhone. If, however, the phone is locked by the carrier then this company will give less for it so you will want to have it unlocked before trading it in.

BankMyCell: This company is trusted when it comes to giving you a way to see what price you might get for your trade-in using different services the stores might offer. This company assures its users that they will only show companies that have an upstanding reputation – leaving you to only focus on choosing a good price for the device and having the transaction take place easily. You will often find price listings based on the carrier.

Device Gazelle BankMyCell
iPhone X $458 ($490 with a coupon) $595 ($650.50 with a coupon)
iPhone 8 Plus $370 ($375 with a coupon) $503 ($553.30 with a coupon)
iPhone 8 $335 ($340 with a coupon) $439 ($482.50 with a coupon)

*Quotes recorded 9/17/2018

Note: BankMyCell offered the best online iPhone trade-in store prices, to claim the 10% extra coupon simply use the trade-in code featured on their device valuation pages (e.g. the iPhone X). To get Gazelles bonus $5 coupon you need to sign up to the newsletter.

2. Consider selling your iPhone yourself

Classified ads: If you really want the best price for your old phone you’ll want to try to sell it yourself, but it will take more work. If you don’t mind the added risk associated with selling and meeting a stranger you may consider using Craigslist (Although this is riskier it does mean you could get cash for your phone). The biggest wall you will face with this option is actually finding potential customers and getting them to actually turn up where you want to meet them.

To reduce risks you should make sure to arrange any meetings in a very public place that is well-lit and somewhere where you feel safe. Always make the terms of the agreement clear before you arrange a meeting so that your customer understands the price as well as the real condition of your phone. You may also want to let them know what wireless carrier is being used.

eBay: Although you might get less money on eBay it is often considered a safer option. Buyers aren’t as concerned because of the eBay purchase protection plan which helps strangers feel more comfortable buying from you even when they don’t know you. The only thing to consider with this option is the fact that although in many ways it’s easier, there are extra fees that have to be paid.

When a sale takes place you will usually have to pay 10% of whatever the selling price was and if it’s paid through PayPal they’ll be additional fees. With this option, you can check the sold listings on eBay to help you understand what you might be able to get for your phone. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get that price but it gives you a good idea on what is possible.

eBay Fees Calculator Tool: This handy tool will help you predict the final value minus the fees if your head math isn’t that great

Device Listing Price Money after fees
iPhone X $799 $695
iPhone 8 Plus $754 $656
iPhone 8 $689 $599

*Quotes recorded 9/17/2018

One thing that you do need to keep in mind when someone purchases from you on eBay is that they may experience buyer’s remorse. Even though eBay offers protection to both the buyer and seller they often assist the buyer if an issue arises and occasionally there are buyers that take advantage of this system. The best thing to do is to thoroughly document everything from images of the device and the shipping used and to have proof that the item was delivered (We highly recommend tracked shipping).

3. Get credit for an iPhone trade-in

There is an option that allows you to take store credit rather than cash if that’s something you’re willing to accept. There are a number of retailers (e.g. Target/Best Buy) that will give you gift certificates rather than traditional payments. In these situations, they will appraise your phone and then make a formal offer where they give you credit toward anything they sell. Apple and Amazon are a couple of these retailers online that have this type of offer and a number of companies like Walmart, Best Buy, and Verizon allow you to complete your trade-ins inside their stores.

Apple Trade-Up: How much credit you will get depends on the condition and age of your phone. This is why they ask a series of questions to get an idea of the device’s condition. Once they have seen it, then they will release payment as long as you didn’t lie about any damages! As you can see, the prices offered are considerably lower than BankMyCell and eBay.

Device Price offered
iPhone X $525
iPhone 8 Plus $400
iPhone 8 $350

*Quotes recorded 9/17/2018

Best Buy: This company used to have better trade-in prices but the rates they give now are bit mixed. They usually will offer a gift card for the trade-in. As long as you like buying there, then it’s not a problem but it will mean you’ll have to get your new iPhone from Best Buy. This company will base their trade-in values on its capacity as well as its color and the carrier. Of course, the condition of the phone will play a major part as well. As you can see, the prices offered are considerably lower than eBay and BankMyCell again.

Device Price offered
iPhone X $520
iPhone 8 Plus $400
iPhone 8 $325

*Quotes recorded 9/17/2018

4. Try selling it in-store to a carrier or known brand

When you trade in a phone for a gift card or store credit these are typically the least profitable ways of getting money for your phone but it does mean that you have no liability once those companies accept your phone. Sometimes when the phone is in poor condition those companies will still give you something for it. If you want convenience over profit then it’s a good way to go.

With this option, network carriers are the best option to go with but still offer less than our previous options.

In-Store Option iPhone X Offer
AT&T Trade-in $540
Eco Kiosks $405
Gamestop $315

*Quotes recorded 9/17/2018

The price will vary considerably and it depends on several factors. The phone storage capacity and its model, as well as the carrier and its color, play a part. There’s a good chance you’ll get a bit more if your phone is fully unlocked and the Find My iPhone is completely deactivated.

Key takeaways

You get less money for an iPhone you keep longer. Once a new model of iPhone is announced websites begin getting a tremendous amount of individuals wanting to trade in so they can take advantage of upgrades. The law of supply and demand kicks in and this means old phones will drop in price. To get the best price, even if you need to keep the phone a bit longer, you should look for those companies that will allow you to lock in the price you’re going to get for it while giving you 30 days to send the phone in.

Before you make a final decision on who to sell the phone to, make sure to do your homework. In some cases, you should sell the phone yourself on eBay to get the most money. The other option we found that provided fair pricing was BankMyCell providing the coupon code is still active

With time and patience, you should find somewhere that will give you a reasonable price for your old phone. We are quite sure you will enjoy the new iPhone just as soon as it comes out!