iPhone Trade-In Sell Your Old iPhone Before Upgrading

iPhone Trade-In Sell Your Old iPhone Before Upgrading

Maximizing Value: How to Get the Most Money for Your Old iPhone

In just a few days, Apple is expected to announce its hotly anticipated iPhone 15, which means it’s that time of year every Apple user asks themselves how badly they need an upgrade. If you’re still holding onto your old iPhone 7, it may well be time. Upgrading your phone can seem daunting at first, especially financially, but trading your phone in early can help maximize your old iPhone’s value. Saving as much money as possible is paramount if you’re wanting to regularly upgrade to the best iPhone, which is why subsidizing your next phone by selling your current one is such a great idea. But how do you get the most money back for your existing device?

There are numerous ways to trade in an old iPhone and earn hundreds toward your new one, but each option has its own list of pros and cons. Fret not, though, as we’re here to help guide you through the process. We’ve put together a list of the best places to sell, so you can work out the best iPhone deal for you. Below, you’ll find three different ways you can make some cash, as well as when to make the sale and what you can expect from the process. Note that carrier-based trade-in options won’t be officially launched until after the new iPhone is launched.

When to sell your old iPhone

Your old phone is losing market value by the day, so the best time to sell it is always as soon as possible. It’s estimated that within 24 hours of a new iPhone’s unveiling, your old phone loses up to 30% of its trade-in value so you can try to time it right and sell it in the weeks leading up to an iPhone event if you’re smart.

One concern is that if you sell your old smartphone immediately, you’ll be phoneless until the new one arrives. Thankfully, many of the aforementioned buy-back and trade-in services give you a grace period (also known as a “price lock”) of up to 30 days after selling your phone before you have to send it in – time enough, hopefully, to purchase and receive your new phone and get everything migrated over (including the SIM card – don’t forget that!).

“Sell it to a buy-back service”

Looking for a quick and easy option? Consider selling your old device to a buy-back service. Although it’s not entirely without risk – if the old iPhone isn’t in the condition you said it was, for example if it’s broken, you may not get the full value quoted by the buyer – it does minimize the time and hassle, especially compared with trying to sell it yourself on, say, eBay or Craigslist.

There are traditional trade-in options like those offered by Apple and Best Buy (see the next section), and then there are buy-and-sell marketplaces like those listed below. Before you spend a lot of time hopping from one to another to get quotes, head to Flipsy, which compares US trade-in values at multiple buy-back stores. It shows you the payment methods, price-lock duration (that’s how long you have before you need to send the phone in) and price based on the condition of the old device. SellCell is another price-comparison service for anyone looking to score top dollar for an old iPhone.

If you’d rather check out some individual marketplaces yourself, below are a few options that are worth a look. The sample quotes are based on iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 trade-ins for “good” condition devices in September 2023 and were correct at the time of writing.

  • Decluttr:
    • TrustPilot score: 4.3
    • iPhone 13 quote: $410
    • iPhone 14 quote: $430
  • Buyback Boss:
    • TrustPilot score: 4.7
    • iPhone 13 quote: $442
    • iPhone 14 quote: $401
  • GadgetGone:
    • TrustPilot score: 4.6
    • iPhone 13 quote: $420
    • iPhone 14 quote: $354

An honorable mention goes to Swappa, which has a sky-high TrustPilot score (4.9) but isn’t really a buyback service. Rather, it’s a marketplace designed to connect buyers and sellers. Think eBay, but with a focus on devices like your iPad, iPhone, or other Apple product.

“Trade in for credit toward a new one”

Want to cut out the middleman, so to speak? You can start by going back to the source. That can be either the manufacturer or a big-box retailer, the largest of which generally offer solid trade-in options for a new device. Consider two of the biggest fish in the pond: Apple and Best Buy.

  • Apple:
    • Straight-up Apple Store credit
    • iPhone 13 series: Up to $650
    • iPhone 12 series: Up to $480
    • iPhone 11 series: Up to $330
    • iPhone SE (2020): Up to $100
  • Best Buy:
    • Trade for a store gift card or money off
    • 128GB iPhone 13 (in good condition): $305
    • Pro variants offering higher values

The key takeaway here: Shop around. There are plenty of services with program options that will buy your old iPhone or take it in trade, but you might do better selling it yourself.

“Sell it yourself”

Selling an iPhone yourself will usually net you the most profit, but it’s not without risks and hassles.

  • Craigslist:
    • Good if you want cash, bad if you’re risk-averse
    • Be prepared for flakes
    • Meet in well-lit, public places
  • Facebook Marketplace:
    • Also good for cash, and with a bit more seller protection
    • Listings are free
    • Check the profile of interested buyers
    • Control where your listing is seen
  • eBay:
    • Safe for buyers and sellers alike, but be prepared for fees
    • Offers purchase protection
    • Charges a sales fee of 10%
    • Check “sold” listings for a ballpark selling price

If your phone is damaged, you can still get something for it, even if the device doesn’t turn on. It’s not worth it to repair a cracked phone screen before you sell, but if your screen is only slightly damaged – a small hairline crack in the corner, for example – you may want to sell it on your own instead of trading it in. An individual may be willing to overlook superficial screen damage for a good price.

Before you sell your old iPhone, make sure you prep it properly. Back up all of your important data, turn off Find My, wipe it, and remove the SIM card. And remember, the better the condition of your phone, the more money you’ll receive for it.

So, if you’re considering upgrading to the latest iPhone, don’t let the potential financial burden hold you back. Explore the various options available for selling your old iPhone and choose the one that suits you best. Whether you sell it to a buy-back service, trade it in for credit, or sell it yourself, there are plenty of opportunities to maximize the value of your old device and make the most out of your upgrade.