You can get cash for your iPhone from buyback sites, trade it in to your wireless carrier for a credit on future bills, or even swap it for a gift card to Target, Best Buy, Amazon, or Walmart.
Even if you’re in the iPhone Upgrade Program, you might have an old iPhone languishing in a drawer somewhere unused. And if you buy your iPhone outright each year, you can usually recoup a good amount of that cost by selling the old model every time you upgrade. Here’s what you need to know about selling or trading in your old iPhone for top dollar.
How to get an old iPhone ready for sale
This probably goes without saying, but you’ll get the most money if your iPhone is in pristine shape. That means keeping it in a case to prevent bumps and dings to the corners. But if your phone shows some wear and tear, don’t worry—it’s still sellable, you’ll just get a little less. Keeping your original box, and including the charger and cable also helps you get the most money.
Be sure to get all the data out of your old iPhone. A backup to iCloud or iTunes is the most convenient way to sync all the data to your new iPhone. But because an iPhone backup is pretty self-contained, I also like to separately make sure my photos are synced to Google Photos or Dropbox, and I also use an app for my Mac called iMazing that also lets me back up text messages, including all the photos and videos people have texted me that I never saved to my Camera Roll.
Next, unpair your Apple Watch if applicable, by opening the Watch app on the phone, tapping the My Watch tab, tap the i button next to your watch, and tap Unpair Apple Watch.
Sign out of your iCloud and iTunes accounts too. That’s at the top of the Settings app: Just tap your name, then scroll to the bottom of the next screen and tap Sign Out. If you’re switching from an iPhone to an Android phone for some bizarre reason, you also need to degregister your phone number from iMessage, by going to Settings > Messages and turning off the switch labeled iMessage.
Once you’re sure your iPhone is all backed up and ready to be fully erased, head to the Settings app and tap General > Reset. The nuclear option here is Erase All Content and Settings. You’ll be prompted to turn off Find My iPhone and sign out of iCloud, if you haven’t already—otherwise iOS’s Activation Lock will prevent the phone’s next owner from activating it. Confirm that you want to erase all the data, and your phone will be securely wiped and restored to factory settings.
How to sell your iPhone through a third-party buyback site
Where are you going to sell your iPhone? I like to start my research at the third-party buyback sites.
You can get an idea there what your phone in its current condition is worth, and then either take that offer, or post your phone on Facebook or Instagram to see if a real-life friend wants to buy it—you’ll maximize your profit that way, and you’ll both feel more comfortable transacting with someone you know. If no one bites, there’s always Craigslist or eBay, or come back to one of these third-party buyback sites. After all, they offer an incredibly convenient experience, versus having to meet up with someone in the real world and transact in large amounts of cash.
I have an iPhone 6s in good condition, so I got quotes from these sites, just to compare their offers. Your results will vary—prices fluctuate constantly based on the item’s condition as well as the sites’ current supply and demand.
Gazelle. Gazelle buys and sells preowned smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets. They’ll give you an online quote for your item, and then send you a box to ship it to them for free. You can receive payment as a check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card.
The offer is good for 30 days, and Gazelle will make you a new offer if the item is in worse condition than you described. If you decide not to take the new offer, they’ll send your gadget back, but you pay for the return shipping. Gazelle even has “ecoATM” locations nationwide where you can drop your device off for an instant payment.
For my 64GB AT&T iPhone 6s in good condition, Gazelle offered me $150.
Glyde. Glyde works a little differently. You list your item for sale—smartphones, tablets, laptops, iPods, even old videogames—kind of like you would on Facebook or Craigslist. But then Glyde then finds the buyer and handles the whole transaction. When your item sells, you’ll get a prepaid shipping kit from Glyde for sending the device to the buyer, and you can transfer the payment to your bank account or get a check. You can even get paid in Bitcoin.
Glyde keeps 15 percent of the sale price, and insures the packages. If the buyer decides your device isn’t as it was described, they have 72 hours to return it, with return shipping costs split between the buyer and seller.
For my 64GB rose gold AT&T iPhone 6s, Glyde recommended a listing of $271, which would put $227.35 in my pocket.