Apple is set to unveil the new iPhone in September. We're expecting to see the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, but whatever Apple names the new devices they're going to be expensive. One of the best ways to raise some funds for the new iPhone is to sell your old one.
Fortunately, the iPhone holds its value better than any other smartphone and there's a thriving market for second-hand devices. You have the option of trading your old iPhone in, selling it to a service that's guaranteed to buy it, or selling it directly to a buyer yourself.
How Much Do You Need to Save for a New iPhone?
We have a pretty clear idea how much the new iPhone will cost, because Apple has kept its pricing structure the same every year. Barring any surprises, you'll have the option of buying an iPhone 7 on a 2-year contract for $199 and an iPhone 7 Plus on a 2-year contract for $299.
If you like to buy your devices outright, then you can expect the new iPhones to start at $649 for the normal model and $749 for the Plus. Prices will go as high as $949, based on how much storage you want.
For people currently locked into a 2-year contract, you'll have to wait until you're eligible for an upgrade or you'll be looking at some kind of fee to pay off the end of that contract. It's worth contacting your carrier and checking the conditions of your current deal. Sometimes they offer promotions and special trade-in deals to encourage you to upgrade early.
It's also worth noting that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will probably drop $100 in price as soon as the new iPhones go on sale, so if you're not desperate for the latest model you could save a bit of cash there.
When Should You Sell?
The best time to sell in order to make maximum cash is today. The longer you delay, the less your iPhone will be worth. All iPhones depreciate in value over time, but the drop is much faster after a new model is released. The average decline in iPhone value in the two months before a new iPhone release is 10%, and in the two months after release it's 44%, according to GadgetValuer.
As people offload their old iPhones, they flood the market and prices drop. Traditionally, the biggest drop in prices is during October and November, so if you can sell before then, it's a good idea to do so.
Where Should I Sell My iPhone?
You have three main options when you're looking to sell your old iPhone:
- Sell it yourself through eBay, Craigslist, or another local service.
- Trade-in with a big store or online retailer.
- Trade-in with your carrier.
Selling your iPhone directly to a buyer is potentially the most lucrative route to take, but it's also the most hassle. You'll have to carefully prepare the iPhone for sale, advertise it, find a buyer, negotiate a price, package it up, and post it.
If you trade-in with a big service like Gazelle, or through a store like Best Buy, then you'll find the process hassle-free. Online trade-in programs will ask you to fill out a short questionnaire about your iPhone's condition, and then they'll show the estimated value. They generally offer free postage and pay promptly after they've received the iPhone and inspected it to ensure it matches your description. If you go in-store to trade-in, then they can inspect the iPhone and give you the money or store credit immediately.
It's worth noting that some online trade-in services (like Gazelle) will lock in the offer price for 30 days. That means you can secure an offer that is frozen and won't drop any further before the device actually has to be in the company's hands.
You might also consider trading your iPhone in with your carrier and getting credit towards your next iPhone. This is a relatively simple process and you can send the iPhone in the mail for free or take it into a store, but we've found that the carriers don't offer the best prices.
How Much Can I Get?
To provide a point of comparison, we've taken a look at the prices you can command for a fully functional iPhone 6 with 16GB of storage if you were to sell at the time of writing (these prices will decline the longer you wait).
Glyde (online) — $316 in cash
Amazon (online) — $270 in credit
NextWorth (online) — $245 in cash or Target gift card
Apple (online or in-store) — $225 as Apple gift card
Best Buy (online or in-store) — $211 as Best Buy gift card
uSell (online) — $202 in cash
Gazelle (online) — $200 in cash
GameStop (online or in-store) — $200 in cash or store credit
AT&T (online or in-store) — $195 in credit
T-Mobile (online or in-store) — $180 in credit
Walmart (online or in-store) — $160 as Walmart gift card
Sprint (online or in-store) — $159 in credit
Things to Keep in Mind
Always factor in fees and associated costs when searching for the best deal. For example, if you sell on eBay, you're going to have fees and postage to pay. You also need to check up on the turnaround time for payments. Most services are prompt once they have your handset, but be careful to check.
You can generally get a better price if your iPhone is unlocked and you sell it with the original charger. It's important to wipe all of your personal data off the iPhone before you send it. This Apple guide will help you through the process. You should also make sure to remove the old iPhone from Find My iPhone.
As you can see, there are lots of relatively painless ways to get a decent chunk of change for your old iPhone. Now all you need is to check out the latest iPhone deals.
Readers, have you sold an iPhone before? Let us know about your experience, as well as any tips or tricks, in the comments below.