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ICYMI: How to Get the iPhone 6 for Free (Kind Of)

Selling an old iPhone is a great way to pay for a new handset, but it can be a confusing hassle. We highlight the best iPhone resale sites for great deals and ease.
Updated

Apple's annual iPhone update is an event not to be missed. We’re expecting the iPhone 6 to land in September. If you believe the rumors, it will have a larger touchscreen, or maybe even come in multiple sizes. It’s safe to assume it will be faster and more powerful than its predecessor, and there’s bound to be some tempting new special feature, like changeable lenses or waterproofing.

If you’re looking to upgrade and you currently have an older model, then when and where to sell your old iPhone can be a real head-scratcher. The good news is that iPhones retain their value better than any other smartphone brand. The bad news is that the value of older iPhones will fall immediately when the iPhone 6 is released, and it will keep on dropping as more and more people sell or trade-in their current iPhone in order to upgrade. To help, we've compiled a guide to how to get the most for your old iPhone — which should be able to cover the subsidized cost of the next model.

When to Sell

You will never get a better price than what’s being offered right now, today. The obvious problem for most people is that they need a working phone until they can lay hands on a new one. Prices will drop slowly leading up to the launch of the iPhone 6, but they drop rapidly thereafter. In simple terms, the earlier you can sell, the more you can expect to make.

Standard contracts are two years long, and so there will be a number of people with the iPhone 5 looking to upgrade to the iPhone 6. The new iPhone is likely to cost $200 on a two year contract, so that’s a good target price to aim for, as it will cover the initial cost of your new phone.

For this article, we’ve checked prices for a 16GB iPhone 5 on AT&T that’s in good condition, with some wear and tear, but fully working and with no major damage.

Where to Sell

Your best chance of getting a good price is to sell directly to another buyer through a website like eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon. You can set your own price and the averages tend to be higher. However, this is also the most hassle for you, because you’ll have to list the phone, wait for offers and then package and mail it.

Craigslist

With Craigslist, you have to meet the person and get payment from them, which won’t be ideal for everyone; but a big benefit is the complete lack of fees. If you do go this route, then make sure you meet somewhere public, take a friend, and only accept cash. The prices for a good condition iPhone 5 right now range from $300 up to $450.

eBay

On eBay you have a little more protection and you can mail the iPhone to your buyer, although you will have to factor in the cost of packaging, postage, and eBay fees. Depending on the condition and extras, you could expect $250 to $350. You will probably pay 10% of the final value to eBay, plus PayPal fees and any other listing fees.

Amazon

On Amazon, prices range from around $300 up to $450, but you will have to factor in Amazon fees at 8% and packaging and postage. You do also have the option of getting Amazon to fulfil the order for you and deal with customer service, but it will eat further into your profit margin.

Glyde

Glyde is another marketplace that enables you to sell to another private buyer, but it fixes the prices and deals with the exchange for you. It’s currently offering $245.08, but you’ll also pay 12% on the first $100, 8% on the rest, and a few dollars for the shipping pack.

Selling to a Company

There are lots of companies out there looking to buy your old iPhone, and the prices they offer change quickly. The advantage with most is that they’ll give you a quote online after a few questions, provide a free postage pack or collect your device, and pay fairly quickly upon receipt of the device directly into your bank or by check.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are a few offers you could get selling your iPhone 5 16GB today to such companies. All of these offers include free shipping.

  • Gazelle - $200 (but you must request AT&T unlock it first)
  • uSell - $184.80
  • Blazing Electronics - $231
  • BuyMyTronics - $195

Trading It In

Your last option is probably the easiest, but it’s not going to get you as much money back and it comes with limitations. Trade in your iPhone 5 16GB for a gift card or store credit and you could get these deals:

Get the Best Deal

As you can see it really pays to shop around for the best deal. You also have to act quickly to secure those deals. We’ve seen a few sellers like Gazelle lock-in prices for older iPhones in the past; if you got a quote before August, then they’d lock the price and you didn’t have to mail your iPhone in until October 1. However, we’ve yet to see any deals like that this year.

What are you going to do with your old iPhone? Have you found any better deals? Let us know in the comments below.


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Contributing Writer

Simon is a technology journalist with a background in games development. He is fascinated by all things tech, particularly mobile and videogames, and he loves to share that passion with other tech fans.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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2 comments
BboJim
Yep, HeyTiger, that's what this article was all about...
HeyTiger
You can always get an Android right now, it's ahead of apple's technology already anyway.
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