If you’re excited about getting your hands on the iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus, then you’re probably thinking about selling your old handset right now. Sales of second-hand iPhones are buoyant and, compared with models from other manufacturers, you can get a great price. However, delay too long and you run the risk of losing out.
Updated by Simon Hill on 9-14-2015: Updated images, data, and prices for this year’s iPhone 6S models.
According to research by online marketplace uSell.com, based on what happened when the iPhone 5S launched, your current iPhone will depreciate in value pretty quickly when that new model hits the market. Two weeks after the new models are announced, old iPhones will be worth 5 percent less, by four weeks after launch you can expect to get 12 percent less, and by the time we reach eight weeks they’ve lost more than 20 percent of their resale value.
If you’ve got an iPhone 6 and want to upgrade, then you could lose a chunk of change if you drag your feet. If you’ve decided to sell, the next big challenge is finding the best price.
Sell it to others directly on Craigslist, eBay, etc
Craigslist, eBay, and other online classifieds are a great way to sell your phone and will give you the most control regarding your iPhone’s selling price. If you are willing to deal with the spam, scams, and subpar emails, there are troves of eager Apple fanatics waiting to scoop up your old iOS device at a moment’s notice, regardless of the smartphone’s condition. Craigslist and eBay will allow you to set your asking price – as opposed to other online websites that will offer you a fixed amount of money – and often prove the quickest and most lucrative avenues for discarding your device in the local area or otherwise.
Craigslist prices always tend to fluctuate depending on timing and availability, but many people are willing to pay a bit more to avoid the hassle of shipping and waiting.
Trade it in for credit
If you’re willing to accept store credit opposed to cash, there are several retailers that will offer you gift certificates in lieu of traditional payments. You essentially go through an appraisal process and then they will make you an offer in the form of credit toward a new phone or other items they sell. Online retailers such as Amazon and Apple offer trade-in programs through their websites, while many stores (i.e. RadioShack, GameStop, Verizon, and Best Buy) offer in-store trade-ins. Keep in mind the amount of credit will vary depending on your iPhone’s age and condition, as well as when and where you turn it in.
Sell it to a company
There are also plenty of online companies willing to pay you top-dollar for your old phone should you decide to forgo the hassle associated with Craigslist and the like. The majority of online services work in the same manner and require you to submit the necessary information (i.e. the carrier, memory, physical condition) before you receive any sort of quote. After filling in the blanks, the websites will make you an offer and – should you accept – you can print out a shipping label for the service’s central address. Then just ship out the phone and you should receive the payment via check or PayPal within a week or so. Below are a list of some of the more painless services out there.
You can cut down on some of your research time by using the upTechie website which aggregates some of the seller offers and shows you the best one at a glance, but it doesn’t cover every place you might want to sell.
Another option is the Orchard app. Install the app on your iPhone and it will give you an offer price. The nice thing about this is that it does some tests on your iPhone and walks you through the valuation process, so there’s less chance the offer amount will change upon receipt of the phone. This service offers free shipping, but you only get paid when a buyer is found. It’s actually an iPhone marketplace, meaning you’ll connect with people who actually want to buy what you’re selling.
Next Page: How much is your iPhone worth?
How much your old iPhone is worth
We decided to check out how much you can get right now, today (September 14, 2015), for an unlocked iPhone 5S 16GB, an iPhone 6 64GB on Verizon, and an iPhone 6 Plus 16GB on AT&T, so we can give you a side-by-side comparison. These prices are based on a fully working phone in good condition with the cable and charger. We found the highest prices on eBay, and they can go higher than the minimums we’ve posted, but auctions fluctuate, and you will have to pay fees and organize postage and packing. Some of the best trade-in prices are being offered by Amazon, but you’ll have to spend the money you make with them. These are cash offers unless otherwise stated.
Used 16GB iPhone 5S unlocked in good condition:
Blazing Electronics: $167
BuyMyTronics: $128 cash ($160 gift card)
Amazon: $215 (gift card)
Best Buy: $165 (gift card)
Apple: $165 (gift card)
Walmart: $54 (gift card)
Used 64GB iPhone 6 on Verizon in good condition:
Blazing Electronics: $351
BuyMyTronics: $252 cash ($315 gift card)
Amazon: $362 (gift card)
Best Buy: $400 (gift card)
Apple: $325 (gift card)
Walmart: $220 (gift card)
Used 16GB iPhone 6 Plus on AT&T in good condition:
Blazing Electronics: $366
BuyMyTronics: $280 cash ($350 gift card)
Amazon: $390 (gift card)
Best Buy: $385 (gift card)
Apple: $375 (gift card)
Walmart: $206 (gift card)
Tips to takeaway
Sell soon: The longer you hold on to your iPhone, the less money you’re likely to get for it. Whenever a new iPhone model is announced, many websites get bombarded with trade-ins from people looking to upgrade to the latest-and-greatest. It’s based on supply and demand, but prices are sure to drop as time goes on.
Do your homework: Shop around all the virtual pawnshops for the best offer available – don’t settle until you know you’re getting the best deal in town. If you’re already planning to purchase something from one of the retailers that offers give cards instead of cash, it might be worth opting for the store credit since it is typically higher than any cash value you’re likely to receive.
Completely wipe your iPhone before you sell it: You don’t want all of your precious data falling into the wrong hands. The option to Erase All Content and Settings can be found under General in your smartphone’s settings. Or follow our simple guide to factory resetting an iPhone.
Good luck with your sale, and enjoy your sparkly new phone when it arrives!
Updated by Simon Hill on 9-18-2014: Updated information on depreciation and all the prices, tweaked article for this year’s iPhone 6 models.
Updated by Simon Hill on 9-9-2013: Added new data from uSell and updated info about selling an iPhone 5.
Article originally published on 1-31-2013 by Brandon Widder.