How to Sell Your Old iPhone to Pay for a New iPhone

Carriers, trade-in sites, and Craigslist are just some of the options for offloading your old device.
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Woman Selling iPhone

Planning to upgrade to Apple's new iPhone XS, XS Max, or the more affordable iPhone XR? If your current iPhone is still in decent condition, you can sell it or trade it in, earning some cash to put toward your new device.

SEE ALSO: How to Get a Deal on the New iPhone XS

Between carriers, trade-in sites, auction sites, and digital marketplace apps, there are many ways to offload your old iPhone. But which of those options is best for you? Keep reading to find out.

Note: Before you sell or trade in your old iPhone, be sure to contact your carrier and have them deactivate it, and follow our guide on how to factory reset your device and erase all personal data from it.

Carriers

One of the easiest ways to get cash from your old device is to trade it in via a mobile carrier like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile.

At Verizon, you can get around $320 for a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus that's still in "good" condition, meaning it turns on, has no battery damage, and the screen isn't cracked or broken. A 256GB iPhone X can net you a trade-in value of almost $600. On the other side of the spectrum, you'll only get around $30 for a 64GB iPhone 5.

Carriers and Best Buy are easier than auction sites/apps and offer competitive trade-in values, but they won't give you cash.

When trading in your device through your carrier, you'll get the money via an account credit or gift card. For more information on carrier trade-ins, check out these guides from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

Tech Retailers

Besides the big four mobile carriers, electronics retailer Best Buy has a trade-in program offering Best Buy gift cards in exchange for your old gadgets. The big box electronics retailer is offering around $10 for a good-condition 16GB unlocked iPhone 5, $300 for a 256GB Verizon iPhone 7 Plus, or $520 for a 256GB Verizon iPhone X.

Apple itself also has a trade-in program called GiveBack that offers credit, which you can use toward the purchase of a new device.

Trade-In Sites

Gazelle

"It takes just a few minutes to sell your iPhone," Gazelle promises. The "reCommerce" company, which buys and sells used electronics, will purchase your old iPhone 5 and newer models.

Gazelle will give you an estimate with just a few clicks. Just go to the website, select the model you're offloading, the carrier it's locked to (or choose the "unlocked" option), its storage capacity, condition (whether it has any scratches, cracks, etc.), and voila. You can ship it to Gazelle for free, and get paid via an Amazon gift card, PayPal, or check.

SEE ALSO: 11 Trade-In Programs That Pay You for Your Stuff

The reseller offers around $10 for a good-condition unlocked 64GB iPhone 5. A 256GB iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon or unlocked) will net you $275 on Gazelle, while the 256GB iPhone X (Verizon or unlocked) will bring in $495.

Decluttr

Like Gazelle, Decluttr will give you a free quote. If you accept, you pack your phone in any box, get a shipping label by email or mail, and send it in for free. The company promises next-day payment via direct deposit, PayPal, or check within one day of receiving your package.

Decluttr is offering $44 for an unlocked 64GB iPhone 5 (or $6 on Verizon), $330 for an unlocked 256GB iPhone 7 Plus ($321 on Verizon), and $535 for an unlocked or Verizon 256GB iPhone X. "Thanks to our Tech Price Promise, you're guaranteed to get the first price we offer or you can request your item back for FREE!" the site says.

Auction Sites

eBay and similar online sales platforms take a tad more work than the methods mentioned above, but your efforts may pay off. Used-iPhone prices are all over the map on eBay. Still, iPhone 5 models have been selling on the auction site for around $40 to $50 recently. The iPhone 7 Plus is selling for around $300 to $500, while the iPhone X is going for around $600 to $800. Remember, you can also sell your cases and other accessories for extra coin.

Craigslist, Swappa, eBay, and OfferUp could potentially net you the most cash – assuming you connect with a buyer.

To research how much you could make on eBay, just search for your model and press the "advanced" button. Then check the "sold listings" box under "Search including," and press Search. This will let you see how that item has been selling and will give you an idea of how to price yours. For more on selling your iPhone on eBay, head here.

Direct Sales Platforms

Swappa

Swappa is a user-to-user technology marketplace that charges no seller fees, unless you want to pay to have your listing featured. "Selling on Swappa means you get paid what your iPhone is actually worth, and that's more than any of the trade-in sites offer," the company says.

On Swappa, iPhone 5 models are currently selling for between $50 and $149, the iPhone 7 Plus is going for between $309 and $1,085, and the iPhone X is selling for between $640 and $1,200.

Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace

Direct sales platforms such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are solid options, especially if you live in a big city with lots of prospective buyers. The bonus of these platforms is you'll walk away from the deal with cash. The downside: you'll have to meet up with the buyer in person. Keep in mind that buyers may try to haggle and give you a lowball offer.

SEE ALSO: When's the Best Time to Buy the Most Popular Smartphones?

On Craigslist recently, used iPhone 5 models were listed for $50 and $145, used iPhone 7 Plus models were going for $475 to $599, and used iPhone X models were listed for $650 to $800.

Apps

Like Craigslist and eBay, apps such as OfferUp and LetGo offer big earnings potential. On OfferUp, you can meet the buyer in person, or ship your item across the contiguous 48 states via the U.S. Postal Service. If you ship it, you'll have to pay a service fee, which varies based on what you're selling. Once you accept an offer, OfferUp will send you a shipping label. When the buyer receives the item, they will have three days to evaluate it. If all is well, OfferUp will transfer the payment to you, minus the service fee.

Where Can You Get the Most Money?

How can you profit the most from your old iPhone? For models new and old, Craigslist, Swappa, eBay, and OfferUp could potentially net you the most cash – assuming you connect with a buyer. Carriers and Best Buy are easier than auction sites/apps and offer competitive trade-in values, but won't give you cash. Between Gazelle and Decluttr, which both make the trade-in process super easy, the latter offers more.

Our best advice: Do some research and see what you can get for your specific device on various platforms.

Our best advice: Do some research and see what you can get for your specific device on various platforms. Before getting rid of it, be sure to deactivate your device and wipe it. If a potential buyer gives you a lowball offer, don't be afraid to walk away from the deal, because there are plenty of other avenues to sell or trade in your iPhone.

The condition of your device may also be a factor in which option you choose. Swappa, for one, says, "we don't allow the sale of junk devices and we review and approve all listings before they can be bought." If your device is a little beat-up, you can still list it on eBay. Just be honest about its condition, or you could be in for some problems.

If worse comes to worse, you can try bringing your old gadget to a pawn shop. According to PawnGuru, pawn shops offered between $5 and $600 for iPhones in 2016.

Readers, are you planning to sell or trade in your iPhone? If so, what site, store, or app are you planning to use? Let us know in the comments below!


Contributing Writer

Angela is a DealNews contributor focused on consumer technology. You can also find her byline at PCMag.com. Follow her on Twitter at @amoscaritolo.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. 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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