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Ready for the iPhone 5S? Here’s how to sell your old iPhone without getting ripped off

If you’re excited about the iPhone 5S or 5C, then you should be selling your old handset 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 could be losing out.

According to research by online marketplace uSell.com, based on what happened last year when the iPhone 5 launched, your current iPhone will depreciate in value pretty quickly when that new model hits the market. One week after the new models are launched, old iPhones will be worth 5 percent less, by two weeks after launch you can expect to get 12 percent less, and by the time we reach three weeks they’ve lost 20 percent of their resale value.

If you’ve got an iPhone 5 right now and you want to upgrade, then you could lose over $70 if you drag your feet. And if you’ve decided to sell, the next big challenge is finding the best price.

Updated by Simon Hill on 9-9-2013: Added new data from uSell and updated info about selling an iPhone 5.

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 spams, 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 you 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 the 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 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.

How much your old iPhone is worth

We decided to check out how much you can get right now, today (September 9, 2013), for an iPhone 5 16GB on AT&T, an iPhone 4S 16GB on Verizon, and an iPhone 4 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 a lot higher than the rough minimums we’ve posted, but auctions fluctuate, and you will have to pay fees and organize postage and packing. The best trade-in prices are being offered by Amazon, but you’ll have to spend the money you make with them.

Used 16GB iPhone 5 on AT&T in good condition:

  • Technollo: $310 cash
  • The Wireless Warehouse: $300 cash
  • Guzu: $308 cash
  • BuyMyTronics: $295 cash
  • Amazon: Up to $363.75 e-card
  • Best Buy: $330 e-card
  • Apple: $336 e-card
  • Walmart: $315 e-card
  • Gazelle: $295 cash
  • eBay: $300+ cash

Used 16GB iPhone 4S on Verizon in good condition:

  • Technollo: $155 cash
  • Monster Buy Back: $135 cash
  • SellYourCell: $125 cash
  • Amazon: Up to $187 e-card
  • Best Buy: $170 e-card
  • Apple: $181 e-card
  • Walmart: $162.50 e-card
  • Gazelle: $150 cash
  • eBay: $200+ cash
  • NextWorth: $160 cash

Used 16GB iPhone 4 on AT&T in good condition:

  • Secondhand Cellular: $127 cash
  • Technollo: $126 cash
  • Monster Buy Back: $115 cash
  • Amazon: Up to $180 e-card
  • Best Buy: $145 e-card
  • Apple: $151 e-card
  • Walmart: $145 e-card
  • Gazelle: $115 cash
  • eBay: $150+ cash
  • NextWorth: $125 cash


  • 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 it to opt for the store credit since it is typically higher than the 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.

Article originally published on 1-31-2013 by Brandon Widder.