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Ready for the iPhone 6? Here’s how to sell your old iPhone without getting ripped off

If you’re excited about getting your hands on the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, then you should be 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 could be losing out.

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.

According to research by online marketplace uSell.com, based on what happened last year 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.

Related: Here’s the iPhone 6: bigger, thinner, improved camera, and more

If you’ve got an iPhone 5S right now and you want to upgrade, then you could lose a big chunk of change if you drag your feet. And 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.

How much your old iPhone is worth

We decided to check out how much you can get right now, today (September 15, 2014), for an unlocked iPhone 5S 16GB, an iPhone 5 16GB on Verizon, and an iPhone 5C 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: $350
  • Technollo: $264
  • The Wireless Warehouse: $160
  • Guzu: $240
  • BuyMyTronics: $260
  • Amazon: $394 (gift card)
  • Best Buy: $250 (gift card)
  • Apple: $310 (gift card)
  • Walmart: $250 (gift card)
  • Gazelle: $275
  • eBay: $372

Used 16GB iPhone 5 on Verizon in good condition:

  • Blazing Electronics: $229
  • Technollo: $200
  • The Wireless Warehouse: $178
  • Guzu: $210
  • BuyMyTronics: $168
  • Amazon: $181 (gift card)
  • Best Buy: $225 (gift card)
  • Apple: $205 (gift card)
  • Walmart: $130 (gift card)
  • Gazelle: $165
  • eBay: $250

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

  • Blazing Electronics: $174
  • Technollo: $140
  • The Wireless Warehouse: $112
  • Guzu: $130
  • BuyMyTronics: $150
  • Amazon: $200 (gift card)
  • Best Buy: $190 (gift card)
  • Apple: $175 (gift card)
  • Walmart: $128 (gift card)
  • Gazelle: $135
  • eBay: $260

Tips

  • 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.

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.