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How to sell your iPhone (without getting ripped off)

If you’re shopping for the latest iPhone or want to escape Apple altogether and go Android, selling your current iPhone can generate cash to put toward the new device. Thankfully, iPhones tend to retain their resale value fairly well compared to leading Android brands, so selling your old one when the time comes is always a solid plan.

However, there are a few things you should do to protect yourself from scams. Here’s our guide to selling your iPhone to get the best return possible.

Phone Depreciation Chart

If you have a newer model like the iPhone 13 and want to upgrade, then you could lose a chunk of change by dragging your feet. That’s because the newest devices, just like cars, tend to depreciate steeply in value in the first year or two.

In the past, selling an iPhone that was about to be phased out in the newest version of iOS was a major concern for depreciation. However, for now, Apple has put a pause on this tactic, as iOS 16 supports handsets going all the way back to the iPhone 8.

If you’ve decided to sell, the next big challenge is finding the best price. Here’s how to sell your iPhone and get the best possible price for it.

Completely wipe your iPhone

First, don’t simply toss your iPhone into a box and ship it. That would be bad. You need to delete all data and revert the iPhone back to its original out-of-the-box state before moving to sell it. Sure, Apple security is tight, but you certainly don’t want your precious data falling into the wrong hands.

To reset your iPhone, follow this path: Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Alternatively,  follow our simple guide to factory reset an iPhone or how to reset an iPhone.

Sell it to others directly on Craigslist, eBay, etc.

Online classifieds, like Craigslist and eBay, are a great way to sell your phone and will give you the most control over the selling price. If you are willing to deal with spam, scams, and subpar emails, there are troves of eager Apple fanatics waiting to scoop up your old iPhone, regardless of its 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 — 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.

You might also consider a dedicated mobile device marketplace like Swappa. It’s free to list your iPhone, but you must take verification photos for the ad to be approved by Swappa staff. The sale fee is added to the price for potential buyers, and you should include shipping costs, so it won’t cost you anything extra to sell. Once you accept an offer, you’ll need to ship the phone within two days.

Trade it in for credit

If you’re willing to accept store credit instead of cash, there are several retailers that offer gift certificates in lieu of traditional payments. After a quick online appraisal, they will make you an offer in the form of a credit toward a new phone or other in-store items.

Online retailers such as Amazon and Apple offer trade-in programs through their websites, while many stores and carriers, including Walmart, 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

Gazelle Homepage
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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, such as the carrier, memory, and physical condition before you receive any sort of quote.

After filling in the blanks, these websites will make an offer. If you accept, you print a label to ship the iPhone to the service’s central address. Payment via check or PayPal should arrive within a week or so.

Here is a list of some of the more painless services:

How much is your old iPhone worth?

We decided to check out how much you can for several popular iPhone examples so we can give you a side-by-side comparison. These prices are based on a fully working phone in good condition with the charger and cable. These prices were correct at the time of writing, but keep in mind they are likely to fluctuate over time, so use them as guides and always check for yourself.

We found some of the highest prices on eBay, and they can go higher than the averages we’ve posted, but auctions fluctuate so they can go lower too, and you will have to pay fees and organize postage and packing. There are some decent trade-in prices offered by Amazon, but the credit is only applied to on-site sales. These are cash offers unless otherwise stated.

The eBay prices listed here are averages based on data collected by Average Finder. Bear in mind you’ll have to factor in fees and postage and packing costs.

Used 128GB iPhone 12 on AT&T in good condition

iphone-12 how to feature image
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends
  • Best Buy: $500 (gift card)
  • eBay: $811 (average)
  • UpTrade: $520
  • Apple: N/A
  • Decluttr: $521
  • uSell: N/A
  • Glyde: $375
  • Gazelle: $315
  • BuybackBoss: $475
  • Amazon N/A

Used 128GB iPhone 11 on Verizon in good condition

iPhone 11
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
  • Best Buy: $350 (gift card)
  • eBay: $545.88 (average)
  • UpTrade: $430
  • Apple: Up to $380
  • Decluttr: $411
  • uSell: $340
  • Glyde: $496
  • Gazelle: $210
  • BuybackBoss: $415
  • Amazon $270 (gift card)

Used 64GB iPhone X for AT&T in good condition

iPhone X
Image used with permission by copyright holder
  • Best Buy: $180 (gift card)
  • eBay: $300 (on average)
  • UpTrade: $185
  • Apple: Up to $205
  • Decluttr: $205
  • uSell: $190
  • Glyde: $135
  • Gazelle: $95
  • BuybackBoss: $210
  • Amazon Trade-In: $160

Final tip: Sell soon

The older your iPhone gets, the less it’s worth. Part of that is just supply and demand economics, but the device’s quality and its app compatibility will also decrease. We all know people rush to trade in their old iPhones as soon as Apple releases a new one — since the iPhone 12 came out, for example, trade-in prices for the iPhone 11 have fallen sharply. Look for websites that lock in your price but give you a 30-day window to send in the iPhone.

However, if supply is short then prices can also rise, so it is worth tracking prices over a brief period and comparing all your selling options to see how you can get the most money with the right decision.

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Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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