Buying an iPhone 7? How to sell your old iPhone without getting ripped off

Simon Hill

If you’re excited about getting your hands on the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 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.

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.

Related: Is Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program the best way to buy the iPhone 6S?

If you’ve got an iPhone 6S 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.

You might also consider a dedicated mobile device marketplace like Swappa. It’s free to list your iPhone. You’ll take verification photos, and each ad is 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 within two days.

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. 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

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.

Alternative options

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 good website to check for trade-in comparisons is Flipsy.

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.

How much your old iPhone is worth

We decided to check out how much you can get right now, today (September 8, 2016), for an unlocked iPhone 6 16GB, an iPhone 6S 64GB on Verizon, and an iPhone 6S 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.

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

Used 16GB iPhone 6 unlocked in good condition

iPhone 6 Header Tips
iPhone 6 Header Tips
  • eBay: $345
  • Glyde: $238
  • Amazon: $2625 (gift card)
  • Blazing Electronics: $231
  • Apple: $225 (gift card)
  • Guzu: $200
  • GameStop: $200
  • uSell: $180
  • Walmart: $175 (gift card)
  • Best Buy: $167 (gift card)
  • Gazelle: $160
  • Technollo: $145

Used 64GB iPhone 6S on Verizon in good condition

iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s
  • eBay: $554
  • Glyde: $318
  • Best Buy: $363 (gift card)
  • Blazing Electronics: $361
  • Walmart: $325 (gift card)
  • Amazon: $285 (gift card)
  • uSell: $282
  • Technollo: $265
  • Gazelle: $255
  • GameStop: $245

Used 16GB iPhone 6S Plus on AT&T in good condition

Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
  • eBay: $451
  • Blazing Electronics: $391
  • Glyde: $301
  • Amazon: $340 (gift card)
  • Walmart: $325 (gift card)
  • Technollo: $325
  • Best Buy: $298 (gift card)
  • GameStop: $260
  • Gazelle: $247
  • uSell: $240

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. It’s worth noting that some of the websites will lock in your price, but still give you 30 days to send the iPhone in.
  • 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 sometimes 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!