Thanks to Apple’s diligent updates, no iPhone is top-of-the-line for long. Whether you’re determined to stay at the head of the pack with the latest device, or you’re simply ready to upgrade from a painfully outdated version, you can help fund your new phone with a smart disposal strategy for your old device. Don’t leave your old iPhone to gather dust on a shelf. Cash in on any remaining value by selling your used device.

Mark Your Calendar for a Savvy Switch


Image via Flickr by GONZALO BAEZA

The best time to sell an old iPhone is before the next generation hits the shelves. If you really want to maximize your earnings, you may need to downgrade before you move up. Keep an older, serviceable phone on hand for these transition periods. Don’t worry; you won’t have to work with the older phone for long.

Apple typically releases its new iPhones in September. Sell your current iPhone a month or two ahead of time and it will still retain much of its value. If you wait until the new generation is released, you’ll find yourself lost amid a flood of users doing exactly the same thing.

Check Your Phone’s Value

There are a few factors that will determine the value of your phone. Your iPhone’s generation is just one of them. The condition of your phone plays a big role as well. This is where you’ll finally reap your reward for keeping that OtterBox on the phone all this time. If the phone is in good condition, you can typically command somewhere between $150 and $300 for the last generation of iPhone. Scratches, cracks, and other damage will decrease its value.

Your iPhone is also worth more if it’s been unlocked. Phones that are locked for use with a single carrier are much less valuable, because the buyer will have to use the same predetermined service provider to operate the iPhone. Some carriers charge a fee for unlocking the device. Check with yours to see if and how you can have your iPhone unlocked.

Find the Right Listing Site


There are several listing sites that will help you sell your iPhone. Compare the prices across multiple sites to see which one will give you the best price. Some top destinations include Glyde, Swappa, and Gazelle.

You can also list your phone independently on a site like eBay or Craigslist. This gives you more control over your list price, but just because you can list your iPhone for $500 doesn’t mean that anyone will actually pay that much for it. It’s important to be realistic about your prospects, check the competition, and choose your selling strategy carefully.

Save Your Information and Wipe the Device

If your iPhone automatically backs itself up to iCloud, you won’t have to do much to transfer your information from one device to the next. Still, you’ll want to manually back up your phone to the cloud to make sure all your latest information was saved. If you upload your photos to a different cloud, take a moment to take care of this as well.

Don’t forget about things like sentimental text messages that are easily lost when you switch to a new device. You can transfer or backup your messages to your Mac or PC if you want to save them. If you only want to save one or two important comments, you can always take a screenshot of these.

The last thing you need to do before you sell your phone is restore it to its factory settings. It’s crucial that you reset your iPhone 5s, for example, before you put it in someone else’s hands so that they don’t have access to your personal information. Fortunately, resetting your phone is something you can do quickly and easily in just a few steps.

Once your phone is properly reset, you’re ready to say goodbye to your trusty device and move on to the next great thing. Though it’s a little bittersweet to get rid of your old iPhone, there are always new delights in store with the next generation.