How to Sell Your Old iPhone for Top Dollar

iPhone 8s Plus posed on three 100 dollar bills.Mykola Churpita / Shutterstock

The iPhone has one of the best resale values ​​of all smartphones. You will get more money if you sell it yourself and avoid the exchange. Here's how to prepare your iPhone, choose a price and make the sale.

Before you begin, create a backup

If you are selling your old iPhone to buy a new one (rather than switching to an Android device), the first thing to do is create a backup. This allows you to transfer the backup to your new device, as well as all your personal data, applications and other information.

The best way to create a backup of your iPhone is to use iTunes on a Mac or PC. You can also create backups using iCloud, but these can take a long time if you do not already, and the restore process also takes a lot longer. Because iCloud backups are limited by the speed of your Internet connection, the backup and restore process can take hours or even days.

Windows users can download iTunes from Apple's website.

Launch iTunes and connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC with a Lightning cable.
Wait for the device icon to appear in the upper left corner (screen capture below), then click on it and select your iPhone.
On the Summary tab, click "Backup Now" and wait for the backup process to complete.

Click on the device icon in iTunes.

Check "Encrypt iPhone Backup" to save sensitive data, such as passwords, Wi-Fi network credentials, health data, and HomeKit data. To do this, you must create a password. You will also need this password to restore the backup to your new iPhone later. We recommend that you use a password manager to save it for you.

When you are ready to restore this backup on your new iPhone:

Turn on your new iPhone and follow the installation procedure to activate the device.
When prompted, choose "Restore from iTunes Backup" and connect your iPhone to the same Mac or PC that you used to back up your old iPhone.
Click on the device icon in the upper left corner, then choose your new iPhone.
On the Summary tab, click "Restore Backup," and then choose the backup that you performed earlier. Type your password if you chose to encrypt your backup, then wait for the process to finish.

Create an iCloud backup

If you back up your iPhone to the cloud, you can still restore it from iCloud instead, when prompted. However, restoring from iCloud takes a lot longer than that from a Mac or a PC, so we recommend doing it locally.

If you still want to back up with iCloud:

Launch Settings, then tap your name at the top of the list.
Scroll down the screen, find your device (this one will be titled "This iPhone"), then tap it.
Tap "iCloud Backup", turn it on, and tap "Back up now."

Wait for the backup to complete. This can take a long time (possibly several days) depending on your Internet connection. You may also need to purchase additional iCloud storage because you receive only 5 GB for free. You can restore this backup by selecting "Restore from iCloud" when setting up your new device.

Switch to Android?

If you switch to Android, you will not be able to restore an iTunes backup to your new device. iTunes is only for Apple devices and Android is a totally different operating system. Fortunately, you can still transfer much of your data to your new device.

Start by downloading Google Drive on your old iPhone. Launch the app and sign in with (or create) a Google Account. From there, touch the menu icon and choose Settings> Backup. Check your settings, then tap "Start Backup" to start the process. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi and your device is plugged into a power source.

The Google Drive app for iPhone.

Sign in to your Google Account on your new Android device and your data should be automatically downloaded. For more information, see the Switch to the Android home page. Do not forget that not all devices behave the same way. Third-party data, such as notes stored in Evernote or in your Spotify library, is stored in the cloud and must be downloaded automatically after you log in to the service.

Before saying goodbye to your iPhone, write down all the applications and services you use. To do this, the fastest way is to take several screenshots of your home screen and your application folders. You can then use it as a reference for what to download when you get your new device. You can Learn more tips and tricks for moving to Android here.

Prepare your iPhone for resale

The last thing you want to do is sell or exchange your iPhone with all your data. If you show the phone to a potential buyer, you want it to be "like new". If someone tests the device before you buy it (and you should be ready to let it), it should be in the same condition as when you received it.

To do this, you must restore the phone's factory settings. Before doing this, turn off Find My iPhone because, even if it is enabled, the activation lock is also there. Activation Lock binds your device to your Apple ID, meaning anyone who puts your hands on your old iPhone will not be able to activate or use it without entering your Apple ID password.

To disable my iPhone search and activation lock:

Launch "Settings" and tap your name at the top of the list.
Scroll the screen up to your device. The model of the iPhone will display, followed by "This iPhone". Touch it.
Tap Find My iPhone, and then tap to turn off this feature.
Type your password when requested.

Now you can reset your device to the factory settings. This will delete everything on your iPhone and restore it to its "like new" state. So, do it only when you are sure you do not need to recover your iPhone:

Go to Settings> General.
Scroll to the bottom of the menu and press "Reset".
Tap "Clear all content and settings," and then tap "Clear Now."
Acknowledge the latest warnings, then clean your iPhone.

The screen will become black and the Apple logo will be displayed during the clearing of your iPhone. Once it restarts, a blank screen displaying the "Welcome" message prompts you to configure the iPhone as a new device.

Press and hold the Power / Standby button (iPhone 8 or earlier) or hold the Sleep / Wake and Decrease Volume buttons (iPhone X or later) to turn off the iPhone.

How much is your old iPhone worth?

Before you can sell your iPhone, you must know how much it is worth. The value depends on whether you sell your iPhone directly or exchange it. To get numbers, you can use some services.

EBay is one of the best tools for this job. By searching for items sold, you can have a realistic idea of ​​the amount that people are willing to spend based on the final auction price. To do this, head to EBay's advanced search tool. Use descriptive keywords, such as "iPhone X 64 GB" in the main search field. Under "Search Included", be sure to check "Ads Sold" and, for sales of opportunity, select "Used" under "Condition". You can also check the box "Located in" and specify your region.

EBay auction of iPhone X sold.

Now, when you do your research, you see a list of completed auctions in which the article has been sold. These are the prices that other eBay users are willing to pay for the article. If you find a few bids matching the model, capacity, and condition of your device, you'll get an idea of ​​the price you can expect.

There are other services where you can sell items occasionally, but they are often speculative. Some that you might want to check include: Gazelle, Swappa, and Decluttr. These websites are ideal if you want to sell your phone immediately at a predefined price. Because these services do a lot of work for you, you lose some of the resale value.

Gazelle allows you to sell your phone at a fixed price once you have provided some details, such as the model and its condition. You then send your phone to Gazelle, after which they check it and then pay you. At the time of writing these lines, Gazelle was offering us $ 416 for a 64GB iPhone X in good condition, with no scratches. For comparison, the same model can earn more than $ 600 on eBay.

Do you need to trade or sell your iPhone?

You will have more money for your old phone if you sell it rather than exchange it. You can sell it on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, or any of the aforementioned services. By selling directly to a buyer, you will get the market rate minus the fees.

For best results, be sure to expose your article. Describe in detail any scratches, bumps or other defects in the item description. Tell the prospective seller how long you have owned the device and why you are selling it. Do not forget to list all the accessories you include, such as charging cables, ear buds or even the original case, as all these elements can boost sales. Take as many well-lit photos as possible, detailing the damage or issues of concern. Also provide details of any applicable warranty or AppleCare coverage.

Exchange services offer you less, but you get money almost immediately. Apple operates its own Apple Trade-In Service, who reimburse you with an Apple Store credit that you can spend on a new iPhone, Mac or whatever is sold in the company's stores (online and offline). Despite the offer of in-store credit, Apple's valuation compared to the search for a buyer remains very low. We were told $ 400 for a 64GB iPhone X in good condition, about $ 200 less than the average resale value.

The Apple Trade In value screen.

Mobile operators, as Verizon and AT & T, will buy your iPhone at home. And retailers, like Best buy and Gamestop will also offer instant pay at a reduced rate.

If your device has suffered significant damage, its exchange might be the best option. If the screen crashes, the charging port is loose or the speakers do not work well, the resale value of the phone collapses. In this case, consider redeeming your device for in-store credit or selling it directly to a company that recycles devices, such as EcoATM or Wirefly.

Considerations for your next iPhone

If you plan to resell your iPhone in a few years to fund another upgrade, consider buying a new one. solid case and screen protector right now.

If you stay with Apple, it's a child's game to transfer your data, provided your new phone has enough free space. If you have a particularly large photo library or many music files, make sure your new device has at least the same capacity as your old one. If you're tired of seeing the "low space" pop-up window, consider having a larger capacity this time.

One solution to this problem is to invest in iCloud storage and enable iCloud Photo Library. This allows you to store smaller compressed images on your device, while full versions live in the cloud. You can download full size images when you need them, provided you have an internet connection.

The hands of a man remove the Apple AirPod from their holster.Apple

You may also need new accessories for your new iPhone if the design is very different from your latest model. The new iPhones do not have a headphone port, so you can invest in some wireless AirPods. Your old box might not be compatible with your new iPhone either, so a wireless charger might be a good idea since all post-iPhone 8 devices now support Qi charging.

Finally, you may want to purchase AppleCare + coverage on your new iPhone. You can Learn more about AppleCare + and what it covers here.

The markets we discussed here do not just apply to iPhones. You can sell your old Android phone, iPad or laptop, as well.

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