Anything you should do before sell the old iPhone?
1. Unlock your iPhone
An iPhone that can be used anywhere, on any carrier, is an iPhone that can be bought by anyone, in any region. This is especially true for travelers or resellers who operate internationally. So, if your iPhone is locked to a specific carrier, find out if you're eligible to have it unlocked. Some carriers charge for it and some require a specific contract status before they'll unlock. If there is a charge, and it's not high, it could still be worth it to you to pay for the unlock since it could increase your resale value by an equal or greater amount.
Get the details, check the rates, and figure out if it's worth it or not for you. If it is, do that first. It can take a few days to process, and you'll want to make sure it works, and that's easiest if you do it before anything else.
2. Back up your iPhone
Before you do anything else, make sure you have an up-to-date backup of your iPhone. That way all your data is safe and secure and you'll be able to easily restore it to your new iPhone when you get it. iCloud automatically makes a backup overnight, as long as you're plugged in, but a manual backup will make sure you're absolutely up to date.
- Make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi. (If you're low on power, plug in as well.)
- Launch Settings from the Home screen.
- Tap on iCloud.
- Tap on Backup.
- Tap on Back Up Now.
- Plug your iPhone into your Mac or Windows PC.
- Launch iTunes.
- Click on the iPhone icon in the menu bar when it appears.
- Click on Back Up Now. (Click on Encrypt Backup and add a password you want the security.)
- Back up Apps, if asked.
Once your data is safely backed up, it's important to wipe it from the iPhone you're selling so your personal photos, files, messages, etc. don't end up as a surprise bonus for the new owner.
- Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone .
- Now tap on General.
- Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on Reset.
- Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
- Tap on Erase iPhone.
- Tap on Erase iPhone again to confirm.
- Enter your Passcode.
- Enter your Apple ID password to turn off Activate Lock and remove the device from Find my iPhone.
Your iPhone should be clean not only on the inside but on the outside as well. Whether it's in mint condition or its lived a hard life, take a few minutes carefully, considerately wipe it down with a damp cloth and making sure all dirt, oil, lint, and other stains, debris, and even fingerprints are gone from site. Pay extra attention to the seems and ports.
This is especially true if you intend to sell your iPhone yourself and need to take photos, as you'll want it to look as good as it works. If you are taking photos, once your iPhone is beautiful and clean, handle it with care, make sure you have good lighting indirect sunlight is best and a neutral background. Then capture all the angles. You don't want anything dramatic; you want to show how your iPhone looks. If there are any scratches or nicks, make sure you photograph those too. An honest sale is a good sale.
5. Collect up the cables and cases
If you're selling your iPhone yourself, including the Lightning or 30-pin Dock cable, AC Adapter, and even the original box, can give you an edge over other sellers. If you're upgrading from an older phone and have accessories you'll no longer be able to use, like iPhone 5 cases, or 4.7-inch cases if you plan to go 5.5-inches next time, you can add those in to not only sweeten the deal but declutter your own house as well.
Once you have everything, put it all, nicely and cleaning in the box, and set it aside, so it's all safe and ready to ship.
How should I sell my iPhone?
There are several different options for selling your iPhone. Typically the less work you want to do yourself, the lower the final amount you'll get for it. So, trading in or using a service will be quick and easy, but net you less. Selling directly and on your own will take more work but net you more cash. Figure out what's more valuable to you time or money and then you'll know what to do.
Sell to Apple + Brightstar
Apple will let you trade-in your old iPhone when you go to buy a new one or get an Apple Store gift-card at any time by mailing your old iPhone in. The in-store program is run by Apple, but you have to be ready to buy your new iPhone when you come in, so you can't make use of it in advance. The mail-in program is run by a partner, Brightstar, but you can make use of it any time.
Sell to Amazon Trade-In Store
Amazon will also take trade-ins, though their system is, frankly, bizarre. Instead of letting you easily choose a model, capacity, and other details, they present a disjointed list of options. If what you have isn't there, there doesn't seem to be any way to add it.
Sell to Gazelle
Gazelle is well known thanks to active advertising. The company's website also works seamlessly and is simple to use. Tell them what you have and they'll tell you what they'll give you for it. If you accept the offer, you have 30 days to send in your old phone. Gazelle will check your old phone when it arrives. If there's anything different, they'll let you know and give you an updated offer. If you decline, they'll ship it right back to you free of charge. If everything looks good, or if you accept an updated offer, they'll pay you by check, Amazon, or PayPal.
Because of the 30-days (and they've sometimes increased it to 50-days when new iPhones are on the horizon), Gazelle is a good way to lock in a price before the market is glutted. Just make sure the condition doesn't change between when you get the offer and when you send it in, or the price will change as well.
Sell to buymyi
buymyi is run out of the U.K. by mendmyi, so if you're in the United Kingdom, they're worth a look. They'll also take devices that require repair, which some other places won't. If you've had a hard time selling elsewhere, buymyii is worth a double look.
Sell to Swappa
Swappa is a way to get more money for your old iPhone than typical services provide, but in a way that's easier and more civilized than selling directly. You do have to have reasonable expectations and some patience.
Sell on eBay
eBay can net you more money for your old iPhone but requires you to do a lot of the work and take some of the risk. If you're comfortable handling your own sales, and have the time to invest, you can get a better return than trade-in services. Just make sure to:
- Only ship to the buyer's confirmed Paypal address if using Paypal.
- Price competitively, especially if you're using Buy It Now as an option.
- Take great pictures but show any defects so everyone knows what they're getting.
- Use a fast shipping service and make sure you include that in your item description.
- Use keywords in your title and in your item description to attract more potential buyers.
- You may also want to consider insuring your item in case anything goes wrong during shipping.
- Watch out for low-feedback buyers and also keep in mind that Paypal charges processing fees as well.
Craigslist is the old classified ads in new digital form, and all the wonder and dread that entails. The advantage of Craigslist is that you can sell locally, face-to-face. That greatly speeds up transactions and reduces overhead like shipping. Just make sure to:
- Never put your personal or home address in an ad. NEVER.
- Price your iPhone competitively. Find existing ads on Craigslist in your area for iPhones that are the same model, capacity, and condition as yours and price accordingly.
- If you're comfortable, include a number to call or text. It can increase the likelihood of a quick sale. (If you have a virtual number, use it.)
- Meet in a public place, preferably in the daytime. A coffee shop like Starbucks is ideal. Bring a friend with you, just in case.
- Watch out for email scams. If someone offers a lot more money to encourage you to ship them your iPhone, they're just trying to rip you off.