How to Sell Your Old iPhone

With the increasing news of the new iPhone 5 (or 4S depending on who you ask), there are many customers with older models that are interested in finally making the upgrade. However, new iPhone 4 customers added with new 3GS customers (the device had a recent price drop, increasing interested customers), there aren’t a lot of people who have a freed contract to make the switch. The Apple’s annual tradition of a new iPhone isn’t very upgrade friendly to the average consumer. This means that many customers will have to pay $200 more than the AT&T subsidized price. Today, we’ll give you a couple of tips on how to sell your old iPhone to have extra money for the iPhone 5.

To Sell or Not to Sell


Now that you have made the decision to get the new iPhone model, you are faced with the decision of whether you should sell or not. To some people, it may seem quite logical to go through with the sell. However, many others may not find it necessary. For example, if your contract has ended or will end sometime in October, a sell may be unnecessary because the phone price will be subsidized. In addition, you may find having a backup iPhone to be a good decision in the chance that the new iPhone is recalled, broken, or has some production mishap. Plus, with the holiday season around the corner, you may find giving your old device to a family or friend to be the perfect present. Think hard before selling your iPhone online.

Find the Right Platform


By now, you have made up your mind that you will sell your iPhone online. Good choice, almost all sellers usually get back what they paid for or even double that when selling online. This means that, if the device is in good shape, you could cover a majority or even all of your upgrade expenses. This all depends on where you sell the iPhone. You are faced with many options, however from experience I find selling your iPhone on websites like eBay or Craigslist to give you the biggest bang for your buck. While I find the trade in options to be nice and convenient, they are also for the lazy. I got an estimate from one well known company that I would get $60 back for my like new iPhone 3GS, that’s six times less than what eBay is selling it for. When considering where to sell, make sure to do your research before posting.

Getting your iPhone Sell-Ready


After a long search, you have finally found your retailer match for selling your iPhone. Now, let’s move toward how to get your iPhone picture ready. You have to remember, you aren’t selling the iPhone, and the iPhone must sell itself from the listing you have created. A good listing is the difference between an offer made and a back arrow click to the search results. First, you must clean your iPhone both internally and externally. No, please don’t try finding your nearest screwdriver to pry it open, I mean cleaning it internally by wiping off your personal data. This can be done easily on your iPhone by going to: Settings -> Reset -> Erase all Content and Settings. Make sure to back up your iPhone in iTunes before doing so.

The Science of the Sell


Now that your iPhone is clean and ready, it’s now time to post. When posting, remember to give your customer the world, for a reasonable price, only available for a short amount of time. When remembering these three rules, you’ll have a great sale. When listing, make sure to make it look as new as possible. eBay listings with original boxes will automatically give you an edge. When you add in accessories, your customer will find it a listing they can’t refuse. Another sales tactic is to sell iPhones unlocked. A vast majority (5/6) iPhones on eBay is unlocked. This does come with risks, but you can expect an increase of nearly $100-200 just by having it unlocked.

More Selling Tips…

The next part of the rule is to have it available for only a short time. Consumers love deals that they feel someone else wouldn’t be able to have if they waited. This is why you should sell your iPhone in terms of days rather than weeks. One-day listings garner more instant revenue. The customers won’t have to search for you, but the listing will search for the customer. The last rule is to have it for a reasonable price. If you know what you want, sell it with a Buy it Now option. If you want to play the ropes and possibly get more out of it, then use the auction feature. Selling your iPhone with a low start price will grab people’s attention. However, if you can’t pass up the Buy it Now option, here are some recommended prices per device as of (9/25/2011):

  • iPhone (Original): $100 – $190
  • iPhone 3G: $190 – $250
  • iPhone 3GS: $250 – $390
  • iPhone 4: No Less than $500 (Regardless of Usable Condition)

Shipping it off


Now your iPhone is finally sold, congratulations, you are now one step closer to your new iPhone upgrade. You must now use some of your earnings and pay for shipping. The easiest way to do this goes without saying, bring your customer’s address with you and go to your local postal office. Check out their best options for shipping economically and utilize them, pay the fees and go on your way. You want shipping that is still inexpensive but will protect your shipment at the same time.

Between the Sell and the Release


You are sitting down and wondering to yourself the age old question “So, what now?” This is the time when you should weigh your options even more. If you had the iPhone 3GS or another later model, you may wonder if it’s better economically to go with an iPhone 4 upgrade than going straight to the iPhone 5. When a model is behind the newest, they usually sell $200 less (unsubsidized) than when they were the newest models out there. Since most news points to an iPhone 5 that won’t be much different from the iPhone 4, it may seem better all around to just get the iPhone 4 than the iPhone 5.

Image credit: Yutaka Tsutano

Ari Simon
Ari Simon

Ari Simon has been a writer with Make Tech Easier since August 2011. Ari loves anything related to technology and social media. When Ari isn't working, he enjoys traveling and trying out the latest tech gadget.

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