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How to sell your iPhone: when, where and what you need to know

What you need to know when selling your iPhone

The time has come to get rid of that iPhone you’ve got knocking around. Perhaps you’ve just upgraded your contract, or maybe you’ve slung open a drawer to find a past handset gathering dust. Well don’t just look at it dazed and confused, make some money instead!

The great thing about selling your iPhone is that Apple’s smartphones generally retain their value much better than any other handset on the market.

As long as the phone is in good condition you could be due a small windfall, but even if it’s not in the prime of its life there’s still money to be had from selling your iPhone  - whether via a network, eBay or a phone recycling website such as MusicMagpie or Envirofone.

If you’re still at a bit of a loss as to how to proceed, then fear not, as we’ve got the complete guide for you when you finally decided “it’s time to sell my iPhone”.

When should I sell my iPhone?

When’s the best time to sell your iPhone? Simply, the sooner the better. Time is money, and the longer you leave a handset sitting on the side, the lower its value gets.

If a new iPhone launch is just around the corner (they generally occur in September), then you’ll want to cash in your handset before Apple announces its next generation handset. With each new iPhone release, the price of the iPhone you’re selling will decrease further.

How much will I get if I sell my iPhone?

It’s difficult to put an exact value on what you’ll be able to get, and it will depend on the route you take when it comes to selling just how much cash you can make.

You’ll also want to double check the storage size of your iPhone. Handsets with 16GB of storage will go for less than those boasting 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of space. It’s important you know the exact make, model and storage size before you sell to avoid embarrassment further down the line if the iPhone you’ve advertised isn’t actually the one you have.

If you’ve got an iPhone from several years ago (iPhone 5/5S/5C) then you’ll probably be looking at less than £100, but if you’re lucky enough to have an iPhone from the last year or two (iPhone 6S/6S Plus/iPhone 7/7 Plus) your pay day could run into the several hundreds of pounds.

What should I do before selling my iPhone?

Check which iPhone you have

Thing is with iPhones they can look very similar. There’s nothing separating the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S looks wise for example, so make sure you know exactly which iPhone you have before looking up how much money you could potential make.

Thankfully, Apple is aware of just how similar its phones can look so has made a ‘Identify your iPhone model’ guide on its support site to help you do just that.

Of course, you’ll also need to know the storage capacity of your iPhone, as it also has a bearing on the money you’ll be able to get for it. To check the storage size of your iPhone, head to Settings > General > Capacity to view the storage of your handset.

Be honest about your iPhone’s condition

Don’t try and pull the wool over people’s eyes, it’ll come back to bite you on the ass. Take time to look your iPhone over.

Check for scratches on screen, marked or damage body work, loose buttons and ports and the stability of the SIM tray. Even if your iPhone is a little damaged, you can still get some money for it, but the better the condition, the better price you’ll ultimately be able to get.

Is your iPhone unlocked?

If you got your iPhone on contract from a network the likelihood is that it’s locked to that particular network, which means SIM cards from rival carriers won’t work in the phone. This isn’t an issue, but does mean you’ll likely get less for a locked iPhone versus an unlocked handset.

There are companies that can unlock your iPhone, allowing it to work with any SIM card, but you’ll need to weigh up the cost of getting it unlocked versus the potential additional income it could generate for you. You may find it’s not worth the hassle.

How do I sell my iPhone?

There are a number of ways you can sell your iPhone, from going into stores to totally online services that don’t even require you to leave the house.

It’s best to shop around first though and check all your avenues to you can get the best price for you. Different services can vary in how much, or little, cash you’ll get in return so it always pays to do your homework.

Auction/Boot sale sites

The first place you may think to sell your iPhone is Ebay – the world’s biggest auction site. Some of the pros with Ebay is you have the chance to make more money from your iPhone than you would get if you traded it in at a store or sent it to a phone recycling company – however it’s not all plain sailing.

Ebay will charge you to list your iPhone, and it will also take a cut of the final selling price, and then there’s no guarantee that the person who wins the auction actually pays up – meaning you have to re-list it and go through the whole process again.

If you get a disgruntled customer there’s always the chance of a difficult returns/dispute process which could add more hassle than it’s worth. However, those who are well versed in Ebay will tell you these occurrences are few and far between.

Another, slightly newer alternative is Facebook Marketplace which is basically a simplified version of Ebay allowing you to quickly list an item you have for sale. Again though, potential problems with buyers not paying/complaining about the iPhone can lead to additional, and unnecessary stress.

There are a number of other boot sale style websites and apps, with Gumtree and Schpock another two popular options. They’re just as easy to use, but come with the same negatives as Ebay and Facebook.

If you’re prepared to do the work, this option can potentially give you the biggest return on investment of any of the options here – but it’s not without risk.

In store

If you’d like a little more protection when it comes to parting with your old iPhone in exchange for cash there a few more secure ways than going to a high street retailer and trading in your handset right there and then.

Stores such as Carphone Warehouse, CEX,  Game and most network providers, as well as a number of independent retailers, are more than happy to offer you some money in exchange for your iPhone. The only catch here though is they’ll probably offer the lowest amount out of any of the ways to sell your iPhone.

These stores have brick and mortar properties to pay for, not to mention staff wages, bills and the requirement to make a healthy profit on the resale of your iPhone – all of which drive the price you get down.

Some shops may offer the option of store credit as well as money, with the former giving you a higher monetary value than straight up cash. Great if you’re planning on buying something from the store anyway.

This is a great option for anyone looking to quickly, easily and safely sell their iPhone, as long as you don’t mind taking a hit on the final cash amount you’ll end up pocketing.

Phone recycling sites

The number of phone recycling sites has exploded over the past few years, and there’s now a glut of companies all vying for the iPhone you no longer want.

What you need is a comparison site to helpfully tell you which company will give you the best price for your iPhone. Thankfully, such sites already exist making the process super simple.

Our favorite recycling price comparisons sites include Compare and Recycle and Mobile Valuer.

These sites search popular recyclers such as Music Magpie, envirofone, fonebank, mazuma and recycle my smartphone to find you the best prices for your iPhone.

Apple even has its own recycling program, but instead of money it will pay you in the form of an Apple gift card if your phone qualifies – you’ll need to send it to Apple first though, so it can be assessed.