And for the most cash. Before you trade your current iPhone for whatever Apple reveals this month, here’s how to get your old smartphone ready to sell.
By Chandra Steele
September guarantees three things: the start of the school year, pumpkin spice lattes, and a new lineup of iPhones. On Sept. 10, Tim Cook and friends will file into the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino and introduce the next iPhone lineup.
Rumors tip an iPhone 11 (the update to the iPhone XR), iPhone Pro (what to get if you like the iPhone XS), and the enthusiastically named iPhone Pro Max (the iPhone XS Max upgrade). While we can speculate about triple cameras, one thing we know for sure is that fans will be lining up to buy the phones whether or not they have a weird bump on the back or not.
But they probably won’t come cheap; the “budget” iPhone XR starts at $750 and the XS lineup will set you back at least a grand. Offset those costs by selling your old iPhone. But before you pack up your old Apple smartphone and ship it out, you should know there’s more to the process than just handing it over and waiting for cash to hit your bank account.
Privacy concerns abound with phones, from photos stored in iCloud to personal data housed within apps, so wiping your phone before you hand it over to its next owner is a must. And don’t forget to back up, so you don’t have to manually re-download hundreds of apps on your new iPhone.
Below is our step-by-step guide to preparing your phone for sale, as well as a few reputable sites that will take it off your hands for top dollar.
The first thing to do is to make sure you don’t lose your mind. And by that, we mean your data. Back everything up before you wipe it from your phone.
On the PC, be sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed. Then connect your phone to your computer. When it shows up in iTunes, choose whether to back up to iCloud or your computer. (If you want your Health and Activity data to be included in the backup, check off Encrypt iPhone Backup and create a password when prompted.) Then select Back Up Now.
To back up directly from your iOS device, go to Settings, select your name, then tap iCloud. Scroll down to iCloud Backup > Back Up Now. If you toggle iCloud Backup to on, it will automatically update photos, accounts, docs, Health and HomeKit data, and settings when your device is plugged in, locked, and connected to Wi-Fi.
Then, when you get your new iPhone and power it up, you can choose to back up from iTunes or back up from iCloud, which will populate your new phone with all the apps and settings found on your old device.
Unfind Your iPhone
Having Find My iPhone activated can sometimes block activation by a new owner, so you’ll need to deactivate it before you ditch your device. Though Find My iPhone is automatically deactivated when you erase all content and settings, which you’ll do below, this is still a good step to take as a precaution. Go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Find My iPhone and slide it to off. You’ll be prompted to enter your Apple ID.
Sign Out of iMessage
For awhile, iPhone users who ditched their iPhone for another platform without logging out of iMessage were not receiving messages from other iOS users. Any messages sent from one iPhone to another were being received by the old iPhone rather than the new device, so your iMessages were in a sort of message purgatory. The problem is now fixable and really only affects those who are switching from iOS to Android. But it’s probably a good idea to shut it off just in case. Go to Settings > Messages and toggle iMessage to off.
There’s a lot to worry about with AirPods—like losing them, for instance. Check one thing off your list by unpairing them from your iPhone. Place your AirPods and iPhone near each other and go to Settings > Bluetooth. Tap for information ( ) next to AirPods, and select Forget this Device.
Unpair Apple Watch
If you have an Apple Watch, save yourself a potential headache later on and unpair it from the iPhone you’ll be selling. Place them near each other and open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Go to the My Watch tab and select your watch at the top of the screen. Select the info circle ( ) next to the watch you want to unpair. Tap Unpair Apple Watch and tap to confirm, which may require you to enter your Apple ID password.
Sign Out of iCloud
You’re going to want to sign out of iCloud, as well as iTunes and the App Store, before selling your device. For iOS 10.3+, tap Settings > [your name] > Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
On iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Sign Out. Tap Sign Out again, then tap Delete from My [device] and enter your Apple ID password. Then go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.
Erase All Settings
Don’t let anyone snoop on your data. Wipe your phone by heading to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings and approving all the subsequent prompts.
Remove SIM Card
In most cases, you can just deactivate your cell phone service on the device and trade it in with the SIM card intact. But that SIM card is the repository of your phone number, various bits of security data, and all the info needed for billing. It identifies you, your phone, and a lot of your activity on your phone. So you might want to remove it before you sell your phone. Fortunately, it’s simple. Locate the SIM ejector on your phone (for the iPhone 4 on up it’s on the right side; for earlier models, it’s on the top) then insert a paperclip until the tray pops out. Remove the SIM card, replace the tray, and you’re set to ship your phone off.
Time to Sell
Now it’s time to offload that phone and make a few bucks. But where? Read on for some suggestions.
If you know you’re going to sell your iPhone and just use the cash to buy electronics, cut out a step at Best Buy. You can trade in your phone at a store or mail it in for a gift card. For a gold 256GB iPhone XS on Verizon in good condition, you can expect to get about $420.
Want to sell your iPhone fast? One option is Gazelle. Just select your model, carrier, capacity, and condition to receive an offer. If you choose to accept it, you ship your iPhone to Gazelle for free. If your device is in the condition you said it was, Gazelle will pay you via check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card. A 256GB iPhone XS on Verizon that’s in good condition can get you about $504.
NextWorth is similar to Gazelle; just input your phone’s specs to get a quote, ship it using the UPS label provided by the site, and get paid via check or PayPal. For a gold 256GB iPhone XS on Verizon in good condition, you can expect to get about $420.
If you’re selling your iPhone to get a new iPhone, then you surely won’t mind that the Apple GiveBack program is going to pay you in the form of an Apple Store gift card to use later or instant credit toward a purchase. Visit the site, select the iPhone model you have, answer some questions about its condition, get an estimate (and find out whether Apple will pay for packaging and shipping), accept the quote, and get the gift card once your iPhone is received. Or you can go to an Apple Store and trade it in in person for immediate credit toward a purchase. For an iPhone X (the latest model the site is giving estimates for) you can expect to get about $400.
Are most of your iPhone apps games? Then it’s probably a safe bet that you’ll do well to turn your iPhone in for some store credit at GameStop. (If you want, you can also get cold, hard cash for it there, too.) Bring your device to your nearest GameStop (estimates are available on the site before you make the trip), get a price quote from a sales associate, and then receive store credit or cash on the spot. An unlocked 256GB iPhone XS will get you $450 in games or cash ($495 if you’re a GameStop Pro Member).
To sell your device yourself, there’s always eBay. The site has a quick walk-through where you can input your phone’s stats before opting to sell it via eBay’s traditional auction process or select a Quick Sale option that gets you immediate cash once eBay receives the phone. A gold 256GB iPhone XS on Verizon that’s in good condition…….Read More>>