How to sell your old iPhone: In case you hadn’t heard, Apple just unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. While they look plenty nice, they don’t come cheaply, making now a sensible time to try to sell or trade-in your old iPhone – and our guide answers all your, “How do I sell my iPhone?” questions.
There are loads of ways to sell your old iPhone. You can trade it back to your network provider, flog it on eBay, sell it to a dedicated online phone recycling site, or hit the High Street and search out the nearest dodgy phone shop.
Whatever option you choose, you’re going to want to make sure you’re getting the best price, and maximising your old iPhone’s resale value will vary depending on the route you take, and what your ultimate aim is.
Here’s our shakedown of the best ways to sell your old iPhone, complete with price comparisons. For the purposes of this guide, we’re using a 16GB unlocked iPhone 6S in good condition as our benchmark and focussing on cash payment values.
Note that your mileage may vary based on the device you’re looking to flog, its condition, and the terms of any contract you may be under. Payment methods, shipping protocols and timelines are also likely to differ, so be sure to read the fine print before signing away that precious iPhone or Nokia 3310.
Watch: iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus
How to sell your iPhone – UK mobile networks
Nearly all major phone networks offer some sort of trade-in or phone recycling scheme. Depending on the condition of your old iPhone, you may be offered cash, or get money against your next iPhone – and the equally expensive contract that comes with it.
O2’s Refresh scheme is one such system, letting you trade-in your iPhone at any point during your contract to help you cover the cost of a new handset.
Unlike most other networks, O2 effectively splits your contract in half – your ‘device plan’ is what you pay towards your phone, while your ‘airtime’ tariff covers your data, minutes and texts.
When you trade-in an old phone under O2 Refresh, the cash you receive goes towards paying off your device plan, thus off-setting the cost of buying a new smartphone and simplifying the process of taking out a whole new contract.
Alternatively, you can use O2 Recycle. This is a good system for those who have finished their contract or have a older model in decent shape. O2 basically buys your old phone off you, valuing it according to its model and condition .
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A 16GB iPhone 5C, for instance, is currently valued at £60, while a 16GB iPhone 6S fetches £300 in good nick – and it’s all cold hard cash.
Related: iPhone 7 vs Galaxy S7
Both are reasonable enough offers, but you’re potentially trading security and convenience for more moolah – at time of writing, 16GB iPhone 6S handsets were still up on eBay for closer to £400 by way of comparison.
Vodafone operates a similar trade-in service, imaginatively dubbed Vodafone Trade In. The principle is identical – head to the Vodafone Trade In website, input your model or IMEI number, and you’ll be offered a valuation payable in real-life money, should you choose to accept.
It’s not quite as fruitful an exchange as O2 – that same 16GB iPhone 6S will net you a maximum of £280, based on our investigations.
As we’ve mentioned though, every sale will vary – while Vodafone offers less than O2 for the 16GB iPhone 6S, it’ll endow you with £10 more if it’s a 64GB iPhone 6S Plus in question.
Frustrating, but that’s life on the trading block.
Related: Best iPhone 7 deals and contracts
How to sell your iPhone – online wheeler dealers
Alternatively, you can flog your ageing iPhone to any number of third-party online mobile recycling operations. There are too many to run through in one article, but Music Magpie and Mazuma Mobile are two of the bigger players in this space.
Music Magpie – which started life buying all those CDs and DVDs you no longer needed when illegal torrenting became hotter than a Galaxy Note 7 battery in Jeddah – offers up to £285 for a 16GB iPhone 6S, while Mazuma Mobile will match the big mobile networks and theoretically pay you £300 for the same device – or offer you a £330 Argos gift card, if that tickles your fancy.
Not sure which digital thrift shop is best? Compare and Recycle is a useful UK comparison site that gives you a bird’s eye view of how your phone is valued by a range of major recycling operations.
How to sell your iPhone – DIY it with eBay and Amazon
Of course, you can also cut out the middleman and sell your old handset independently. There are various online auction and classifieds sites that will let you list your iPhone for little to nothing, but eBay and Amazon are almost certainly the biggest.
DIY phone flogging carries a few obvious benefits, like letting you establish a minimum price, but there are drawbacks – if you’re holding out for quickfire cash, these methods typically take longer, plus you’re responsible for pesky things like setting up the listing, shipping the device, and customer service before, during and potentially even after the sale.
Still, if you’re up for it, this is arguably the best option financially. After all, networks and third-parties will ultimately look to re-sell your device themselves and make a profit, which isn’t a factor if you’re working direct with the buyer.
You can find out more about selling on eBay here or hawking your wares via Amazon Marketplace here. Bear in mind that both sites still take a cut for providing the platform for your sale, but in our experience you’ll still come out on top if you get things right.
Related: 12 essential eBay tips, tricks and hacks
How to sell your iPhone – the Apple Upgrade ultimatum
There’s a new kid on the block this year when it comes to flogging your old iPhone – and it’s none other than Apple itself entering the fray.
As something of a ‘one more thing’ at the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 launch, Apple announced it was extending the Apple Upgrade Program to the UK, meaning you can now pay monthly to be eligible for an annual iPhone upgrade.
The Apple Upgrade Programme, as it’s now known in proper speak, is basically a 0% APR loan towards your next iPhone, though as the final £718 price bundles in AppleCare protection, it might look steeper than just buying a new device outright.
But that’s not necessarily what we’re interested in here.
If you currently own an iPhone 6S and are looking to sell it to help buy an iPhone 7, the Apple Upgrade Programme looks like a good option.
Why? Apple will offer you roughly 40% of your current device’s original value to put towards the scheme, so using a 16GB iPhone 6S – which cost £539 at launch – as an example, you’ll get credit of approximately £215.
That’s noticeably less than you’d likely be offered elsewhere, but as part of the overall package, it’s not at all shabby. Knock the £215 off the £718 Upgrade Programme cost and you’ll be paying a shade over £500 for an iPhone 7 this year, an iPhone 8 next year, and AppleCare coverage throughout.
If you value having AppleCare protection and are happy being locked in to an iPhone, it’s a pretty tempting offer, especially if you’re keen to simplify the whole iPhone selling process.
You can learn more about the Apple Upgrade Programme via the link below.
Related: Apple Upgrade Programme FAQ
How to sell your iPhone – hit the streets
Your final option for selling an old iPhone is the most old fashioned one – hitting the High Street.
This may or may not be convenient for you, and your mileage is going to vary considerably based on just how shady your local dodgy phone shop is, but knowing what you now know about the loot on offer elsewhere, you should be able to make an informed decision.
One good starting point if you want to visit a physical shop is CEX, which is a reputable UK-wide second hand electronics chain. Based on our experience, you’ll be offered a fair price there and will have cash in hand on the same day – testing times vary, but you’re typically looking at an hour or so for smartphones.
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Got any tips for selling an old iPhone? Let us know in the comments below.