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Where’s the best place to sell your old iPhone?

The iPhone 11 series is now available to pre-order. You might be itching to get your hands on the new phone, but what’s the best way to sell your old one?

The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max have arrived on the scene promising greater performance than ever before. If you’re planning on treating yourself to one of these shiny new devices, then it’s a good idea to sell on your old one for a bit of extra cash. Here’s our guide to trading in your old iPhone.

Related: How to factory reset an iPhone

Where can you sell your iPhone?

When it comes to selling your iPhone, you will be confronted with several different options, from Apple’s official Upgrade programme to doing it all yourself. Here, we break down what each method requires and which offers the best value.

Apple Upgrade

Apple offers its own services for trading in your iPhone and upgrading to a new one. The Apple Upgrade programme offers an up-front payment for a new iPhone, followed by monthly installments (for 20 months). After 11 months you can upgrade to the newest iPhone of your choice. This could be a decent option if you demand the very latest Apple tech every year, but otherwise it’s a long-standing commitment on a faster upgrade cycle than suits the average consumer (who tends to buy a new phone once every two to three years).

Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces, such as eBay or Amazon Marketplace, are popular ways to sell your phone. You can keep most of the selling price of your phone, and in an eBay auction you might end up getting even more money than you hoped for. But, on the flip side, it requires more effort to set up a listing and sell the phone yourself – and, unless you’re an established seller with good reviews, people might be wary of buying a device from you. It could be the best option if you’re experienced, but if you don’t like the inconvenience then you might be better off selling it through a second-hand dealer.

Second-hand dealers

Plenty of firms specialise in selling second-hand goods, including CeX and MusicMagpie, and some retailers like Carphone Warehouse also offer the service. Trading in your phone to these dealers is fairly convenient, but there are a couple of potential issues. Firstly, of course, these companies act as middlemen and need to take their cut to make their businesses profitable, meaning you won’t receive your phone’s full resale value. Secondly, you might disagree with their valuation of your phone – they decide whether it’s in good or acceptable condition, for example, rather than being able to decide this yourself with your own eBay listing. Overall, this is a good option if you want to get a decent sum of money for your device without the hassle of selling it yourself.

Related: How to find out if your phone is unlocked

How much can you sell your iPhone for?

Buying a new phone is like buying a new car, in that the resale value plummets from the very first moment you use your new purchase. You’ll have to accept that you will recoup considerably less money then you spent on the device in the first place. That being said, iPhones do hold their value much better than their Android counterparts, thanks in part to Apple’s long-standing software support for older devices.

The following cash prices from second-hand retail websites (correct on September 13, 2019) are given for previous iPhone models in good condition:

Model Carphone Warehouse CeX Music Magpie
iPhone 7 (32GB) £115 £140 £135
iPhone 7 Plus (32GB) £190 £172 £203
iPhone 8 (64GB) £240 £244 £220
iPhone 8 Plus (64GB) £290 £294 £315
iPhone X (64GB) £410 £345 £425
iPhone XR (64GB) £430 £375 £400
iPhone XS (64GB) £520 £451 £553
iPhone XS Max (64GB) £595 £455 £582

As you can see, the trade-in value varies considerably between the different outlets – by almost £150 for the iPhone XS Max – so it’s definitely worth comparing prices before you sell. Some traders will offer you a larger sum in the form of in-store credit, but, of course, then you’ll be tied to buying products from that source.

If you choose to sell your device on eBay or Amazon Marketplace yourself, it’s worth using the above prices as a rule of thumb to set your own valuation.

The prices highlight that Apple’s own trade-in service is best avoided: an iPhone X (64GB) in good condition will only fetch you £290 and that value can only be used to purchase a new iPhone.

What to do before you sell your iPhone

Once you’ve settled on how you’re going to trade in your old iPhone, there are two other big issues to consider: backing up your personal data and – of course – buying a replacement phone.

Firstly, ensure that you have backed up all of your personal data on the phone by uploading your data either to iCloud (if you’re sticking with iPhone afterwards), via a third-party cloud service, or by transferring it to a hard drive or a new handset. Secondly, sign out of all of your accounts and then reset the device to its factory settings.

Once you’ve done this, then comes the more exciting part of the process: choosing your new phone. The biggest decision is whether you want to stick with Apple or switch to the Android family. The former means continuity with familiar software and a limited choice of excellent but pricey devices, while changing to the latter involves a learning curve for a new operating system but a much wider choice of phones (by specification and by price).

Here are our selections of the best phones your money can buy:

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