How to Sell Your iPhone Safely and Get the Most Cash
It may be a month later than usual, but Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup starts rolling out next week.
The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro arrive on Friday, Oct. 23. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini are in stores beginning Friday, Nov. 13. If you’re in the market for an upgrade, you might want to sell your older iPhone to make a dent in the price. But there’s more to ditching your old phone 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 selling it 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 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 your computer, be sure you have the latest version of iTunes (Windows) or the Music app (macOS) installed, then connect your phone. When it shows up in the Music app/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 apps using iCloud 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.
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. Tap Settings > [your name] > Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
How to Wipe Your iPhone and Delete Data
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 (it’s on the right side for most models) 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.
The Best Places to Sell Your Phone
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 black 256GB iPhone 11 on Verizon in good condition, expect to get about $430.
The Apple GiveBack program will pay you in the form of an instant credit toward the purchase of your new iPhone or an Apple Store gift card. 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 go to an Apple Store and trade it in in person for immediate credit toward a purchase (double check if your local store is open or has any COVID restrictions before you make the trip). Get up to $350 for an iPhone 11.
Want to sell your iPhone fast? One option is Gazelle. 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 11 on Verizon that’s in good condition can get you about $371.
Similar to Gazelle, when you sell on uSell, you’ll get paid by check or PayPal. A 256GB iPhone 11 on Verizon is currently worth about $385.
Cut a deal with decluttr and you’ll get a shipping label that lets you send in your phone for free. In return you’ll receive a payout via direct deposit, PayPal, or check. A 256GB iPhone 11 on Verizon is currently worth $405.
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. A 256GB iPhone 11 from Verizon will get you $350 in store credit or $280 in cash ($385 in credit / $308 in cash if you’re a GameStop Pro Member).
To sell your device yourself, there’s always eBay. The site has a quick walkthrough 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.
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