What's Your Old iPhone Worth?

Monday, September 2, 2013

With a new iPhone right around the corner, many people are preparing to upgrade from an older iPhone. Unlike most other phones on the market, iPhones have a sizable resale value - even those that are a few years old. Before iPhones, I remember getting rid of old phones by donating them, giving them away, or even throwing them in the trash. The iPhone is a whole different ballgame. I purchased a 64gb iPhone 4S on the day it was launched for the Verizon-subsidized retail price of $399 as I qualified for an upgrade. One year later, when the iPhone 5 came out, I bought a 64gb model at the Verizon-subsidized price of $399, exactly the same as the 4S. Instead of giving away my one-year old iPhone 4S, I listed it on eBay and sold it for $401. You might be wondering why someone would pay $401 for a iPhone 4S when a new iPhone 5 is only $399. Keep in mind the $399 is a subsidized price which means I qualified for an upgrade (and signed a new two year commitment *sigh*). Had I not qualified and/or agreed to a two-year commitment, that $399 price jumps to $849. Now, imagine you are a person who had purchased a full price iPhone then lost it or damaged it beyond repair, and failed to put insurance on it, you'd have to buy a new 64gb iPhone 5 at the unsubsidized price of $849! OR you could purchase a used one on eBay (from someone like me) for $401.

It also helps tremendously that Apple chooses to support their previous model phones for quite some time unlike other manufacturers. For instance, the soon-to-be-released iOS 7 will run on the new iPhone, last year's iPhone 5, the two-year old iPhone 4S and even the iPhone 4 from the year before that.

So, bottom line, where should you sell your old iPhone? It depends if you are willing to go through a little more work to make a few more bucks. If you're like me and comfortable selling items on eBay, that is likely your best option to get the most money out of it. Of course, you'll pay eBay fees and PayPal fees but you'll still end up with a few more dollars in your pocket compared to the next best option. According to gigaom.com the next best option is trading it in to Amazon, the Apple store, gazelle.com or even Wal-Mart. This site went through the trouble of checking trade-in values at 15 different sites and shared their results. One of their notable findings is to avoid Best Buy if you are looking for the best deal.

On an unrelated note, the next iPhone is due out around September 20th. I just might know of a one-year-old 64gb iPhone 5 for sale for $401.   ;)

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