How to get the best price for a second-hand iPhone

Where is the best place to sell an old iPhone? Is it safe to sell an iPhone second-hand? And what's a fair price for a second-hand iPhone?

Want to sell your old iPhone - perhaps with one eye on the iPhone SEiPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus? You might want to consider how much you'll get for your old one, and the best methods and places for selling a second-hand iPhone. Read on for the best ways to sell an iPhone.

In this article, we're going to take a look at some of the options that will get you the most money for your old iPhone, whether it's an iPhone 6iPhone 6 PlusiPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4 or an even older iPhone. We'll also offer some advice on how to prepare your iPhone for sale. We also talk a little about methods for recycling an old iPhone, which is generally a good idea if you care about the environment, and may earn you a little cash too.

See also: Which iPhone should I buy? and Complete guide to buying a second-hand iPhone

How to sell an iPhone: Prepare your iPhone for sale

Before you sell your iPhone, you'll need to make sure that you've wiped everything you've got stored on it, to prevent the person who buys it getting access to your sensitive data and details. This isn't just about privacy and the embarrassment of a stranger seeing your personal conversations and pictures: it could lead to fraud or identity theft.

Wiping an Apple device is a fairly simple process, which we explain in our how to wipe your iPhone or iPad article.

We'd advise you not to be tempted to sell your iPhone with data intact because you believe the data itself adds to the object's value. (When the game Flappy Bird was removed from the iOS App Store this year, for example, users began selling older iPhones for slightly more cash on eBay by advertising the fact that Flappy Bird was installed.) An app or game might seem an innocent piece of software that couldn't be exploited, but it will be connected to your Apple account and, to a clever hacker, could offer the opportunity to acquire personal data. It's better to be on the safe side.

You'll also want to gather together all of the cables, accessories and packaging you've got for the iPhone. Make sure you specify what the iPhone comes with in terms of cables and packaging, particularly if you're selling on eBay.

How to sell an iPhone: How to recycle an old iPhone (or iPad or iPod)

At its iPhone SE launch event in March 2016, Apple spent a surprising amount of time at the start talking about its recycling programmes, and in particular a new robot it's designed - called, apparently, 'Liam' - for rapidly and accurately disassembling old handsets and recovering their parts.

This is all very interesting, and obviously nice PR for a company that prides itself (justifiably, I would say) on its much-improved attitude to environmental matters. But it also means that people looking to offload an old iPhone can do so with an easier conscience about the rare and/or hazardous materials inside, and where they will end up. And better still, you may be able to make a little money while you do it.

First of all, Apple pledges to take any and all electrical devices for recycling, if you bring them to an Apple Store. They don't need to be Apple-branded: the company will dispose of "old electronic equipment such as smartphones, tablets, computers or batteries" in a responsible way, for free. There will obviously be exceptions to this offer, and if in doubt we'd suggest ringing the store before you turn up, especially if your item is unusually cumbersome. You don't want to haul it home again afterwards.

For certain models of iPhone (and iPad and Mac, for that matter), Apple will sweeten the deal by giving you a gift certificate so you can get a little money off your next purchase; it will also send you a prepaid postage label so you can send it to them for free. This applies to the iPhone 4 and later. 

The money you'll get varies from case to case (depending on the condition of the phone), so we can't offer any useful advice here except to shop around, as it were - assuming money is a factor for you, find out how much you could get for the device from other sources so you can make an informed decision. Contact Apple via its recycling policy page.

If you've got an original iPhone, iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, Apple will recycle the device for you but doesn't offer any money, and you still need to take it into an Apple Store. On the other hand, devices of that vintage wouldn't fetch much second-hand anyway, unless it's in mint condition and you find someone who loves old tech. We'll look at selling options in the rest of this article. 

How to sell an iPhone: How much can I get for my old iPhone?

The price you can get for a second-hand iPhone depends on what model you've got and where you sell it. Typically you'll get more cash from a private sale than from a shop or services (as they need to include a mark-up when they sell it on). But it's less hassle to take it to somewhere like Computer Exchange or Cash Generators.

You can buy and sell second-hand iPhones with Mresell, a partner of Macworld that runs a service via which you can sell your unwanted Macs, iPhones and iPads. The iPhone is thoroughly checked, refurbished and reconditioned, and listed for sale on the Buy/Sell section of this website. For more information, see: Sell your Apple product through Macworld's Mresell.

Apple itself offers a fair deal through its iPhone trade-in programme, which could get you up to £220 to put towards a new iPhone.

The iPhone Reuse and Recycling Programme allows customers to trade in their old iPhone by visiting an Apple Retail Store with their old iPhone, or visiting Apple's Reuse and Recycling webpage. Apple is no longer offering trade-ins of the original iPhone, as it has "no resale value" according to the company.

If you decide to take your old iPhone into an Apple Retail Store, Apple's staff will look it over and give a trade-in price estimate. This price is based on the condition of the hardware and the model of iPhone. Customers can then get that value subtracted from the price of a new iPhone or other Apple product should they decide to trade in.

If you choose to go through the trade-in process online, you'll need to visit Apple's Reuse and Recycling web page, answer a set of questions to help Apple come up with an estimated value of the device, then send your iPhone to Dataserv for evaluation. Once Dataserv (Apple's recycling partner) has checked your device and determined the accurate trade-in value, you'll get that money deposited into your bank account.

You can get a reasonable amount of money from Apple or third-party buy-back companies in exchange for your old iPhone, particularly if you've kept that iPhone in good condition. You can also sell it on eBay, Gumtree or similar. Here, we talk you through the best places to get money for your iPhone, and let you know how much money to expect.

How much is an iPhone worth: Original iPhone value

If you own the original iPhone, you probably won't be too pleased with Apple's valuation. Ahead of the iPhone 6 launch, we found that the maximum Dataserv estimate for the first iPhone is £5.00. Now, though, Apple says that the original iPhone has "no resale value".

You'll probably get something for your original iPhone by selling it on eBay. In fact, if its completely sealed in its original packaging you can expect more than £2,000 for it! A more realistic expectation is £20. Don't forget, though, that you'll need to pay eBay and PayPal fees on top of postage if you sell through the online auction site.

It's worth investigating Gumtree to avoid such charges, though you won't get the support you get from eBay and PayPal if you use that service.

If you want to erase the contents of your iPhone because you are selling it, or because it's not working properly, here's how to reset an iPhone, erase the contents of an iPhone and restore from a backup.

How much is an iPhone 4 worth: iPhone 4 value

Similarly, those with an iPhone 4 will want to think about an alternative way of getting money from their old device. You might be surprised to hear that a high quality model can get you up to £50 from GAME or CEX.

How much is an iPhone 4s worth: iPhone 4s value

It's tricky to trade in an iPhone 4S as many places will no longer accept them. If it's in really good condition, though, you might find that you can get around £50 for it from the likes of GAME and CEX.

How much is an iPhone 5 worth: iPhone 5 value

If you've got an iPhone 5, we'd recommend taking it to eBay or CEX. Alternatively, Envirofone offers up to £75 for the iPhone 5.

We've seen used iPhone 5 models go for up to £100 on eBay, but by the time you've paid postage and eBay's fee you might be better off twith CEX or Envirofone. GAME is another option, and it often price matches with CEX if you enquire.

How much is an iPhone 5s worth: iPhone 5s value

You'll find that you can get around £100 for a good-condition iPhone 5s, either on eBay or through Envirofone or GAME.

How much is an iPhone 6 worth: iPhone 6 value

GAME will give you up to £285 for a 128GB iPhone 6 in excellent condition.

You'll get a lot more on eBay or through a private sale though. We've seen 16GB iPhone 6 models going for £380 and up to £500 for 128GB models. An iPhone 6 Plus with 64GB of storage is worth £480.

Read next: How to set up a new iPhone

How much is an iPhone 5c worth: iPhone 5c value

You can sell your iPhone 5C to GAME for up to £99, or on Envirofone for up to £70.

You may be able to sell your iPhone 5C on eBay for around £150, but there's a lot of competition so don't be surprised if you find it hard to find a bidder (or end up selling it for much less). It might be better to aim for around £130 on a private Gumtree sale.

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