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

Want to sell your old iPhone, now that the iPhone 6s (or iPhone 7, or possibly iPhone 6c) is on its way? 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.

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.

See also: Which iPhone should I buy? and Complete guide to buying an older, second-hand or refurbished iPhone

How to sell your 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.

Read next: Best place to buy an iPhone 6 in the UK

Find out what might be coming in 2015:

iPhone 7 release date rumours

iPhone 6s release date rumours

iPhone 6c release date rumours

How to sell your 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.

Indeed, you can buy and sell second-hand iPhones right here on the Macworld UK website. With our partner Mresell we run a service that enables you to sell your unwanted Macs, iPhones and iPads. Once a price is agreed we can pick up your Apple product, or you can take it to a certified Apple reseller after which payment is made. Either way, the iPhone is then thoroughly checked, refurbished and reconditioned, and listed for sale on the Buy/Sell section of this website.

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. Apple accepts the following iPhone devices:

  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 4

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.

See also: iPhone buying advice

Find out how to unlock your iPhone 4 here.

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 my 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, one Australian Ebay seller has been attempting to sell a brand-new, sealed first-generation iPhone for £55,513, which is a bit extreme. A more realistic expectation is £20, though if it's brand-new or comes in the box you might find that it sells for £100 or more. 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 my 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. Apple offers £25 for an 8GB iPhone 4 that is fully working and free from liquid damage.

How much is my iPhone 4S worth? iPhone 4S value

If your iPhone 4S is in tiptop condition and is a 64GB model, you could get up to £55 for it through Apple's Reuse and Recycling Programme. Although you'll only get £35 for an 8GB model. That's still not as much as you could get from eBay, though. A 32GB iPhone 4S could get you around £50 through the online auction site.

Carphone Warehouse offers just £8.10 for a 32GB iPhone 3GS.

How much is my iPhone 5 worth? iPhone 5 value

If you've got an iPhone 5, the maximum amount that Apple will give you is £95. That's for a 64GB iPhone 5 that has no liquid damage, no display damage and no other damage. We think you're better off taking it to eBay or CEX (who will give you £105 for a 32GB model or £117 for a 64GB device).

Apple's offerings here are less generous than third-party services we checked, including Envirofone (£110 for a 64GB model).

It might be worth thinking about  Apple or CEX's offer, though. We've seen used iPhone 5 models go for around £100 on eBay, which is better than Apple's deal, but not much better. And by the time you've paid postage and eBay's fee you might as well have just traded in the iPhone. 

How much is my iPhone 5s worth? iPhone 5s value

Apple is offering up to £165 for a good-condition iPhone 5s in gold through its Reuse and Recycling Programme. You're much better off taking it to eBay, where we see iPhone 5s models going for £230 and up. CEX isn't as good as Apple here, and offers £163 for a 64GB iPhone 5S and only £145 for a 16GB model.

If you've got a damaged screen or enclosure, Apple drops the price to just £33. But it says that normal wear and tear is okay, so don't worry about a few scratches.

In this case, it seems to be a good idea to take the iPhone 5S to eBay.

How much is my iPhone 6 worth? iPhone 6 value

Interestingly, you cannot take your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus to Apple. They don't accept trade-ins for devices that are this recent - it appears that you'll have to wait till after the iPhone 6S goes on sale.

CEX will give you £290 for a 16GB iPhone 6, or £374 for a 64GB model (these are both unlocked, prices are lower for iPhone 6 models locked to a network). 

Prices are understandably better for an iPhone 6 Plus. CEX will give you £316 for a 64GB Model and £362 for an unlocked 64GB Model.

You'll get a lot more on eBay or through a private sale though. We see 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. We think it's worth trading on eBay or privately for £100.

Read next: How to set up a new iPhone

How much is my iPhone 5c worth? iPhone 5c value

Similarly, Apple has just kicked off a trade-in for the iPhone 5c, offering up to £90 for a 32GB model. CEX will give you a little more, either £105 for an 8GB or £110 for a 16GB model.

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.

Looking for more info on the next generation of iPhones? See our iPhone 6c rumoursiPhone 6s rumours and iPhone 7 rumours.

Macworld poll: What's your favourite iPhone size?

While we're looking ahead to the next generation of iPhone, we decided to ask readers which size of device they're hoping to see this autumn? Are you keen to see an updated 4-inch iPhone, or are the larger screens of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ideal for you?

Let us know your thoughts by filling in this poll: