Want to sell your old iPhone - perhaps with one eye on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR? 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 selling options that will get you the most money for your old iPhone. We'll also offer some advice on how to prepare your iPhone for sale.
Finally, we 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.
If you haven't yet made your mind up what you will do with the money once you have sold your old phone, have a look at our iPhone buying guide.
Preparing your iPhone for sale
Before you sell your iPhone, you'll need to make sure you've wiped everything stored on it, to prevent the person who buys it getting access to your sensitive data. This isn't just about embarrassment: it could lead to fraud or identity theft.
Wiping an Apple device is a fairly simple process, which we explain in our article How to factory-reset an iPhone.
We'd advise you not to be tempted to sell your iPhone with data intact, even if you believe the data itself adds to the object's value. (When the game Flappy Bird was removed from the iOS App Store in 2014, for example, users began selling older iPhones for higher prices on eBay by advertising the fact that they had the game 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 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.
Best places to sell an iPhone
You can get a reasonable amount of money for your old iPhone from Apple or a third-party buyback company, particularly if you've kept it in good condition.
Apple itself offers a fair deal through its GiveBack programme, which could get you up to £550 for your old smartphone. (Yes, it doesn't even have to be an iPhone!)
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, age and spec 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 (you'll get an Apple Store Gift Card).
If you choose to go through the trade-in process online, you'll need to visit Apple's GiveBack 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 Brightstar (Apple's recycling partner) has checked your device and determined the accurate trade-in value, that money will be deposited into your bank account.
Another option is to sell your iPhone to one of the following. You might not get as much money as you would selling via eBay or similar, but it is less hassle. You will get more money for an unlocked handset in good condition.
- Game - Game will pay you in cash or credit for your second-hand handsets.
- CeX - Like Game, CeX will give cash or credit.
- CashGenerator - If you enter the details of your iPhone on the website one of the firm's high-street stores will contact you.
- Envirofone - This site will also give you money for your old mobile. They even accept damaged phones.
How much is your old iPhone worth?
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 markup when they sell it on).
You can expect to get more for:
- A newer iPhone.
- A Plus or Max model (when compared to the smaller, same-generation handset).
- High capacity - expect to get more for a 256GB or higher model, less if you only have 16GB on offer.
- An undamaged handset.
- An unlocked handset. (If it's tied to a network, consider unlocking it first - here's how to unlock an iPhone, but consider how much unlocking the handset will add to its value before paying out.)
- An iPhone that's had its battery replaced. (It's possible your iPhone's battery needs replacing. Apple is offering to replace batteries in iPhone models from iPhone 6 onwards for just £25/$29 right now - more information about iPhone battery replacement here.)
Generally speaking a smartphone that's a decade old wouldn't be worth selling, but the original iPhone has a nostalgia factor that can't be matched by later models.
If you're looking to offload the original iPhone, however, you probably won't be too pleased with Apple's valuation. Apple says the original iPhone has "no resale value".
Your best bet is to look for a finding a collector on eBay. In fact, if it's completely sealed in its original packaging it's possible you could get enough to pay for a brand-new iPhone - they're sometimes seen on eBay for more than £1,000. That's pretty optimistic, though, and a more realistic expectation might be £20 to £100. And don't forget 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, although you won't get the support you get from eBay and PayPal if you use that service.
iPhone 3G and 3GS
The iPhone 3G and 3GS, unfortunately, share the original iPhone's obsolescence but can't make up for that with the nostalgia factor, so aren't likely to bring in much money at all.
Even the iPhone 4 is too old to be appealing to most buyers. GAME offers a trade-in value of just £30 for the iPhone 4 (in good condition, with the maximum storage), while CEX's highest offers are £29 (in cash) or £40 (in vouchers).
You may also be able to sell on eBay, but don't expect much more than £30 - and that's for an unlocked model. Note that by the time you've paid postage and eBay's fee you might be better off with CEX or Envirofone.
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 something towards your next purchase from the likes of GAME (the most we've seen recently is £52) and CEX (up to £33/£46).
You might get £35 on eBay for an unlocked handset.
If you've got an iPhone 5, we'd recommend taking it to eBay or CEX. Alternatively, Envirofone offers up to £16. Note that with these services you tend to get more if you opt for credit rather than cash.
We've seen used iPhone 5 models go for up to £80 on eBay, but we wouldn't hold out that much hope that you'd get that sort of price. GAME is another option, and it often price-matches with CEX if you enquire.
You may be able to sell your iPhone 5c on eBay for around £100, 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 try a private Gumtree sale.
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus
GAME will give you up to £157 for a 128GB iPhone 6 in excellent condition or £177 for your iPhone 6 Plus.
You're liable to get more on eBay or through a private sale, though. We've seen 16GB iPhone 6 models going for over £200.
iPhone 6s & 6s Plus
If you are looking to sell an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you can expect up to £186 from GAME. The 6s Plus gets up to £200. On eBay you're looking at around £250.
iPhone 7 & 7 Plus
Apple products hold their value well, and the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus are no exception. However, because Apple continues to sell the handset (currently for £449/$449 or £569/$569) it would be unrealistic to expect a buyer to match that for a second-hand model.
GAME offers £250 cash for a good-condition 256GB iPhone 7 while an iPhone 7 Plus could raise you £331.
You're better off selling on eBay or via Gumtree to a keen local buyer.
iPhone 8, 8 Plus & X
For Apple's iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, you're looking at much, much higher prices. All three are just a year old, and while the iPhone X has been discontinued to make way for the iPhone XS, the 8 models are currently still on sale.
You can expect to get in the region of £700 or more for one of these newer models from eBay or Gumtree, while at GAME or CEX you'll get somewhere around £500.
How to recycle an old iPhone
At its iPhone SE launch event in March 2016, Apple spent a surprising amount of time 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.
Liam has been superseded by Daisy, which is doing essentially the same thing but we're guessing is an upgraded model. This was announced during Apple's iPhone XS launch in September 2018.
This is all very interesting, and obviously nice PR for a company that prides itself (justifiably, we 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 GiveBack 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.