Want to sell your old iPhone - perhaps with one eye on one of the new iPhones? 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 £400 for your old smartphone. (Yes, it doesn't even have to be an iPhone!) Unfortunately in January 2020 Apple reduced the amount of money offered for iPhones as part of the exchange - it used to be up to £550. Here's how much you can expect to save on the price of a new iPhone if you exchange your old model:
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 can replace batteries in iPhone models from iPhone 6 onwards - more information about iPhone battery replacement here.)
Next we'll go through the various types of iPhones so you can see what they might be worth. Below we quote the prices we've seen for the highest capactity, unlocked model, that is in good condition. So expect less!
One reason why second hand prices aren't great is that it's actually easy to buy a refurbished iPhone from Apple and other stockists (namely those mentioned below who will buy your old iPhone and then fix any problems with it before selling on). Buyers benefit from buying these refurbished models as they can have some confidence that they will actually work as advertised.
Generally speaking a smartphone that's over 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 and many trade in places no longer accept them. GAME offers a trade-in value of just £20 for the iPhone 4 (in good condition, 16GB model, unlocked), while CEX's highest offers are £18 (in cash). Note that with these services you tend to get more if you opt for credit (e.g. vouchers to spend in store) rather than cash.
You may also be able to sell on eBay, but don't expect much more than £15 - and that's for an unlocked model. Plus you've got to pay postage and eBay's fee.
The iPhone 4s isn't a lot easier to trade-in than the 4. If it's in really good condition you might find that you can get something towards your next purchase from the likes of GAME (the most we've seen recently is £32) and CEX (up to £28).
You might get about £33 on eBay for an unlocked handset.
We've seen used iPhone 5 models go for up to £35 on eBay, but we wouldn't hold out that much hope that you'd get that sort of price.
You may be able to sell your iPhone 5c on eBay for around £35, 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 about £99 for a 128GB iPhone 6 in excellent condition or £120 for your iPhone 6 Plus.
You might might get more on eBay or through a private sale, though. We've seen 16GB iPhone 6 models going for over £60.
iPhone 6s & 6s Plus
If you are looking to sell an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you can expect up to £100 from GAME for the 6s and £132 for the Plus. On eBay you're looking at around £150.
iPhone 7 & 7 Plus
Apple products hold their value well, and the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus are no exception. Apple continued to sell the handset up until September 2019, and you may be able to still find a new model available. When Apple was still selling the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus it cost £449/$449 or £569/$569 so it would be unrealistic to expect a buyer to match that for a second-hand model.
You may be 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. While the iPhone X was discontinued, the 8 models are still on sale at Apple where they start at £479 or £579.
How to recycle an old iPhone
At its iPhone SE launch event back 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.