Apple's next iPhone is coming next week, which means it's time to consider chucking your old phone for a shiny new one. Here's where you can get the most cash for your soon-to-be-outdated iPhone. Better do it now; prices are going to plummet once the 5S shows up.
We scoured the internet's resellers to find out which ones will give you the most dinero for your device. The good news is, you can still get some money back even if you're completely lazy and even if your phone is smashed to smithereens. To keep things simple, we searched for prices on the 16GB iPhone, with price ranges depending on the condition the device is in. Here's what we found:
How much: $230 - $430
How to do it: Selling on eBay is a little bit more difficult this year, because the site has done away with Instant Sell, which let you straight up trade in your phone. Now you've got to auction it off to the highest bidder, with a used 16GB iPhone 5 in good condition going for around $200, and a mint condition phone of the same storage capacity going for around $430.
How much: $225 - $500
How to do it: If you go the Craigslist route, you've got to be willing to put in some work weeding out the spammers, scammers, et al. With a little patience, this is probably where you'll get the most cash back, but Craigslist also requires the most effort. But beware—at least on listings in the New York area, we're seeing a lot of spam.
If you can overcome that, and if your phone is in bad shape, this is the best route. We've seen 16GB iPhones listed for as much as $550, and while it's unlikely if you wait that you'll actually get five hundo, if you act now, you'll probably get fair value. Just remember, when you sell something on Craigslist, it's always good to meet in a public place so you don't get scammed or murdered. We recommend a bank lobby.
How much: $148 - $346
How to do it: Best Buy runs exchanges both online and in its brick-and-mortar stores, although you get a Best Buy gift card in exchange instead of cash. If your 16 GB iPhone is "like new" and you have all of its accessories, Best Buy will give you a gift certificate for $346.50. If it's in good condition, you'll get more like $330. Poor condition? $148.50. It's worth noting that Best Buy will fork over absolutely zero dollars for broken iPhones. RadioShack, Walmart, and several other resellers will give you at least $70 or $80 even if your phone's totally borked.
How much: $120 - $408
How to do it: The resell process is a little bit different on Amazon now too. You have three options: One, you can fork it over to Amazon for a gift card. Here, you'll say what condition your phone is, whether or not you have accessories, and name the carrier, capacity, and color, and Amazon will give you a flat rate gift card. You'll get up to $377 for a 16GB iPhone on AT&T once you ship Amazon your device. That's down from $390 since Friday, so obviously don't dawdle.
The second choice is to sell your iPhone as an individual seller. Set up an account, answer some questions about your phone and its conditions, and then determine a price. Then you submit your listing, and you'll get an email once your phone has sold. Ship your phone, and once you've confirmed, Amazon will transfer the money to your bank account in 14-21 days. One little issue—we didn't see the iPhone 5 listed anywhere under this section, so that might be a bad sign that they aren't really selling well from individual sellers.
The third option is to sell professionally, but you'd only want to do this if you were selling more than 40 things a month. Which you're not, so don't worry about it.
How much: $115 - $315
How to do it: iCracked is service that will fix your cracked iPhone screen for fairly cheap. It's also willing to buy your old iPhone for $115 if it's busted and $315 if it's like new. The best part is you can enter in your zip code and one of iCracked's technicians will meet you to make the hand off. Or, you can mail it, and iCracked will PayPal you or send you a check once it receives your iPhone.
Gazelle, BuyMyTronics, NextWorth, Glyde
How much: $95 - $401
How to do it: Lazy people, here's your best bet. These sites are just about the simplest, no-frills ways to sell your old iPhone. Answer a couple questions about the model and condition, and get an offer right away. In some cases, you'll even get a 30-day freeze on the offer. That means you can hold onto your phone for the next month, which would give you ample time to get your new iPhone in hand before you have to part with the old one. Gazelle, for one, is honoring prices until October 15. So how much do you get from each of them?
Right now, Gazelle will give you $125 for a broken 16GB iPhone 5 and as much as $320 for a perfect one. The going rate for BuyMyTronics is $98 - $336 and NextWorth is $95 - $340. Finally, Glyde will give from $163 - $401, but they make you pay shipping and taxes so it's actually more like a maximum of $361 in your pocket for a perfect phone.
How much: $80 - $315
How to do it: Walmart's trade-in program works pretty much the same as Best Buy's. Designate what condition your phone is in, mail it in, get a gift card. Pristine 16GB iPhone 5S are going for $315 as of today. Phones that aren't working are still earning $80.
This is a good way to go if you're impatient. If you enter all your info today and create a trade-in account, Walmart will PayPal you right away.
Update: Walmart will start accepting in-store trade-ins on September 21. Depending on the condition of your iPhone, you'll get $50-$300 toward the purchase of a new device. The only condition is you must sign up for a two-year contract from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, or for one of Walmart's prepaid plans.
How much: $72-$300
How to do it: RadioShack will first ask for a brief appraisal of your phone (Does it work? Does it have scratches? Do you have the charger?), then quote you a price. iPhones that don't work are still getting $72, and near-perfect phones are getting $300. After you get your quote, you can choose to trade in your phone in a RadioShack store or mail it in with a prepaid mailing label.
How much: $0 - $336
How to do it: Apple's trade-in program—which is now both online and in stores—will give you an Apple gift card in exchange for your old iPhone. That is, if and only if your device is in really good condition. It can't have any water damage, it can only have a few scratches or scuffs, and it must come with its accessories. Once you get an estimate on your phone, you send it in, and after a few weeks, Apple will mail your credit. The going rate for a 16GB iPhone 5 in peak condition is $336, and iPhones in fair condition will earn you more like $286.