It's that time of year again! That special window where everyone rushes to shed their old iPhones in order to recoup a little cash before the new, maybe bigger, inevitably better iPhone rears its shiny head.
Fortunately, we're at a point now that you can get at least a little cash for Apple devices that are even a few years old. Some places will take as far back as an iPhone 3G. Here's where to get the most bang for your buck on your iPhone, elderly or otherwise, organized from where you can get the most cash to the least:
How much: $70 - $800
How to do it: Craigslist is probably where you're going to get the most money if you're willing to deal with scammers, spammers, and the prospect of getting murdered for your kidney. You'll have to sort through emails from people looking to rip you off—in the New York area, we always see a lot of spam.
But if you can get past all that, then you might get some significant dinero back to you. We're seeing old (collectors item?) iPhone 3GS up for sale for $70-$80 and brand spanking new unlocked 5S's available for upwards of $800. As always, remember that when you buy or sell from someone on Craigslist, it's best to meet in a public place. We recommend a bank lobby.
How much: $70 - $450
How to do it: The biggest drawback of eBays is that it makes you work for your money. There's no instant sell option, so you'll have to list your phone on the old fashioned Internet auction block. Set an entry price, and watch the bids come in. At the time of this post, an iPhone 3GS is on the market for $70, some iPhone 4's are going to about a hundo, and in general, the iPhone 5S is going for around $450 if it's in pristine condition.
How much: $8 - $400
How to do it: Amazon's Trade-In program is one of your best bets, no matter how old your iPhone is. Even with a 3GS or a 4, you're going to get some pesos back in your pocket. You pretty much do a little Q&A on what kind of phone you have, what carrier (if any) it's on, what condition it's in, and whether or not you have accessories. Then Amazon will give you a flat rate gift card for the amount.
Amazon is actually giving a little bit of money for some of the most archaic iPhones. The 3GS will get you anywhere between $10 and $50, depending on carrier, capacity, and condition. An iPhone 4 is more in the $50 - $90 range, once again depending on the three C's of iPhone trade-ins. iPhone 5's are going for between $160 - $270, and an iPhone 5S could earn you up to $400 if your phone is in hermetically sealed-levels of perfect condition.
Quick point of order is Amazon also gives you the option to sell your phone as an individual seller, but this comes with a bit more of a headache in that it requires you set up an account, and list your phone at a price of your choosing. You get an email once your phone has sold, get money in your account in 14-21 days, and go on your merry way. If this is the kind of effort you're willing to put in, you're better off going Craigslist, because you can get more money (probably) and you can get money directly.
iCracked, Gazelle, NextWorth, Glyde, GameStop
How much: $10 - $345
How to do it: Lazy folks, this bud's for you. Select your phone, determine its condition, get a price guarantee in most cases, and send your phone off in exchange for the agreed-upon amount. These guys will not accept anything older than an iPhone 4, so if you have an antique you're hankering to get off your hands, try BuyMyTronics or Amazon. But they will give you some money for even a broken 4. iCracked and Gazelle, for example will send your butt $10. Anyway, this option is really easy. These resellers will even send you an envelope in which to send your iPhone to them.
How much: $5 - $310
How to do it: Best Buy gives you the option to either interact with humans or do about your business under the shield of computer-based anonymity. Get an estimate on what Best Buy will give you for your device, and either mail it in or bring it to a participating store. Best Buy will give you a gift certificate to Best Buy for your iPhone, with a perfect 3GS going for a measly but better than nothing $5; a good, middle-of-the-road 32GB iPhone getting $225, and a 32GB iPhone 5S on a carrier running $310. Original iPhones are going for exactly zero dollars, in case you were curious. Once you've got your estimate, either find a store or mail in your device, and the store credit will be yours for the taking.
How much: $5.50 - $300
How to do it: You can't help but laugh at these single-digit dollar amounts some places will give you for their iPhones, but at least they're offering something. Walmart's system is pretty standard as far as these things go. Get a quote on your device, establish condition, mail in your phone, and get a Walmart gift card. Walmart is accepting phones as far back as the iPhone 3GS for $5.50, and as new as the 5S, with working condition (by the way, Walmart only differentiates between working and not working, so you don't have much wiggle room) earning 300 bucks.
How much: $5 - $275
How to do it: Okay, we are basically repeating instructions that are mind-numbingly simple at this point, but here goes. Say which phone you have, answer a couple of questions (What condition is it in? Is it working? Do you have your charger?), get a quote, and send your phone off in or trade it in in-store for your money. A working 3GS will get you 5 bucks, and a working iPhone 5S will get you up to 275 smackers.
How much: $75 - $225
How to do it: Apple is the biggest hardass about phone trade-ins. Meaning, if you don't have the newest device in the best condition, don't bother barking up this tree. Apple's only taking as old as iPhone 4's and as new as iPhone 5's, so it's a pretty small window for what you can return there. You also can't really fudge the phone's condition, because you have to answer questions about the buttons, display, enclosure, etc. It's like a short answer test to say, Amazon's multiple choice exam that's graded on a curve. An iPhone 4 will get you $75 if and only if it's nearly perfect, and a 5 will get you a respectable $225 in the form of an Apple gift card. So if you're planning on buying a new iPhone, the cycle just continues.
How much: $1 - $204
How to do it: If you've been following along until now, this is not rocket science. Select which phone you have, get a price assessment, and get cash back once you've agreed to fork over your phone. BuyMyTronics is actually one of the few resellers accepting iPhone 3G's—even a broken one will earn you one dollar. But a dollar is money and nothing is free in this world, so take what you can get. On the other end of the spectrum, a new 32GB iPhone 5S will get you $204.