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How to sell or trade in your iPhone 6 or 6s

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Written by Mia Miller

The iPhone 7 hasn’t even been officially announced yet, but you’re already lusting over its (rumored) pressure-sensitive home button and dual cameras. Problem is, you’ve got theiPhone 6S — it’s barely a year old, and, thanks to wireless carriers’ abandonment of the subsidized smartphone business model, you paid like $700 for it. Here’s how to get rid of it in the most profitable manner possible.

(See also: 4 tips for buying a used iPhone)

Do it right now

Stop wasting your time. The closer we get to Apple’s iPhone 7 announcement, the less your iPhone 6 or 6S will be worth. Apple has a history ofannouncing new iPhones and slashing current-model prices in the same breath. Your iPhone 6S will fetch a decent price right now, but that probably won’t be the case once Tim Cook takes the stage.

According to trade-in site Gazelle.com’s resident gadget expert Amy Rice, the most recent iPhone model drops as much as $100 in value after the new iPhone is released, and previous models can drop between 10 and 20 percent, depending on consumer response.

If you have a backup phone — or can borrow one — sell your phone right now.

Before you sell

Whether you sell your iPhone by yourself or trade it in to a third-party company,there are a few things you should do to make sure your data is safe:

  • Back it up: Back up all of your important data — including contact, photos, videos, and apps — using Apple’s iCloud service or a third-party cloud storage service.
  • Turn off Find My iPhone: Find My iPhone is a security feature that must be turned off before you sell your phone — or nobody else will be able to use or reset it. To turn off Find My iPhone, open the Settings app on your iPhone and go to iCloud > Find My iPhone and toggle it off.
  • Wipe it: Sign out of all apps, services and connected accounts (like iCloud). Then, open the Settings app and go to General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to erase everything from your iPhone. Once this is complete, you can also go to General > Reset > Reset All Settings to restore the iPhone to factory settings, just in case.
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You’ll get the most money for your phone if it’s in tip-top shape, but you’ll still do well if it’s in ‘good’ condition: No cracks in the screen, no big dents or scratches in the casing, no water damage and everything is working well (the phone turns on and holds a charge).

What if your iPhone is damaged?

If your phone is damaged you can still get something for it, even if it doesn’t turn on. It’s not worth it to repair a cracked screen before you sell, but if your screen is only slightly damaged — a small hairline crack in the corner, for example — you may want to sell it on your own instead of trading it in.

According too Cnet, trade-ins generally put all cracked screens, from hairline cracks to completely shattered, into one category, but an individual may be willing to overlook superficial screen damage for a good price.

Option 1: Sell it yourself

Selling your iPhone by yourself will net you the most profit, but it can be risky.

Craigslist

Craigslist is the riskiest option, but you will get cash for your device. The biggest challenge here isn’t finding customers — it’s getting them to show up. So, prepared for flakes.

If you do decide to use Craigslist or another in-person option, make sure you meet your buyer in a well-lit, public place (many police departments offer their parking lots as transaction sites). For the smoothest transaction, make the agreement clear prior to meeting — your customer should know the price, condition of the phone and its wireless carrier in advance.

eBay

If you don’t mind putting in a little work — listing, shipping, and paying a small sales fee — eBay is a better option than Craigslist for selling your used iPhone. Because eBay offers its buyers purchase protection, people are more comfortable buying from strangers.

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The downside? Fees. eBay does charge a sales fee for products that are sold through its site: 10 percent of the final value (selling price). If you accept payment through PayPal, PayPal charges a fee of 2.9 percent (4 percent if sold internationally) of the final value.

To price your device, search for your model on eBay and check the ‘sold’ listings. At the time of this article, these are the going rates (sold items) for used iPhones on eBay:

iPhone 6 (16GB): $250 – $350
iPhone 6S (16GB): $300 – $500
iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): $350 – $450
iPhone 6S Plus (16GB): $400 – $600
The main downside to selling your iPhone on eBay is the potential risk of buyers’ remorse. eBay offers both the seller and the buyer protection, but tends to side with the buyer in the event of a dispute, and scammers know how to take advantage of this. You can minimize your risk by documenting everything and shipping your device via a trackable service with proof of delivery.

Option 2: Trade it in

Trading in your device for cash, store credit or gift cards is the least profitable option, but you also won’t be liable for any issues with the device once it leaves your hands. (Plus, if your iPhone is in less-than-great condition, some companies will still take it — even if it doesn’t turn on at all.) Trading in your iPhone instead of selling it is a great option if you’re willing to give up a little profit for convenience and peace of mind.

I dug around for the trade-in options and found that these offer the most money for used iPhones:

Apple’s Trade Up program

If you have an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus and you plan on purchasing a new iPhone, you may want to opt for Apple’s trade up program, which gets you Apple Store credit. The good thing about Apple’s Trade Up program is that the company doesn’t discriminate based on storage size — a 16GB iPhone 6 in perfect condition can fetch up to $225, which is the maximum amount Apple will give you.

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iPhone 6: Up to $225
iPhone 6 Plus: Up $250
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus: Not available until the iPhone 7 devices are announced.

Best Buy Trade In

Best Buy offers some of the best trade-in prices, but the catch is that those prices are paid out in Best Buy gift cards. If you’re a Best Buy fan — or plan to buy the next iPhone there — this is one of your better trade-in options.
Best Buy’s prices are based on carrier (Sprint nets you the most money) and color (rose gold is at the top, gold and silver are a close second and space gray is not too popular), as well as model and condition.

iPhone 6: Up to $301
iPhone 6 Plus: Up to $364
iPhone 6S: Up to $383
iPhone 6S Plus: Up to $465

Gazelle

Gazelle is a third-party trade-in company that offers straight cash (via check or PayPal; they also have an Amazon gift card option) for your device. If your iPhone is broken and no longer turns on, there’s a good chance Gazelle will still pay you between $50 and $75. Gazelle tends to offer less for carrier-locked phones, so you may want to unlock your phone before trading it in.

iPhone 6: Up to $230
iPhone 6 Plus: Up to $255
iPhone 6S: Up to $350
iPhone 6S Plus: Up to $360

Nextworth

Nextworth, like Gazelle, is a trade-in company that offers cash via check or PayPal. Nextworth also pays for broken phones (and they usually pay a little more than Gazelle does). Unlike Gazelle, Nextworth offers more for some carriers, specifically Verizon. In fact, Nextworth will give you $385 for a 16GB Verizon-locked iPhone 6S in perfect condition, while Gazelle will only give you $285 for the same model. But Nextworth will only give you $270 for a 16GB T-Mobile-locked iPhone 6S in perfect condition, while Gazelle will give you $280 for the same model — remember to check out your specific model on multiple sites.

iPhone 6: Up to $310
iPhone 6 Plus: Up to $350
iPhone 6S: Up to $415
iPhone 6S Plus: Up to $515

About the author

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Mia Miller

Digital Media Specialist

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