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How to Sell Your iPhone Safely

What do you do for your significant other after a decade together? You leave it for the latest model. It's been 10 years since the iPhone came out, and on Sept. 12 Tim Cook will walk across the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's new campus and introduce the next iPhone lineup.

Rumors tip three of them. An iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are likely. But it looks like the third, more premium phone might be the iPhone X, a nod to its tenth birthday.

One thing is certain among Apple fans, though. When you see the new iPhones, you'll consider buying one. But with the iPhone X rumored to be priced around $1,000, it won't be easy on your wallet. Selling your existing phone can help soften that blow. But before you pack up your old iPhone and ship it out, you should know there's more to the process than just handing it over and waiting for cash to hit your bank account.

Privacy concerns abound with phones, from photos stored in iCloud to NSA spying, so clearing your phone of all data before you hand it over to its next owner is a must. And don't forget to back up, so you don't have to manually re-download hundreds of apps on your new iPhone.

Below is our step-by-step guide to preparing your phone for sale, as well as a few reputable sites that will take it off your hands for top dollar.

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  • 1

    Back Up

    The first thing to do is make sure you don't lose your mind. And by that we mean your data. Back everything up before you wipe it from your phone.

    On the PC, be sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed. Then connect your phone to your computer. When it shows up in iTunes, go to File > Devices > Back Up. Make sure the backup took by going to Preferences > Devices and checking the date and time of the last backup.

    To back up directly from your iOS device, go to Settings, select your name, then tap iCloud. Scroll down to iCloud Backup > Back up now. If you toggle iCloud Backup to on, it will automatically update photos, accounts, docs, Health and HomeKit data, and settings when your device is plugged in, locked, and connected to Wi-Fi.

    Then, when you get your new iPhone and power it up, you can choose to back up from iTunes or back up from iCloud, which will populate your new phone with all the apps and settings found on your old device.

  • 2

    Unfind Your iPhone

    Having Find My iPhone activated can sometimes block activation by a new owner, so you'll need to deactivate it before you ditch your device. Go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Find My iPhone and slide it to off.

  • 3

    Sign Out of iMessage

    For awhile, iPhone users who ditched their iPhone for another platform without logging out of iMessage were not receiving messages from other iOS users. Any messages sent from one iPhone to another were being received by the old iPhone rather than the new device, so your iMessages were in a sort of message purgatory. The problem is now fixable and really only affects those who are ditching iPhone for another platform, like Android. But it's probably a good idea to shut it off just in case. Go to Settings > Messages > and toggle iMessage to off.

  • 4

    Unpair Apple Watch

    If you have an Apple Watch, save yourself a potential headache later on and unpair it from the iPhone you'll be selling. Place them near each other and open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Go to the My Watch tab and select your watch at the top of the screen. Select the info circle ( ) next to the watch you want to unpair. Tap Unpair Apple Watch and tap to confirm, which may require you to enter your Apple ID password.

  • 5

    Sign Out of iCloud

    Apple recommends that everyone running iOS 10 or above—which is 89 percent of iOS users—sign out of iCloud, as well as iTunes and the App Store, before selling their device. On iOS 10.3+, tap Settings > [your name] > Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.

    On iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Sign Out. Tap Sign Out again, then tap Delete from My [device] and enter your Apple ID password. Then go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.

  • 6

    Erase All Settings

    Don't let anyone snoop on your data. Time to wipe your phone. Head to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings and approve the subsequent prompts.

  • 7

    Remove SIM Card

    In most cases, you can just deactivate your cell phone service on the device and trade it in with the SIM card intact. But that SIM card is the repository of your phone number, various bits of security data, and all the info needed for billing. It identifies you, your phone, and a lot of your activity on your phone. So you might want to remove it before you sell your phone. Fortunately, it's simple. Locate the SIM ejector on your phone (for the iPhone 4 up through the 7 Plus it's on the right side, for earlier models it's on the top) then insert a paperclip until the tray pops out. Remove the SIM card, replace the tray, and you're set to ship your phone off.

  • 8

    Time to Sell

    Now it's time to offload that phone and make a few bucks. But where? Read on for some suggestions.

  • 9

    Best Buy

    If you know that you're going to sell your iPhone and just use the cash to buy electronics, cut out a step at Best Buy. You can trade in your phone at a store or mail it in for a gift card. For a gold 128GB iPhone 7 on Verizon in good condition, you can expect to get about $316; a gold 128GB iPhone 7 Plus on Verizon, also in good condition, will fetch around $325.

  • 10


    Want to sell your iPhone fast? One option is Gazelle. You just select your model, carrier, capacity, and condition to receive an offer. If you choose to accept it, you ship your iPhone to Gazelle for free (Gazelle will provide a box for small electronics over $30). If your device is in the condition you said it was, Gazelle will pay you via check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card. A 128GB iPhone 7 on Verizon that's in good condition can get you about $325. An iPhone 7 Plus on Verizon in good condition should bring in about $350.

  • 11


    NextWorth is similar to Gazelle; just input your phone's specs to get a quote, ship it using the UPS label provided by the site, and get paid via check or PayPal. A gold 128GB iPhone 7 on Verizon that's in good condition can get you about $315. A gold iPhone 7 Plus that's on Verizon and is in good condition should bring in about $345.

  • 12

    Apple Renew

    If you're selling your iPhone to get a new iPhone, then you surely won't mind that the Apple Renew program is going to pay you in the form of an Apple gift card. Visit the site, which runs in partnership with Brightstar, select the iPhone model you have, answer some questions about its condition, get an estimate (and find out whether Apple will pay for packaging and shipping), accept the quote, and get an Apple gift card once your iPhone is received. For a gold 128GB iPhone 7 on Verizon you can expect to get about $375 and for a gold 128GB iPhone 7 Plus on Verizon you'll get around $425.

  • 13


    Are most of your iPhone apps games? Then it's probably a safe bet that you'll do well to turn your iPhone in for some store credit at GameStop. (If you want, you can also get cold-hard cash for it there, too.) Bring your device to your nearest GameStop (estimates are available on the site before you make the trip), get a price quote from a sales associate, and then receive store credit or cash on the spot. A 128GB iPhone 7 on Verizon will get you $310 worth of games and a 128GB iPhone 7 Plus will get you $340.

  • 14


    To sell your device yourself, there's always eBay. The site has a quick walkthrough where you can input your phone's stats before opting to sell it via eBay's traditional auction process or select a Quick Sale option that gets you immediate cash once eBay receives the phone. A gold 128GB iPhone 7 Plus on Verizon that's in good condition and comes without accessories will get about $374. For a gold 128GB iPhone 7 Plus on Verizon that's in good condition and comes without accessories, you can expect about $435.

  • 15


    On Glyde you can offer your iPhone for sale and receive your payment directly in your account, get a check mailed to you, or get paid in bitcoin. If your gold 128GB iPhone 7 on Verizon has its charger and power cable, you can sell it for probably around $414 but without the accessories, Glyde will send you $214 and ship your phone directly to its repair partner. For a gold 128GB iPhone 7 Plus on Verizon, you can get about $465 if you sell it with the accessories and $229 if you send it to Glyde without.

  • 16


    When you sell on uSell, you'll get paid by check or PayPal. A 128GB iPhone 7 on Verizon is worth $332 and a 128GB iPhone 7 Plus for $393.

Read more

Check Also

Apple rebukes Australia’s “dangerously ambiguous” anti-encryption bill

Apple has strongly criticized Australia’s anti-encryption bill, calling it “dangerously ambiguous” and “alarming to every Australian.” The Australian government’s draft law — known as the Access and Assistance Bill — would compel tech companies operating in the country, like Apple, to provide “assistance” to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in accessing electronic data. The government claims that encrypted communications are “increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption,” without citing evidence. But critics say that the bill’s “broad authorities that would undermine cybersecurity and human rights, including the right to privacy” by forcing companies to build backdoors and hand over user data — even when it’s encrypted. Now, Apple is the latest company after Google and Facebook joined civil and digital rights groups — including Amnesty International — to oppose the bill, amid fears that the government will rush through the bill before the end of the year. In a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament, Apple said that it “would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat.” “We appreciate the government’s outreach to Apple and other companies during the drafting of this bill,” the letter read. “While we are pleased that some of the suggestions incorporated improve the legislation, the unfortunate fact is that the draft legislation remains dangerously ambiguous with respect to encryption and security.” “This is no time to weaken encryption,” it read. “Rather than serving the interests of Australian law enforcement, it will just weaken the security and privacy of regular customers while pushing criminals further off the grid.” Apple laid out six focus points — which you can read in full here — each arguing that the bill would violate international agreements, weaken cybersecurity and harm user trust by compelling tech companies to build weaknesses or backdoors in its products. Security experts have for years said that there’s no way to build a “secure backdoor” that gives law enforcement authorities access to data but can’t be exploited by hackers. Although Australian lawmakers have claimed that the bill’s intentions are not to weaken encryption or compel backdoors, Apple’s letter said the “the breadth and vagueness of the bill’s authorities, coupled with ill-defined restrictions” leaves the bill’s meaning open to interpretation. “For instance, the bill could allow the government to order the makers of smart home speakers to install persistent eavesdropping capabilities into a person’s home, require a provider to monitor the health data of its customers for indications of drug use, or require the development of a tool that can unlock a particular user’s device regardless of whether such tool could be used to unlock every other user’s device as well,” the letter said. Apple’s comments are some of the strongest pro-encryption statements it’s given to date. Two years ago, the FBI sued Apple to force the technology giant to build a tool to bypass the encryption in an iPhone used by one fo the the San Bernardino shooters, who killed 14 people in a terrorist attack in December 2015. Apple challenged the FBI’s demand — and chief executive Tim Cook penned an open letter called the move a “dangerous precedent.” The FBI later dropped its case after it paid hackers to access the device’s contents. Australia’s anti-encryption bill is the latest in a string of legislative efforts by governments to seek greater surveillance powers. The U.K. passed its Investigatory Powers Act in 2016, and earlier this year the U.S. reauthorized its foreign surveillance laws with few changes, despite efforts to close warrantless domestic spying loopholes discovered in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures. The Five Eyes group of governments — made up of the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand — further doubled down on its anti-encryption aggression in recent remarks, demanding that tech companies provide access or face legislation that would compel their assistance. ‘Five Eyes’ governments call on tech giants to build encryption backdoors — or else

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