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