What you need to do before selling an iPhone

29 August 2017

If history repeats itself, your precious iPhone will drop in value the moment Apple announces a newer model. So if you want to make some money on it to put towards a new phone, the time to act is now.

But before you go rushing off to turn your phone into cash, there’s a few personal security steps you should take.Read on to find out how to protect your info before selling, and how to get the most dollars for your old iPhone.

Backing up and resetting

You absolutely must wipe your iPhone of its personal content before giving it to someone else. You never want to let any of your personal information, especially security information, fall into unknown hands.

Before wiping your phone’s memory, make sure that you have all your content backed up either on iCloud, Google, or on your home PC or laptop.

iCloud backup

If you’re using iOS 5 or later, then iCloud should automatically back up the most important data on your iPhone once every 24 hours. For this to happen your device has to be connected to a WiFi network, plugged in to a power source, and screen locked.

To manually backup go to [Settings] > [iCloud] > [Backup].

Once the backup is complete, remember to deactivate the iPhone from your iCloud account.

Go to www.icloud.com/find, click on 'Devices' at the top of the screen and select the iPhone you are selling and choose Remove from Account.

iTunes backup

You can manually back your iPhone up to a PC, Mac or laptop via iTunes.

Right click on your iPhone in iTunes under Devices and click [Back Up]. Wait until the process is finished before disconnecting; this could take a while, depending on the amount of information on your iPhone.

Resetting your iPhone

This part is easy. 

Go to [Settings] > [General] > [Reset] > [Erase All Content and Settings]

This will completely wipe your phone clean and reset it to its out-of-the-box factory default settings.

Auctioning on eBay

There are a few options for trading in iPhones - but remember, the following figures and numbers are subject to change.

eBay is always a good option. Make sure you include your model type, color, and on-board storage size, i.e. “iPhone 7, 16GB model, Rose Gold”. It’s a good idea to start your auction a bit lower than the current going rate of similar models that already have bids running on them. You should also pay attention to buying trends, like how a white model is more likely to sell for less than a black one.

How much can I get?

At the time of writing, a used, unlocked 32GB iPhone 7 lists as a 'buy it now' item for a little less than $600 on eBay, although auction prices are usually lower. Sellers should remember that, more than anywhere else, eBay prices are subject to change - and if you're listing an item at low cost hoping to spark a bidding war, you may be disappointed. 

To maximize your phone's selling potential, do your own search for other models of your type currently being sold and price your device accordingly. Try your best to pack it up as you originally bought it, and if you still have the box, use it. If possible, include all the original accessories; if you don't have them, you'll probably need to lower your asking price.

Trade your iPhone for cash

If you’d prefer not to roll the dice with strangers, there are businesses that make selling your old phones very easy, and from personal experience these services are painless to deal with and quick to pay once they have received your handset.

You select your phone model, answer some basic questions about the condition of your device, and the website gives you a quote. The company then sends you out a box to safely send your phone in. Once they have inspected your handset and ensured its in the condition you described, you receive your money via check or direct bank transfer.

Essentially, these businesses work like pawn shops, so they are required to operate like them. This means you'll probably need to send them a photocopy of your I.D. before they can take your old phones.


Gazelle is a trade-in site that will give you money for your device, and accepts models from the iPhone 5 all the way up to the iPhone 7 Plus. 

You'll need to answer a few questions that will let Gazelle know your phone's condition. 

If you like their offer, complete the check out process and pick your payment option: check, Paypal, or Amazon.com gift card. Shipping is free and the offer is good for 30 days.   Also note that if what you send in does not match the condition you described online, you will be given a revised offer. You'll have the option to decline the new offer. 


Glyde offers a straightforward website where you can sell and buy used iPhones. To sell your device, provide your device's model number, carrier, color and condition and answer several questions about your phone's condition. The site gives you the market price--which is what the customer will pay, not what you'll pocket. Glyde charges a 15% transaction fee.

Note again that market prices can change daily but Glyde is know as offering one of the highest percentage of return from a third-party vendor.


Swappa is yet another selling option and accepts models from the iPhone 5 all the way up to the iPhone 7 Plus.  Swappa has no seller fees (unless you upgrade your listing to be featured) but they use PayPal which charges a small fee for all payments. 

Another big plus is that Swappa reviews and approves all devices before they can be bought, so all devices must meet quality and require verification photos to prove device ownership. 

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