steps to selling iphone online

How to Sell an Iphone & Trade-in (Step by Step)

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By Ash Turner
As CEO of CompareMyMobile.com and BankMyCell.com since 2009, Ash has been a pivotal figure in the mobile tech industry. With a background in managing Brightstar’s PhoneRecycleBank, he boasts extensive experience with global carriers and MVNOs like T-Mobile and O2, and leading manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung.

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| Updated on February 16, 2024
Fact Checked By
Joey Bobiles
Joey is adept at creating comprehensive comparison guides and product reviews for devices from brands like Apple, Samsung, and Google. His expertise extends to thorough evaluations of smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, MVNOs, and phone plans, all while simplifying intricate technical information into easily understandable content.

Learn about our editorial process

Edited By
Kim Juanillo
Kim, an editor with a rich background in digital content management and developmental psychology, brings a unique blend of analytical and creative skills to BankMyCell. With her background in Psychology, Kim is adept at understanding complex concepts and transforming them into engaging, accessible content.

Learn about our editorial process

  • When selling your used iPhone, you will have to prepare it for sale by backing up your data, restoring the phone to factory settings, and identifying your iPhone model.
  • Avoid losing money on your preowned device by determining the best time to make your sale.
  • Find the best deal by comparing options from online outlets, brick-and-mortar stores, and your wireless carrier.

Fast, Secure, and Profitable: The Best Way to Sell Your iPhone!

BankMyCell compares over 100,000+ quotes and customer reviews from 20+ trusted buyback stores every 15 minutes via our data feeds, making us America’s #1 time-saving trade-in supermarket.

Compare popular online, carrier & in-store trade-in offers
BankMyCell - Rated Excellent on Trustpilot.com

Need to Know - Selling Your iPhone

Selling your old iPhone is simple. We’ve broken down the key information you need know to sell your device quickly, efficiently and for the best value. It’s important to make sure you know all the vital details about your device so you can get an accurate quote from buyback companies.

Exact Model, Storage Size & Carrier

How to find device model information:
  • Go to Settings
  • Click General
  • Tap on About
  • Device Model Name will be show
How to find device storage size information:
  • Go to Settings
  • Click General
  • Go to iPhone Storage 
  • Here you can view the total capacity of your device
How to find device carrier information:
  • Go to Settings
  • Click General
  • Go to About
  • The carrier and network will be listed at the bottom of the page

Device Condition & Locked Status

Device Condition:
  • Mint: Pristine condition, still in box
  • Good: Minor cosmetic damage, no software issues
  • Cracked: Smashed or cracked screen or case (see our damaged iPhone guide)
  • Faulty: Doesn’t power on or faulty hardware/software (see our faulty iPhone guide)
  • Liquid: Water damaged devices (see our water damage guide)
Locked Status:
Blacklisted: You can still sell blacklisted devices or iPhones with bad Equipment Serial Numbers (ESN), but finding a buyer for these devices might be challenging.
iCloud Locked: Phones that still have an iCloud account attached are also legal to sell, but like blacklisted phones, finding a buyer for iCloud locked devices can prove difficult.
Financed Phones: You are also able to sell iPhones you are still financing. However, when you sell, the balance isn’t transferred to the buyer. You are still responsible for paying the remainder of the amount that you owe for the phone.
Lost/Stolen: It’s essential to understand that you cannot sell iPhones reported as stolen or lost. You may face severe repercussions if you attempt to sell lost or stolen devices.

Where You Can Sell

To get the most value for your old iPhone it’s best to get a clear understanding of the different places you can sell or trade-in your device. 

  • Online Buyback Stores: You’ll get 100% of the devices value, quick quotes, free shipping and cash payment
  • In-Store: You’ll get 40-60% of the devices value and store credit
  • Carrier Trade-In: You’ll get 25% of the devices value, trade in for another device or store credit
  • ATM Kiosk, Pawn and Repair Stores: You’ll get 50% of the devices value, quick cash in hand payment
  • Marketplaces: You’ll get 20% of the devices value, longer process and risk of scammers, cash payment

Best Time to Sell

The best time to sell is in the months before a new model arrives, usually in September or November. The longer you wait to make a sale, the more likely you will lose money on device. Your phone’s value will also fall rapidly in the three months after the release of a new model.

Backup, Reset and Sign Out

Before selling your device to any company it is vital that you backup, reset and sign out of your device. This protects your private information from being shared as well as allowing the new owner full access to the phone.

Steps to Backup iPhone: 

  1. Connect your device to Wi-Fi
  2. Go to Settings > [your name], and select iCloud
  3. Select iCloud Backup > Backup Now
  4. Wait for the process to complete

Steps to Reset and Sign Out:

  • Log in to iCloud on a different device
  • Your locked device should be listed on the screen > click Erase
  • Confirm that you understand the implications
  • Click confirm again
  • Your iPhone has now been set to its factory settings

How To Get Your Old iPhone Ready To Sell

Identify the Exact Model, Storage Size, & Carrier

Identify the Exact Model, Storage Size, & Carrier

If you’re wondering how to sell an iPhone, you’ll first have to take note of a few details about your device:

Model: For those who are unsure of how to find your iPhone model, simply navigate to your Settings menu. Tap on General and then tap again on About. You’ll see your exact model listed beside Model Name.
Storage Size: You can find your phone’s capacity by navigating to the General tab in Settings again. This time, find iPhone Storage. Here, you can see your phone’s total capacity.
Carrier: You can find your carrier through Settings, tapping General, and then About. When you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see your carrier and network.

Keep in mind that unlocked phones without ties to a particular carrier can earn you more cash. It’s also worth noting that Verizon and AT&T remove their carrier lock 60 days after you purchase your phone.

Identify the iPhone Condition

Correctly identifying your iPhone’s condition will give you the best quote for your device. There are 4 main device conditions

Mint

  • Wear & Tear: ZERO scratches or marks on any part of the device.
  • Damage: Brand new or looks fresh out the box.
  • Software: Your device powers on with no software issues.
  • Hardware: All buttons, ports, and functional parts work.

Good

  • Wear & Tear: Minor cosmetic damage acceptable i.e. very light scratches.
  • Damage: No major damage (i.e. cracks, chips, water damage).
  • Software: Your device powers on with no software issues.
  • Hardware: All buttons, ports, and functional parts work.

Cracked

  • Damage: Has cracks, broken glass or dents on the device.
  • Software: Your device powers on with no software issues.
  • Hardware: All buttons, ports, and functional parts work.

Faulty

  • Power: Your device does not power on.
  • Damage: Has cracks, broken glass or dents on the device.
  • Software: Has software issues e.g. regularly freezes/crashes.
  • Hardware: Has hardware issues with buttons, ports, and functional parts.
  • You can also sell Water Damaged iPhones

Identify the Locked Status

Your iPhone can also be categorized under 4 lock status’. Your iPhone must have all Activation locks removed to be considered an unlocked device – Here’s How to Factory Reset Your Device

It’s important to know your devices IMEI status to get an accurate quote. You can do this by checking the device’s IMEI on IMEI Pro or IMEI 24. To find your IMEI number follow the instructions: Turn your iPhone over > the IMEI number will be engraved into the back panel of the device

No Locks

  • No money owed or monthly finance payments.
  • Clean IMEI i.e. not reported lost, stolen or blacklisted.
  • You control the account/password and can reset the device if told how.

Locked

  • Activation screen locked.
  • Passcode locked.
  • iCloud locked.
  • Find My iPhone active.

Financed

  • Device has outstanding finance payments.
  • Device has money owed i.e. late payments.

Blacklisted

  • Bad IMEI – meaning the device is blacklisted.
  • Device currently cannot be used on a cellular network.

How To Sell Your iPhone To Online Buyback Sites

The best place to sell you old iPhone is to online buyback companies. These stores give the highest payout for your device and offer free shipping. To get the most accurate quote make sure you factory reset your iPhone before sending.

Overview: Selling with Online Buyback Companies

Examples

BankMyCell

Value for Money

You’ll get 100% of the devices value

Payment Type

Cash

Steps to sell your iPhone:
  1. Find your device on the BankMyCell website
  2. Accept the amount the buyback site offers
  3. Backup: Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup
  4. Delete Data: Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
  5. Remove your SIM card & send your old iPhone to them
  6. Collect your money (get cash, store credit, or a gift card

BankMyCell compares over 100,000+ quotes and customer reviews from 20+ trusted buyback stores every 15 minutes via our data feeds, making us America’s #1 time-saving trade-in supermarket.

Best Online Buyback Company

bankmycell logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 4.5

4.4 out of 5 on Trustpilot

BankMyCell makes selling your pre-owned phone easy. With their compare service, you can stop wondering how to sell an iPhone and get right to making a sale. Just select your phone based on its manufacturer and model to find a list of the best prices you’ll find.

You can use the site’s comparison tool to check prices all around the internet quickly. Just using this price comparison engine can save you a lot of valuable time shopping around for deals.

There are no hidden fees on BankMyCell, and shipping your device to their featured stores is free. Their sellers also send money via Check PayPal and Direct Deposit, which means you get paid quickly with a secure payment method used by many businesses worldwide.

BankMyCell only works with recyclers that they hand-select, so you can rest assured that you are selling to a trusted business that will handle your device responsibly.

How To Sell Your iPhone In-Store (Store Credit)

Another option you have when considering how to sell your old iPhone is with in-store credit from retailers like Best Buy, Apple, and Target. The downsides with in-store sales are that the offer you receive will likely be lower than online buyback programs by at least 30 percent, if not more.

Overview: Selling at Big Box Stores

Examples

Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Apple, Samsung, EcoATM

Value for Money

You’ll lose 40-60% of the devices value

Payment Type

Store Credit

Steps to sell your iPhone:
  1. Visit the store of your choice or find the device on their online estimator
  2. Make an agreement on the quote they provide
  3. Ship your device using their specifications
  4. Collect your store credit

Best In-Store iPhone Trade-in Options

target logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 2

2.1 out of 5 on Trustpilot

Target uses the same trade-in service as Walmart, called CExchange, so you can expect a similar process, with the only difference being which store you receive credit. You can also sell broken phones with CExchange, but you shouldn’t expect much in return.

apple logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 1.5

1.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot

Trading in with Apple might be a good option if you want to buy your next phone soon and outright from the source. You can take your old device right into an Apple Store location where they will offer you credit with an Apple gift card or allow you to use the credit toward a new phone.

walmart logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 1.5

1.4 out of 5 on Trustpilot

With Walmart, you can sell and trade in your old iPhone for credit, along with tablets and video games. Though you can’t sell your device at a physical location, you can get a prepaid shipping label. The catch is that you have to pay for packaging yourself.

bestbuy logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 1.5

1.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot

Best Buy offers both in-store and mail-in services for selling your iPhone. You will receive in-store credit if you take your phone to a physical location or an emailed gift card if you mail in your device.

How To Trade-in Your iPhone To Your Carrier

If you’re still unsure how to sell your old iPhone, you can always take it back to your network carrier, but you should expect 20 percent or 30 percent less than you might make with an online buyback solution.

Overview: Trade-in With Carriers

Examples

Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint

Value for Money

You’ll lose 25% of the devices value

Payment Type

Store Credit

Steps to sell your iPhone:
  • Check for upgrade deals that interest you
  • Find your device using your carrier’s online worth estimator
  • Make an agreement on the quote
  • Ship the old phone
  • Collect your payment or your new device

Best Carrier iPhone Trade-in Offers

verizon logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 2

2.0 out of 5 on Trustpilot

Verizon makes things simple by providing shipping boxes free of charge. Once you trade in your device, you can apply the balance to your upcoming bill or choose a gift card to put toward a new phone.

T-mobile logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 1.5

1.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot

T-Mobile assumes that the device you’re selling is in Good condition. T-Mobile site’s trade-in program takes you to a shopping page immediately after you receive your quote.

at&t logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 1

1.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot

AT&T allows customers to trade in their phones at their physical locations to receive credit immediately. They also offer the option for online trade-in too and provide mailing boxes like Verizon.

Sprint logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 1

1.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot

Sprint also lets customers trade in phones in-store and online. You can apply your credit to new devices as well as your Spring bill. Mail-in credit may take up to four weeks to process.

How To Trade-in Your iPhone to ATM Kiosks, Pawn and Repair Shops

If you want to get cash in your hands quick then selling your iPhone to ATM Kiosks or Pawn and Repair shops is a good idea, however this quick option can leave you out of pocket as it’s likely you’ll receive 50% less than what you device is actually worth compared to if you sold it to online buyback companies.

Overview: Sell to ATM Kiosks, Pawn & Repair Shops

Examples

GameStop, EcoATM

Value for Money

You’ll lose 50% of the devices value

Payment Type

Cash / Store Credit

Steps to sell your iPhone:
  1. Visit the store of your choice
  2. Make an agreement on the quote they provide
  3. Drop off your device using their specifications
  4. Collect your cash or credit

Best ATM Kiosk Offers

ecoATM logo

Average Customer Rating:

icon review 3

3.0 out of 5 on Trustpilot

Researching how to sell your iPhone can be time-consuming. With Gazelle/Eco ATM, you can drop your phone off at many in-person kiosks near you with minimal hassle. You don’t have to wait around to make a sale with this service. The entire process takes about five minutes, and you can immediately walk away with money for your device.

How To Trade-in Your iPhone on Marketplace

Another way to make cash selling your old iPhone is through marketplaces such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. These option are often more time consuming as you have to create a listing and wait for a buyer. Selling on a Marketplace also comes with risk of scammers. You’ll likely lose 20% of the iPhone value compared to selling to online buyback companies.

List and Sell on Marketplaces

Examples

Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay

Value for Money

You’ll lose 20% of the devices value

Payment Type

Cash

Steps to sell your iPhone:
  • Create a listing for your device
  • Wait for offers
  • Make an agreement on a price
  • Arrange collection of the old phone
  • Collect your payment 

What’s the Best Time To Sell My iPhone?

When figuring out how to sell an iPhone, it might not be immediately apparent that selling at certain times can earn you more money for your device. As soon as you prepare your iPhone for sale with the steps above, you should consider selling.

But, you should make an exception to this rule if a new iPhone recently hit the market. The best time to sell is in the months before a new model arrives, usually in September or November.

The longer you wait to make a sale, the more likely you will lose money on the sale. Your phone’s value will also fall rapidly in the three months after the release of a new model.

If you sell to an online buyback store, usually the company will freeze your quote up to 30 days. This timeframe allows you to keep shopping for a better deal or purchase a new phone before selling.

Backup Your Personal Data

When you’re selling your old device, if you don’t already have a new iPhone in hand to transfer your data, you should make a backup. This step is one of the most important recommendations you’ll get from anyone explaining how to sell an iPhone.

Creating a backup of your previous device is necessary because it will prevent you from losing any photos or videos you have saved on your current device. Making a backup is a fairly straightforward process—Apple’s support pages help to walk you through the process of saving your data on a computer.

To back up from your phone, first, make sure you’re connected to a WiFi network. Then, under Settings, tap your name and select iCloud. Scroll down to find iCloud Backup, and once you’re in that menu, move the slider to the “on” position. You might also have to manage your iCloud storage data, depending on the size of your backup.

Sign Out and Reset Your iPhone

When you’re researching how to sell a used iPhone, another important takeaway is the process of resetting your device to the factory settings. When you first set up your iPhone, it ties your iCloud account to the device. When it’s time for an upgrade, you need to sign out of your iCloud account and restore the device back to the factory settings.

To sign out of your iCloud account: Open Settings and tap on your name, just like when you made your backup. This time navigate to the bottom of the page and tap on Sign Out. Enter your credentials to sign out of the App Store and iCloud, then select “Turn Off.”
To delete your personal information: Be sure you successfully created a backup before proceeding. Once you backup, in Settings, tap on General and find Reset at the bottom of the menu. Follow the instructions, enter your security information, and confirm you want to erase your data from the device.