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Where to buy and sell an old iPhone to get the best return on your dollar

ByinTips & Guides | September 13, 2016

Want to sell your old iPhone?

The iPhone 7 is finally official and already available for pre-order with launch date scheduled for September 16, which is this Friday. Although the phone doesn’t offer any dramatic upgrades over the iPhone 6S, it may be a good option for users who are looking for a slightly refreshed design and a few improvements, especially since it costs exactly the same as its predecessor. Speaking of the predecessor, unless you are going to use two phones at once, you are probably wondering where to sell your device to get a generous portion of its value back. Here are a few places to buy and sell an old iPhone to get the best return on your dollar.

Don’t know where to buy or sell your old iPhone? Here are a few options with the best return on your investment.

Following the iPhone 7 launch, hundreds of thousands of users around the world will be trying to sell older models at the best price possible. With such users in mind, Tom’s Guide conducted a little test and compiled a list of the best places to sell your old iPhone.

Where to buy and sell an old iPhone

Method used

The test was very simple and involved buying a 16GB model of the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and then reselling the device without activating or using it. Price accounted for the most points in evaluation of each place, however, other factors such as convenience, ease of use and responsiveness were also taken into consideration.


Glyde is a service which connects smartphone buyers with sellers. In addition to iPhones, it offers a wide assortment of Android devices from such manufacturers as Samsung, HTC, LG and many more. Its website is easy to navigate so doesn’t take much time to find the right link.

The phone used for the test was the 16GB iPhone 6 for AT&T which was bought at $359.50 and sold at $265.60. That’s a whopping 74 percent return, by far the best of all services tested. The process of entering the device for sale is very straightforward. All you have to do is select the “Sell” tab and then complete a form with the phone’s model number, carrier and color as well as describe the handset’s condition, that is whether it has any scrapes and scratches, if any accessories are included, etc, however, verification photos are not required. You also have to create a Glyde account, if you don’t have one, and verify your identity with your credit card or PayPal account and that’s it. Glyde notifies users via email about any action on the device so you always know what’s going on.

When you get an offer which satisfies you, you accept it and then you receive a packing box arrived in the mail, with a prepaid label to send the phone. After the buyer accepts the phone, Glyde will send you your money via a transfer to your bank account, Bitcoin payment or check, though the last option comes with a fee of $2.


Swappa works in a similar manner to Glyde, that is it acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers. The service has an intuitive and easy to follow website and offers various selling options. If you want to sell the device immediately, you will have to accept a lower price. If you agree to wait for a better offer, you can get a very decent return. However, the option to wait for a better offer requires registration through Facebook or Google+ or via email and password. The service was tested with the iPhone 6 for Verizon which was purchased at $465 and went for $325 landing a 70-percent return.

The process of listing devices on Swappa is a little more time-consuming due to a very specific requirements regarding verification photo. The sites gives you a verification number which you must write by hand on a piece of paper, place it next to the phone and take a photo. You must also power up the phone so that there’s no doubt that it’s working. Any accessories you sell with the phone must be photographed with the verification number as well.

Once you’re done with the photos, Swappa verifies and verifies and approves the entry and then you wait for an offer. If no one seems to be interested in your phone, you can revise your listing to lower price. The only way to get your money is through PayPal and Swappa charges a $10 fee for the transfer. When the money is transferred to your PayPal account, you must send the phone within two days. If you have any questions, the service is very quick to answer whether you send your queries via email or Facebook page.


Gazelle, like other similar services, offers a wide range of smartphones including iPhones, Android and Windows devices from a number of manufacturers, unlocked and from all US major carriers. The service was tested with the iPhone 6 for Verizon bought at $406 and sold at $210, that is with return rate of 52 percent.

The website is very transparent and listing a phone for sale takes only a moment. First you have to enter your email address and then fill in a short form with such information as the phone’s brand, capacity and physical condition. Once you’re done, Gazelle gives you the phone’s value and if you accept the offer, you simply choose payment option and send the device without waiting for a buyer. Gazelle checks the phone thoroughly and then sells the handset as certified pre-owned to guarantee the condition. As far as payment options are concerned, you can choose Amazon gift card (which adds an extra 5 percent to your total), PayPal, charitable donation or standard check delivered within 10 days of Gazelle verifying the phone’s condition.


Amazon is the largest online retailer offering probably every smartphone brand and model you can think of. Its website may seem a little “cluttered” and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time selling a phone, but when you find the right link, the process of listing your device for sale is pretty simple. Return rates, however, are rather low. The unlocked iPhone 6 Plus purchased for the test was priced at $549.99 but it sold for only $265 which is barely 48 percent.

Like Gazelle, Amazon employees inspect each device in person before putting it for sale. If the phone’s actual condition doesn’t match your description of Amazon’s assessment, you have two choices – accept a lower price or have the phone sent back to you. Amazon will give you for your phone a gift card which you use to buy whatever you wish from the retailer. Alternatively, you can register to sell your phone on Amazon’s individual seller marketplace but then you will have to provide credit card and tax information.


If you are into gadgets related to gaming, GameStop may be the place to go with your old iPhone, since in addition to cash, the store also offers credit in games, VR headsets and gaming systems. Return rate, however, is not very high – the iPhone 6 Plus for AT&T bought at $459.99, was sold at $240, which works out to return rate of 52 percent. On the plus side, GameStop also accepts damaged or dead phones which will get you $95 and $25, respectively.

You won’t have any trouble listing your phone for sale, but there’s one downside – in order to finalize the sale, you have to go to a physical store and hand in your phone. If you don’t mind the trip, though, the whole process will take you only about 15 minutes and it includes accessing the device, filling in necessary documents and handing in your payment.


Walmart offers a generous selection of unlocked and refurbished phones available for the major carriers as well as the retailer’s in-house Straight Talk network. Its website is very easy to navigate, but return rates turned out the lowest of all tested services. An iPhone 6 purchased at $369 netted a $125 offer, that is only 34 percent. Such low price, however, was partly due to the fact that the phone was tied to Straight Talk. An unlocked phone or one tied to AT&T or Verizon would go for $160.

The process of listing a phone is very simple. You just have to log in or create a new account with your email and mailing address and enter basic information about the phone. Walmart provides a printed label to send the device, however, the only payment option is a gift card which arrives via email within a few days.

Don't know where to sell your old iPhone?

Best Buy

Like other retailers, Best Buy offers smartphones of all brands and models, and pays for your phone with credit. Listing the device online is fast and easy, but if you have any questions, you better prepare for a long wait for the answer over the phone. That said, trading your phone in store may be a better option. That is, if you can accept low return rates – an iPhone 6 for AT&T purchased at $599.99 was sold back at only $ $208, which is barely 35 percent.

Curiously, Best Buy doesn’t require to sell a phone with accessories, so if your device is lacking any cables, Best Buy might be the place to go. Keep that in mind, if you plan to buy a used smartphone from the retailer, in order to avoid disappointment.

Other options

If you have free time and don’t mind jumping through some hoops, you might want to try and sell the phone yourself, for example on Craigslist. Be careful, though, as this options is far more risky than letting a reseller handle the sale. You can also check carriers’ promotions. Currently, all US major carriers are offering pretty good deals which involve a free iPhone 7 if you trade in an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S or 6S Plus.

Buying used iPhones

If you are in the market for a used iPhone, all the above listed services have a wide selection of models unlocked as well as tied to US major carriers. Prices vary depending on the condition of the device with the best range of prices found at Swappa. You will spend the least time looking for a specific model on Swappa and Glyde, while Walmart and Best Buy offer useful filters to speed up the search.

Summing up, if you are interested in the highest return on your phone, your best bet would be Glyde and Swappa. However, waiting for a satisfying offer might take some time, so if you want to get rid of your phone and get your money as soon as possible, you might want to go to Gazelle which scored the third in the test. US large retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart, on the other hand, make listing phone for sale very easy, but offer low return rates.

source: Engadget

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