iPhone Trade-In Program
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There are millions of loyal iPhone users and they all share one thing in common – they want the latest and greatest tech from Apple. The first iPhone was initially released and every new model has featured some exciting new upgrades. If you plan on upgrading your iPhone, you can sell your old iPhone to subsidize the costs. There are a few ways to sell your iPhone but trade-in programs are growing increasingly popular. Let’s take a closer look.
What is an iPhone Trade-In Program?
An iPhone trade-in program is exactly what it sounds like – you trade in your phone so you can upgrade to the latest model. In exchange for your old iPhone, you receive a credit towards the purchase of your new device.
There are three main types of iPhone trade-in programs you should be aware of.
Carrier Trade-In Programs (Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint)
Cell phone service providers are the originators of trade-in programs. Popular carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint recognize that most people only need one phone so they use trade-in programs as incentives for customers to upgrade.
Each of these programs has its own unique restrictions for device types and trade-in frequency. For example, it’s common for carrier programs to allow trade-ins and upgrades every two years. Most carriers will accept relatively new devices but it will be more difficult to sell older model phones.
Of course, with carrier trade-in programs, you are locked to a specific provider. If you prefer to go directly to the source, you may prefer Apple’s iPhone Trade-In Program.
Apple iPhone Trade-In Program
Apple offers its own trade-in program that is designed to subsidize the cost of an upgrade.
Trade-in values fluctuate, but here’s an example of recent trade-in values:
When you trade your phone in to Apple, you can save on the monthly cost of the latest iPhone model. You can use Apple’s program for all of the top carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon).
iPhone Buyback Companies
Last but not least, you can sell your phone to an iPhone buyback company. Buyback programs are run by third-party companies that are not directly associated with Apple or the cell carriers.
Customers can get an online offer, ship in their phone, and receive payment. Buyback programs tend to offer the most flexibility since they buy a wider range of device models and conditions. Buyback programs also don’t require you to upgrade on the spot.
Whereas a trade-in program sponsored by Apple or a cell carrier will generally require that you upgrade your device, buyback programs do not include this stipulation. This gives customers the flexibility to switch between carrier and phone models.
Pros and Cons of iPhone Trade-In Programs
iPhone trade-in programs have become the new norm. The question is, are they worth it?
The main benefit of these programs is convenience. By trading in your phone, you don’t have to search for buyers or, worse, let it sit in the old cell phone drawer. That said, there’s a cost for this convenience (quite literally!).
We’ve seen cell phone prices skyrocket since the widespread adoption of trade-programs. Instead of paying for phones in full, customers tend to pay a monthly fee similar to a subscription. Since the full price of the phone is split over two years of monthly payments, companies can charge more for the phone itself. Whereas $750 is a high price tag for a smartphone, $32/month feels more affordable.
Here are the main pros and cons of using iPhone trade-in programs:
- Instant offers
- More frequent upgrades
- Phone price is split into monthly payments
- Lower payouts than traditional selling methods
- Higher phone prices
- Less flexibility to switch between carriers (on carrier programs)
Which Apple iPhone Models Can I Trade-In?
The short answer is – it varies. Every program has its own rules. If you have a newer iPhone, it’s likely that it will be accepted by most trade-in programs. If you have an older iPhone, you may have to do some more research.
For example, Apple’s iPhone Trade-In program only accepts iPhone 6 models and above.
Trade-in value is another consideration. Just because you can trade in your phone doesn’t mean you should. For example, Verizon accepts iPhone 5S and above, but the iPhone 5S value is estimated at only $10.
If you have an older device or a device that is showing wear, online buyback programs will be your best bet. These companies buy a wider range of devices and will even buy broken phones.
What is the Trade-In Value of My iPhone?
Your iPhone’s trade-in value will vary based on three key things:
- Trade-In Program
Newer iPhone models are always worth more. Whereas you may be able to fetch a few hundred bucks for a newer iPhone like the 8 or XS, you probably won’t get more than $100 for an older model like the iPhone 6.
Condition is another factor in your phone’s value. If you have a phone in brand new condition it will be worth far more than a phone with a cracked screen.
Of course, there are no universal price sheets, so you should shop around for the best deals. The trade-in program you choose will ultimately determine the price you get for your phone. For example, at the time of writing this, Apple values iPhone 6 models at up to $100, Verizon values them at $60, and Buyback Boss values them at up to $120.
Trade-In Programs vs. Selling
As mentioned above, trade-in programs have become the norm but you still have the option to sell your iPhone using traditional methods. You can sell your iPhone on eBay, Craigslist and other marketplaces. Of course, most of these methods come with additional costs like listing fees and shipping expenses.
That said, you may want to review your options to make sure you get the absolute highest payout. Fortunately, we did some of the work for you!
Online iPhone Trade-In Program Comparison
We’ve compiled a list of every single online option for trading in your iPhone in one handy article.
Yeah yeah we know what you are thinking “But why would I trust you?”. No need to trust us, we are just making it easier to find the competitors you are searching for anyways.
Swappa – An excellent choice if you have some extra time to spend creating your post, and are willing to wait for your iPhone to sell. In general, this is one of the best ways to get the highest price for your iPhone.
Swappa will not provide a pre-paid label, so you’ll need to pay for shipping, just a heads up! The price you receive after fees is generally very similar to eBay. If you are deciding between eBay vs Swappa, pick Swappa!
Note: Swappa does not accept broken devices, so this will not be an option if your device has chips, cracks, or any functionality issues whatsoever.
Verizon – Trading-in your iPhone to Verizon is one of the most convenient options, but the prices aren’t competitive. Verizon knows they have convenience on their side, and takes advantage of it. Also, be warned that they pay in store credit, so you won’t receive cash from this option.
Apple – Apple Trade In is the same story as Verizon – it’s convenient but you will be paid in credit at a lower value.
BuybackBoss.com – The best option if you are looking for the happy medium between convenience and price. You will take a small price cut as compared to eBay or Swappa, but the process is easy and we provide you with an instant quote & pre-paid shipping label. Just toss the package in your mailbox and receive a check or PayPal payment in days.
ItsWorthMore – Another great option that bridges the gap between convenience and price. ItsWorthMore has a similar online quoting system with guaranteed quotes, but their prices are a bit lower than the quotes on Buyback Boss. This being said, we have only good things to say about ItsWorthMore – they seem to be running a great company.
Decluttr – Decluttr is another “Online Buyback” platform, but they also buy tons of other items like CD’s and DVD’s. While some of their online quotes often appear high, the customer experience is not the best. They have a much lower Trust Pilot rating than most, which is why we wouldn’t recommend them.
If you are selling a broken iPhone – Decluttr has some of the lowest prices, so if you are going to consider them, definitely only do so if you are selling something that falls under their “Used” category.
Gadget Gone – These guys consistently have competitive pricing and we know their team – great group of people. We’d recommend using them if you decide against Buyback Boss.
Note: We do offer a price match guarantee and will price match any GadgetGone.com quote.
Buyback World – We worry about recommending them, as some reviews have indicated they have created large delays in processing times. Also, their quotes are generally not very competitive.
Gazelle – Well known industry leader, but their price quotes are 20-40% lower than others.
EcoATM–JUST. DON’T. DO. IT. Not to be dramatic, but this is the worst option for selling your device. Their quotes are insanely low. Yes, it is insanely convenient, but is it worth losing hundreds of dollars to get your payout a few days sooner?
MaxBack – Not much to say here. Their quotes aren’t all that competitive, and we don’t have any experience with their customer service team.
TradeMore – Their quotes can be decent at times, but we worry about the level of customer service here. I believe this site is owned by Verizon – so it will be more of a corporate experience where it is hard to actually talk to someone.
SellShark – Great option for selling iMacs and Macbooks. We know their team, and they are all super friendly.
eBay – eBay is an amazing option if you know what you are doing. HOWEVER, with so many scammers on eBay, you seriously need to have some eBay experience to ensure you don’t lose out on your payout completely. If you are very experienced on eBay, and are willing to take the time to make the post, ship the phone, etc – this is a great option. Otherwise, we wouldn’t recommend this route.
SellYourMac – Another awesome option for selling your iMac or Macbook. IPad and iPhone pricing won’t be as competitive, as they specialize in the large format devices. We know the owner here, and his team prioritizes a high level of customer service. If selling an iMac or Macbook, give them a look – they will provide you with a personal trade-in experience.
BuybackTronics – Similar to MaxBack, we don’t know much about them. Included on the list for the sake of being thorough and showing all possible options.
Klymen – We don’t know much about them, but in general their pricing seems to be decently competitive.
USell – There are often excellent prices here, but USell partners with a number of companies – some which are not experienced in the trade-in industry.
Being a buyer through USell does not require you to have a trade-in website of your own, so it can be a crapshoot in terms of who you are sending your phone to. It may be worth the risk in some cases, but probably not worth risking it for a couple extra bucks.
iGotOffer – We have tested their process ourselves, and it is smooth. Their customer service is not very personal, and mainly automated, but their pricing is decent. You probably won’t get the best price or service through them, but they are a legitimate business that will get you paid in a timely manner.
SellCell – A great site for comparing trade-in options. We partner with them. Our only warning here is to be wary of very new companies in the industry that have extremely high pricing. Make sure to vet the companies first, and confirm they have high Trust Pilot reviews. There are too many good options to sell your iPhone to risk it for a few extra bucks!
TheWhizCells – Adding them to the list to be as thorough as possible, but we don’t know much about their team. Their pricing is, in general, pretty competitive.
Best iPhone Trade-In Programs
- Highest Price (Added time to create an ad): Swappa.com
- Best Value (Especially for Broken devices): BuybackBoss.com
- Best Value (Close 2nd’s): GadgetGone.com, ItsWorthMore.com
- Best Spots to Sell iMacs and
- Macbooks: SellYourMac.com & SellShark.com
- No, please no: EcoATM
Please share your experience in the comments (good or bad) and we will continuously update this post for the highest level of accuracy. We want you to have the best possible experience when selling your iPhone, even if Buyback Boss isn’t the best fit for you!