How much can I get for my old iPhone?

Alex Kidman 8 September 2017 NEWS


If you're planning to upgrade to the iPhone X, it's well worth knowing how much you can get for your existing handset.

With all of Apple's 2017 iPhone models now on market, you can now grab an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X on contract terms from Apple itself or on contract terms with the nation's biggest telcos.

Any way you do it, you're going to be paying premium prices, and the easiest way to reduce that hit to your wallet is to make the most of the handset you've already got by selling it.

Apple's iPhone line is notable because the phones tend to hold their value far better than any other competing smartphone platform, with many Apple fans effectively "swapping out" their handsets after 12 months and viewing the difference in what they sell and pay as an effective rental cost.

The trick to making that work is to maximise the amount you can get for your existing handset. Here's what you should consider, and what you're likely to get for your old iPhone if you choose to sell it.


Condition and age are everything

Before you start, you've got to be realistic about what you're likely to get for your handset. Apple prices its handsets on a storage and screen-size basis, so a 32GB iPhone 7 will be worth less than a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus. Beyond that, you've got to realistically assess the condition of your existing handset.

Is the screen perfectly intact or are there chips or breaks? Is the bodywork pristine or scratched? Do you still have the box and accessories or are you selling just the phone itself?

All of these factors can and will affect what you can demand for your phone, but that's hardly surprising. Folks are going to be far more willing to pay near-retail prices for a unit that looks like it just came out of the box than one that looks like you've let your dog use it as a chew toy.

You're not likely to get much at all for a non-functional handset, but whatever you do, don't throw it in the trash. Smartphones are complex machines made up from a variety of compounds that aren't environmentally friendly if crushed. If you have no more use for your iPhone and can't sell the parts, recycle it through your nearest available e-waste recycling scheme or send it back to MobileMuster.

The relative age of your handset is also a key factor. Don't expect to get iPhone 7 money for an iPhone 4 in this day and age. The further back in iPhone history you go, the less you'll get, and there's definitely a point where you should consider whether it's worth selling at all. You may just want to give the phone to a relative or turn it into an iPod Touch by taking out the SIM card.

You should also make certain that you've cleared all your data and signed out of iCloud and other Apple services before selling your iPhone to anyone. We have a comprehensive guide that will step you through what you need to do before selling your iPhone.


What can I realistically get for my iPhone?

The other factor that will affect your overall selling price is something that affects any sale of goods, and that's how quickly and easily you want to sell.

There are some very simple ways to get money for your iPhone, but what you gain in convenience you're almost certainly going to lose in overall value. If you've got the time and patience to research and compare, you'll almost always find a better deal.

For the purposes of comparison, we're going to work with the idea of selling an iPhone 7 128GB and an iPhone 6s 128GB.

Why those two particular handsets? They're popular, high-storage capacity variants with only a year or two on the clock, which maximises value. If you signed up for an iPhone 6s contract back when it was new, you should be just coming off contract in the next month or so; whereas, if you're keen to always have the latest iPhone, the iPhone 7 128GB is an obvious one to upgrade. We're also assuming that your phone is in essentially pristine condition and that there are no performance problems with these handsets. If you're looking at selling an older handset or one in worse condition, you're going to be looking at lower figures than these.

All prices quoted below are from vendor websites on 8/9/2017 and you should take them as indicative only since prices change over time.

Option 1: Apple Trade-Up

Pros: Quick, easy
Cons: Poor value
Typical prices: iPhone 6s 128GB $210, iPhone 7 128GB N/A

Apple offers its own phone trade-up service for iPhone owners and for owners of Android handsets looking to switch. It's actually run by a third-party company, but can be accessed through Apple stores or by filling out an online form and posting your handset in for assessment and payment. You then get paid in Apple Store credit, which means in theory you could use your iPhone trade-in money for other Apple products. This does mean you're not getting cold, hard cash for your device.

You're also not going to be getting much for your device. At the time of writing, Apple doesn't list a trade-in price for the iPhone 7 128GB because it's the current flagship model. If you wanted to trade in an iPhone 6s 128GB, then according to Apple's online form, you'd get just $210 in Apple store credit for it.

Option 2: Telco trade-in

Pros: Simple if you want to stay with your telco anyway
Cons: Credit, not cash, some low values
Typical prices: iPhone 6s 128GB $315 (Optus) $225 (Telstra), iPhone 7 128GB $500 (Optus) $425 (Telstra)

It's only relatively recently that the telcos have gotten into the smartphone trade-in system, which is slightly different from the "new phone each year" deals that they also offer. Those are worth considering if you're happy to re-contract for a further 24-month period, but what we're concerned with is shifting your old phone entirely.

The way these schemes work is that you're recompensed for your handset with a credit on your carrier bill, to be used at your discretion, but typically against a new mobile plan anyway.

All three of the major carriers have trade-in schemes, although at the time of writing, Vodafone's phone trade-in system does not allow online quotes, so we haven't included it here. Telstra uses the same phone reseller as Apple, and it shows with markedly lower quotes for the same handsets when compared to the quotes from Optus.

Again, you're getting a quick result, but paying the price in terms of flexibility because credit with a telco is not the same thing as actual cash, and you're going to get a lower value for your iPhone overall.

It is worth noting that Vodafone recently ran a promotion to encourage trade-ins towards the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that gave you additional credit for devices, and it's feasible that carriers may adopt a similar strategy when their new iPhone plans are announced. It may be worth waiting to see what's on offer once the new iPhones are announced before you opt for a telco trade-in offer.

Your other option in this space if you're coming to the end of a contract with any of the three major carriers is to opt for their new phone deals that include recontracting. You can find out about Telstra's New Phone Feeling here, Optus's New Phone Trade Up here and Vodafone's New Phone Every Year deal here.

Option 3: Second-hand dealer or pawnbroker

Pros: Quick cash in hand payment on the spot
Cons: Can offer low values
Typical prices: iPhone 6s 128GB $357 cash/$464 voucher (CEX), iPhone 7 128GB $551 cash/$665 voucher (CEX)

Another option to consider when selling an iPhone is to use a second-hand dealer or pawnbroker to get quick cash for your device. Here, you're somewhat at the mercy of what you may be able to haggle from a particular dealer, although if you've got an iPhone in decent condition and of recent vintage, they're at least likely to be interested since they'd be rather easy to sell. You're likely to get more if you're happy to take store credit than cold hard cash, and you're paying something of a price for the convenience.

Prices can vary quite a lot, but we've used UK-based CEX (which also has a small store presence in Australia) for some indicative pricing because the company quotes directly online what they'll pay for a range of items, including mobile phones.

In terms of convenience, EB Games also accepts iOS devices, including iPhones, for trade-in, but has no online presence to check what you'll get for your device, so you'd still need to head to a store. Be aware when dealing with a second-hand dealer that you will need to have identification documents on hand to prove who you are when selling.

Option 4: Online phone reseller

Pros: Actual cash paid to your account, and you don't have to take it to any store
Cons: Have to post in your phone before payment, and you may disagree about condition
Typical prices: iPhone 6s 128GB $340-$530, iPhone 7 128GB $510-$720

There's a strong business in online phone sales, and that kind of competition can work to your benefit in terms of the prices you can get for an existing iPhone handset.

The risk here is that you have to send your device to the merchant who will then assess it and let you know what they're willing to pay, which could of course be a contested matter if you feel that your phone is in better condition than they do. Here's the indicative pricing from a range of companies that specialise in online phone reselling:

Mobile reseller iPhone 6s 128GB quoted price iPhone 7 128GB quoted price
Sell Your Mobile $500 $650
Mobile Monster $530 $720
Mazuma Mobile $440 $570
Cashaphone $400 $600
Fonebank $340 $510

quoted sums are from each website's quote form as at 8/9/17

What's interesting here is the very wide variance in what you might get for a device at the time of writing. Some merchants are more concerned with condition than others when it comes to payout time, so if you do have a scratched device, you may get more from one than another.

It's also worth making sure you're happy with how they plan to pay you. Some merchants use specific electronic methods, and others mail out cheques.

Option 4: Online auction sites

Pros: Greatest monetary return
Cons: More work, more risk
Typical prices: iPhone 6s 128GB $500-$700 (eBay), iPhone 7 128GB $859 (Gumtree) $700-$1000 (eBay)

It should come as little surprise that you can maximise your iPhone earnings if you're willing to do most of the legwork yourself by listing it on an online auction site such as eBay or Gumtree. Again, condition and age play a factor in what you'll get for your device, and there is an element of risk involved, whether you're posting your phone off to your buyer or meeting them in person, and you'll be doing more to earn your money.

Gumtree actually provides a checker for typical mobile phone prices, which is where we've sourced that price for the iPhone 7, although it doesn't specify storage, so your experience may vary there. Oddly, it doesn't seem to think the iPhone 6s exists for comparative purposes.

eBay pricing can vary, but we used completed listings for different handsets ranging from standalone devices to complete-in-box sales.

Want a SIM-only plan to go with your new iPhone handset? Check out these data-high SIM-only plans, compare and save!

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