Back to Articles


Date: Apr 22, 2013
No Need to Wait for The Antiques Roadshow to Hit Town.

Antiques appraisers are great for your grandma's saltshaker and Elvis plate collection, but for iPhones, not so much. Which is a drag, because when setting out to sell an old iPhone, owners find a surprisingly wide range of prices.

What’s it’s worth aside, there are three ways to sell your old iPhone: eBay, third party online buyers and Apple itself. Let's start with eBay.

Virtually every model of the iPhone is being auctioned on eBay, including all the different sizes in terms of memory, locked and unlocked, and iPhones tied to all of the carriers. However, when you narrow your search down to your exact model, there are two more crucial steps to finding its value.

First, at the top of the eBay page next to the big blue ‘search’ button it says, advanced. Click on that to access eBay's advanced search feature. Next, select ‘completed listings.’ Now hit ‘search’ again and you'll just have a list of auctions that are complete so you can see what buyers actually paid for iPhones like yours. Next, as you compare, be sure that you are looking at phones in the same condition as your iPhone. Now you'll know the price range you can expect if you auction your old iPhone. Don't forget to consider shipping charges.

A search for a 32 GB, AT&T iPhone 4S once found completed auction prices ranging from $300 to $430. However, some phones priced even less than $300 didn't sell.

If you don't want to bother with an auction, you can sell your old iPhone directly to an online buyer. Apple pays with Apple gift cards, others pay with generic gift cards or PayPal deposits.

For a quick overview check out uSell, which compares prices from various third-party buyers. The same iPhone we saw on eBay got prices ranging from $60 to $250 on uSell's comparison pricing engine. Prices vary depending on the condition of the iPhone.

When we checked, Apple would offer a $231 Apple gift card for an AT&T 32 GB iPhone 4S in good condition, with no water damage (there's a great reason for a LifeProof case!), including all the cables, wiped clean of data and with no engraving. Remember that a $231 gift card doesn't cost Apple as much as cash costs other buyers because of the company's retail markup. Here are the essentials:

• You can sell your iPhone through an auction or directly to an online buyer
• Prices vary greatly and always depend on condition
• Carefully compare your options before selling
• A LifeProof iPhone case will eliminate markdowns due to condition issues