Best & worst Apple iPhone trade-in programs

Don't Waste Your Money

Have an iPhone 4, 4S, or maybe even last year's 5 that you'd like to trade in?

A number of businesses want to hand you cash for it.  But which offers are the best?

Rush expected after September 10th

The new iPhone 5S is expected on Sept. 10, along with a colorful, plastic-bodied iPhone 5C.

Most of the people buying the first batches that hit stores will be people who already own iPhones.  So the key is to get the best possible price for your older model.

And history shows that the sooner you "lock in" a price for your old phone, the better. By waiting until mid-September, so many older models will have flooded the market, that your older phone may be worth $50 or $75 less than if you had locked in a trade-in price now.

The best news is that most buyers will let you lock in a value, then wait 2 - 3 weeks to actually send your phone in.

After all, no one wants to go 2 weeks without their phone.

Where to sell your old phone

The Apple Store , for the first time ever, is running a trade-in program in advance of the new phone.

Best Buy, and reselling websites like Gazelle are also actively soliciting older iPhones.

Forbes Magazine has just compared trade-in offers as of September 1st, assuming a 1 - 2 year old phone in very good condition, that has been kept in a case. 

According to Forbes:

The Apple Store is currently offering:

       -$250 for an iPhone 5

       -$200 for an iPhone 4S

       -$140 for an iPhone 4

Gazelle is currently offering:

       -$315 for an iPhone 5

       -$200 for an iPhone 4S

       -$125 for an iPhone 4

Amazon is currently offering:

      -$359 for an iPhone 5

      -$214 for an iPhone 4S

      -$180 for an iPhone 4

As of September 1st, Amazon was offering some of the highest prices for a used iPhone.  The Apple store, while the most convenient, was offering some of the lowest prices.

Forbes also suggests trying some other trade-in sites such as or Best Buy stores.  

But the highest prices are actually on eBay, where iPhone 5's are selling for as much as $460.  Of course, that requires you to hold a sale and ship the phone.

The worst trade-in deals

Before you agree to trade in your phone, remember to check your contract. 

If your 2-year deal is not up for a few more months, it may not make sense to buy a new phone now, as you could be hit with the full $600 list price.

The worst trade-in deal?  If you decide to upgrade, Forbes says don't wait:  you'll get the lowest price if you trade in your old phone on the day you buy your new phone.

As always, don't waste your money.


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