The Best (and Worst) iPhone Trade-In Deals

That aging iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 you've been toting around for the past couple years must know that its days are numbered. A brand-new iPhone should arrive on retail shelves in September, meaning it's time to think about trading in your soon-to-be superfluous smartphone for some cold, hard cash.

But where should you go to sell your iPhone? That depends entirely on what you're hoping for in return.

We put together charts of what you can expect from eight services offering to buy or resell your iPhone. Tom's Guide used a 16GB space-gray phone as the base model for our comparisons — or a black phone in the case of the iPhone 5 — except for two noted instances where space- gray phones weren't accepted for trade-in. As you would imagine, iPhones with more storage fetch higher prices from resellers. Note also that resale quotes from Gazelle, Swappa, GameStop and Walmart apply to all available colors for that particular iPhone model.

Glyde and Swappa Offer the Most Money for Your iPhone

If your sole purpose is to get the most dollars and cents in exchange for your iPhone, Swappa and Glyde quote the biggest numbers for what you might get back when you trade in your old iPhone.

MORE: Trading in Your iPhone? Expect to Get Half What You Paid

That's because you're not really selling your phone to Swappa and Glyde. Rather, the services give you a valuation of what your phone could fetch, and they hook you up with people willing to buy used iPhones at that price. You have the ability to adjust your asking price on either site, with you standing a better chance of getting a nibble when you lower that resale price. In other words, Swappa and Glyde offer potentially bigger returns than other resellers, but you may have to wait for the right buyer to come along to reap your maximum reward.

Gazelle and NextWorth are Good for Quick Turnarounds

If you’re more interested in turning your phone into cash or credit in short order, reseller services like NextWorth and Gazelle offer a decent return for phones. The prices they quote aren’t as high as what you'll get from Swappa or Glyde, but the payoff promises to be more immediate. Amazon is just a step behind, with prices varying widely depending not only on what phone you're trying to sell but what carrier it's tied to and what color it is.

Avoid Best Buy and Walmart

Expect the lowest return from big-box retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. It stands to reason, when you think about it — as retailers, they’re looking to buy low and sell high. You'll also find the least amount of variance in prices — a few dollars more or less here and there, depending on your phone's carrier, but quoted prices don't vary all that much.

The Newer the iPhone, the Better Your Asking Price

It stands to reason that an iPhone 6s is going to command a higher return than an iPhone 5. Plus-size iPhones tend to fetch more money than their 4.7-inch counterparts, as well. One exception to the Newer Is Better rule would be the iPhone SE, which commands less money, thanks to its lower price tag; also the SE has hit the market so recently, several services aren’t even offering quotes on its resale value yet.

AT&T and Verizon iPhones Fetch the Most Dough

iPhones tied to Verizon and AT&T tended to get higher quotes from resellers, something that won't surprise anyone familiar with the laws of supply and demand. (Those are the two most popular carriers, so more people are looking to buy phones that work on those respective networks.) Unlocked phones also tend to bring back a pretty penny, though in some cases, Verizon- and AT&T-tied iPhones are worth more to resellers.

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Author Bio


Philip Michaels, Senior Editor

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.