How I Sell My Old iPhones

Gizmodo (via The Wirecutter) has a rundown of all the various places you can sell your “old” iPhone before or after you get your new one in a few weeks.

I have always sold my previous iPhones on Craigslist for a few bucks more than what it cost me to upgrade to that year’s newer model.

Here’s what I do:

  • Buy a new iPhone on Launch Day and set it up as my new primary device.
  • Geek out for a day or two over the new hotness.
  • Call AT&T and have them “factory unlock” my previous iPhone. Since buying a new device removes the previous one from contract they are happy to do a factory unlock of the old iPhone.
  • I then remove the SIM card, erase and reset the iPhone’s data, clean the screen real well with a microfiber cloth, take some cool and professional-looking pictures that have super-shallow depth of field, and then package it up in its original box.
  • Post it on Craigslist.

It’s likely that I’ll get about $500 for my iPhone 5 if I sell it on Craigslist or eBay. What helps is that, like all my previous iPhones, my iPhone 5 is in near-perfect condition.

In fact, nearly all of my gadgets are in quite good condition after years of use. I am very attentive and careful with my devices — the phone always goes in my left pocket with the screen facing in. I never put anything else in the same pocket as my phone, I never set my phone on a scratchy surface, and I rarely drop them.

I suppose there’s an element of luck that I’ve never had a catastrophic accident that ruined or busted my phone. But for 6 years running, I’ve always had a device that’s in near perfect condition after a year of regular use.

Additionally, I like to include the new Ear Pods and USB charging cable that came with my new device. Putting those in with the old iPhone is a little thing that increases the perceived value and will help me when selling it amongst the thousands of other iPhones that are listed. And since I take good care of my gear, my old Ear Pods and charging cable are still in excellent shape.

However, some folks don’t like the hassle, the scams, or the scary factor of using Craigslist. If that’s you, I’d go with Gazelle. They are easy to deal with, their prices are reasonable and competitive, and they pay directly to you.

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