How to Get the Most Cash From Your Old Phone

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New-phone season is upon us, with Apple expected to unveil the iPhone 8 on Tuesday.

If your heart is set on getting your hands on one ASAP, now’s the time to sell your old phone. That’s perhaps the best way to defray the reported $1,000 cost of a brand-new iPhone 8.

Another option: Take advantage of the flood of iPhone 7 models and older generation iPhones about to hit the market. You’re bound to find a great deal on them, as our partner DealNews detailed last week in “September Is a Great Time to Buy These 7 Things“:

“[D]ata shows the month of release of any new iPhone is cause for massive discounts on older phones. Even Apple knocked $100 off the iPhone 6 last year upon release of the latest gizmos.”

Whatever your next phone is and whenever you buy it, here are five tips to help you get top dollar for your old phone.

1. Start early

Timing is important. To get the best deal, beat the rush, whether you’re using a resale dealer or selling it yourself. Pay attention to release dates.

If getting the best price means selling your phone before the newest model hits the market, consider buying a cheap phone to tide you over. Then keep it as a spare for emergencies.

2. Check prices on dealer websites

Several resale dealers like and buy old handsets, providing an easy way to unload your phone for cash. All you have to do is request a price quote, ship the phone within the specified time frame and wait for payment.

Shop around to get the best deal. Resellers may offer different prices for your old phone.

3. Sell it yourself

You might get a higher price if you sell your phone yourself on an auction site like eBay.

There’s no guarantee, however, that you’ll get the price you want. No one may bid, or your auction might go for lower than you hoped. And auction sites generally charge fees, which cut into your profits.

4. Ask around

Online isn’t the only way to find buyers. Selling to someone you know is usually easier than selling online.

Start by asking friends, family and co-workers. If you don’t have any luck there, try posting an ad on bulletin boards at colleges, churches, libraries and community centers.

5. Trade in

Resale dealers and private buyers tend to prefer newer-model phones in good condition, but that doesn’t mean your old or broken phones are worthless. You could still get credit through a retailer’s trade-in program.

The following retailer programs pay with gift cards, for example:

Before you sell…

Once you’ve locked in a price, take some precautions:

  • Back up personal data: Transfer photos, videos and other irreplaceable files to another device, like your computer, or to cloud storage.
  • Wipe your handset: Perform a factory reset on your phone to remove any personal information. Android’s and Apple’s websites have directions.
  • Don’t ship until you’re paid: If you’re selling your phone yourself, don’t get scammed. Always wait until you receive the full payment, and the payment clears, before you ship your phone.

Have you been able to wring cash out of your old phone or other electronics? Share your experiences in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Ari Cetron contributed to this post.

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