Technology

How to prepare your iPhone for a trade-in program

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How’s that iPhone in your pocket feeling? Old? Outdated? Just fine, but you want to trade it in anyway? September’s always the time people start thinking about trading your current iPhone in and upgrading to a new device, but aside from financing or signing up through a carrier, the cheapest way to go about getting a good deal on a new iPhone is to trade in the one that you own.

Trading in your iPhone is faster, easier, and safer than reselling. To get the best valuation for your iPhone, you’ll want to follow these steps. Scratches, dents, and other imperfections may reduce what you get back, but perfect or not, you’re practically guaranteed to get at least something for your trade.

Inspect your phone

Once you’ve cleaned up your iPhone, it’s never a bad idea to take pictures of it before sending it in. Take note of the imperfections that you’re aware of, and keep them handy in case you hear reports indicating further damage. Things can get damaged in the mail, and this could very well impact how much you earn for your trade, so it never hurts to keep a log of photos.

Erase your phone

Before you trade in your iPhone, you’ll want to return it to factory default settings. Go into your iCloud settings, ensure that the Backup setting is switched on and that everything that you want to keep is backed up. This will allow you to restore all of your current info to a new iPhone. Alternatively, you can store a backup locally by manually initiating the process in iTunes on a macOS computer or Windows desktop.

Once you’ve made a copy of your iPhone, turn off Find My iPhone, which is located within the iCloud settings. If you have an Apple Watch paired to the iPhone you want to trade in, unpair it within the Apple Watch app. As an added measure of protection, sign out of your Apple ID before wiping the phone. After this, wipe your iPhone by entering the “General” settings option, followed by “Reset,” then “Erase all content and settings.”

Find the best offer

Many retailers and carriers are expected to announce some trade-in incentives when Apple’s new iPhones are announced. We’ll be updating the bottom half of this post with any noteworthy trade-in deals this year as they’re made available. Until then, we’ve pulled together the trade-in values from a few places to keep in mind. One thing has remained constant when trading in iPhones: Verizon models are worth the most due to being carrier unlocked at purchase and having both GSM and CDMA connectivity with a Qualcomm modem.


iPhone X

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

iPhone X

Verizon: up to $633

AT&T: up to $600

T-Mobile: up to $580

Sprint: up to $535


Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

iPhone 8

Verizon: up to $366

AT&T: up to $350

T-Mobile: up to $335

Sprint: up to $330


Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

iPhone 8 Plus

Verizon: up to $469

AT&T: up to $440

T-Mobile: up to $405

Sprint: up to $390


Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

iPhone 7

Verizon: up to $279

T-Mobile: up to $244

AT&T: up to $230

Sprint: up to $210


iPhone 7 Plus

Verizon: up to $340

AT&T: up to $310

T-Mobile: up to $301

Sprint: up to $290

With new flagship iPhones now starting at $1,000, as much credit as you can get will help offset the cost so if you’re thinking about upgrading, follow the guidelines to above to help budget your new purchase this year.


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