How to Sell (or Trade-In) Your Old iPhone to Pay for iPhone 8

How to Pay For iPhone 8

With Apple launching the iPhone 8 in the coming few weeks, now is the perfect time for you to sell your iPhone provided you are looking to upgrade to Apple’s upcoming iPhone. By selling early, you will be able to get the most value out of your existing iPhone because once Apple unveils the iPhone 8, prices of existing iPhones in the second-hand market will drop by a huge margin.

The process of selling our iPhone is not as simple as listing it on eBay though. There are quite a few things that you need to keep in mind and follow.

Should You Upgrade?

The first thing that you need to ask yourself is whether you should upgrade to the iPhone 8 or not. If you own an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, an upgrade to the iPhone 7s or 7s Plus will make little sense. However, with the sheer number of changes and features that the iPhone 8 is going to come with, an upgrade to it even from the year-old iPhone 7 will be immediately noticeable.

However, the iPhone 8 is not going to be cheap with the base variant reportedly costing around $900. Thus, even if you sell your iPhone 7 Plus for around $400-$500, you will have to invest an almost equal or higher sum to be able to upgrade to the iPhone 8. If you have the money to spare, I’d say go for the upgrade purely due to the bezel-less design of the iPhone 8 and wireless charging.

What to Do before You Sell Your Old iPhone?

Unlock iPhone
1. Unlock your iPhone

Many carriers lock the iPhone so it can be used only on that single carrier, limiting the number of people who can purchase your iPhone. If you want to expand your pool of potential customers, then you should look into unlocking your phone, which allows the phone to operate on multiple carriers. You should check with your current wireless service provider to see how they handle unlocking a device. Some will do it for free if the phone has been on your line for a certain amount of time while others will charge you a small fee.

2. Backup your iOS device

Like most iPhone owners, you likely have apps, photos and more that you want to transfer from your old phone to your new phone. To make the transition as easy as possible, you’ll need to create a backup of your existing phone that you then can restore to the new phone when you receive it. This step is especially important if you are selling your old phone before your new one arrives.Get that backup done before the phone is no longer in your possession.

iPhone backup - iCloud
If you use iCloud for your backups, the service creates a new backup overnight when you plug in your device. If you want an up-to-date backup, then you can manually create a backup using the following instructions:

  • Connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi network and optionally plug it into charge
  • Open Settings from the Home screen
  • Tap on iCloud > Backup
  • Then tap on Back Up Now to initiate a backup

Alternatively, you can use iTunes to store your backup on your computer. Just connect iPhone to your Mac or Windows PC using the USB cable. Open iTunes and select the iPhone icon in the menu bar when it appears and then select Back Up Now in the information screen. You also should back up your apps if prompted.

iOS 10 - Find my iPhone
3. Disable Find My iPhone

Before you sell your iPhone, you need to disable Find My iPhone and Activation Lock on your device. Activation Lock is an anti-theft measure that prevents anyone from using your phone if it is lost or stolen. The feature is turned on automatically in iOS 7/8 when you enable Find My iPhone. When you sell your phone, you need to turn off Find My iPhone using the steps below before you send it away to its new owner.

  • Tap Settings > iCloud
  • Scroll to the bottom of the iCloud settings and tap Sign Out for iOS 8 or Delete Account in iOS 7 or earlier
  • Tap Sign Out again when prompted
  • Then tap Delete from My iPhone and enter your password

If you forget to disable Activation Lock before handing your phone to someone else, the new owner likley will not be able to use the phone until you deregister the phone using one of the methods described below. The easiest way to disable activation lock is to go to, select the device you sold from the list, and then click Erase. After the device has been erased, click Remove from Account to remove the device from the Find My iPhone service.

Alternatively, you can ask the new owner to sign out of iCloud on the phone and reset the device according to the instructions above. This method also is easy but inconvenient for you as you have to provide the person with your Apple ID and password. As soon as the phone is reset, you need to go immediately to the My Apple ID website ( and change the password or you risk losing control of your account.

4. Erase your iPhone

Last but not least, you’ll want to erase all the content and settings of your iPhone before you give it to someone else. Simply open Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If Find My iPhone is still enabled, you will be prompted to turn it off now. Enter your device passcode or Restrictions passcode, if asked and then tap Erase to wipe the device.

Upgrade Via Carrier Or Sell?

Once Apple unveils the iPhone 8 next week, expect all major US carriers to offer some kind of an upgrade path for existing iPhone owners. Last year, T-Mobile offered iPhone 6s owners a free upgrade to the iPhone 7. However, considering that the iPhone 8 is going to be more expensive than any of the previous iPhones launched by Apple, I do not expect a free upgrade option from carriers this time around. You will likely be able to upgrade to an iPhone 8 from your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus by paying an additional sum of anywhere between $50 to $199.

If you own an even older iPhone, expect the upgrade to cost you even more.

Where To Sell Your Old iPhone

If you are looking to sell your old iPhone to fund your purchase of an iPhone 8, you have quite a few options. There are certain websites that will buy your existing iPhone outright but then you will be paid slightly less. Then, there are sites where you put up a listing of your iPhone and potential buyers will then contact you. You can then negotiate on the final price before meeting with the buyer at a safe and secure place. While this way you are bound to get more for your iPhone, it also requires more effort.

The price of your iPhone will depend on its age, condition, and storage capacity. You can try and sweeten the deal further by bundling cases that you had been using with the device yourself. To get an idea of how much you should list your iPhone for, always search sites like eBay and Craiglist for a similar listing to know about the market value.


Craigslist and other classifieds, like Uncle Henry’s in Maine, are a convenient way to sell your old iPhone. Prices usually are on the higher end of the scale and you have the advantage of being paid in cash with minimal fees (most services are free). The biggest risk is your safety with some people using the classifieds to arrange a sale only to steal the item you are trying to sell. To minimize your risk, you should arrange to meet in a public place during the daytime and bring a friend if needed. You also should keep sales local and not send off your device as most of those offers are scams.

Family or Friends

Giving your old phone to your family and friends is an easy way to sell your device with minimal risk of theft or fraud. The recipients likely will be happy to get a new used phone and you can help them with the transition process if needed.

reuse recycle apple

Apple, Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers will accept your old hardware in working condition and provide you with a credit that you can use to purchase a new device. The amount you receive from your old device will vary based on the iPhone model and its condition, but these services tend to be relatively low paying. They are convenient and offer instant credit in some cases, but you will lose some of the value of your phone. If you want the most cash and don’t mind the effort, your best bet for selling your phone is on eBay or Craigslist. If you want the fast and easy route, then find your nearest retail store with a buyback program. You can even check your wireless carrier as some, like Verizon, also offer a buyback program.


Another alternative is a reseller, such as Gazelle, Orchard, or NextWorth, which will buy your phone from you so they can resell it on eBay or through their own website. Gazelle is the most popular, primarily because the company allows you to lock in a price for your iPhone in the weeks leading up to a new iPhone launch. This lock-in service allows you to secure a higher price for your phone and keep your existing phone until the new one comes out. Gazelle may not net you as much as a private sale, but the company makes it easy by sending you a label and a box that you can use to send off your device. They also pay you in cash as soon as they receive the device and confirm its condition.

Do drop a comment and let us know how you ended up selling your iPhone and for how much. It might just help our other readers!

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