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Sell or Upgrade Your iPhone: Find Out Your Options

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Apple’s Upgrade Program is basically a way to lease the new iPhone 8 or X via monthly payments instead of buying it upfront. After 24 months of payments, you own the phone. If you upgrade your iPhone again before 24 months are up, your 24 month pay period restarts. The monthly payments for 64gb models of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X start at $34.50 and $49.91 per month respectively and include AppleCare+ coverage.

iphone 8 and iphone 8 plus wirless charging
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (Photo Credit: CNet)

Apple’s Upgrade Program - is it worth it?

This is a great way to upgrade to iPhone X if you can’t afford to spend $999 for a new iPhone right now. However, a Lifehacker analysis shows that if you can afford to purchase your phone outright,  the wise financial decision is to keep your phone well maintained and continue to upgrade to the latest device every year. So if you can, it’s best to fix your current iPhone and sell it in order to upgrade to iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X models.  

picture of person holding iPhone SE
iPhone SE (Photo Credit: CNet)


How to get maximum value out of your current phone

From big marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay to niche marketplaces like Swappa and Glyde focused exclusively on iPhone sales, you have a ton of options when it comes to selling your device. In this blog post, we’ll help you choose the right one for you.

Before you jump to the site that guarantees the highest payout, think about what other aspects of the experience you value. For example, you need to consider:

  • How much work do you have to put into the phone before selling it?
  • Is it easy to find a buyer?
  • What will the turn-around time be?

In an ideal world, you’d maximize your payout, while minimizing these three potentially annoying aspects of selling an old device. Unfortunately, that’s pretty tough to do. Each reseller comes with tradeoffs, and you’ll have to decide which one suits you best.   

image of iphones being sold on craigsllist
iPhones listed for sale on Craigslist


Show me the money: For those who want to maximize profit

If you care about bottom-line profits and don’t mind the hassle of coordinating with buyers who are notoriously flaky, use Craigslist. You won’t pay any commission and you can command a high price. Craigslist is also great if you’re trying to unload a broken phone, though you’ll undoubtedly get more money, and sell it faster if you repair your broken phone beforehand. If your goal is to upgrade to iPhone X, you’ll need to maximize the price of your old iPhone.

Puls tip: Never sell a phone that won’t turn on over Craigslist or any other site. Always make sure your data is cleared from the device before handing it off to another person.  

iPhone 5 in persons hand
iPhone 5 (Photo Credit: iMore)


Time is money: For the impatient

If you’re looking to dump your old device as fast as you can, consider selling your old phone to a retail store like Apple. You’ll have credit in your pocket immediately, although it’s going to be less than you would have received had you sold your phone via a marketplace.

No better place for an iPhone upgrade than the Apple store, where you can also get all the official accessories.

Puls tip: In order to participate in Apple’s trade up program, your device will need to hold a charge, be free from water damage, and show minimal signs of wear. An unlocked 32gb iPhone 7+ in near perfect condition will earn you a $425 gift card, bringing you that much closer to your new iPhone 8.

If your phone does not meet Apple's trade up program standards, we suggest scheduling a Puls phone repair today. We can easily mend your cracked screen, replace a faulty battery, plus much more. 


The journey is the reward: For those who want a happy medium

Sites like Swappa, Glyde, or eBay are great if you’re not desperate to unload your phone ASAP but you also don’t want to spend a ton of time coordinating the time and place to meet a buyer (who might potentially scam you). These marketplace sites act as intermediaries, so you can feel more secure and enjoy the ride, all the way to your iPhone upgrade.

glyde homepage
Sell your iPhone on Glyde


If you use Glyde, your payout will be capped at $382 for a 32gb iPhone 7+ after Glyde’s 15% commission is factored in. On the bright side, your payout will be cash (not Apple credit), and Glyde will send you everything you need to quickly and easily ship the device to its new home.  

Swappa phone repair
Use Swappa to switch out old devices


Swappa doesn’t give sellers shipping materials, but the site also charges a much lower commission ($10-20 depending on the price of the phone) and doesn’t cap listing prices. So if it’s not inconvenient for you to travel to the post office or buy shipping materials, this marketplace may be well worth it.  

ebay phone repair
Sell your iPhone on eBay


eBay will give you access to a huge number of buyers from all over the world, which in theory should support a faster sale. Like Swappa, eBay does not provide shipping materials to its sellers, so be sure to consider that (along with eBay’s 15% commission) when choosing your preferred marketplace. 

Puls tip: if you’re having trouble deciding amongst Swappa, Glyde, or eBay, why not list your device on all three? Just be sure to remove your active listings as soon as the device sells elsewhere so you don’t disappoint other prospective buyers.


Eyes on the prize: For those planning ahead for the launch of iPhone X

For those of us who have their eyes on purchasing the $999 iPhone X and would like to know their phone's worth now, well we have a solution for you too! 

Apple is accepting pre-orders for the iPhone X on October 27, and it’s expected to arrive at your door by November 3. If you don’t want to wait until late October to sell your current iPhone, use Gazelle. You can lock in a sale price for your current iPhone immediate, and wait up to 5 weeks before sending the device to Gazelle.

For example, on September 18, Gazelle was willing to pay up to $350 for an unlocked iPhone 7 Plus 32gb in pristine condition and sellers were not required to ship the phone until 10/22.


In conclusion

Each site has its pros and cons, so think about intangible aspects of the transaction (convenience, safety, the speed of sale) when you pick your trade-in strategy. See if you can assign a dollar value to these aspects of the transaction to help you price accordingly.

For example, let’s say you have an unlocked iPhone 7 Plus and your primary objective is to earn $600 from the sale so you can upgrade to iPhone 8 or X. This would automatically disqualify the Apple Store and Glyde which are better for sellers who prefer to maximize convenience before payout.  

In this scenario, your best bet is to consider an online marketplace. As far as pricing goes, you’ll want to charge $600 on Craigslist, $620 on Swappa, and $667 on eBay (not inclusive of shipping fees) if you’re thinking about the transaction purely from a monetary perspective.

But if you’re hesitant to meet up with a Craiglist buyer and unloading the device via mail is worth $30 to you, you might consider pricing the phone at $570 on Swappa or eBay. 

No matter how you choose to sell your device, we at Puls want to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table. Give us a call or book an appointment online to make sure your device is in near new condition when you sell it. This will ensure you get maximum value from the sale and your phone sells quickly, allowing you to upgrade to an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or even the iPhone X.

Fix my phone

Puls offers over 30 on-demand home services nationwide, including TV mounting, plumbing, and smart home installations, with same-day availability and seamless booking. We also offer home warranties and property management solutions, making us a one-stop-shop for all home maintenance and repair needs. Visit our blog for more tips and advice.
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