Trading in iPhone 12 for iPhone 13? We have good news

Purple iPhone 12
(Image credit: Future)

While most don’t buy the latest iPhone every year, some certainly do. And for those people eyeing the new iPhone 13 this fall, the online marketplace SellCell has some good news: the iPhone 12’s resale value appears to be depreciating more slowly than its predecessor.

During its first six months of sale, the iPhone 11 family of handsets lost 43.8% of their original value, the site reports. Over the same period, however, iPhone 12 smartphones lost an average of 34.5% 

This figure is also made worse by the unpopular iPhone 12 mini. According to SellCell’s data, the 5.4-inch mini has lost 41% of its value after six months, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has dipped only 28.9%. 

iPhone 12 depreciation

(Image credit: SellCell)

If you’ve got your heart set on the upcoming iPhone 13, the key question is when you should be looking to sell last year’s handset. If the iPhone 11 data is anything to go by, then the sweet spot seems to be the nine-month mark. Given the iPhone 12 came out on October 23 2020, that essentially means right now.

iPhone 11 depreciation

(Image credit: SellCell)

As you can see from the table above, the iPhone 11’s resale value took a steep fall at the 12-month mark which is around the time of the iPhone 12’s arrival (thanks to a Covid based delay, it arrived in October rather than at Apple’s traditional September event, but close enough for correlation to likely mean causation in this case). 

If you miss that sweet spot, it does seem that iPhone value deteriorates pretty slowly after that initial new handset shock, and you can still get a decent price for your iPhone 11 handset even 21 months after release.

If you’re an iPhone owner that finds any kind of value depreciation a bit depressing, console yourself with the fact that it could be a lot worse. Another SellCell analysis found that the Samsung Galaxy S21, one of the best Android phones around, is losing its resale value significantly faster than the iPhone 12.

Apple seems confident that the iPhone 13 will sell well, with one report saying that the company is planning to build 20% more units than this time last year, with the expectation of a possible Covid resurgence. 

The iPhone 13, based on the rumors, is expected to offer a faster A15 Bionic processor, improved 5G, larger batteries, a smaller notch, possible Touch ID support and a number of camera upgrades, including portrait video mode. But the iPhone 13 Pro phones could steal the show with rumored 120Hz ProMotion displays. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.