Editors' Note: We originally published this article on August 30, 2016 as part of our special report on the best places to buy and sell a used iPhone. We've updated the charts in the story to reflect current iPhone trade-in values as of Sept. 2017 prior to the launch of the iPhone X.
That aging iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s you've been toting around for the past couple years must know that its days are numbered. A brand-new iPhone is about to debut, meaning it's time to think about trading in your soon-to-be superfluous smartphone for some cold, hard cash.
But where should you go to sell your iPhone? That depends entirely on what you're hoping for in return.
We put together charts of what you can expect from eight services offering to buy or resell your iPhone. To look up the trade-in value of an iPhone 6, Tom's Guide used an unlocked 16GB space-gray phone as the base model for our comparisons. (In instances where unlocked model weren't an option, we opted for AT&T, which usually fetches a high trade-in value.) For the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus trade-in, we used a 32GB silver model to get our quote.
|Average Marketplace Trade-In
|Average Reseller Trade-In
|Average Retailer Trade-In
|iPhone 6 Plus
|iPhone 6s Plus
|iPhone 7 Plus
Here's what we discovered.
Ebay, Glyde and Swappa Offer the Most Money for Your iPhone
If your sole purpose is to get the most dollars and cents in exchange for your iPhone, Ebay, Swappa and Glyde quote the biggest numbers for what you might get back when you trade in your old iPhone. (If you're trading-in an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, in fact, Ebay's valet service will handle the selling for you, though you'll see less of a return than if you handled the sale yourself.)
That's because you're not really selling your phone to those marketplace services. Rather, the services give you a valuation of what your phone could fetch, and they hook you up with people willing to buy used iPhones at that price. You have the ability to adjust your asking price on either site, with you standing a better chance of getting a nibble when you lower that resale price. In other words, Ebay, Swappa and Glyde offer potentially bigger returns than other resellers, but you may have to wait for the right buyer to come along to reap your maximum reward.
Gazelle and NextWorth are Good for Quick Turnarounds
If you’re more interested in turning your phone into cash or credit in short order, reseller services like NextWorth and Gazelle offer a decent return for phones. The prices they quote aren’t as high as what you'll get from Swappa or Glyde, but the payoff promises to be more immediate. Amazon is just a step behind, with prices varying widely depending not only on what phone you're trying to sell but what carrier it's tied to and what color it is.
Avoid Best Buy and Walmart
Expect the lowest return from big-box retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. It stands to reason, when you think about it — as retailers, they’re looking to buy low and sell high. You'll also find the least amount of variance in prices — a few dollars more or less here and there, depending on your phone's carrier, but quoted prices don't vary all that much.
The Newer the iPhone, the Better Your Asking Price
It stands to reason that an iPhone 7 is going to command a higher return than that iPhone 6 first announced in 2014. Plus-size iPhones tend to fetch more money than their 4.7-inch counterparts, as well.
AT&T and Verizon iPhones Fetch the Most Dough
iPhones tied to Verizon and AT&T tended to get higher quotes from resellers, something that won't surprise anyone familiar with the laws of supply and demand. (Those are the two most popular carriers, so more people are looking to buy phones that work on those respective networks.) Unlocked phones also tend to bring back a pretty penny, though in some cases, Verizon- and AT&T-tied iPhones are worth more to resellers.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.