Jackpot! While digging through your desk drawer, you discovered your old iPhone. Dollar signs start swirling through your mind as you think about where you can take it to make some quick cash. There’s just one tiny problem: You can’t remember the darn passcode.
So, can you sell locked iPhones? In fact, you’ve got quite a few options. But first, it’s helpful to know what “locked” means, as it can refer to quite a few different things.
What Is a Locked iPhone?
It depends on who you ask! Here are the more specific questions you should be asking:
What Is a Network Locked iPhone?
This means that it can only be used with one network and isn’t “unlocked” for use with others. For instance, your iPhone might be “locked” to Sprint which means it can only be used with Sprint and no other carriers. However, that doesn’t mean it’s network locked for all eternity. In fact, once you finish paying off your phone, you can actually ask your cell phone provider to unlock it for you. Win!
What Is a Passcode Locked iPhone?
An iPhone is considered “passcode locked” when you can’t access the home screen because you have either forgotten the six-digit passcode or don’t know the passcode of the original owner.
What is an iCloud locked iPhone?
An iPhone is iCloud locked (also known as “activation locked”) when you can’t access the home screen because you can’t remember your Apple ID and password or don’t know the account details of the original owner. Typically, if an iPhone is passcode locked, it will also be iCloud locked.
What Is a Remote Management Locked iPhone?
Businesses that provide iPhones to their employees will typically add a “remote management” (or MDM) profile to those devices so they can make sure employees are using their smartphone as intended. The remote management profile allows employers to do things like monitor employee activity and internet traffic, automatically install apps and settings, and a number of other things.
Accordingly, this profile can only be removed by the employer. If this profile is not removed before the employee or employer sells the iPhone, it is considered “remote management locked.”
Can I Legally Sell A Locked iPhone?
Maybe. You can, of course, sell any iPhone you want, but the legality of doing so varies and is often a bit of a gray area. For starters, if you didn’t acquire this iPhone legally (aka you stole or found it), you’re committing a crime (often a felony) by selling it. Don’t do it – it’s just not worth it.
Sell a Network Locked iPhone
If your iPhone is locked to another network, it’s generally legal to sell. In fact, you can sell these iPhones to us here at GadgetGone. Even if you owe money on the iPhone, it’s usually still ok to sell. Typically, when you owe money to a network for an iPhone you financed, they don’t actually want the phone back if you can’t pay your bills or decide to sell it. They just want the money you owe them.
Keep in mind that if you owe money on your iPhone, it may have a bad ESN (or electronic serial number), which will substantially decrease its resale value. So, if you have the ability to pay off your iPhone before selling it, do it. Once paid off, you can ask your carrier to unlock the iPhone for other networks, thus increasing the value.
Sell a Passcode Locked iPhone
Now, if this was your phone and you just forgot the passcode, your best bet is to simply perform a “DFU (Device Firmware Update) restore” on iTunes. This will remove the passcode lock and bring your iPhone back to factory settings so you won’t have to sell it as locked.
Even if it wasn’t your phone previously, you can still perform a DFU restore and it will remove the passcode lock. Or, if you use Face ID to unlock your phone and it doesn’t seem to be working, give this a try.
However, if it’s also iCloud locked or blacklisted, it won’t do you much good as these statuses cannot be fixed by anyone other than the original owner.
If you insist on selling an iPhone as passcode locked, you can still make it happen. But, you’ll have a very limited pool of buyers. So, although GadgetGone won’t buy your iCloud locked or blacklisted iPhone, we will take it off your hands if it’s only passcode locked.
Sell an iCloud Locked iPhone
If at all possible, remove the iCloud lock before selling. iCloud locked iPhones are worth almost nothing and are generally only purchased by companies who scrap them for spare parts. You’ll have a very hard time finding interested buyers, as companies like GadgetGone do not accept iCloud locked iPhones. If, however, you came by the iPhone legally, then yes, you can sell it. Just be sure to set your price expectations very, very low.
Sell a Remote Management Locked iPhone
First, if this iPhone is remote managed by your previous employer, ask them if you are legally allowed to sell it. If you aren’t, they are very likely to find out that you sold it, and then you’ll have to deal with the nasty legal repercussions. Although, if it’s legally your device, simply ask your previous employer to remove the remote management lock and you’ll be golden.
If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to remove the lock, it can still be sold legally as long as it’s your property. There are a few remote management lock removal tools out there. Just do a Google search for “Remote Management Bypass Tool.” But, if you need to sell the iPhone as-is without removing the lock, you will essentially be selling it for parts, so don’t expect to get much for it.
Where To Sell A Locked iPhone
Welp, you’ve done your best to try and unlock your iPhone, but no dice: Your phone is still almost as secure as Fort Knox. So, where can you sell that tricky locked iPhone?
Where to Sell Network Locked iPhones
Not to worry – these beauties can be sold to companies like GadgetGone. They can also be sold almost anywhere else, so you’re welcome to do a trade-in at your carrier or even use Apple’s trade-in program.
Where to Sell iCloud Locked iPhones
Unfortunately, an iCloud locked iPhone can only be sold to a very limited pool of buyers. Two companies known for buying these pesky devices are:
Where to Sell Passcode Locked iPhones
Passcode locked iPhones can usually be sold anywhere, provided you’ve removed your iCloud account. Keep in mind that a passcode locked iPhone with an iCloud account is no different than an iCloud locked iPhone.
If you need to sell your passcode locked iPhone (with no other locks), you’re better off selling it to a company like GadgetGone that knows how to remove the passcode lock. Most carriers won’t accept trade-ins for these iPhones anyway, and local buyers likely won’t know how to remove a passcode lock.
Where to Sell Remote Management Locked iPhones
Selling remote managed locked iPhones is tough because the business can always spy on whoever is using it. That means most people do not want these unless they’re being sold for spare parts.
Instead of selling, consider returning yours to the company listed in the remote management profile or sending the company a letter explaining how you acquired it and see if they might remove it for you. You might be surprised how many companies simply forgot to remove the profile before liquidating it. Just be prepared to return the iPhone if the company asks you to.
Sell Locked iPhones Here
(Sorry, no blacklisted or iCloud locked iPhones allowed)