Getting a new iPhone model and want to get rid of your previous one? Selling your old peripheral has never been easier than it is today. Even better, iPhones hold onto more value than any other smartphone, thanks to Apple’s devotion to technology and continuous operating system updates.
Luckily for you, that means there’s a pretty large secondary market for your old iPhone, and, based on condition, someone is willing to pay top dollar for it. (Including us!)
No matter who or where you choose to sell, there are a few things you need to do before you depart with your device. Here’s what you can do to get your older iPhone ready for resale!
- First, Make Sure You Can Actually Sell It
- Check To See If You Can Unlock It
- Make Sure Your Data Is Erased
- Remove Your SIM Card
- Don’t Be Sloppy, Clean It Up
- Give It a Full Charge
- What If I’m Concerned About Reselling It To Someone?
Carriers have strict rules about bringing pre-owned iPhones to their network, and each has certain requirements to fulfill.
AT&T: This is probably the easiest carrier to deal with when it comes to selling your old iPhone. As long as your iPhone hasn’t been reported stolen, AT&T will allow anyone to use it within their network. (You do want to make sure they’re notified, though.)
T-Mobile: In order for someone else to use your old T-Mobile iPhone, it needs to be completely paid off and free of any contractual obligations. Check out T-Mobile’s IMEI tool to assure that the phone is set to go in terms of any of this.
Verizon: Like T-Mobile, Verizon requires that your old iPhone be paid off and free from any contractual obligations before it can be activated on a new account.
Do keep in mind that Verizon doesn’t support all older models of iPhone on its network. Fortunately, some of these models can be sold as unlocked instead of carrier-locked to the Verizon network, depending on if you took them right out of the box or not. (Check with your carrier just in case, using the company’s convenient IMEI page.)
Sprint: Your iPhone needs to be paid off, free of any contractual obligations, and removed from your Sprint account before it can be activated by a new user. To check if your iPhone has met all of those requirements, use their IMEI checking tool.
If it doesn’t show an error message after the first screen it means that your iPhone is clean for activation. Double check, just to be sure. (You never know about these page errors.)
Unlocked iPhones are worth more money than ones that are locked to a carrier. If your iPhone is eligible to be unlocked, it’s in your best interest to unlock it and get some extra cash. We highly suggest using our guide, which breaks down how to unlock your iPhone (if it can be unlocked, that is).
This step is critical. If you don’t wipe your iPhone before selling it, your phone will be about as much use as a brick to a new user, since they won’t be able to unlock it.
Additionally, if someone manages to figure out your passcode, they could potentially steal your identity and have access to all of your photos, texts, emails, contacts, and everything else you’d like to keep private. That could spell big trouble for you down the road.
While there are several ways to erase your data, the most efficient method is by going into Settings, then following this path: General > Erase > Erase All Content and Settings.
Following this method will remove every trace of your information including your iCloud account. If it comes back up under factory settings, you should be good to go!
Every SIM card has a unique number called an ICCID that is specific to you and your wireless account. That’s why it’s best practice to remove and dispose of your old SIM card before selling it. Steps depend on which specific model you have, but they should be pretty general to follow.
As for getting a new card, the phone’s user should be able to get one either from a carrier in-store or online.
It’s a general courtesy to give your iPhone a good cleaning before selling it to a new owner. Get a clean dry rag and pour a dab of isopropyl alcohol on it, then scrub away. (Otherwise, they may question how you managed to get Taco Bell Diablo sauce all over the back of it.)
Also, check your charge port and see if any grime has accumulated in the bottom. If your lightning cable wiggles slightly while charging, it’s a sure sign that your charge port is filled with lint that needs to be cleaned out.
To do that, get a toothpick or a toothbrush (preferably not the same one you use for your teeth) and scrape along the bottom of the port starting at one end and work your way around to the other end.
Be careful when doing this – if you damage the plug-in port while you do this, you could make the phone unable to charge and render it useless to whoever’s getting it next!
This isn’t entirely necessary, but falls into the “common courtesy” category when it comes to pleasing the party who’s getting your phone. If you’re selling locally, your buyer is going to want to test the iPhone out before buying it.
Not to mention that those that buy them on eBay will want to use it to some extent right away.)
If you hand them a dead iPhone, they may be annoyed by needing to charge it. But, hey, you can always talk about how the phone has come in handy for you – or how you managed to get Taco Bell Diablo sauce on your IMEI card that one time. (Did we mention that Taco Bell is delish?)
Hey, there’s an easier option to take if you don’t feel like going with a direct sale to a person you barely even know – GadgetGone!
We’ll happily take your old iPhone off your hands and offer top dollar value for it. And you don’t need to worry about paying shipping on it or charging it either (that’s what we do here with all our power cords).
Check out the page above to get a quote and see what we have to offer. You might even get more money than the person buying it off you! (And, no, we won’t ask you about Taco Bell – though we probably will recommend getting the Doritos Los Taco at some point.)
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