Interested in selling a locked iPhone? You’ve got quite a few options. But first, it’s helpful to know what “locked” means since 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 networks.
What is a passcode locked iPhone?
An iPhone is considered to be “passcode locked” when you can’t access the home screen because you’ve either forgotten the 6 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’ve either forgotten 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 iPhones so they can make sure employees are using their iPhone as intended. The remote management profile allows employers to do things like monitor employee activity and internet traffic, automatically install apps and settings, etc. This profile can only be removed by the employer. If this profile is not removed before the employee or employer sells the iPhone it’s considered to be “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 in 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 by selling it, often punishable as a felony. 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. For instance you can sell these iPhones to our company, GadgetGone. Even if you owe money on the iPhone, it’s still usually “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, which will substantially decrease its resale value. 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, which will increase the value.
Sell a passcode locked iPhone
If this was your phone and you just forgot the passcode your best bet is to simply perform a “DFU 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 perform a DFU restore and it will remove the passcode lock. However, if it’s also iCloud locked or blacklisted it won’t do you much good as these statuses cannot be fixed by another other than the original owner. If you insist on selling an iPhone as passcode locked you can still sell it, but you’ll have a very limited pool of buyers. GadgetGone will buy your passcode locked iPhone so long as it’s not iCloud locked or blacklisted.
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 you came by the iPhone legally then yes, you can sell it but 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 you’ll have to deal with the legal repercussions. 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 provided it’s your property. There’s a few remote management lock removal tools out there, just do a Google search for “Remote Management Bypass Tool”. 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
Where to sell network locked iPhones
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
can be sold only to a very limited pool of buyers. Two companies well known for buying iCloud locked iPhones are:
You may also have some luck selling locally on platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
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 (that has no other locks) you’re better off selling to a company like GadgetGone that knows how to remove the passcode lock. Most carriers won’t accept trade-ins for these iPhones and any 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 in 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 these 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.