How to trade in your old iPhone and save on a new iPhone XS
If you're tempted by Apple's newiPhone XS range, there's a way to take a considerable quantity of the price sting away.
Apple has announced its new iPhone models and Australian pricing overnight, with the iPhone XS starting at $1629, iPhone XS Max starting at $1799, and the more affordable iPhone XR starting at $1229.
If you've got an existing iPhone in good condition, and especially if it's a recent model, you can remove much of the price sting by selling what you've already to get this year's upgraded model.
If you're on contract for an iPhone through Telstra or Optus, you do have the option of using their phone trade-in deals whether you're on an outright or lease plan, as long as you've been on contract for at least 12 months.
That's going to involve a wait if you got last year's iPhone X, because Apple delayed the release of that handset relative to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus by a month, so right now nobody's had one for a full calendar year. You are surrendering any handset repayments you've made already in favour of a new phone and a 24-month contract if you do this. It's by far the easiest way to get a new handset but it gives you the least back financially.
If you own your iPhone outright, you can sell it to offset the cost of the new model, with a choice of approaches that tip between getting the best possible price and the highest level of convenience.
The easiest single sales method is to use Apple's official GiveBack trade-in service. This assigns you a value for your handset and you either take it into an Apple Store or post it in to receive an Apple Store gift card you can then use to purchase your new handset.
There are catches, though. Apple's scheme is actually run by a third-party business and you have to agree to its rules rather than Apple's if there's a dispute over condition or returns.
Official trade-in values tend to be on the lower side of what you might get from any other outlet. While it's yet to list trade-in values for the iPhone X, Apple's site currently notes that you can get "up to $435" for a traded-in handset. For a phone that might have cost you $1500 or more, that's not great value but it is low friction.
You'll typically get better value out of an online merchant that specialises in phone trade-ins, such as Mobile Monster, Cashaphone or Sell Your Mobile.
Merchants like these will also take dead or broken phones, although naturally you'll get a lot less for those handsets. It's absolutely worth comparing site values, because there's a lot of variance in what you're likely to get.
Here's data quoted for three different iPhone models in "working order" with minimal damage. As with Apple's deal, be careful as you will have to post your handset and await the merchant's evaluation:
|Retailer||iPhone X 64GB||iPhone 8 64GB||iPhone 7 32GB|
|Sell Your Mobile||$820||$560||$320|
|Price data per vendor websites on 07.09.18|
If you're willing to do most of the legwork yourself, the rewards can scale up markedly. Using an online auction or sales site like Gumtree or eBay can deliver even better value.
For example, completed listings on ebay.com.au for the iPhone X 64GB show models typically selling for between $900 and $1200, well above the prices quoted by the resellers listed here. However, it's a lot more work and there's some definite caveat venditor in play here too, as electronics sales with online auction sites are sadly rife with stories of sellers being ripped off by unscrupulous buyers.
What if you're rocking an Android device instead?
The same basic principles and approaches apply but the bad news here is that Android phones, even those from major manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony or LG, tend to lose value much faster than equivalent Apple models.
As such, even for a relatively new handset, what you're likely to get second-hand will be much lower, simply because even "new" versions of those models are typically available for hundreds of dollars less once a few months have passed after their release.
The nature of the technology cycle means that you can't simply trade up your old iPhone for the new models without some cost.
Still, slicing hundreds of dollars off the asking price and then making even better financial decisions by choosing a smart SIM-only plan to go with it can make it a lot more affordable.