How to sell your old iPhone before you upgrade


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Used iPhones can hold their value well if kept in good condition and some vendors will even give you money for broken handsets.

So if you're in the market for a new iPhone, now might be the time to start thinking about getting a good deal on your old phone so you can trade up.

Here are tips on what to do before you sell and how to get the best value.

how to sell your old iphone for cash

1. Back up your iPhone

Before doing anything else with your old iPhone you should make a backup so that you have it for your next iPhone, and then wipe the device. There are a few steps to this depending on whether you're backing up to iCloud, or to a Mac or Windows PC. Use this guide for the different processes.

2. Reset your old phone

Now that you're all backed up, you need to wipe off your information by resetting the device. The first part of the process is removing your Apple ID from your phone. If you don't do this, whoever you sell it to won't be able to use it:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap your name at the top of the Settings menu
  • Tap Find My and then Find My iPhone
  • Toggle Find My iPhone to off
  • Go back to the Apple ID menu (the one where you first clicked Find My) and scroll down and tap Sign Out

After, you can erase your phone:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap General
  • Tap Reset
  • Tap Erase All Content and Settings

This will completely wipe your phone clean and reset it to its out-of-the-box factory default settings. Once that's done, you are now ready to sell.

3. Sell your iPhone

When it comes to selling your iPhone there are three basic options: telco trade-in, private sale, or using a reseller.

Which one you choose will depend on how confident you are using sites like eBay and how much you think you can get through each method.

Telco trade-in

Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone now all let you trade in your old iPhone for credit toward a new device. The process is fairly similar across all three telcos, but the steps vary a little.

For the most part, expect to get a little less if you're trading in your iPhone to a telco than you'd get in a private sale. You can find Telstra's estimated trade-in values here.


To be eligible for Telstra trade-in, you must be a customer with a postpaid service, and your trade-in value will be applied as credit to your bill within two billing cycles or onto your credit or debit card if you're on an Upfront plan. To trade-in with Telstra, follow these steps:

  • Sign in to My Telstra on the Telstra website using your Telstra ID
  • Go to the Services tab, select your account number
  • Scroll down and click Got an Old Device?
  • Complete the assessment and you'll receive instructions on how to send in your device


If you're a new or existing Optus postpaid customer, you can trade your old iPhone for credit toward your plan. It will be applied to either your first or second bill. To do so online, follow these steps:

  • Select your device on the Optus trade-in website (you can also get a quote for your device here)
  • Enter your details
  • Post your device using a prepaid satchel 

You can also head into an Optus store or request a call back to organise a trade-in.


Vodafone lets you trade an old device for credit toward your Vodafone bill or a new plan. The process involves downloading the Vodafone Trade-In app from the App Store, which will assess the condition of your device.

You'll then need to take it to a Vodafone store, where someone will tell you how much it is worth and then help you wipe it if you're happy to go ahead with the trade. You'll need to bring your driver's license. If there's no Vodafone store near you, you can also call Vodafone Customer Care about making a trade.

Private sale

If you don't want to go through a reselling business, eBay is probably your best option for selling your old iPhone.

Begin by searching eBay for other used iPhones of the same generation, model and storage size as yours to find the going rate. You can tick Completed Items and Sold Items under the Show Only section of the left-hand side menu to see what others have been able to sell their device for. At time of writing, 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max models were selling for upwards of $650.

If you're selling via auction, it's a good idea to set a starting price a bit lower than the current going rate of similar models that already have bids running on them. Sellers should remember that, more than anywhere else, eBay prices are subject to change - and if you're listing an item at low cost hoping to spark a bidding war, you may be disappointed.

When setting up your listing make sure you include your model type, colour, and storage size. "iPhone XS, 64GB, Silver," for example. Try your best to pack your iPhone as you originally bought it, and if you still have the box, use it. If possible, include all the original accessories. If you don't have them, you'll probably need to lower your asking price.

Of course, you can also consider options like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.

Use a reseller

If you'd prefer not to roll the dice with strangers and aren't going with a telco, there are websites that will make selling your old iPhone easy. These operations tend to be painless to deal with and are quick to pay once they've received your handset.

How it works is that you visit the site, select your iPhone model, answer some basic questions about the condition of the device, and get a quote. The company then sends you a box to safely post your phone to them. Once they have inspected your handset and ensured it's in the condition you described, you'll receive your money via cheque or direct bank transfer.

These businesses work like pawn shops, and are required to operate like them. That means you'll probably need to send them a photocopy of your I.D. before they can take your old phone.

Some reputable sites that will exchange your old iPhone for cash include Mazuma, Mobile Monster and Cashaphone. Prices vary across vendors, so it's always worth comparing which site is your best option (and whether you'd be better off trying your luck with eBay).

With all these selling options, you'll always get more money for a newer model. Likewise, if you've got a larger storage model that also increases what you can get paid. And most importantly, the better the condition of your iPhone, the more you can ask. For the best resale value keep your iPhone in a case and use a screen protector to prevent any damage to help keep it pristine for when you're ready to let go.

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Kenny McGilvary is communications manager at WhistleOut.