7 Places To Resell Your iPhone 6, If You’re Ready For An Upgrade
When Apple announced the upcoming arrival of iOS 13 back in June, one of the biggest talking points about it quickly became what it can’t do: It won’t be able to run on the iPhone 6. As a result, many current iPhone 6 users have begun looking into upgrading their phones — which also means that a lot of folks are wondering where you can resell your iPhone 6. If that’s you — and if you’re hoping you can get at least a little cash in your pocket for your old iPhone before you jettison it for something else — I have good news: You’ve got options. Lots of them.
The second-hand electronics market has always been big, but in our current day and age — where internet access is a necessity for doing things like, y’know, applying for jobs and otherwise simply functioning in our tech-heavy society — used and refurbished devices fill an important spot in the larger market. According to a 2019 report from the Pew Research Center, one in five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users — that is, they don’t have an at-home broadband internet service, relying on smartphones to access the internet. Used devices make internet access substantially more affordable as a result — which, again, it’s more or less a requirement to have in this day and age. And it's worth noting that even though the iPhone 6 won't be able to run iOS 13, it will still work; you'll just have to keep an older version of the operating system on it instead of upgrading to iOS 13.
Reselling your device is also much more environmentally friendly than just throwing it away — smartphones are part of the roughly 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste created globally each year, or about the equivalent of 4,500 Eiffel Towers, according to the 2017 Global E-Waste Monitor report — and with extra money going back into your pocket when you resell... well, the benefits of reselling are such that everyone wins.
According to the estimation tool on the Apple Trade-In site, an iPhone 6 in good condition is currently worth about $70. But where can you resell your old iPhone? You have plenty of options, all of which have different pros and cons. Some bring in more money; some are safer than others; some are easier than others; and some offer financial incentives that aren’t just cash. You’ll want to think carefully about which option you decide to use, but in case you need a few ideas in the first place, here are some spots that allow you to swap your old devices for their current value (which, by the by, might not be the prices I've listed in this piece; they can change quickly, sometimes as fast as from one day to the next):
If the poetry of returning a device from whence it came appeals to you, good news: Apple itself has a trade-in program for old devices. You won’t get straight-up cash for it, but if your device is determined to be eligible for trade-in, you can get either credit towards your next Apple purchase or an Apple Store gift card you can use at your leisure. To get your old phone back to Apple, you can either bring it to a brick-and-mortar Apple Store and drop it off in person, or you can get Apple to send you a prepaid trade-in kit or shipping label so you can mail it off to them instead.
If your device isn’t in good enough shape, it unfortunately won’t be eligible for trade-in — so alas, depending on how worn yours is, there’s a chance it might not net you anything at all. Apple will recycle it for you for free, though, so at least it’s environmentally friendly — and won’t require you to pay anything out of pocket to recycle, like some electronic recycling programs do.
2. Big Box Retailers
A number of big box retailers have electronics trade-in programs that allow you to either mail in your old devices, typically in exchange for gift cards to that particular retailer. Best Buy, Target, and Walmart are all among the big box retailers that have these kinds of trade-in programs; in each case, eligible devices will net you a gift card. The device doesn’t need to have been originally purchased at any of these stores in order to be eligible for trade-in at them, which is nice. (Also, for what it's worth, Target and Walmart both partnered with the same company, CExchange, on their trade-in programs — just FYI.)
For the curious, I ran my recently-replaced silver, 64 GB iPhone 6 in good condition through each trade-in program’s estimation tool found that to Best Buy, it was worth $45; to Target, it was worth $36.42; and to Walmart, it was worth $41.25. Bear in mind that those prices might fluctuate, but right now, Best Buy offers the highest payout — although the catch is that Best Buy is a much more specialized retailer than Target or Walmart, so practically speaking, a Best Buy gift card may not be as useful day-to-day as a Target or Walmart gift card might be.
Also, note that the websites for each of these programs offer estimates only; once you mail your device in — or after you physically bring it to a store — it’ll get fully evaluated, which means the final offer may differ a bit from what the website may have told you. Just, y'know, something to keep in mind.
GameStop isn’t really a big box store — hence why I’ve given it its own bullet point — but it, too, will take your old iPhone off your hands in return for cash or store credit. Note, though, that GameStop doesn’t have a mail-in option; if you want to sell your phone to them, you’ll have to physically bring it to a brick-and-mortar GameStop store.
I’ve actually sold a number of old Apple devices at GameStop over the years, myself; in my experience, as long as you do the work of removing your data and resetting your phone to factory settings before you bring the device to your nearest GameStop, it’s usually as simple as presenting it at checkout and getting cash for it right then and there. These days, though, you can actually go online and generate a “Saved Trade Summary” in advance; you have to use it the day you generate it, but once you’ve done that, all you have to do is bring it to a GameStop store along with your charged, reset device and any charging cables and you’re good to go. Again, you don’t have to have originally bought your iPhone at GameStop in order to trade it in there.
4. Amazon Trade-In
You might be aware of the fact that you can send old Amazon devices — Kindles, Echoes, and the like — back to Amazon in exchange for Amazon gift cards, but did you know the Amazon trade-in program lets you do that for lots of other kinds of devices, too? Because it does! Amazon Trade-In works the same way the mail-in Apple and big box store programs do; you get an estimate for device online at the Amazon Trade-In Store, mail it in, and get an Amazon gift card if the device is accepted.
There is, however, one additional part of the estimation process the others we’ve already talked about don’t have: You get to choose what happens if your device’s final trade-in price assessment is lower than the estimate was. The last question on the estimate form asks you for what you’d prefer; you can select either the option to have the device returned to you for free, or you can select the option to just accept the lower price.
The tricky part is that you have no way of knowing how substantial the gap between the estimate and the final offer might be; it could be just a few bucks, or it could be nearly the entire estimate. For example, my iPhone, which was estimated at $55, could ultimately have been determined to be worth as little as $7 at its final assessment. If I were to select accepting the lower price, I could lose out on the chance to get a better price elsewhere. By the same token, though, if I were to select having it returned to me, the return could happen even if the assessment ended up being $50 — and then find that estimates at other trade-in locations are substantially lower than that one. (Remember, the Target estimate was only about $36.) It’s a little bit of a crapshoot in that sense, so, uh… choose wisely.
5. Your Mobile Carrier
The vast majority of carriers will buy back your old devices when you’re ready to upgrade to new ones. You won’t usually get cash for them; typically, you’ll get credit with that carrier towards a new device or something like that. But depending on your needs, this might be a good — and easy, and safe — option.
AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are all among the carriers that have buyback programs. As is the case with many of the other trade-in services we’ve looked at here, you go online to get an estimate as to what your device is worth, mail the device in, and then get your credit once a final assessment of the device has been carried out. My old iPhone 6—which, again, is a silver, 64 GB device in good condition — is worth $40 at AT&T, a whopping $57 at Verizon, and a mere $27 at T-Mobile, as of this writing.
6. Third-Party Trade-In Sites
If you want cold, hard cash for your old iPhone, rather than store credit of gift cards, you’ll find the most options if you head for third-party trade-in sites. Most of them work as both buyers and sellers; you’ll get your device estimated, mail it into the site you’ve chosen to use, get a final assessment of the device, and then get paid what the device is ultimately determined to be worth by the site via a check, PayPal, or other method. The sites then turn around and sell those devices to other customers, who again will do business exclusively with the site, rather than with the original owners of the devices.
Names in this space that pop up frequently include Buyback Boss, Gazelle, and Decluttr. These kinds of sites will usually give you a better value than a lot of other trade-in options we’ve looked at so far; my iPhone 6, for example, which has thus far generally been estimated at anywhere between $25 and $55, yielded estimates as high as $75 on third-party trade-in sites.
There might be a bit more risk involved, though, as the quality of these services can vary pretty dramatically. You’ll definitely want to do your homework on which services you’re thinking about using before you get the ball rolling with any of them; the reviews for many of them run the gamut from very good to very, very bad — and sometimes, even established companies that once had solid reputations in the trade-in space can see a downslide in later years.
For what it’s worth, GadgetGone, which deals specifically in iPhones, has largely positive reviews at resources like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot as of this writing. Again, though, you’ll want to make sure you do your research before opting to use them or any other third-party trade-in site.
7. User-To-User Marketplaces
Want to sell your old iPhone directly to another human being? That’s what user-to-user marketplaces are for. They might be a bit more work than trade-in services — you usually need to take photos, write your ad copy, and set up the listing for your item yourself — and you’ll need to make sure your potential buyer isn’t trying to scam you; you do, however, get to set your own price, so at least there’s that. Options include eBay, of course; Facebook Marketplace has been gaining traction in recent years; and there’s always Craigslist if you’re feeling brave.
Or, you can head to a website that specializes in electronic devices, like Swappa. This one is different from the third-party trade-in sites like GadgetGone and Buyback Boss we’ve already talked about in that you don’t send your device directly to Swappa itself; they just facilitate sales for devices between buyers and sellers — more like eBay. Swappa does verify that the sellers have the devices they claim to, though; they vet each listing before making it live on the marketplace.
According to Swappa’s current data for August 2019, a 64GB iPhone 6 goes for about $117 on the site on average, so as a seller, you’ll get a better value if you opt to use Swappa than you would trading it in somewhere. You’ll still want to keep your wits about you, like you would on any other online marketplace, though; buyer and seller beware, and all that.
So, there you have it: Seven ways to sell your iPhone 6, each with their own pros and cons. Which is right for you? Only you can decide that for yourself; it depends on what you want or need to get out of the sale — whether it’s credit towards a new device or cash in hand. Good luck!