What The Tech: How Much Are Old Phones Worth

 

CHARLOTTE, NC — Apple started shipping pre-orders of the iPhone 14 last week. Google is expected to unveil a new Pixel phone next month and SAMSUNG should have another new device coming out at the beginning of the year. If you’re currently looking at the old device you have now and thinking of upgrading, you should know that depending on where you go, the difference in what you can get for the older device can be hundreds of dollars.

Curious as to the possibilities, I compared prices at a number of places to find the best trade-in deals.

Apple will take trade-ins of iPhones and many Android devices but what they offer is a good bit lower than the carriers themselves.

For example, Apple’s website offers the following trade values:

● iPhone 13, $470

● iPhone 12, $320

● iPhone 11, $220

● iPhone X, $130

● iPhone 8 $75

● iPhone 7 $40

AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile offer more for those devices. For example, I found AT&T is offering $800 for an iPhone 11 towards the purchase of a new iPhone 14. Verizon and T-Mobile offer similar trade-ins. If you’re upgrading to an iPhone 14, your best bet is to check with your carrier.

This is also a good time to shop around for better plans and lower prices. If you’re looking to switch from one wireless company to another, carriers will make even better deals to encourage you to switch.

It’s important to note that trade-in values depend heavily on the shape your current devices are in. Phones that have a cracked screen or back are often worth nothing. You can have them repaired but the cost of repairs may be more than the value of a trade-in. You should also make sure if you’re having a phone repaired in hopes of trading it in, that the repair shop will use original Apple parts. A repaired back without the original Apple logo may make the value drop to nothing.

If you’re looking to sell your phone outright, you can check Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Gazelle, and Amazon. You’ll be able to compare prices for the phone you’re trying to sell.

And if you’re looking to purchase a device without trading in another, you can check those same stores for older phones. I found several iPhone 8 devices for under $200.

One important note about buying a used device: make sure you meet the seller at a nearby carrier’s store. Take that phone inside and ask them to check it out. If the phone is stolen it will be worth nothing to you. I once was in my carrier’s store when a young woman brought in a phone she had purchased on the Facebook marketplace. The store technician checked and found that it had been stolen. She had paid several hundred dollars for a device she can only use as a paperweight.