3 Easy Ways to Sell Your Old IPhone

Jason Vitug

With the anticipated launch of the new iPhone 6 this week, lots of people are talking about upgrading to the new iPhone. While I didn't upgrade to the iPhone 5 and still carry around my 3-year-old iPhone 4S, now it's for me to get an upgraded phone with more memory.

To offset the expense of the new iPhone, I've decided to sell my older model phone. Selling through Amazon, eBay or Craigslist can result in a higher sale price, but there are other options for those who don't want to deal with strangers or the online selling process. Here's a roundup of your best options:

Sell on Craigslist

Craigslist has long been my go-to place for selling electronic gadgets. I tend to make more money selling my old electronics on Craigslist, but the site might not be for everyone. There is a significant amount of work involved, including creating an ad, taking pictures of the iPhone and responding to email inquiries. A seller needs to be comfortable meeting a buyer in person to finalize the sale and it might also take a few more days or weeks to find a serious buyer.

After researching the price for iPhone 4S on Craigslist, I listed my iPhone for $185 and have received eight offers within the last six hours. A current model such as the 16GB iPhone 5s can sell for $450, however, once the new iPhone 6 is launched, prices for older models will drop.

The risk of being scammed on Craigslist is higher. There are red flags when selling on Craigslist such as a buyer who is willing to pay you more than the advertised price, requesting to pay you via check or Paypal without seeing the iPhone or requests to have the iPhone shipped to foreign addresses or another person.

Sell Through a Different Online Marketplace

If meeting strangers in coffee shops makes you uncomfortable, then you can sell through a marketplace, such as uSell.com or Gazelle.com, that will buy your iPhone from you directly. That means you don't need to interact with the ultimate buyer. You'll receive an online valuation, but you'll be required to send in your phone before receiving payment.

Following the 2013 iPhone product launch, a study by uSell.com examined thousands of used iPhones on its platform and noticed an 11 percent price drop two weeks after launch and up to a 21 percent price drop by week seven. That means selling your iPhone now, before or shortly after the launch of the iPhone 6, is more likely to generate a higher payout.

Another benefit for selling your iPhone now on uSell.com or similar websites is that you can lock-in a selling price before the price drops. Additionally, you get to hold onto your iPhone until you get your new iPhone 6.

On uSell.com, the values of the 16GB iPhones 5s can be as much as $290. Unfortunately, my good condition 16GB iPhone 4S phone is only worth $65, so the Craigslist route is a better payout option for me.

Trade in Your Old iPhone

Another option is to trade-in your iPhone. However, the trade-in value received is typically much lower than selling the device to another person. Apple offers a reuse and recycle program that appraises your old iPhone and offers in exchange an Apple store gift card. You can visit an Apple retail store or get an approximate value for your iPhone through the website. For a great condition iPhone 5, the trade-in value can be as high as $225. My 16GB iPhone 4S is valued at $125.

Check with your wireless carriers as well, because they often offer similar trade-in programs. In my case, however, the valuations were lower. The Verizon Wireless trade-in program valued my iPhone at a $100 credit.

The best option for you all depends on how much time and effort you want to put into finding the best sale price and what kind of selling method you're most comfortable with. No matter which option you choose, getting cash for your old model can help offset the cost of your new iPhone. And don't forget to backup your files and do a complete memory reset to erase your information on the device. You can get detailed instructions on how to do that on the Apple website.

Jason Vitug is a speaker, author and first-time entrepreneur as founder of Phroogal, a financial education startup with a mission to help people live life richly.