How to sell your old iPad before upgrading to the new iPad 3

You've decided you're going to buy an iPad 3, sight unseen, the moment Apple lets you give them your money.  Do you also  want to get a jumpstart on selling your old iPad before the market gets saturated? No problem! If you're not handing it down to a friend or family member, or keeping it around the office as a backup device, why not get some cash back and put it towards the purchase of Apple's next big tablet device? It's a relatively straight forward process, but there are some things to be careful about, so here's how to get started.

Getting more for your old iPad

You'll never get back all the money you poured into your current iPad, but there are some things you can do to maximize the value before you sell.

  1. Jailbreak: This isn't as important as it is with selling old iPhones, especially since 3G iPads are unlocked by default, but a jailbroken iPad can still do things a stock one can't and some buyers will value that. If you are new to jailbreaking we suggest checking out the jailbreak starters guide for the best resources.
  2. Condition: The better your iPad looks, the more you'll get for it. That almost goes without saying, but the difference can be a good chunk of change. Make sure you give it a good cleaning before you offer it up for sale, and if you're still under AppleCare or warranty, and are having any issues, take it in for repair or replacement immediately. Most fixes are free and will add a lot of value to your iPad. (Even if you're no longer under warranty, Apple will still sometimes help you out, so it's always worth trying.)
  3. Wipe your data: Before you end up selling your old iPad, you absolutely have to run a full data wipe on it to make sure none of your data is available to the new owner. We've done a quick How-To post to help you with the process.

Putting your iPad up for sale

There are several different ways to sell your iPad, ranging from personal deals between friends, colleagues, or acquaintances, to local classified services, to online auctions. Each one has its pros and cons. Here are some things to consider:


Selling your iPad on eBay is a pretty simple process. However, there are still some things to keep in mind when using eBay to sell your iPad. For instance, eBay charges fees for each auction based on the item you're selling and how much it sells for, among other things, so here are five quick tips to help you get the most out of your auction:

  1. Only ship to the buyer's confirmed Paypal address if using Paypal.
  2. Price competitively if using Buy It Now as an option.
  3. Take the best looking photos you can. Humans are drawn to nice looking things.
  4. Make sure the pictures include any physical blemishes on the iPad and be up-front in your description.
  5. Use a fast shipping service and make sure you include that in your item description.
  6. Use keywords in your title and in your item description to attract more potential buyers.

You may also want to consider insuring your iPad in case anything goes wrong during shipping. Watch out for low-feedback buyers and also keep in mind that Paypal charges processing fees as well.


Selling on craigslist is something to consider if you'd rather deal with people locally and meet face-to-face exchange your iPad for cash. I've used Craigslist to sell a number of things around the house, and always follow a few basic rules:

  • Don't ever put your personal or home address in an ad. Ever!
  • Putting a personal phone number in an ad is okay, but that's up to you.
  • Some find it easier to text rather than email.
  • Meet in a public place, preferably in the daytime.
  • Bring a friend or several friends; better safe than ripped off.
  • Watch out for email scams, something for which Craigslist is notorious.

It's always a good idea to use caution when dealing with Craigslist. I've heard some pretty crazy stories so really, bring a friend and meet in an open, public area to avoid any problems.


Gazelle offers a service that lets you easily turn most electronic devices into cash. Simply send in your iPad and Gazelle will send you money after confirming the condition. The first thing you'll need to do is tell Gazelle what you're selling and what condition the item is in. You can choose from poor, fair, good or excellent condition It's important to be honest when rating the condition so there's no hiccups or snags along the way. It also helps if you have the box and original documentation and cables with your item, and the service will check for any water damages before giving you a quote.

The process takes about a week, and although you're not getting as much money in the end it's a great service if you don't want to deal with a lot of hassle. You can have your payment delivered through Paypal among other methods. You can also submit multiple items if you're looking to get rid of a few more things while you're at it. offers a similar service to Gazelle by letting you send in your old iPad for payment with little to no hassle involved. In a nutshell, they'll buy your old Mac or iOS device. You're required to provide pictures along with a serial number next to your item description and condition. Once receives your iPad they clean it, inspect it and verify that it's in working condition before they turn around and sell it on eBay. Users can receive payment via Paypal and even says they give higher quotes than competing services like Gazelle, so you'll definitely want to compare before making any final decisions.

Apple Recycle Program

If selling your old iPad on any of the services mentioned above doesn't sound appealing, and it's not in good enough condition to give away, Apple has set up an iPod and Mobile Phone Recycling Program.

Personal transactions

Just because all these online services are available, it doesn't mean you can't still sell your old iPad the old fashioned way -- person to person, likely to a friend or acquaintance. Just be sure to follow all the tips suggested above, and remember that accessories like Square can even let you take credit cards right on your own device now, if cash isn't as convenient.

Bonus tip

Include all packaging, cables and adapters if possible. If you have any extra cases or accessories you want to throw in the deal it can usually net you a higher selling price as a bundle instead of trying to sell them individually.

Any questions?

Whether it's eBay, Criagslist or any other method for selling your old iPad we hope this article will help you along the way. As always, let us know if you have any questions or additional suggestions in the comments below!

You can also check out our Marketplace Forum for more iPad buying/selling action.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

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Reader comments

How to sell your old iPad before upgrading to the new iPad 3


Great article, I will definitely be considering one of these options after deciding if the iPad 2 to iPad 3 upgrade is worth it on March 7th!
I'm normally an eBay kind of guy, but I will be looking to unload a larger priced item such as an iPad to a friend or family member to avoid the fees of eBay/Paypal.

I've had good luck selling on Craigslist. It's free and as long as you take a friend with you and meet at a public place (I always choose a local mall) it's usually quick and painless. Biggest word of advice is ALWAYS meet in person and ALWAYS deal only in cash.

When u sell it in person to not family member how can they tell your iPad is in good condition I have iPad 1 and I want to try on craiglist but I have no experience just curious what kind of question I might encounter.

You should reset to factory settings and erase all info. Then update the OS to the newest version. Buyer takes a risk. They know how to check for what they need. As long as the iPad works fine for you, it is good.
If you are ready to pre-order your new iPad, I have created step by step instructions here.
I'd love it if you can write your experience in a comment there. And one more tip, pick a mall that you frequent, not one that the buyer chooses. And ask to see the money right after they see your iPad. Take a friend along and sit at a Starbucks or other cafes.

I've sold several items in the past using Gazelle. And while using their service might not net you as much as a private sale possibly could, it was a smooth, seamless transaction.The most important thing is giving them a honest assessment of the item for sale.I'd definitely recommend them. They even pay for the shipping. Sometimes Gazelle will even run a promo code, (just do a Gazelle promo code search on Google.) It might not be a significant amount more, but I figure every little extra dollar getting us closer to an iPad 3 makes it all worthwhile.

I sold my 16gb 3G iPad first gen for $280 on Glyde. I usually do sell my Mac, but Glyde was giving like $50 more

In the UK you can re-cycle your iPad/iPhone through O2 (the mobile operator) the iPad2 16Gb WiFi will currently net you £245. I did this with my old iPhone 4 in January and got £220, twice what I paid to upgrade to the iPhone 4S.

Just sold my 1st gen iPad (wifi) for 300 bucks to a Facebook friend. Not. Bad deal since I threw in he dock, original box and 2 cases! Now my problem is surviving sans iPad until launch day!

why didnt they mention amazon? I managed to sell my two old ipods for a very decent price. in fact one used ipod for $10 more than i bought it for from the very same amazon. will be selling my ipad there as well.

Last week I sold my iPad 2 32GB WiFi on CraigsList for 500 bucks. I plan on buying the same model of the iPad 3 so it should only cost me about 100. The 100 dollar difference is pretty good considering I got almost a year of use out of the iPad 2.

I just saved a bunch of money by switching to GEICO....
and I am keeping my iPad2 16gb wifi, I just got it December 26th 2011
I'll wait a year before thinking about the new model.
Plus the ipad4 is going to have real unicorn meat inside it.

I will often buy iPhones off Craigslist, fix/unlock/jailbreak them, and then sell them on eBay, sometimes for four times as much as I paid. I've sold a few to foreign countries where the auction has reached upwards of $600 (before fees)! DO NOT SHIP TO RUSSIA! I've lost three iPhones in the mail on their way over there. Most corrupt customs agents in the world.

Has anyone else tried to upgrade iPads with the geek squad insurance from Best Buy? They cover all accidents. Back in the day when I had a Zune (lol) I told them it was broken and I upgraded to the newer model. Has anyone else tried this with iPads? My friend says she used to upgrade to the new model every year.

Craigslist FTW! And a very big win indeed. This past Wednesday, I sold my iPad 2 for MORE for than the same iPad 2 will cost NEW next Wednesday. If you're planning on selling your iPad so you can upgrade to an iPad 3, PUT THAT SUCKER ON CRAIGSLIST TODAY. And best of luck.

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