Want the latest and greatest iPad? Sell your old one to help you buy the new!

Looking to sell your old iPad so you can more easily afford that new iPad Pro or maybe an iPad mini 4? iPads aren't usually available with subsidies or leasing programs, especially not the Wi-Fi versions. So, one of the most popular strategies for those who want to reduce the cost of upgrade — especially frequent upgrades — is to sell an old iPad to pay for a new. Here's how!

When should I sell?

The best time to sell your old iPad is typically just before Apple announces a new one. Once the announcement is actually made, more people want the new model and so start selling the old. That leads to a lot of supply, which reduces the potential price you'll get.

Apple originally released new iPad models in the spring. The original iPad, iPad 2, and iPad 3 all went on sale during that time. More recently, Apple has been releasing new iPads at the end of the year. From the iPad mini and iPad 4 to iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro, fall and sometimes almost winter has been the window.

This year, rumor has it we'll get the iPad Air 3 in the spring and perhaps the others in the fall again. That complicates things, but only slightly.

If the rumored iPad Air 3 is what you're hoping for, then selling any time before mid-March will be your best bet. If a new iPad mini or iPad Pro is what you're after, then you have at least until the beginning of September.

For most people, tablets aren't as necessary as phones. So, if you can sell a bit early, even if you have to do without for a few weeks, you might get a better price.

Anything I should do before I sell?

There are a few things you'll want to do before selling!

1. Back up your iPad

Before you do anything else, make sure you have an up-to-date backup of your iPad. That way all your data is safe and secure and you'll be able to easily restore it to your new iPad when you get it. iCloud automatically makes a backup overnight, as long as you're plugged in, but a manual backup will make sure you're absolutely up to date.

  1. Make sure your iPad is connected to Wi-Fi. (If you're low on power, plug in as well.)
  2. Launch Settings from the Home screen.
  3. Tap on iCloud.
  4. Tap on Backup.
  5. Tap on Back Up Now.

If you prefer to use iTunes, you should also trigger a manual update to make sure you have all of your recent data backed up.

  1. Plug your iPad into your Mac or Windows PC.
  2. Launch iTunes.
  3. Click on the iPad icon in the menu bar when it appears.
  4. Click on Back Up Now. (Click on Encrypt Backup and add a password— you want the security.)
  5. Back up Apps, if asked.

2. Erase your personal data

Once your data is safely backed up, it's important to wipe it from the iPad you're selling so your personal photos, files, messages, etc. don't end up as a surprise bonus for the new owner.

  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Reset at the bottom.
  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.

  5. Enter your Passcode.
  6. Tap on Erase to confirm.

You'll need to enter your Apple ID password to turn off Activate Lock and remove the device from Find my iPad, and you may need to enter your iPad passcode again to double-confirm.

That's because once the wipe is done, it's done. If you change your mind, you'll need to restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup.

3. Clean up the casing

Cleaning your iPad isn't just about removing data, it's about removing dirt. Even if you've run it hard, you should still take a few minutes to wipe it down and make sure it's free from dust, grime, oil, lint, and even fingerprints. Pay extra attention to the grooves and ports. If it's particularly nasty, a dab of isopropyl alcohol and some elbow grease will do the trick.

This is especially true if you're selling your iPad yourself and need to take pictures to show potential buyers. Of course, it's also the right thing to do — nobody wants to buy a dirty iPad.

4. Collect up the cables and cases

Make sure you include the Lightning or 30-pin Dock cable that came with your iPad, as well as the AC Adapter. If you have all that, and the original box, it can make sure you get the most money possible.

If you're selling your iPad yourself, including any accessories you'll no longer need can also sweeten the deal. Old cases, cables, chargers, and more won't just attract buyers, it will help declutter your collection as well.

Once you have everything, put it all, nicely and cleaning in the box, and set it aside, so it's all safe and ready to ship.

What's the best way to sell my iPad?

There are a few different ways to sell your iPad, but the two main categories are selling it to a reseller or selling it yourself. A reseller will be much easier but you'll get less money. Selling it yourself will take more work but has the potential to net you more cash. Figure out what's more valuable to you — time or money — and then you'll know what to do.

Gazelle

Gazelle is simple and easy to use. Tell them what you have and they'll tell you what they'll give you for it. If you accept the offer, you have 30 days to send in your old phone. Gazelle will check your old phone when it arrives. If there's anything different, they'll let you know and give you an updated offer. If you decline, they'll ship it right back to you free of charge. If everything looks good, or if you accept an updated offer, they'll pay you by check, Amazon, or PayPal.

Because of the 30-day window (and they've sometimes increased it to 50 days when new iPads are on the horizon), Gazelle is a good way to lock in a price before the market is glutted. Just make sure the condition doesn't change between when you get the offer and when you send it in, or the price will change as well.

Sell to Gazelle

Swappa

Swappa is a way to get more money for your old iPad than typical services provide, but in a way that's easier and more civilized than selling directly. You do have to have reasonable expectations and some patience.

Sell to Swappa

eBay

eBay can net you more money for your old iPad but requires you to do a lot of the work and take some of the risk. If you're comfortable handling your own sales, and have the time to invest, you can get a better return than trade-in services. Just make sure to:

  1. Only ship to the buyer's confirmed Paypal address if using Paypal.
  2. Price competitively, especially if you're using Buy It Now as an option.
  3. Take great pictures but show any defects or damage so potential buyers knows what they're getting.
  4. Use a fast shipping service and make sure you include that in your item description.
  5. Use keywords in your title and in your item description to attract more potential buyers.
  6. You may also want to consider insuring your item in case anything goes wrong during shipping.
  7. Watch out for low-feedback buyers and also keep in mind that Paypal charges processing fees as well.

Sell on eBay

Craigslist

Craigslist is the old classified ads in new digital form, and all the wonder and dread that entails. The advantage of Craigslist is that you can sell locally, face-to-face. That greatly speeds up transactions and reduces overhead like shipping. Just make sure to:

  1. Never put your personal or home address in an ad. NEVER.
  2. Price your iPad competitively. Find existing ads on Craigslist in your area for iPads that are the same model, capacity, and condition as yours and price accordingly.
  3. If you're comfortable, include a number for potential buyers to call or text. It can increase the likelihood of a quick sale. (If you have a virtual number, use it.)
  4. Meet in a public place, preferably in the daytime. A coffee shop like Starbucks is ideal. Bring a friend with you, just in case.
  5. Watch out for email scams. If someone offers a lot more money to encourage you to ship them your iPad, they're just trying to rip you off.

Sell on Craigslist

What if I want to sell to a family member or friend?

The same rules apply. If you don't just want to give your iPad away, you can choose if you want to give a friends and family discount. Either way, making sure the device is in the best condition possible, and everyone is being treated fairly, is the best way to make sure everyone wins and no one leaves with hard feelings. Besides, you're going to have to see these people again, so the last thing you want is simmering resentment over feelings of a raw deal at Thanksgiving!

Wait, don't stop writing, I have more questions!

We're not going anywhere! If you have additional questions about selling your old iPad, leave them in the comments below. Also check out our iPad forums where you can get lots of great advice from people who've been buying and selling iPads for years.

And, when you've sold, be sure to tell us what you did and how it worked out!