Why should you trade in your old iPhone, and where should you take it?

iPhone trade in
(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

If you’ve got a drawer full of old assorted iPhones from years gone by, then you could stand to do very well from trading your iPhone in. There are plenty of places that will accept your old iPhone, from Apple itself to mobile phone carriers and other retailers.

Now, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are positives and negatives to every approach when you’re trading in your iPhone, and you will likely have questions about why you’d even want to, where you can trade in your iPhone, and what you should do to get your iPhone ready for trade-in. As serial traders-in, we’re going to tell you all about iPhone trade-ins, so if you’ve got that aforementioned drawer full of iPhones, then you’ll want to get reading.

Why would I want to trade in my iPhone?

iPhone 14 Pro Max opened

(Image credit: iFixit)

Maybe you like to hoard iPhones. Maybe you like to hoard iPhones, and call it being a ‘collector’. Maybe you actually are a collector. If these are you, then trade-in perhaps isn’t something you’d consider. 

If, however, you’ve ended up with loads of iPhones after years worth of contracts, then you could stand to save a great deal of money. Even if you’re just coming to the end of your contract and you’re wondering how you can get the best iphone deal, there are some great reasons to trade in.

See, trading in an old iPhone is one of the best ways to save money when buying a new phone. There are numerous mobile carriers who will take your old iPhone and give you a massive saving in return, some even waiving the cost of the new device. Apple itself will even take your old iPhone, although you often won’t get as much value as you might from one of the major carriers.

...trading in your iPhone means that it will either be reconditioned to be resold or recycled to make new devices.

The other reason you might want to trade in your old iPhone is simply that it’s better for the environment. Instead of living and rusting away in a drawer or being sent to a landfill, trading in your iPhone means that it will either be reconditioned to be resold or recycled to make new devices. That avoids the phone from going to a landfill, where it could last for, without exaggeration, 2 million years. This isn’t going to save you any money, but it will make you feel a little better about your device usage habits.

What to bear in mind when trading in

iPhone 13, 13 Pro, SE

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

There are going to be a couple of things you’re going to want to think about when trading in your iPhone. The first is whether you’re about to lose a useful spare phone. Say, for example, that you accidentally smash your new phone, and you can’t use it until it gets fixed. Now, some repairers supply a phone for you to use in the meantime, but if they don’t then you might wish you’d kept your old phone around. 

This isn’t going to be a problem if you’ve got that incredible drawer of phones that we talked about earlier, but if you’re trading in your last device, then it's worth thinking about, and weighing up the savings versus the usefulness of a spare device.

If your iPhone is in good condition, you’ll stand to get more trade in value when you hand it over.

It’s also worth going over the condition of your old iPhone. If your iPhone is in good condition, you’ll stand to get more trade-in value when you hand it over. Damaged, scratched, cracked, and even completely broken devices are often accepted for trade-in, but you will get less value. In some cases, in fact, the device might just be taken in for recycling, with no saving or trade-in value. 

This means that it's well worth thinking ahead with your current devices as well. Invest in a case and screen protector to make sure that your phone is in top condition so that you get the most possible when you go to trade it in when your contract is up.

Where to trade in your old iPhone

Inside the Apple Store in Knightsbridge, London

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

You can go straight to the source to trade in your iPhone and use the Apple Trade In scheme. We go into detail with our Apple trade in program: everything you need to know piece, with details about how much you’ll save when you trade in your old device.

We’ll just briefly go over it here. You can trade in a range of Apple products with Apple, including iPhones, iPads, and even MacBooks. The savings here aren’t spectacular, with the most recent iPhone you can trade in being the iPhone 13 Pro. Trading in last year's Pro iPhone model will net you up to $650 off a new device. That could be a new iPhone 14 Pro, a MacBook Air M2, or even a pair of AirPods Max. If you don’t need a new phone and just found an old iPhone in a drawer, then this could be the way to go.

The other place to trade in an old iPhone is at mobile carriers. They essentially buy your old phone off you and give you the money off a new device. Some carriers will give you more off if you’re buying a brand-new device.

The other place to trade in an old iPhone is at mobile carriers.

Verizon is the perfect example. If you’re buying a new iPhone 14 Pro, It’ll give you up $1000 off the phone, essentially paying for the device. We’ve had luck with phones all the way back to the iPhone 12 for the full trade-in amount, so you could get the iPhone 14 Pro for free with even an older iPhone. Of course, these values will depend on the condition of your old iPhone, but there will still be money to be saved if you hand it in.

AT&T also offers trade-ins in a similar manner, although we’ve had slightly less luck with the amount you’ll get for older iPhones. Both retailers seem only to be offering the deal to new customers only, which is a little annoying. If you are a new customer and you have an iPhone to trade in, however, you can save a lot of money trading in like this.

How to get your device ready for trade in

Green Iphone 13 Iphone 13 Pro 06 Resized

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

There’s not much you need to do, really, but there are some steps we’d recommend to make sure your data is kept safe. Most places that accept trade-ins will wipe devices before they’re put back up for sale, but factory resetting your phone is always a good idea. We have a guide on how to factory reset your iPhone to help out. 

Giving the phone a quick clean can also do wonders in getting as much as possible when you trade it in. A clean device looks more looked after to a retailer, so it's always worth doing. 

Most trade-ins don’t require the charger, headphones, or even charging cable that came in the box with your iPhone, but it’s always worth searching for them just in case. The most important thing is to be ready for any eventuality here, making sure you get the most trade-in value possible.

Trade in - why, where and how

As we said, trading in your old iPhone is one of the best ways to save loads of money when you’re buying a new phone. You may well be surprised by just how much money you’ll get off, and you might even clear up a drawer in your house. 

Don’t have any old phones to trade in and still want a new iPhone? Check out the best iPhone 14 Pro deals and the best iPhone 14 deals.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.