The new iPhones have arrived and you’re itching to upgrade to the latest and greatest! But before you shell out for a shiny new iPhone, you need to know the trade-in value of your current device. We’ll show you how to find out and steps you can take to get the most for your trade-in.
How to Determine Your iPhone's Trade-In Value
If you’ve got an iPhone you’re looking to trade-in, you’ve got options. You can check the value of your iPhone on Apple’s website, and you can also usually check the value with your carrier.
Here are the steps for checking your iPhone’s trade in value on T-Mobile:
- To check the value of your phone with T-Mobile go to https://www.t-mobile.com/resources/phone-trade-in
- Enter your carrier, device manufacturer, and device model
- Get an instant estimate of your device’s trade-in value, dependent upon its condition and a few other factors.
You can also take your iPhone into any T-Mobile store for a free estimate.
How is trade-in value calculated?
Generally, in order to be eligible for a trade-in, phones must be new enough to be in demand and must be usable without much costly refurbishment. The amount you get for your trade-in depends on the condition of your iPhone.
When you trade in an iPhone to a carrier or directly to Apple, devices that are in great condition can be refurbished and sold, so those phones are of particular interest. Phones that are in good condition can be sold to third-party sellers, like Amazon. Phones that have some problems but are still in okay condition can be sold in bulk to European countries. Phones that have damage, like broken screens and buttons, are usually recycled, which means they’re not applicable for trade-in.
If your phone doesn’t have much value, there’s still an environmental benefit to taking advantage of Apple’s free iPhone recycling program. Apple is committed to using recycled alloy for its products, and trading in an old phone helps reduce the environmental impact of building new generations of Apple products.
Factors Affecting Your iPhone's Trade-In Value
Let’s take a closer look at those factors that help Apple and mobile carriers decide how much to offer for your phone.
- Model and age of your iPhone. Newer iPhones usually have some of the latest features and capabilities, making them more valuable than older models. Likewise, each generation of iPhone has different versions with unique features. For example, the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes with a larger display and longer battery life than the iPhone 13, making the Pro Max more valuable for trade-in.
- Condition of your iPhone (scratches, functionality, etc.). All those little dings and dents matter when it comes to trading in an iPhone. An iPhone in excellent condition means that it looks basically the same as it did straight out of the package with no chips in the metal frame or scratches on the display screen. Non-functioning buttons and cracked front or back screens drive trade-in value way down or make the phone ineligible. You can check the condition of your device here.
- Storage capacity. Different models of iPhone and different series within the same generation of iPhone have varying amounts of available storage. iPhones with more storage capacity are worth more during trade-in.
- Market demand. Typically, the newer the iPhone, the higher the resale value. However, the iPhone SE series, which includes smaller, less feature-heavy devices, has lower resale values than other models. For example, a third-generation iPhone SE, released in 2022, has a lower resale value than an iPhone 11 Pro Max, which was released in 2019.
How to Increase Your iPhone's Trade-In Value
If you’re already thinking ahead to increasing the value of your iPhone in the future, here are a few ways you can be sure to get the most for your trade-in.
- Keep your iPhone in good condition.
The biggest factor in how valuable your iPhone is at trade-in time is its condition. Make sure to keep your phone in a protective case with a screen protector to ward off breaks, dings, and scratches.
- Retain the original packaging and accessories.
It can also be helpful to return your iPhone in its original box with all chargers and warranty information that came included with your device.
- Perform regular updates and maintenance.
It can be tempting to ignore that sticky button or hold off on those software updates, but keeping up with these things will help ensure you’re able to trade in your phone for top dollar when the time comes.
Comparison Between Apple's and T-Mobile’s Trade-In Program
Can’t decide whether to trade-in your device with Apple or take it to T-Mobile? Here’s how each trade-in program works.
Apple offers gift cards for other Apple products based on the value of your trade-in. As mentioned earlier, to determine the trade-in value of your iPhone, you can either take your device to an Apple store, where you’ll be given an exact trade-in value on the spot, or you can estimate the value online. After getting your estimate, you’ll receive a confirmation email with instructions for preparing your device for trade-in and then mail your device to Apple. Afterward, you’ll get a gift card for the value of your trade-in. If your device is ineligible, Apple will recycle it for free.
One benefit of the Apple trade-in system is that it is good for all Apple devices, so if you’re looking to use your trade-in money toward a new MacBook, trading with Apple is a good option. However, if you’re swapping for another iPhone, you’ll still need a mobile carrier, and many carriers offer subsidized iPhones in exchange for signing a contract, along with the option to pay over time.
Like we mentioned earlier, to trade in your device with T-Mobile, simply take your iPhone to any T-Mobile store for an instant offer. Or you can use T-Mobile's free online tool for estimating the trade-in value of your iPhone, then print a shipping label and ship your device to T-Mobile. Estimates on T-Mobile are based on a device in good condition.
Trading in your iPhone with T-Mobile provides some initial credit to help with a new device purchase or start-up costs like a device down payment, device taxes, or it can go toward extra accessories. Plus, if you’re looking to switch from iPhone to Android, you can save while making the change.
And remember, once you finally get that shiny new phone, make sure you save the packaging and take steps to keep it in good condition. Keeping your iPhone pristine means more money in your pocket when you’re ready to upgrade in the future!
Note: Before you trade in your iPhone, make sure you protect your privacy and retain your data by unlinking your Apple ID from your iPhone and backing up all your phone’s data to iCloud.