By Laura Haight
If you are one of the 100+ million in the US who own an iPhone, a big day is coming. September 7 is, best guess, expected to be the release date for the new iPhone 7. If you are thinking of upgrading, it's also time to think about what to do with your current phone.
The iPhone 7 is going to look a lot like the 6, and the biggest change may be one you are less than thrilled about: the elimination of the headphone jack in favor of a new multi-function lightning port. The 7 will deliver audio, video, charging support and more through a single port. But, of course that means your $300 headphones will need to be replaced.
There are rumors that the 7s will come with a 3mm-to-Lightning adapter, which means you'll be able to keep those $300 headphones, at least for a while. But it also means when the next generation headphones come out - you'll have to go buy them. Either way, it's just a rumor.
It's estimated that about 30-35 percent of iPhones in use are pre-iPhone 6. Including those 6'ers who just like to get something new every two years, there could be a big run on the new devices.
But how to pay for them? There are several online sites that make selling your iPhone a quick and easy process. But you have to weigh speed against selling price and, in some cases, you might be better off trying to sell privately via Craigslist or on an auction site.
I used my iPhone 6 to comparison shop. It's a 128gb version on Verizon in excellent condition. Condition is a big driver in the offers you'll receive from online sites. They offer guidance on what they mean by good, like new, or perfect and the offer price is based on what you tell them. But the money doesn't come through until they have inspected and confirmed the phone matches your description. It's best to be honest here.
Glyde.com: Glyde is an intermediary for reselling. They list your device for you and offer a range of prices. Fair market is their suggestion for a quick sale; "done deal" is the lowest price on the scale. You get paid when your device sells. They estimate two weeks to sell, but note that prices will be dropping over the next few weeks. Fair market for my device was $378. Glyde, however, takes a percentage of the sale. My actual net would be $318.
Amazon.com: This is a trade in program. They buy your device and give you payment on an Amazon gift card applied to your account. If you buy a lot from Amazon, this might be a good deal. I have traded in before, however, and they always seem to find a slight ding. So you might find they offer less post-inspection than they did upfront. You can choose what to do if their final price is less than the original offer: they will either ship it back to you free, or you accept what they give you. Price for my phone: $319.
It's Worth More: You get an instant quote. If you accept it, they send you a shipping label. But you package the item. You get a few extra bucks if you still have the original packaging. My price at "good" was $302; at "flawless", $312.
Flipsy: This site aggregates offers from a number of other sites. Of the sites I listed here, only Amazon was on the Flipsy list. However, they offered a pretty comprehensive guide to assessing your iPhone's condition, and a price comparison of online sites vs. private party sales. Many of the offers were low - some as low as $100. But one - BuyBackBoss.com – offered $305 for a "used" device (versus $310 for "flawless"), and included sending a shipping package.
NextWorth: NextWorth is owned by Target and used to offer payment in Target gift cards, although they no longer seem to have that option. This is also self-shipping and packaging with a pre-paid label. They walk you through six questions designed to assess the condition of your device. Not a bad offer: $295, via PayPal or mailed check.
Gazelle: This was the second lowest offer I received. Pre-paid shipping label is emailed to you. Again, you need to package it up. Upon inspection, they'll pay you either by check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card. My offer in "flawless" condition was $230.
Sell My Mac: Despite the name, they do buy phones. But the offers were quite a bit lower. $224 for mine.
If all those prices seem kind of low for a phone that listed for $700+ and is still selling today at Verizon for $549, you can go the eBay route. The average price does appear to be higher right now – about $445. But there are also 764 of this exact model for sale there.
As we get closer to the new iPhone availability, even more units on the resale market will push the prices lower. So if you can sell now, you should. Although most of us probably can't be without a phone.
The big upside here is for the those with much older models, who can pick up an iPhone 6 for hundreds less than buying a new iPhone 7 gaining a big upswing in features including fingerprint authentication and Apple Pay, but without the brand-new price.