What the Tech? Should I sell or trade in my old phone?

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:20 PM EDT
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Is it just me or is getting a brand new phone almost as exciting as getting a new car? Maybe you don’t feel that way but one thing is the same, the question of what to do with your old one.

Whether it’s a new car or a phone you need to think about how to get the most for the old one. Is it trading it in or selling it to someone else? Here’s what I found when I compared prices and trade-in values for the new iPhone 15. When any new phone is released, carriers and manufacturers are so eager to sell you one, that they’re willing to give you something for your old phone.

Apple, for example, if you upgrade to an iPhone 15, Apple will give you a $430 trade-in value for an iPhone 14, $250 for an iPhone 12, and up to $60 for an iPhone 8. You’ll do better by trading in your old phone to your carrier. T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon are offering deals right now and depending on your plan, might give you considerably more than Apple.

Paying for an upgraded plan at any of these carriers can give you a trade-in value almost equal to the cost of the new device. I did notice something interesting. The trade-in value of any phone does not take into consideration the storage.

An iPhone 12 Pro with 512 GB of storage has the same trade-in value as one with 128 GB, even though you paid $200 more for it. That’s kind of a raw deal and appears to be the same at Apple and all of the carriers. This is a fairly recent change so be aware if it’s been a while since you traded in a phone. Android phones don’t hold value as well as iPhones generally speaking, but carriers are more likely to trade a new Android device for an older one. Upgrading to the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is free at AT&T by trading in the Z Flip which is worth only about $35 but again, that depends on the plan you have now.

It’s easier to go the trade-in route and best if you’re upgrading to a new phone but if you want the most cash for your old device or if you’re selling the one you have to purchase a not-so-new phone, it’s best to sell it. On the Facebook marketplace, iPhone 12′s are selling anywhere from $250 to $500, and on Gazelle the iPhone 12 pro, is worth $329.

That’s cash. So the best deal if you’re upgrading a phone is by trading it in with your carrier. And check for deals. Most of the carriers are willing to make a better offer if you’re willing to switch carriers.


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