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How to Sell Your Old iPhone for Top Dollar

iPhone 8s Plus lying on top of three $100 bills.
Mykola Churpita/Shutterstock

The iPhone has one of the best resale values of any smartphone. You’ll get more money if you sell it yourself and skip the trade-in. Here’s how to prepare your iPhone, pick a price, and make the sale.

Before You Start, Create a Backup

If you’re selling your old iPhone to buy a new one (rather than switching to an Android device), the first thing you should do is create a backup. This allows you to transfer the backup to your new device, along with all your personal data, apps, and other information.

The best way to create a backup of your iPhone is by using iTunes on a Mac or PC. You can also create backups using iCloud, but these can take a long time to complete if you aren’t already doing so, and the restore process takes a lot longer, too. iCloud backups are limited by the speed of your internet, so the backup and restore procedure can take hours or even days.

Windows users can download iTunes from Apple’s website.

  1. Launch iTunes and connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC using a Lightning cable.
  2. Wait for the device icon to appear in the top-left corner (screenshot below), and then click it and select your iPhone.
  3. On the Summary tab, click “Back Up Now” and wait for the backup process to complete.

Click the Device Icon in iTunes.

Check “Encrypt iPhone Backup” to save sensitive data, like passwords, Wi-Fi network credentials, Health data, and HomeKit data. You’ll need to create a password to do this. You’ll also need this password to restore the backup to your new iPhone at a later date. We recommend using a password manager to save it for you.

Click the Box next to "Encrypt iPhone Backup."

When you’re ready to restore this backup to your new iPhone:

  1. Turn on your new iPhone and follow the setup procedure to activate the device.
  2. When prompted, choose “Restore from iTunes Backup,” and connect your iPhone to the same Mac or PC you used to back up your old iPhone.
  3. Click on the device icon in the top-left corner, and then choose your new iPhone.
  4. On the Summary tab, click “Restore Backup,” and then choose the backup you made previously. Type your password if you chose to encrypt your backup, and then wait for the process to complete.

Create an iCloud Backup

If you’re backing up your iPhone to the cloud, you can always restore it from iCloud instead, when prompted. However, restoring from iCloud takes much longer than restoring from a Mac or PC, so we recommend doing it locally.

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