How to make the most money from your old iPhone

The iPhone 5 is finally here. But before you get yours hands on one, here's how to get the most money for your old model.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you can’t have missed the buzz around the new iPhone 5, which was finally unveiled this week.

It’s the latest Apple product to be released and although you can’t actually get your hands on it just yet, iPhone fans are already preparing to pay for the new phone by trading in their old models.

[Related feature: Is the iPhone 5 worth it?]

The iPhone 5

After months of speculation details have now been made public about the new phone. On first glance it doesn’t look that different to the iPhone 4S, but as "The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone" (according to Apple) it has got a lot of extra gadgets thrown in.

Firstly it’s thinner and lighter than previous models with a larger, four-inch display and ultrafast wireless to make internet browsing and downloading a lot quicker.  It also comes with an ‘A6 chip’ which helps improve the graphics, an ‘iSight panoramic camera’ and ‘i06’ – which Apple says is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.

The launch date is 21st September – so be prepared for queues outside Apple shops on this date – and if you’re planning on getting one you’ll also need to pre-order from 14th September.

All the mainstream providers are likely to stock the new phone although no tariffs have been released yet.

[Related feature: What iPhones cost to make]

How to get the best deal for your old iPhone

If you’re planning on getting the new model, either by buying it outright or through a contract, you can make some extra money by selling off your old model.

Hundreds of people have already cottoned on to this and since July there’s been a 400% increase in iPhone re-sales via mobile phone trade-in comparison site sellmymobile.com.

On the site the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3S are the most popular handsets to trade in, but the amount you can get back has fallen by 10% since July so if you’re looking to trade your old phone before getting the iPhone 5 you’ll need to act fast.


How much is my old phone worth?

The iPhone 5 is set to retail at a hefty £529 for an unlocked 16GB version. This means if you can trade-in your old phone it’ll cut a large sum off the price of the new handset.

There are several trade-in (or recycling if you prefer) websites around and on sellmymobile.com the top price for a 64GB iPhone 4S across these sites is now £325. Older models will still fetch a pretty decent return of £172.61 for a 16GB iPhone 4 and £87 for a 16GB 3GS model.

The bonus of using sellmymobile is that if you do find the phone you’ve traded in at a higher price on another website within 24 hours of the sale, it’ll refund you double the difference.



Top 10 most recycled phones

Position*

Phone

Highest trade-in price

Lowest trade-in price

1

Apple iPhone 4 16GB

£172

£117

2

Apple iPhone 4S 16GB

£300

£140

3

Apple iPhone 3S 16GB

£90

£44

4

Blackberry Curve 8520

£44

£25

5

Samsung Galaxy S i9100

£206

£70

6

Apple iPhone 4 32GB

£190

£117

7

Samsung Galaxy S i9000

£85

£40

8

Blackberry Bold 9700

£81

£41

9

Apple iPhone 3G 8GB

£57

£17

10

Blackberry Curve 9300

£50

£27

*source:sellmymobile.com



Other options

While it's a useful comparison, sellmymobile doesn't list all of the trade-in sites out there. You might also want to check the likes of Tesco Mobile Recycle and Mazuma Mobile.



Offered a lower price?

In the past lovemoney readers have said that some trade-in websites have contacted them with a lower price once they've received the phone, even for handsets that were in pefect working order. You can try to negotiate but if you're not happy ask for the phone to be sent back to you. You'll more than likely have to pay the return postage.



eBay

You could also try your luck on auction website eBay but a quick scan of the listings showed comparable, and in some cases lower, prices than we found on sellmymobile.



The cheapest way to get a new phone

There are many ways to buy a new phone but the cheapest is generally buying the handset up front and using a SIM-only tariff. As a SIM-only deal won't tie you into a long contract, you've got the flexibility of switching to better deals as and when they come along.

As you've bought your phone direct from the retailer it will also be unlocked so you'll be able to make more money when you trade it in.

If you don’t have the money to do this, a longer contract will be best as the phone costs are then absorbed into monthly payments. 

More on smartphones:

The cheapest way to get a new smartphone

How your smartphone can save you money

TalkTalk launches Britain's cheapest smartphone deal