With the impending release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (starting at $199 and $299, respectively), it seems like new options for iPhone users with older models are popping up each day. Not to be outdone by third-party vendors such as Gazelle, carriers are ready to offer top dollar for the iPhone 5s, 5c, 5, 4S and even older models. However, sometimes it's hard to keep track of whose offer is the best. Sprint and T-Mobile keep one-upping each other in an effort to gain ground on Verizon and AT&T. It seems like every day, one of the big four is offering a bigger, better deal.
We've broken down the carriers' trade-in offers for each iPhone model, as they stand now, to help you get the most for your money.
|Carrier||Trade-In||You Get||What's The Catch?||Expires|
|Verizon||iPhone 4 / 4S / 5 / 5c||$199 gift card (same as cost of iPhone 6 w/ 16GB)||2-year contract required||Sept. 30|
|Verizon||iPhone 5s||$299 gift card||2-year contract required||Sept. 30|
|AT&T||iPhone 5s||$300||One trade per upgrade||Sept. 30|
|AT&T||iPhone 4 / 4s / 5 / 5c||$200||One trade per upgrade||Sept. 30|
|T-Mobile||Any phone. Will match competitor's ads||Value of competitor's ad, plus $50||Credit applied to bill (must wait 2 to 3 billing cycles)||Limited time|
|Sprint||Any phone. Will match competitor's ads||Up to $300 for a new phone, including iPhone 6||Credit applied to bill (must wait 2 to 3 billing cycles)||Part of standard buy back program|
Verizon is offering a very competitive deal, essentially giving users a free iPhone 6 16GB by trading in anything newer than an iPhone 4, regardless of the original carrier. Currently, a refurbished iPhone 4 for Verizon is valued at between $79 and $105. Have an iPhone 5s? The offer from Verizon increases to a $299 gift card. However, to receive this credit, you must sign up for a new 2-year contract.
AT&T is offering a deal similar to Verizon's for older iPhone models. If you trade in a mint-condition iPhone 5s, you get a minimum credit of $300 and a minimum credit of $200 for an iPhone 4/4s/5/5c. That credit can be used any way you see fit. However, if you are new to AT&T, you will receive the added benefit of a $100 bill credit on any iPhone. The catch? You need to sign up for AT&T's Next program. With Next, you can upgrade your smartphone once every 12 months or 18 months, but you'll need to pay full price for the phone in installments instead of a cheaper up-front cost that comes with a traditional 2-year contract.
Thanks to the success of Sprint's Buy Back program, Sprint users are accustomed to trading in and trading up. What's the carrier's plan to tackle the competition when it comes to the iPhone 6? Sprint will match any competitors. Additionally, unlike on Verizon, a new contract isn't necessary when upgrading.
The offers from AT&T and Verizon provide great news for T-Mobile subscribers as well. Like Sprint, T-Mobile is tracking the trade-in offers from its competitors. However, T-Mobile is matching and exceeding any deal offered by Verizon, AT&T and Sprint by $50. Plus, T-Mobile is the only carrier at launch that will support the iPhone 6's Wi-Fi calling feature.
What About Third-Party Trade-Ins?
You don't have to go through your carrier to get a pretty penny for your old iPhone. Such third-party services as Gazelle, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Gamestop and Next Worth are more than willing to take your device off your hands.
For example, Verizon and AT&T are offering $300 for an iPhone 5s, no matter how much storage it has (16GB, 32GB or 64GB). Amazon and Gazelle, on the other hand, are willing to offer up to $400 and $325, respectively, for 64GB iPhone 5s AT&T models in excellent condition.
An added benefit of trading in your phone with a company like Gazelle is that some of these companies are willing to purchase an iPhone even if it is broken. When trading in an iPhone to a carrier, it needs to be in working order and without excessive wear and tear. As older models (iPhone 5, 4S, and 4) come into play, generally the trade-in value from the carriers is a better deal, but it is worth your time to check third-party sites to see what is being offered.
With the past success of Sprint's award-winning Buy Back program, other carriers have taken notice. If you're planning on upgrading your iPhone and would like to move to, or already have T-Mobile, its commitment to match competitors' offers and provide an additional $50 is a pretty hard deal to pass up.
However, if you are looking to sell your phone yourself, the value on the open market of an iPhone 5s in good working order is still easily worth over $300, and many iPhone 5 models are selling for more than $200. For those looking to upgrade their iPhone 4/4S models, all of these deals are absolutely worth looking into.