Are you looking for a last-minute trade-in for your old iPhone?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: September 11, 2012

Well, it's that time again, folks. We're one day out from what we can only believe is the announcement of the new iPhone. Tomorrow we all will be on the edge of our seats, tapping our toes and biting our nails in anticipation. Even those who don't find themselves totally enthralled by Apple will catch themselves watching a liveblog or loosely following the news.

Tomorrow will be the pinnacle of mobile press events of this year (Apple's announcements always are), and the next-generation iPhone has drummed up more attention than any other device (including iPhones of past) in recent memory.

Now is the time to start checking online to see when your line is eligible for an upgrade, planning for the chaos that will ensue following the announcement tomorrow. However, if you're an iPhone owner and not eligible for an upgrade, you're not out of options.

Trade-in programs such as Gazelle and NextWorth offer money (cash or gift cards) for used mobile gadgets. Some retail outlets, such as Best Buy, also offer trade-ins for store credit. And even carriers have joined the trade-in bandwagon and will allow customers to trade-in their old smartphones for credit towards another.

Specifically, the iPhone is one of the largest cash cows for such trade-in programs. Unlike every single one of its competitors, the iPhone tends to hold its value quite well over the entire year. Even the model from two years ago can net a trader decent amount of cash if they do their homework.

This morning, I woke up and started perusing some of the more popular trade-in sites just to see what I could get for my 32GB Verizon iPhone 4S. For what I would consider "good" condition, the Best Buy website offered $300 for my nearly one-year-old phone. (That's what I paid for it with a two-year agreement.) Apple offered me $280 so long as I supply the power cord with my trade-in. The Gazelle website made an offer of $237 for my used iPhone. And NextWorth made an offer of $240 for my old 4S.

Considering the use I got out of it, these are all decent offers. Barring your iPhone is in similar condition, you can get a decent amount of cash from yours, too. It just depends on the storage capacity, model (read: carrier) and the overall condition of the device.

Some of the lowest offers I could find were for an 8GB iPhone 4 for either Verizon or Sprint from Gazelle, which would net you $116. A flawless iPhone of the same make and model would bring in just $124. A "good" condition 16GB iPhone 4S for Sprint or Verizon nets a trader $228 with Gazelle while the same model for AT&T will bring in $277. Offers from NextWorth were in the same ballpark while those from Apple were a bit on the low side (just $104 for a "good" 8GB iPhone 4). And offers from Best Buy Trade-In were on the high end of the spectrum ($150 for a "good" 8GB iPhone 4).

If you're looking into maximizing the value of your iPhone, you are running out of time. Selling your iPhone personally – via Craigslist or eBay – will net the most cash as buyers generally aren't looking to resell. That said, it will become harder and harder to sell as the actual launch date of the new iPhone approaches. But the window is narrowing and some of these trade-in programs actually have some decent offers this time around. NextWorth is actually throwing a little icing on the deal, too, allowing you to earn more money through a referral program. (For anyone that trades-in more than $50 of gadgets using your referral link, you get an additional $20 in cash.)

The point being, if you have kept your iPhone in decent condition over the last year or two, you can earn back a decent sum of cash back on it and put that towards the new model. You may even be able to trade-in or sell your old Android phone for a reasonable amount, if you play your cards right.

Personally, I'm torn on what to do at the moment. There are a ton of new devices on the horizon and we don't actually know what the new iPhone entails. And I'm not putting that much trust into Apple this go around. Also, I'm not certain if I'm leaving Verizon or going prepaid just yet. So there's a lot up in the air for now. My trusty ol' iPhone is losing value by the second, but I can't let go of it just yet.

Tell me, readers. Are any of you trying to offload your old iPhone for the new one we'll almost certainly see tomorrow? Have you already traded yours in? Or, like me, are there just too many uncertainties to take the plunge just yet?

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