Buy or sell a used iPhone?

What can you do with an old iPhone? Sell it on the used market or web sites like Gazelle. You might be surprised what it’s worth, especially if it’s less than 2 years old.

Used phones can make a great replacement for a broken phone. Or add it as another line on a family plan. An out-of-contract iPhone might let you make calls even without a data plan – just use wi-fi for internet. No voice or data plan? It’s still great as an iPod touch.

Thinking of purchasing a used iPhone? Be sure you get a good deal, and don’t buy one more than 3 years old. Each year brings a new model much more powerful than anything before. And the iPhone isn’t the most expensive part – most of the cost of owning a smartphone is the monthly service plan. That’s the same no matter which new or used phone you choose.

But a used phone can save you money if you’re simply trying to replace a lost or broken phone. Just make sure it’s officially unlocked. Ask the prior owner to do this before you pay. The official unlocking procedure is done by the mobile phone carrier.

IMPORTANT!!! NEVER buy a jailbreak or hacked phone from a used phone dealer. While not technically illegal, it’s extremely hard to work with these phones. Every iOS update has the potential to “brick” the phone, making it unusable until another hack is available. You could be without a phone for months. And you’re on your own with the underworld of fly-by-night phone dealers. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! We (and Apple) DO NOT SUPPORT jailbreak phones.

When you get your “new” used iPhone, take it to your carrier’s store and have them install the proper SIM to activate it on their network. Be sure to ask them for a “bring-your-own-phone” plan. Don’t  sign up for a two-year contract that includes a new phone hidden in the plan’s cost.

Learn about Apple’s Activation Lock and how to make sure the iPhone you’re buying has been unlocked by Apple and the previous carrier. See tips on buying a new iPhone and price comparisons of major carriersDetermine how much data you need [Evernote]. Before you sell or give away an old phone, back up and restore it.

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