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iPhone trade-in deals: How and where to get the most cash for your old iPhone

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Apple's iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are now officially on sale, but buyers still need to decide what to do with their old device. As in years past, AppleInsider takes a look at nearly a dozen big-name buyback services and retailers looking to attract your iPhone trade-ins [updated Oct. 13 with the latest values].

Gazelle

Gazelle is the nation's leading consumer electronics trade­in site and arguably the most recognizable brand in the buy-back arena, having serviced more than 1 million trade-ins to date with payouts in excess of $100,000,000. The Boston-based firm pays cash quickly for old electronics (via PayPal, check, or other means) and prides itself on providing the most streamlined and hassle-free experience for consumers looking to sell their electronics with the least possible effort and time commitment.

Unlike some of its competitors, Gazelle handles all trade-in inspections itself, doesn't nitpick over the trade-in value of devices that arrive in good working order, and will even completely wipe your device of data before passing it along to its new owner. When it comes to trade-in services that pay cold hard cash, Gazelle is one of two services that have earned AppleInsider's distinction in recent years for outstanding service and value. It offers a 30-day price lock window from when you lock in an offer till when the device needs to be in the company's hands.

You can read more about how the service works here, or check out a list of the company's current iPhone trade-in prices (which have been fluctuating by $10-$50 this week) in our Trade-In Pay Out Guide (also below). But basically, you visit Gazelle's iPhone Trade-in site, select your model and condition and how you'd like to be paid. A few days after you lock in a cash offer, a pre-paid postage box will show up on your doorstep and you'll have 30 days to place your old iPhone in the box and drop it in the mail to Gazelle. Once they receive it, they issue payment.

Update: Gazelle is currently offering AppleInsider readers a 10% bonus on their iPhone trade in when using the links in our Trade In Payout Guide (also below):

NextWorth

Extremely similar to Gazelle in almost all respects, and also earning AI's distinction for its simplicity, speed, and financial benefits to the consumer, is NextWorth — another one of industry's largest buyers of used electronic devices with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Consumers can choose payment in the form of PayPal (paid immediately upon inspection of your phone), check (3-10 business days) or in the form of a NextWorth Discover Prepaid Card or Target Gift Card (both arrive in 3-14 days). NextWorth is also the exclusive white-label trade-in partner of Target, where you can also bring your device to receive a trade-in offer and get paid by the company on the spot. Online, it offers a 30-day price lock guarantee.

Current Cash Payouts

iPhone 6 Plus - up to $295

iPhone 6 - up to $300

iPhone 5s - up to $165

iPhone 5c - up to $80

iPhone 5 - up to $107

iPhone 4S - up to $57

iPhone 4 - up to $25

BuyBack World

BuyBack World offers competitive trade-in rates for iPhones that changes quite frequently, though the process of sending in a used phone is identical to bigger name brands. In addition, the company offers a 30-day price protection guarantee, much like Gazelle's assurances.

Current iPhone 6 Payouts

16GB: up to $305

64GB: up to $310

128GB: up to $320

Unlocked 16GB: up to $327

Unlocked 64GB: up to $332

Unlocked 128GB: up to $337

iPhone 6 Plus Payouts

16GB: up to $340

64GB: up to $345

128GB: up to $350

Unlocked 16GB: up to $350

Unlocked 64GB: up to $360

Unlocked 128GB: up to $365

iPhone 5s Payouts

16GB: up to $157

32GB: up to $162

64GB: up to $167

Unlocked 16GB: up to $167

Unlocked 32GB: up to $172

Unlocked 64GB: up to $177

You can read more about BuyBack World's trade-in process here.

Apple

Existing iPhone owners can also trade their device in directly through Apple's recycling program either online or at any Apple Store in the U.S. Instead of cash back, Apple employees appraise the device in-store, then dole out gift cards that can be used toward the purchase of a new iPhone. Apple will not pay you cash.

The online option is powered by Brightstar and requires owners send in their device.

Currently, Apple is offering a flat rate on all capacities, colors and carriers of each product line.

iPhone 6

$325 in Apple Store Credit

iPhone 6 Plus

$375 in Apple Store Credit

iPhone 5s

$165 in Apple Store Credit

Note: Prices are based on handsets in good working condition.

Amazon

Amazon has some of the best trade-in rates around, though the online retailer doesn't widely advertise its services. Like the Apple Store, Amazon relies on third-parties for its trade-in program and offers payment in Amazon Gift Cards, not cash. Please note that Amazon will pay significantly more than the prices below if your iPhone is pristine and you have all "original packaging and accessories present with no markings." The prices below are for good conditioned iPhones without all the trimmings:

iPhone 6

16GB: $342.64

64GB: $360.46

128GB: $436.85

Unlocked 16GB: $419.99

Unlocked 64GB: $468.34

Unlocked 128GB: $519.88

iPhone 6 Plus

16GB: $394.41

64GB: $445.34

128GB: $494.25

Unlocked 16GB: $456.50

Unlocked 64GB: $514.69

Unlocked 128GB: $577.91

iPhone 5s

Unlocked 16GB: $264.54

Unlocked 32GB: $277.81

Unlocked 64GB: $298.61

Note: All prices are based on handsets in good condition; locked prices are based on AT&T-provisioned devices.

Best Buy

Like Apple, Best Buy offers both on-site and mail-in trade-in programs. Sellers will receive a Best Buy gift card in exchange for your device. For those with unlocked T-Mobile iPhones, the retailer is only accepting 16GB versions in Space Gray.

iPhone 6

  • 16GB: $315
  • 64GB: $320
  • 128GB: $325
  • Unlocked 16GB: $315
  • Unlocked 64GB: NA
  • Unlocked 128GB: NA

iPhone 6 Plus

  • 16GB: $345
  • 64GB: $350
  • 128GB: $355
  • Unlocked 16GB: $345
  • Unlocked 64GB: NA
  • Unlocked 128GB: NA

Note: All prices are based on handsets in good condition; locked prices are based on AT&T-provisioned devices.

Walmart

Walmart, too, provides both in-store and mail-in trade-in opportunities. In-store trade-ins will receive a gift card on the spot, while mail-in trades will receive an electronic gift card.

iPhone 6

  • 16GB: $255
  • 64GB: $265
  • 128GB: $315
  • Unlocked 16GB: $184
  • Unlocked 64GB: $195
  • Unlocked 128GB: $245

iPhone 6 Plus

  • 16GB: $325
  • 64GB: $340
  • 128GB: $350
  • Unlocked 16GB: $235
  • Unlocked 64GB: $250
  • Unlocked 128GB: $270

Note: All prices are based on handsets in good condition; locked prices are based on AT&T-provisioned devices.

Target

Target's trade-in program is run through NextWorth, so prices will be comparable to the figures in the NextWorth section above. Instead of cash, however, sellers will receive Target gift card. Further, those not comfortable trading their phone in online through NextWorth, but like that service's prices, may want to take a look at Target's in-store offering. Unlocked models are not available for processing through Target's online service, so those rates are not reflected below.

iPhone 6

  • 16GB: $223
  • 64GB: $223
  • 128GB: $250

iPhone 6 Plus

  • 16GB: $241
  • 64GB: $241
  • 128GB: $241

Note: All prices are based on handsets in good condition; locked prices are based on AT&T-provisioned devices.

Finally, we'll note that many U.S. carriers offer installment plans paired with their own trade-in programs. In these instances, the carrier resells your phone for you and pockets any profit, and your trade-in goes toward the purchase of a new handset while you see no cash. Apple this year launched its own program that we believe is far superior to the carrier programs, because it includes an unlocked iPhone and two-year AppleCare+ warranty in its competitive, zero-interest monthly pricing.