Getting an iPhone 6? What to Do with Your Old Phone
Life + Money

Getting an iPhone 6? What to Do with Your Old Phone

© Yuya Shino / Reuters

While most of us aren’t standing on line to buy the iPhone 6 today, more than 4 million consumers have pre-ordered the pricey, big-screened device, and analysts estimate that more than 10 million consumers will purchase (or rent) one this weekend.

If you’re one of those buyers, you’ll have to decide what to do with your old iPhone. You know, the one you wouldn’t leave home without for the past year that has suddenly become subpar (if not wholly obsolete) among tech snobs and those who value things like battery life and screen size.

SLIDESHOW: Apple iPhone Frenzy Has Apple Faithful Lining Up Around the Globe

Before you do anything, be sure to back up any data, photos or personal information on the phone and then restore its factory settings.

Now, consider these options:

1. Trade it in. All the large carriers and Apple itself will give you gift cards for your old iPhone that you can put toward an upgrade. Trade in values at AT&T and Verizon range from $200 for an iPhone 4S to $300 for an iPhone 5S. T-Mobile and Sprint have promised to match or beat offers from their competitors. Phones have to be in decent condition.

You can send your phone (or old iPad or iPod touch) to Apple to be recycled, and they’ll send you an Apple gift card worth $200-300 depending on the phone and its condition. Or take it to a physical Apple store, and they’ll give you 10 percent off a new one.

Related: Why Your Should Rent, Not Buy the New iPhone 6

2. Sell it. Forget about the hassle of selling the device on eBay or Craigslist. Instead, go for a dedicated electronics trade-in site like Gazelle. The upside of Gazelle is that they’ll take you phone no matter how old it is or what condition it’s in, with prices ranging from $5 to more than $300. Amazon pays slightly more through its buy back program, but only pays in gift cards.

3. Turn it into an iPod touch…
Once you cancel the phone and data plan, your iPhone essentially becomes a Wi-Fi only iPod touch. That makes it perfect for loading up with appropriate apps and music and passing along to a child (get a good case!) or parent who doesn’t have or want a smartphone.

4. …Or a surveillance system. Install an app like Manything to turn you phone into a remote, motion-activated camera, or Cloud Baby Monitor to use it to keep an eye on a little one (or a nanny).

5. Keep it as backup.
Insuring an iPhone via AppleCare+ will set you back $100 for two years, but doesn’t cover loss or theft of a phone. Carrier insurance plans will protect you if you lost your phone, but they cost more and include a deductible of up to $200. 

Related: Introducing the iPhone 6, Made in China by a Robot

Keeping your old iPhone as a backup can make sure you’re always connected without shelling out for the insurance. Take the old phone to your carrier and they’ll re-activate it for free. (Of course you’ll have to resign yourself to using an older-generation phone, which will suddenly seem impossibly slow.)

6. Donate it. Feeling guilty about splurging on the iPhone 6 when you had a perfectly fine iPhone 5? Assuage the guilt by passing that working phone along to a person or family that needs the device more than you do. There are several organizations that will pass along your phone, including Cell Phones for Soldiers, Hopeline, which gives phones to survivors of domestic violence, or Scrap Autism.

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