Everything You Need to Know About Trading in an iPhone for the iPhone 5 (Video)

If you plan to buy the iPhone 5 on release day, now is the best time to trade in your old iPhone.

The iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S trade in values are set to drop in the weeks leading up to the rumored iPhone 5 launch event on September 12th.

Normally iPhone trade-in offers are only good for 7 to 30 days, but Gazelle is extending trade-in price locks to October 1st for iPhone trades claimed before August 31st.

This means you can lock in the best price today, and keep using your iPhone until the iPhone 5 release date, pegged for September 21st.

If you’ve never traded in an iPhone, here’s everything you need to know about the process.

Pick an iPhone Trade in Location

Many companies offer to buy old iPhones, but we recommend picking one of the top four iPhone trade in locations. Skip trading in at a local cell phone store if getting top dollar is important.

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Read: Best iPhone Trade In Prices

We recommend Gazelle, Amazon, eBay Instant and NextWorth. Gazelle is the only company allowing iPhone trade ins today with the ability to keep the iPhone until October 1st. NextWorth offers a 21-day grace period while Amazon and eBay Instant only offer 7 days.

iPhone trade in guide

Old iPhones, even iPhones with cracks and broken iPhones are worth trading in.

You can check the best iPhone trade in prices on GottaBeMobile, and on the individual sites. Even broken iPhones are worth something, but the prices are best for iPhones in good and like new condition.

Amazon offers the best prices so far, but the money is only available as an Amazon credit, so it’s tough to use it directly on an iPhone 5.

Lock in an iPhone Trade

After finding the place you want to trade with, register on the site. Make a conservative estimate about the iPhone’s condition, as the company will verify it before making a payment.

If the condition of the iPhone is less than indicated most trade in companies offer a lower payment or the option to return the iPhone

iPhone trade in gazelle

Lock in an iPhone trade in price through October 1st at Gazelle.

Depending on the site, pick the payment method. Most sites allow PayPal, paper check and gift card options. Gazelle offers a 5% bonus for picking an Amazon Gift card, but Amazon offers more directly.

After entering all the information the trade in company will deliver a shipping label so there’s no need to pay for shipping. Print this label, and hang onto it until the iPhone 5 arrives.

Ship the old iPhone, Get Paid

When the new iPhone hits the doorstep, place the old iPhone in the package, tape it up and put the shipping label on it.

Drop the old iPhone in the mail or at a FedEx or UPS location depending on the instructions, and wait for the payment. Most trade in sites turn around payment within a week or two.

iPhone trade in get paid

Pick the payment method when trading in an old iPhone.

There is no obligation, so I’m locking in my trade at Gazelle.com today, even though Amazon’s offer of $500 for a like new iPhone. I certainly could use the extra $130, but the Amazon offer may decrease by the time the iPhone 5 release date rolls around.

iPhone 5 Release Date & Rumors

Multiple sources point to a September 12th iPhone event in the Cupertino, Calif. headquarters of Apple. This event should mark the launch of the iPhone 5 and possibly a new iPad mini.

Rumors indicated Apple will start accepting iPhone 5 preorders later in the day on September 12th.

The iPhone 5 release date is on target for 9 days later, on September 21st. Pre-orders should arrive on doorsteps on the 21st, and Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and Apple stores should all offer the iPhone 5 for sale.

We expect the iPhone 5 will remain $199 for the 16GB model, with higher sizes coming in $100 increments. Apple will likely sell the iPhone 4S for $99 and the iPhone 4 free on contract.

The iPhone 5 leaks point to a 4G LTE iPhone with a taller 4-inch display. The new iPhone is likely to use a new metal back and grow taller, but not wider. Rumors say the iPhone 5 may be as thin as 7.6mm.

Inside we anticipate an Apple A5X processor with quad-core graphics and a similar size battery. The new iPhone may also come with a smaller dock connector, that may include a magnetic attachment.

Catch up on our iPhone 5 coverage.

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