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How to Upgrade to iPhone 5 for FREE

I have had an iPhone for several years now. The hubby and I aren’t eligible for an upgrade until February, though the newly announced iPhone 5 will be released in just one week.

With the upgraded FaceTime camera I’ve been desperately wanting, I’ll be counting down the days! Usually, I’m only a few months behind on my upgrades — but I haven’t paid out of pocket since my very first smartphone.

Years ago, I discovered that the resale value of the “older” phone was worth as much — and sometimes more — than the new release would cost. I’ve checked it out this week, in anticipation of the new iPhone 5, and it works yet again!


You can sell the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S for just as much as the upgrade price on the latest phone. How is this even possible?

You get discount pricing when you sign or renew a mobile phone contract. The resell value of your old phone is still less than the full retail price, for those who are not eligible for a contract discount. If a phone breaks or someone wants to upgrade in between contract dates, they’ll buy! We have sold 5 phones in the last 3 years to pay for our own upgrades.

Here are a few options to sell your iPhone 4 before the iPhone 5 comes out next week:


  • Gazelle 1 of 5
    Gazelle
    Gazelle's resell price on an iPhone 4 is over $150 right now. The iPhone 4S will sell for even more. The advantage here is that you can lock in the sale price before you send the phone in, giving you time to settle in to your new phone before you send the old one away.
    Sell to Gazelle
  • eBay Instant Sale 2 of 5
    eBay Instant Sale
    eBay has a new Instant Sale system that works similar to Gazelle — get an offer on your phone before you buy the new one. They are even extending the postmark deadline to October 1st for the release of the iPhone 5.
    eBay Instant Sale
  • eBay Auction 3 of 5
    eBay Auction
    You may get a little more out of your iPhone by selling directly to the end user. Auction prices on recently listed iPhone 4s range from $200-400 — more than enough to cover the $199 upgrade price on the iPhone 5.
    Sell on eBay
  • Amazon Reseller 4 of 5
    Amazon Reseller
    With Amazon, you have the advantage of a huge customer base. The downside is you can't really see previous prices to know what is actually selling. Still, it's an option if you're not in a hurry.
    Sell on Amazon
  • Craigslist 5 of 5
    Craigslist
    If you use a local classified service, like Craigslist, you have the advantage of cash payment at pickup so you can go immediately to pay for your new phone. Listings range from $250 to $350 in my area right now. Again, there's no way to verify what has actually sold at those prices, but this method has worked well for us.
    Sell on Craigslist

Follow Heather on Twitter, Pinterest, and her blogs.

More from Heather:
How to Replace a Broken iPhone Screen
5 Things I Only Buy on Amazon

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