A Brief Refresher Course On iPhone Trade-In Programs

The newest iPhones are (almost) here, and if rumors are correct, investing in one could put more strain on your bank account than usual. While you could get 2016's iPhone 7 for $649, the latest models are expected to ring in at close to $1000 — and that's not including the cost of a new case or other related accessories.
Reactions to the speculated pricing are, as to be expected on Twitter, exaggerated, though not by much.
However, if you already own an iPhone, you'll be able to cut down on whatever that final price tag is by trading in or selling your current version. There's no shortage of ways to do so, though it can be tricky to decide which is best.
Ahead, a few reliable options for trading in and getting money put towards a shiny new, blush gold iPhone 8.
Apple Trade-In
The easiest and most reliable option is to take your iPhone to your nearest Apple store, where you'll get immediate credit for a new phone. Although Apple hasn't yet listed trade-in values for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus yet, they may fall around $260, users can currently get as much as $260 for trading in an iPhone 6s Plus. You aren't guaranteed that amount: It all depends on the condition your phone is in and your carrier's financing plan.
If you joined the iPhone Upgrade program when you bought the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, you don't need to worry about trading in for credit: You're automatically all set to upgrade to the latest model when it's available. Sign in here with your Apple ID and password to check if you signed up for the program.
Amazon Trade-In
Amazon's smartphone trade-in program is similar to the one offered by Apple, but instead of Apple credit you'll get Amazon credit. Start by selecting the type of phone you currently have here and answering a few questions about its condition, such as "are there any cracks on the screen?" and "are you still logged in to your iCloud account on the device?" If the answer to both of those is no, you're in good shape. (You can easily log out of iCloud by going to Settings > [Your Name] > Sign out, or by going to iCloud.com and signing out of the device there.)
After that, you'll be able to lock in a trade-in value. If you think you might want to trade in your phone via Amazon, it's smart to lock in this value now since it will last until September 18, 2017, at which point you'll know exactly how much the new iPhone costs and if you want to buy it.
If you do end up trading in through Amazon, you'll receive a pre-paid shipping label to mail in your phone, and an Amazon gift card in return. Right now, you can get a little over $300 for many iPhone 7 models, depending on storage size, carrier plan, and condition.
Best Buy Trade-In
Best Buy's trade-in program offers credit that tends to align with the offerings you'll find on Amazon. Right now, you can trade in a 128 GB rose gold iPhone 7 in good condition — signs of normal use, but has no screen damage — for $316. If the new iPhone really is $1000, these savings will make the cost slightly easier to stomach.
As with Amazon's trade-in program, you'll get a Best Buy e-gift card in exchange for trading in your phone.
Carrier Trade-In
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all have trade-in programs that offer credit towards a new phone. However, when we tried this option our online price estimates showed that you'll get better trade-in deals at Apple, Amazon, and Best Buy than you will at one of the carriers. The one exception here is Verizon, where the estimated trade-in value for a 128 GB rose gold iPhone 7 on a Verizon plan is an impressive $348.
If you'd prefer to get paid via check rather than earning store credit, go with electronics trade-in company Gazelle. You can currently earn $325 for a 128 GB iPhone 7 in good condition, making this a slightly better option than the estimated value at Best Buy and Amazon (but not quite as good as the one at Verizon, if it's your carrier).
No matter which of the above options you choose, make sure you follow these steps to erase all your content from your current iPhone. You want to trade in the hardware — and not all of your personal information.
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