It’s that time again: Time for your annual frantic search to find all of the original packaging for your older iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. That’s the best way to sell it for the highest possible sum, after all, before you plunk down a preorder for whatever Apple’s announcing this week.
The big manufacturers and carriers would love it if you signed up for subscription-model pricing, ensuring you a new device every year, constant revenue for them, and a used device they can resell to generate even more revenue. But most people just buy their new hardware. That means you’re responsible for selling your old phone — or finding something to do with it — when you want something new.
With Apple set to announce new iPhones and Apple Watches this Thursday, in addition to whatever else the company is planning, you may be looking for some ideas for what you can do with your older Apple devices. Here goes:
For most people, selling your older devices is going to give you the best reward for minimal time spent. You get sweet cash (or store credit), which you can use to spend on anything else you want: The iPhone XS MAX XTREME, toys for your pet, a Samsung Galaxy S9 (gasp), a Pugsheen, and so on.
There are a hundred different ways you can part with your older gear. The easiest solution is to sell an Apple Watch or iPhone something-something to a friend or loved one. They get a decent deal, you get cash from a trusted source, and they can bug you for troubleshooting whenever they want. Everybody wins.
Otherwise, you can try selling your device to any number of places — even Apple itself. We’ve previously covered many of the major options you have, and it’s worth your time to pull out a notepad, visit a few sites, and write down everyone’s trade-in values to make sure you’re getting the most money for your older device as possible.
You can also try eBay or Gumtree, but you’re then surrendering yourself to everyone else’s needs. If people aren’t interested in, say, an iPhone 5s — and I can’t imagine who would be — you might not have much luck. At least with the trade-in sites, you’ll have a guaranteed “buyer”, even if you might not make as much.
Before you sell your device, don’t forget to follow Apple’s steps for removing your personal information and deauthorising the device from your Apple account. Deauthorise the device with any other major apps you use — including iCloud itself — and give it a good clean, too.
Use It As A Backup
You are definitely not going to drop your brand-new iPhone XS XTREME MEGA ONE, but in case you do and you can’t get to the Apple Store for a while (or can’t afford to fix your new device), it never hurts to have a backup on hand that you can switch to in occasional times of need.
You’ll need to swap the SIM card out of your new iPhone, naturally, but it’s a pretty easy process. If you’re holding on to an older Apple Watch, it’s pretty easy to pair an older one to your iPhone if you accidentally smash your wrist and mess up your brand-new Apple Watch Series 4.
If you’re buying a new iPhone anyway, why not use your older iPhone as a science project? This is, of course, assuming that your device isn’t reasonably new (and running iOS 11.4). If that’s the case, you might be out of luck, as there wasn’t a jailbreak for that version of Apple’s iOS as of when we wrote this article.
Assuming your iPhone is using an older version of iOS, you’re probably OK to jailbreak your device. It can be a semi-complicated process depending on the technique you use, but that shouldn’t cause you any stress at all. After all, this won’t be your primary carry device, so if you brick it, break it, or find the jailbreaking process frustrating and don’t want to deal with it any more, it won’t affect your day-to-day life at all.
As for what you can do with a jailbroken iPhone, here are a few ideas to get you started. I love this Reddit user’s approach — transforming an older iPhone into a giant launcher for a small handful of apps. You can trick out your Lock screen so you can accomplish all the small tasks you want to do, such as a quick web search, without ever having to authenticate into your device.
Heck, you can try to install Android on your iPhone. (Good luck!)
If you still own an iPhone 4, chances are it's sitting in a drawer somewhere gathering dust. You've probably thought about throwing it out, but now there's finally something useful you can do with your old smartphone instead: Turn it into a feature phone.
Transform Your Old iPhone Into 'New Hardware'
If only you could upgrade your older iPhone with newer components, but the dream of a worthy modular — or even upgradable smartphone — is best left to science fiction for now. That isn’t to say that you can’t get creative with how you use your older smartphone, however.
A number of apps, such as Salient Eye, Presence and Manything, allow you to transform an iPhone into a security camera. If it’s just going to sit around on your shelf anyway, might as well point it at something valuable (or your pet).
You could also throw your old iPhone into your car and use it as a dash cam, but it might look a lot more tempting for thieves than a dash cam. And taking it with you everywhere you go, especially if you’re already carrying a new iPhone, could get annoying.
If you’re a hiker, you could also use an older iPhone as a handy GPS navigation tool.
Make An Art Installation
If you have a number of old Apple devices sitting around, you could tap into your creative side, bust out your toolkit, and make a gorgeous wall piece out of them. I’m also a big fan of this approach: Encasing your devices in a huge block of plastic, kind of like a geeky Encino Man.
Store It Long Term
If you aren’t ready to decide the fate of your older device, use it until its battery drops to the Apple-recommended 50 per cent. Then, set a calendar reminder to check on the device’s battery every six months or so and charge it back up to the halfway point.
This is the best and safest way to store your older device, says Apple — in addition to keeping it in “a cool, moisture-free environment” that’s less than 35C. In other words, don’t leave it sitting around your bathroom and don’t let it tan in the hot sun every day.