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You Snooze, You Lose: Time To Get The Most Money For Your iPhone

You Snooze, You Lose: Time To Get The Most Money For Your iPhone

In the most comprehensive price tracking study we have ever created, updated specifically for 2019, we have looked at every iPhone recycling price since the iPhone 6 to understand how much a new iPhone will depreciate by. There is a great deal of information in this report as we go eight iPhone generations back in time.

First, a Graph!

With all the graphs featured in this article, we are looking at the average order price of each iPhone model across each month since November 2016. Moreover, we will be delving into the trends within the iPhone recycling market which affect prices. This will disclose when the best time to sell your device is.

Overall Trends

The graph above illustrates that the value of iPhones generally depreciates over time, with most of the depreciation from the original retail price occurring within the first year of ownership. The data that we have analysed discloses more about what happens to iPhone resale prices:

  1. The largest drops occur as new phones are released or just prior to release. Prices drop slightly after the announcement, then significantly after the release.
  2. There is a dip in June and July, then an uplift in offer prices for most iPhones in August every year.
  3. Plus and Max models are holding their value much better than basic models, including the smaller capacity models.
  4. The higher capacity models have increased (with the most recent uplift) by a greater percentage than the lower capacity models.
  5. During the second-year post-release, devices reach a plateau and depreciate much slower than during the years before and after.

From this data, we can analyse how well each iPhone model is currently performing, and whether they are currently being under or over-valued.

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max: Possible Growth in Resale Price

The iPhone XS had a rough start, with very little to show for a minimum price of £999. The prices offered by merchants reflected this, with prices on offer for recycling showing very little return. However, because of this, the prices are now slowly increasing as the demand from recyclers is on the rise.

This resale price is projected to grow in the days leading up to the release of the 2019 iPhone, and perhaps even afterwards. The iPhone XS is one of the few devices which could be better to keep for a while longer until after the announcement, especially if you are undecided about whether to upgrade.

The iPhone XS Max has followed the same pattern of slightly erratic resale prices in its first year, as many merchants are not able to offer a sensible price for this model. However, like the XS, the smaller of the two capacities is currently at its highest resale value that it has ever been. If you are a serial upgrader, it may be worth waiting just that little bit longer to see if the demand for these devices increases, which would lead to you getting a higher price for your phone.

iPhone XR: Lower Depreciation

The XR was one of the most interesting releases from Apple within the past few years, offering a cheaper alternative than the highest spec device they could possibly make with the highest resale price to go along with it.

The mid-range device appears to have been the best bet to combat depreciation, with the iPhone XR 128GB and 256GB creeping over the £500 mark for resale value. This marks a lower than usual percentage depreciation from the first year of ownership.

iPhone X: Maintaining Value

The iPhone X has provided a much more predictable trend of depreciation, with most of it occurring during the first year of ownership. Nonetheless, it has still maintained a resale price of just under £500 on average for most of the year, and it also has had a brief uplift of value this August.

This could be an extremely popular year for iPhone X resales, with many of the early adopters of the full-screen Face ID smartphone approaching the end of their contracts. Trading in for around £500 would mark a very decent return after two years of ownership.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus: Outlier

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus bucked the trend, given that they are the only devices to undergo a drop prior to the release of the former iPhone model. The prices started dipping in August last year, which did not follow the pattern. The last of the 'old' design has otherwise held its value considerably well, maintaining its prices throughout the year.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have not dropped in value just yet, so it looks as though they are likely to maintain their current value right up until the announcement, which is when we would have expected them to have their most significant drop.

Interestingly, the resale price of the high capacity iPhone 8 has followed the low capacity iPhone 8 Plus quite evenly. The RRP of the 8 Plus 64GB is £699, whereas the iPhone 8 256GB retails at £749, yet the £50 difference has not been realised in the resale value two years down the line.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: No Uplift for #1 Recycled Device

The iPhone 7 is currently the most popular trade-in on Compare and Recycle, with a huge number of our customers seeking to upgrade to newer models. The iPhone 7 Plus models have had a larger increase in price in August than the standard iPhone 7, with the 128GB and 256GB variations offering very similar recycling prices.

The iPhone 7 had a significant drop in resale prices during the run up to the iPhone X launch, possibly due to the announced decrease in retail prices for the iPhone 7 models that occurred around the time of the iPhone X release. The iPhone X offered a new design which many Apple consumers were craving after years of only small design changes to previous iPhone models.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: Mostly Increased Price

Apple released four versions of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus which were initially very well received but failed to have any of the selling points that the fusion chip or the greatly improved bionic chip provided to later models.

The prices have dropped for three out of the four iPhone 6s models, but the iPhone 6S Plus 16GB had the largest resale price increase of 19%.

iPhone SE: Great Value For Money

The SE is still maintaining its value and popularity as one of the most accessible and affordable mobile phones ever produced by Apple. It not only has the lowest environmental footprint of Apple's portfolio, but it is also the most pocket-sized iPhone to date.

You can get a refurbished iPhone SE for as low as £79 in a decent condition, so these resale values of between £50 and £70 mark a phone that offers very good value for money. However, before you rush to buy this device, it is important to consider that support for this phone may stop in 2020.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Imminent Drop

The iPhone 6 is going to undergo a significant drop as Apple are ending support and security updates for the range. Support for the iPhone 6 range will be discontinued with the release of iOS 13. Prices have gone up for a few of the models and these are likely to be the best prices you will be able to get for your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus before they drop by as much as 60%.

These prices are as good as they are going to get, with demand from merchants soon to drop significantly.

Wrap up

If you are determined to buy one of the new iterations of the iPhone (either an upgraded model or the newest model in the series), then ensure that you carry out the following steps:

  • Lock in a price before the announcement to ensure a high trade-in price. If you are looking to trade in your iPhone, then in August demand will be at its highest and recyclers will be willing to pay extra for a working mobile in good condition.
  • For those of you who tend to upgrade year after year, you ought to choose a lower capacity version as the depreciation tends to be lower.
  • If you are going to keep your current iPhone for longer, what we have concluded from the data is that the higher capacity models retain their value a lot more effectively.
  • Make sure you follow our step-by-step guide to completely remove your personal data from your phone before selling it.


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