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

In the most comprehensive price tracking study that we have ever created, updated for 2020, we have looked at every iPhone recycling price since the iPhone 6 to understand what previous iPhone generations are worth now and how the upcoming iPhone 12 release will affect the value of older iPhones when you come to sell your iPhone.

  • Our data illustrates that the value of iPhones generally depreciates over time with the highest depreciation rate from the original retail price occurring within the iPhone’s first year on the market. The data that we have analysed discloses more about what happens to iPhone resale prices when a new generation of iPhone gets released.

  • The largest drops occur as new iPhones are released or just prior to release/after the announcement. Trade-in prices drop slightly after the official announcement from Apple, then enter a period of fluctuation and drop in trade-in price by an average of 20% after the release.

  • There is a dip in trade-in prices around June and mid July, and then an increase in August for most iPhone models. However, 2020 is a unique year that did not follow any established trends and as such we have seen trade-in prices going down around March and April, and then slowly increasing and continuing to rise throughout the summer.

  • The Plus and Max models retain their value much better than the standard models throughout the iPhones’ lifespan as well as the models with smaller internal storage capacities.

  • During the second year post-release, devices reach a plateau and depreciate much slower than during the years before and after.

August would traditionally be the best time to sell your iPhone, and we suspect the prices now are as high as they ever will go, but whether the merchants will be offering these prices for an additional six weeks before launch is unknown.

Deep Dive into the iPhone Price Tracking Data: iPhone 8 to the iPhone 11

Price History of iPhone 8 to iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 was the first flagship device from Apple that was released with a lower retail price than its predecessor, which has had a clear effect on the prices of previous models. The XS range had the sharpest drops after the iPhone 11 release. This was the biggest shift in prices that we have seen for quite some time, however not all of this information is discouraging. In 2020, the values of most of the iPhones that have been released recently have been steadily on the rise.

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max Price History: Rough Start Led to Higher Prices

The most recent iPhone lineup that Apple unveiled back in September 2019 is an interesting one. Firstly, there were three iPhone models with a distinctive pricing strategy and consumer appeal. The iPhone 11 has not been considered to be a low-end iPhone compared to the iPhone XR or SE 2020 for example, but rather as a cheaper flagship model and a move from Apple to introduce a slightly more affordable flagship device to the masses. The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max on the other hand offered more premium user experiences which many Apple users would choose as a more lavish option.

iPhone 11 average trade-in price since release

Looking at the recycling prices for the iPhone 11 trio, it took some time for the resale prices to settle with fluctuations lasting well into June across all devices, the good news being that the more budget-friendly iPhone 11 (as opposed to the Pro and Pro Max) had retained up to 73% of its value.

The biggest value drop of £33 was for the iPhone 11 256GB in February. The 64GB model lost £22 during its third month on the market, and the 128GB model dropped by £15 throughout December 2019 and January 2020. Overall, for the past 11 months, the iPhone 11 64GB model had an increase of 16% in resale value, the iPhone 11 128GB gained 9% in resale value, and the iPhone 11 256GB value increased by 5%. Since their release, the iPhone 11 64GB and 128GB models have managed to retain 71% and 72% of their market value respectively.

With the iPhone 11 Pro devices, the numbers are different. Only the 64GB model has gone up in value by 3% since September 2019, while the 128GB and 256GB models have depreciated by 6%, losing considerable value from the beginning of the year and then again in June 2020.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max models have followed a similar pattern to the iPhone 11 Pro devices. There has been an increase in recycling value for the iPhone 11 Pro Max 64GB by 3%, from an average recycling order price of £699 in October 2019, up to £720 in August 2020.

There was a 2% drop in value for the 11 Pro Max 256GB model, and a 9% drop for the 512GB variant. The most expensive iPhone 11 Pro Max 512GB has lost 47% of its market value in the last 11 months.

What Will the iPhone 11 Series Be Worth After iPhone 12 Release?

The recycling price of the iPhone 11 series following the iPhone 12 release will largely depend on Apple’s pricing strategy for the brand-new series. Rumour has it that the entry level iPhone 12 will have an even lower price tag than the iPhone 11. If Apple release a 5G iPhone 12 model, the range of prices available for the new iPhones could be the largest yet. If Apple decide to stick with similar retail prices as the iPhone 11 lineup, then we could see larger percentage drops to the iPhone 11 than the XS range had in 2019, where the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) reduction had a serious effect on the trade-in value for old iPhones.

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max: The Biggest Drop in Value

iPhone XS and XS Max models have been showing very little return for customers who spent at least £999 on their new iPhone. After a rough start, the recycling prices began to rise prior to the iPhone 11 announcement in 2019.

The iPhone XS recycling prices dropped considerably following the announcement of the iPhone 11 lineup. The devices have depreciated on average by £214 (-34%) within the three months following the iPhone 11 launch. The resale values over the past three months have increased slightly, but these devices are not as profitable as they were a year ago. At the moment, the 64GB can earn its owner £34 more than in June 2020, while the 128GB and 512GB variants are similar to each other and can be resold for an additional £16 -17 more than they would have been three months ago. We are expecting to see even more of an increase in recycling prices for the iPhone XS models, with the 64GB variant increasing by at least £10 before September. The resale price is projected to plummet after the iPhone 12 lineup becomes available, with the 256GB model dropping even further by approximately £100.

In its first year, the iPhone XS Max has had slightly erratic resale prices and the iPhone 11 announcement has impacted the recycling prices for the iPhone XS Max models significantly. There was a loss of £227 (-33%) on average after the iPhone 11 devices were released. Unlike the XS, the 256GB capacity model of the XS Max has gained the most in the last three months. Merchants are willing to purchase it for slightly more than £470 which is £40 higher than back in June. The 512GB variant is not as prosperous, as it is only up by £29 compared to June.

We may see a price drop of up to £80 across the iPhone XS Max models following the announcement of the iPhone 12 series. If you are a serial upgrader, it may be worth locking in the price a day before the iPhone 12 unveiling to secure the highest price for your current iPhone. Given the depreciation rate of the iPhone XS Max 512GB at £14 per month within two years of it being available on the market, we do not have high hopes for this model to avoid a price drop of up to £100 when the iPhone 12 is released.

iPhone XR Price History: A Steady Second Year

Looking at the XR by itself, throughout its first year on the market, the XR fought depreciation with merchants offering more and more as they tried to find the balance for trade-in values for a device with a different price point than merchants were accustomed to. In the second year on the market, the 64GB model depreciated by 23%, whereas the higher capacity models were devalued by 29%, with most of this drop occurring in the month following the iPhone 11 release. As can be seen on the graph, the XR was not as fortunate after the iPhone 11 lineup was released, as it depreciated by £137 (-27%) within the following three months after the 2019 product launch. Nonetheless, the iPhone XR has its resale value at over £350 which is a good return on a device that originally cost £749.

iPhone X Price History: Still Holding On

Given that it is now three years old, the iPhone X has followed the common depreciation trend by losing most of its value during its first year on the market, and then slowly depreciating at a rate of around 1.3% per month over the last two years.

Looking at the trends after the launch of the iPhone 11 series, we can see that the recycling values of the iPhone X models have been hit hard. Both variants have lost an average of £165 between September 2019 and December 2019. Even so, it has still maintained a resale price of £336 on average for most of the last year, and it is also increasing in value by around £10 more than earlier in the summer. We expect this September to be a popular time for iPhone X trade-ins, given that the iPhone X is among the top most traded in devices on our comparison.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus: Surprise Uplift

After the release of the iPhone 11 series last September, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been continuously losing an average of £25 per month until 2020. In April, just before the iPhone SE 2020 announcement, the 64GB models’ recycling value went up by £14.

In the run-up to September, we are seeing an average increase of £8 across the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models, although the iPhone 8 64GB is the only model that has decreased slightly over the last three months.

Interestingly, the recycling price gap between the lower capacity iPhone 8 and the rest of the iPhone 8 devices has widened over the past few months. Cashing in the iPhone 8 64GB now can earn you up to £184, while the recycling values of other iPhone 8 models are significantly above the £200 mark.

We anticipate that prices will fall by at least £30 when the iPhone 12 series is added to the Apple portfolio. The price drop may be considerable given that the iPhone SE 2020 is a direct replacement for the 2017 iPhone models with the older design surrounded by bezels and housing a physical home button.

Older iPhone Price History - iPhone 7 and Earlier

Older iPhones have traditionally retained their value well, and with the news that iOS support is going to continue on the older generation iPhone SE and 6S models for another year, it ensures that these devices will hold on to some of their value in the second hand market for a while longer.

This year has been an encouraging one for the older devices, with drops of an average of 24% but as low as 13% for some of the most popular trade-in devices in the iPhone 7 range. Many devices had a drop after the release and then a rise in price uncharacteristically early in May and June.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus:

The iPhone 7 is among the top three of the most popular trade-ins on Compare and Recycle, (although sometimes it is surpassed by the iPhone 8). The popularity of the iPhone 7 should not come as a surprise, as four years ago the Plus model was the first to bring the dual rear camera to the iPhone which was something that had not been seen before. While Apple still supports iPhone 7 devices with the newest software updates, many customers are seeking to upgrade to more recent models as the technology has moved on.

For an iPhone 7 device that has been well looked after, merchants are currently offering up to £205 which is a fantastic return for a phone that is four years old. The data tells us that the most common trade-in model is the 32GB variant which has not had an uplift in recycling price since June, instead steadily decreasing by a couple of pounds a month and is now worth just over £100. The 128GB remained somewhat stable over the past three months, while the 256GB variant has gained £10 and is currently worth up to £150.

The 32GB and 128GB models of the iPhone 7 Plus have gone up by roughly £20 just before June and are currently retaining their values of £168 and £186 respectively. The largest capacity model has had a £5 drop in recycling prices compared to the start of summer.

There are currently no significant drops in resale prices during the run-up to the iPhone 12 unveiling, however they are likely to occur shortly afterwards with drops most likely to occur at around £20 for the iPhone 7 across the board.

iPhone SE: Great Value For Money

Looking at the SE price dynamics prior to the launch of the iPhone 11 series, the smaller 16GB and 32GB capacity options have had an increase of around £10, while the 64GB and 128GB variants have reduced considerably in September. The same pattern can be seen this year, and there were no increases prior to the release of the second generation of the iPhone SE in April. We anticipate that the recycling values for the iPhone SE models will continue to decrease at a steady pace with the highest price likely to be just above £40 by the end of September.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: Still Providing Good Value

As it was released in 2015, the iPhone 6s range reached the bottom curve of its depreciation rate, with five models out of the eight increasing by only a small amount over the last three months. The recycling value of the iPhone 6s models are very similar, with the highest trade-in amount at £85. The iPhone 6s Plus model on the other hand can still earn you just over £100. The prices are expected to drop across the board, with the biggest drops occurring on the lowest capacity models.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Imminent Drop

Since Apple ended iOS support for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, the lowest price we saw this year was £20 in April. iPhone 6 models can currently be traded-in for just over £40, and these prices are likely to be the best ones you will be able to get for an iPhone 6.

If you have an iPhone 6 Plus in good condition, this will get you slightly more, with prices currently up to £75. With the demand from merchants slowing down significantly, these prices are not going to last long. We also would advise you not to use an unsupported device for security reasons, so this is your chance to get the best deal.


If you want to buy one of the new iterations of the iPhone (either one of the most recent devices in the Apple portfolio or the latest iPhone 12 flagship), then ensure that you follow the steps below:

  • Lock in a price before the announcement to ensure the highest pay out. If you are looking to trade in your older iPhone and upgrade to one of the iPhones that Apple is currently offering, then August is your best time to upgrade as the demand for older iPhones among merchants is at its highest and recyclers will be willing to pay extra for a working iPhone in good cosmetic condition.

  • For those of you who tend to upgrade year after year, you ought to keep your eyes peeled for the announcement date and place your trade-in order on the launch day by the latest.

  • Lower capacity versions depreciate at a lower rate in the first year.

  • Higher capacity, premium models hold their value for two or more years.

  • If you are planning to upgrade to one of the iPhone 12 devices, our data tells us that the higher capacity models retain their value better, so you will benefit more by paying slightly more for a brand new iPhone with a higher capacity and will get more cash when you decide to sell it. But still think about the environmental impact of a high capacity device.

Make sure you follow our step-by-step guide to completely remove your personal data from your phone before selling it.


See more posts by Andrew