Compare and Recycle

Tips To Protect the Value of Your New iPhone 12

You might think that it’s too early to start selling your brand new iPhone 12 that you only just got delivered, but we’ll tell you this: you should start thinking about it from the day you unbox it. Too often, the value of an iPhone is reduced due to its battery health or pixel discoloration on the screen which are among the faults that are completely avoidable if the owner knows how not to let this happen. Below, we’ll discuss some common cases of how the resale value of your iPhone 12 can be affected within the first year, and we’ll give you the relevant tips on how to prevent your iPhone from losing you money.

Unlocking Your Phone


The value difference between a network-locked phone and an unlocked phone might be up to £100, with Vodafone being the most expensive network to unlock from. The reason for this is that only the legal owner of the phone is allowed to unlock the device free of charge once the contract term is finished. Buyback companies can unlock a phone, but for a fee, and this fee translates into lower offer prices for network-locked phones.


In light of the recent Ofcom ban that will no longer allow networks to sell locked devices, this will soon stop being an issue. But until the ban comes into force, always buy an unlocked phone, if you can, or make sure you unlock your iPhone before proceeding with trading it in. This will help you to maximise your iPhone’s resale value.

5G and Battery Life

Image: James Yarema / Unspalsh


Apple is finally on board with Android manufacturers offering 5G support on their new lineup of iPhones, but with the 5G compatibility comes a downside - the battery life on the iPhone 12 takes a major hit. The other issue is that 5G coverage is yet to be fully developed, and even though the iPhone 12 supports 5G, it’ll switch to 4G when 5G isn’t available. While on the 4G connection, your iPhone will be constantly searching for 5G, which results in the significant draining of your iPhone’s battery life.


To protect your iPhone’s battery from degrading, you need to try and reduce charging cycles. In order to make your phone last longer on a single charge, turn off your 5G manually if you live in the area where 5G is yet to become available, so your iPhone doesn't look for 5G signal automatically 24/7.

Charging Your iPhone


Even with smartphones now supporting fast charging and being able to go up to almost 100% in 30 minutes, we still leave them plugged in and charging overnight. This is a bad habit that unfortunately many of us don’t break. Operating systems are becoming smarter by the generation, and with the help of machine learning, the iPhone charging process has become smarter with the release of iOS 13 last year.

Despite all this AI help, lithium-ion batteries do degrade over time. Draining the battery all the way to below 10% daily followed by charging it all the way to 100% will result in your iPhone’s battery cell aging faster than it should. iPhones perform at their best when their reported battery capacity is above 80%. Once your iPhone has crossed the mark of 500 charging cycles, the battery will start losing its capacity which can lead to reduced device performance and shutdowns which then will require a battery replacement.


Ensure that your iPhone’s battery charge is sitting between 30% and 80% as often as possible. Buyback companies are very strict with the battery health of iPhone devices and in order to get a full quoted price, your iPhone needs to meet the recommended battery health percentage of at least 80%. So, the more often you can reduce the need for a full charging cycle throughout the ownership of your iPhone 12, the longer your iPhone battery’s capacity will be at its best performance. This will also mean that you’ll be able to secure a higher payout for your iPhone when you decide to sell it.

OLED Screens


OLED screens display deeper blacks and make vibrant colours pop, but they can suffer from something called permanent pixel discolouration or in other words “screen burn-in”. The pixels in the areas of the screen that are used the most to display icons, or the navigation bar decay over time and develop a ‘ghost’ image of the static elements on the screen. The fact that different colour pixels are aging at different rates is mainly what contributes to the risk of screen burn-ins and irregular pixel usage is very damaging to OLED panels which are very expensive to repair, especially on iPhones.


Apple is aware of this OLED technology ‘feature’ and have put clever algorithms in place that monitor and collect data regarding individual pixel usage which is then used to automatically adjust pixel brightness levels. This is definitely helpful to prolong the lifespan of the OLED panel. However, while there’s no way to fix the screen burn-in once it has developed other than to completely replace the faulty OLED panel, there are precautions that you can take to prevent your brand-new iPhone 12’s display from developing the fault. Avoid idle screen activity, set your display’s brightness level to adjust automatically, shorten your screen timeout to a convenient minimum, frequently change wallpapers (choose darker ones) and shuffle your menu icons around from time to time. If you can switch to Dark Mode all together, your iPhone’s OLED panel will be very grateful.

Wear and Tear


Our phones are constantly in and out of our pockets, bags, where they get tossed around with keys, coins, etc. All this causes wear and tear which affects the cosmetic condition of your iPhone. The heavier the cosmetic damage, the less value your iPhone will be able to return.

Image: Daniel Romero / Unspalsh


You already know this, but we’ll say it again- get a case and screen protector from day one. Even though Apple coated the displays of the iPhone 12 series with a new type of glass called a Ceramic Shield, the screens are not 100% scratch resistant. Although the new iPhones are claimed to be 4x more durable due to a new body design where the glass is combined with the frame rather than like on previous generations where the curves expose the glass, it will take one accidental odd drop to crack the back of your iPhone.

iPhone Depreciation


As soon as the iPhone has been released, it starts to depreciate and if you’re familiar with Compare and Recycle, you will know that every year prior to Apple’s event, we prepare our largest iPhone price tracking study that warns us year after year that the worst time for iPhone trade-ins is after the launch of new iPhones. 2020 has proven this once again when the price for the iPhone 11 series has dropped by up to £150 in a blink of an eye following the announcement of the iPhone 12 series.


Limit your phone’s depreciation by having a plan in place to sell the device when its value is at its peak in August. If you’re keeping the device for 2+ years, the high capacity Pro models retain their value much better, so keep this in mind when you’re picking your model. iPhones lose an average of 35% of their value each year (compared to over 50% for Samsung devices). Plan ahead and beat the depreciation by selling before a new launch, at least a day before, as this could get you over £100 more than if you wait until after a new iPhone comes out. Place your iPhone trade-in orders at least a day before the new iPhone launch to avoid throwing £150 out of the window just by delaying your iPhone’s trade-in.

Finding the Best Trade-in Price for your iPhone

Image: Martin Sanchez / Unspalsh


There are quite a few services online and from network providers that will give you cash for your iPhone 12 when you decide to sell it. If you decide to trade-in with Apple or your network provider, you’re unlikely to get the best price on the market for your iPhone.


In preparation for the iPhone 12 launch, we carried out a quick iPhone price comparison study between Apple and the UK networks, and we compared the prices to what was offered on Compare and Recycle at that time. The findings were shocking, and if you don’t shop around for the price to sell your iPhone, you can lose up to 90% of your phone’s value. The situation might repeat next year, so do shop around, and definitely check Compare and Recycle before you commit to any previously found trade-in price that at first might seem very appealing.

Wrap Up

When you’re spending a considerable amount on an iPhone that drops in value as soon as you take it out of the box, you need to ensure that after using the iPhone 12 for a good few years, you can still get the most money for it so that it’s a worthy purchase in the long run.

Getting a pretty penny for your iPhone after one, two or even three years means that you need to take good care of it from day one. If you follow the above simple steps, it will be easier to bag the best trade-in deal when the time comes to part with your iPhone 12.

Cover image: Salman Majeed / Unsplash


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