Sell or Pawn iPhone in 5 Steps for Top Dollar

February 07, 2020 - Electronics

As a co-founder of PawnGuru, I learn a lot about different industries and markets on a daily basis.

As the demand for the latest smartphone soars, so does the demand for older gadgets. Why? Think about this: just this weekend, one of my friends lost his iPhone 6 in a lake. Given the price of a new one, he opted to buy a used iPhone 5 at a pawn shop in Detroit.

Do you have an old iPhone you want to sell or pawn and make quick cash? Well, let me tell you that selling or pawning to a pawnshop is the right place for you! To help you get the most money for your iPhone, I will tell you the 5 step evaluation process pawnbrokers use to determine your offer amount and will help you pawn iPhone for top dollar. We want to thank Brian the Pawn Nerd for his help and expertise in writing this guide. You can what Brian has to say himself about iPhones at pawn shops here: How Much Do Pawn Shops Pay for iPhones?

1) Model

Before pawn shops can agree to or make any offer, they will first evaluate the model of your old iPhone or other cell phone you are selling or pawning. If the old phone you happen to sell or pawn is the latest iPhone 6+ or a Galaxy S6 edge, then (some!) pawnbrokers will hurdle over the counter, cash in hand, ready to buy it outright or give you a loan. But we’ve found that there’s more variation in what pawn shops accept iPhones, Androids and other smartphones than we expected. Some pawn shops are more interested in technology, and feel more comfortable performing the steps necessary to get a smartphone ready for sale – but others avoid carrying them entirely.

If your old phone is 2+ years older, it will be difficult to sell. You’re looking at $0-$40 off the bat. So a take away from the star: the newer, the better.

2) Condition

One a pawnbroker has decided your old phone is worth selling or pawning, they will then see what condition it is in. If your cell phone does not work then you will most likely not get any offers.  If your cell phone has any major scratches or cracks on the screen then that could significantly lower your offer.

3) Carrier

Offer price can also depend on cell phone carrier. A Sprint or Verizon wireless phone is often more expensive than AT&T and T-Mobile phones because Sprint and Version use technology to “lock in” people to their carriers.

4) ESN/MEID/IMEI check

An ESN/MEID/IMEI checks for 3 things.

1. The phone was reported lost or stolen in the past.

2.The phone is still active on the owner’s wireless carrier account.

3.There is money owed on the wireless carrier account to which the ESN/MEID/IMEI is connected.

If you’re clear of these 3 things then you move on to phone completeness.

5) Completeness

If you have the paper work, box, usb, and wall outlet that came with your old phone , then your chances of getting the most money for your iPhone remains high! If not, than it effects your offer price negatively.

6) iCloud Lock

The last thing pawn shops will check is your iPhone’s iCloud activation status. If the iPhone you want to sell or pawn is under iCloud, than just about any pawnbroker will tell you that they are no longer interested in buying or giving you a loan for your old iPhone.

In Conclusion

After pawnbrokers evaluate your iPhone, the last thing they will check for is how much they can offer based on their current inventory and buying budget. So I recommend visiting a couple pawnshops if you want the most money for your iPhone.  If you have any questions or need advice on selling or pawning your item, shoot me a message at We’re always eager to help!

David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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Avatar for Derek Schneider

Derek Schneider

August 1, 2015, 4:39 AM

Very informative article! All the steps are very useful for those who wish to pawn their iphone and want to get the most money for the it!

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