Why Right Now Is (Likely) the Best Time to Trade in Your iPhone XS

iPhone XS Max in Box Credit: Gorlov-KV / Shutterstock
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If your daily driver is an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max that you bought shortly after launch, now may just be the best time to trade it in at Apple.

Apple is currently offering an estimated trade-in value of $600 and $500 for the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS, respectively. Based on the fact that it’s been more than a year since the iPhone XS lineup dropped, that means many users likely owe less money than that on their current installment plans.

You can try the math for yourself. Say you have an iPhone XS Max that you currently owe AT&T $400 for. Since Apple is offering up to $600 on a trade-in, it may be financially smarter to pay it off at AT&T, and then trade it in at Apple.

While you’ll need to pay off your iPhone and own it before trading it in at Apple, in the above scenario, you’d basically be getting a $200 off on an iPhone 11 Pro.

Of course, this is all dependent on the condition of your device. If the device isn’t in good shape, then you may receive a lot less for your trade-in.

On the other hand, if you owe more than Apple’s current trade-in estimates, then it’s definitely smarter to keep paying off your current iPhone at the monthly rate that you have been.

Similarly, users on an upgrade-eligible plan through their carrier may want to look into those programs. If you’ve made enough monthly installment payments, you may be able to trade in your current device for a new one through your carrier.

Keep in mind that your own mileage may vary. Apple’s Trade-In is a good option because it’s simple and you get instant credit toward a new device. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’ll probably be able to get more by selling it on a third-party market site like eBay.

If and when you actually do pay off your iPhone, then it may be worth looking into Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program.

On the plan, you’ll be eligible to get a new iPhone every year once you make at least 12 payments. The program starts at $35.33 a month and even includes AppleCare+ coverage. You can find out more on Apple’s website.

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