How to sell your iPad

With Apple announcing both the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini (third generation), you might be among those considering an upgrade. Upgrading can be a very costly expenditure.  If you have an older iPad, there a number of ways you can turn your old gear into cash.  Here’s our guide on how to sell your iPad and upgrade to the new iPad Air or iPad mini.

Updated: January 29th, 2015

how to sell your iPad worth

How To Sell Your iPad

Clean It
First things first, it’s time to shine it up and remove the hundreds of thousands of fingerprints it has amassed during it’s life. It’s served you well, but you need to prepare it for the next owner, so follow our helpful guide on how to clean your iPad.

A soft lint-free cloth is best. In cases where there is extreme grime, then you might want to use just a touch of water on the cloth, not directly on the iPad. Damp, not wet. Wet is not good. Hey, it wouldn’t be a good thing to render the iPad useless before the sale.

Find Your Box, Original Materials
Please tell me you save your boxes? If so, get into your attic and fish out the original packaging. If you managed to keep your sync cables in their original pristine unopened state, that will help your cause.

Restore Your iPad
With the exterior all shiny, there is one more step before putting it back in the box. Okay, a few more steps, but we are getting there. Your iPad needs a software cleaning, removing all of your stuff and preparing it for its new owner. You’ll want to take the necessary steps to back up all of your data. This could involve either syncing to iTunes or iCloud, based upon how you set up your iPad initially.

You’ll want to make sure to securely wipe all of your personal info from the device your selling. This can be done in just a couple easy steps right from the device. Simply go to Settings— > General and choose “Reset”. From there, you’ll want to choose “Erase All Content and Settings”. If you have a passcode it will prompt you for it at this point, if not simply click “Erase” and the iPad will take care of the rest. After the process is complete turn on your iPad to make sure it has been properly reset, and you’re ready for the next step.

Photograph Your iPad
Everything we’ve done up until now is going to pay off, hopefully. Your potential buyer, if an individual, is going to want to see your iPad. It’s time to break out the heavy artillery. Your camera. If you don’t own a camera, borrow one from your Uncle or photo obsessed sister. If you own an iPhone 4S or greater, that will work just fine. The absolute best way to improve your photography is to take your pictures in an area with good light. I often take my product photography outside. You get great light and your pictures will look a thousand times better.

When you are taking photos, think of yourself and what you’d like to see as a buyer. Where would you look for scratches or dings? If your iPad is flawless, that’ll make things easier. The goal here is to provide unreal expectations, but provide the buyer with the condition of your iPad. If you kept your iPad scratch-free, great photographs will improve the confidence of potential bidders. If you have scratches or scuffs, showing these will reduce any post-purchase problems. If you go the eBay route, this sort of thing can result in negative feedback and that’s simply not worth it.

Be sure to photo the entire package, including any extras you might be willing to throw in, such as a case or Smartcover or keyboard.

Where To Sell Your iPad

Here’s the good news, there are no shortage of places to sell your iPad. There is however a huge difference in what you can expect back in return. You have to remember that technology loses value, unless you happen to have a rare classic Mac. Apple has sold over 100,000 million iPads, so there is nothing rare about your old iPad, but that certainly does not mean it won’t garner a good amount of cash. Here’s a breakdown of where you can sell your iPad and in order of where you can expect the most return.


Friends or Family
They know you. You know them. It’s the easiest of any transaction. Try posting on Facebook. While you might be less inclined to ask top dollar, you will save money on fees associated with other services. Plus, you’ll have visitation rights, so that’s got to count for something.

Another free service, but can wind up in unrealistic bargain hunters, scammers and possible unsafe conditions. Conversely, you could find someone who hasn’t shopped used iPads. These are all cash transactions. You will invariably receive an email from someone wishing to send you a PayPal payment for what you are asking, plus an additional amount to more than cover costs for shipping to a kid in college. It’s a scam. Never ship your iPad to someone who contacts you through Craigslist. Don’t even reply. Pick a local, public place. Note in your ad that it’s cash only and you will not accept trades. The last stipulation will avoid having to field offers of a used Nintendo 64 for your iPad 3.

It will take more work than hitting up your friends on Facebook or meeting a buyer at a local Starbucks, but will open up bidding for a very large audience. You can set your auction to be US only or allow International shipping. Shipping varies, so factor those costs into the equation. When I listed my iPad 2 64GB with 3G, I set up shipping as a flat rate of $10.95. The actual shipping, when combined with insurance for $500, was around $20.

eBay provides you with a vast buyer pool. You’ll also have significant fees, which can reduce your take. Buyers can use a credit card through PayPal. The advantage here is that buyers might stretch their bids and rely on credit, something not likely in a pure cash transaction. If they pay with a credit card, PayPal will take a percentage for processing, further limiting your return.

One of the more popular buyback services. Gazelle makes it super easy to sell your iPad. You aren’t selling to person, but to the service. You go through an easy Q&A process that helps them evaluate the condition of your iPad. Send it in and if everything matches your description, they sound out payment for the agreed amount. Their buyback numbers reflect this convenience, as their offers are extremely low compared to eBay auctions.

Similar in nature to Gazelle is the Amazon Trade-In Program, but they won’t give you cash back. The numbers are higher for Amazon offers, but they send you back an Amazon Gift Card. Amazon does not currently stock the latest iPad or iPad mini, so that’s a problem for those looking for launch day sales and upgrades.

Timing Of The Sale
It’s all about timing. Right now, values are heading south. The perfect time to sell an iPad is before a new one is announced. While that ship has sailed, it’s something to remember for the next Apple event. Buyback sites will honor offers for 30-days, meaning you have that time frame to send in your iPad.

The upgrade cycle is vicious and costly. Apple’s iPads have fantastic resale value, but that value can vary based on how you go about selling your iPad. I recently sold an iPad 2 WiFi + 3G with 64GB of storage. Gazelle offered me $250. I decided to take my own advice. I tracked down the packaging, polished it up, took some great photos and took my chance with eBay. My auction resulted in double the amount offered by Gazelle. Fees from eBay and Paypal will cut my return, but it’s still a significant amount for an iPad that is now two generations old.

Are you planning on selling your iPad and upgrading to the new iPad Air 2 or iPad mini?

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