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Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
A slightly scratched front of the iPhone 12 Pro Max

Telstra details trade-in value ahead of 2021 iPhones

If you’re thinking of retiring your current phone ahead of an iPhone 13, you might be curious how much you can get.

There’s a time during the release of every major iPhone that many an owner of an older iPhone glances down at their device and thinks “how much could I get for you if I wanted to upgrade”. It may even happen if you own something not made by Apple, because anyone can want a new phone, whether they’re moving to an iPhone from an Android or an iPhone, or even to an Android from another device.

Phone trade-in can help us save a bit of money by handing over a device we won’t need anymore, cutting the cost down little by little. It’s a trade in to trade up, so to speak.

Unfortunately, however, the answer to how much your phone is worth isn’t quite so cut and dry.

Even if you have last year’s iPhone 12 or even maybe an iPhone XR from a couple of years ago, there’s not necessarily a fixed value for how much your phone is worth, because it’s dependent on what has happened to it.

Telstra chimed in this week with some of those values of “up to” how much you could get back, which may or may not be different from Apple’s own, given they’re both different services.

At Apple’s trade-in service, the idea works in one of two ways, either online or in-store. In the times of pandemic and lockdown, the former is the only option.

With online Apple trade-ins, you fill in a form online and send your device in, getting the money back after Apple has checked your phone, or potentially paying a cost to get your phone back if you don’t agree with the trade-in value. It could potentially be a lower value with an online trade-in if you’ve repaired your phone outside of an authorised Apple repairer.

For Telstra, online is also the only option as it uses a service that handles the checks and trade-in value.

And this week, Telstra has detailed some of those values, at least for September 2021, as they are subject to change, very likely as time goes on.

For instance, if you have an iPhone 12 Pro Max you’re looking to upgrade from, Telstra offers as much as $1050 from the older device, though it will be dependent not just on the condition of your handset, but also the storage capacity you bought it at. It should go without saying that a 512GB iPhone 12 Pro Max in perfect condition bought for $2369 will probably net that maximum trade-in value, while a 128GB model may not.

Head to head: the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (left) vs the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (right)
Both the Samsung S20 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max can get a trade-in at Telstra for an iPhone 13, though don’t expect them to be as high as what you paid for them initially.

In fact, you could see as much as $950 for a 12 Pro, $725 for an iPhone 12, or $700 for an iPhone 11 Pro Max, with other models of phone trickling through the list. Last year’s Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G can get as much as $500 trade in, a 2020 iPhone SE as much as $250, a Google Pixel 4 XL as much as $175, and a Samsung Galaxy S8 as much as $75, with more details available on Telstra’s trade-in site.

Those values don’t necessarily need to be applied to an outright cost like they might trading in at Apple, and could be applied to your Telstra account, handy if you’re buying a phone on a plan.

“Trade-in is great. Not only does it allow us to contribute to recycling and the reduction of e-waste, it also offers our customers a chance to turn their old handsets into dollars, dollars they can put towards a new phone,” said Michael Ackland, Group Executive for Consumer and Small Business at Telstra.

While trade-in can be a neat way of trading up, you may have more luck selling them privately than simply trading in, giving you another way to potentially get your money’s worth for a new phone.

Depressingly, Telstra quotes last year’s over-$2K Galaxy Fold 2 as only able to get a maximum of $475, losing a lot of value in the process. As such, a private sale may be more lucrative for phones, as you’re selling to someone who wants to pay less for a device, but still might end up paying more than a company offering a trade-in price.

As with most things, it’s worth checking your options and seeing what’s available, but be aware that it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to get your full value back for any used device.

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