Recent data suggests that traditional tablets are declining in sales, but 2-in-1 hybrids are doing much better. If your iPad is little more than a paperweight on your coffee table, or if you’re planning to buy a new one and replace your laptop with the iPad Pro, you might want to sell it.
Remember, the iPad is unlike any other tablet because the “Apple tax” you paid raises your resale price. Generally speaking, you can expect a better price for an older iPad than an older Android tablet because the iPad is expected to get iOS updates for a while, and not have any major hardware defects.
The question then is how to sell it, where to sell it, and what’s the best price you can get for it.
What Impacts Your iPad’s Resale Price
No matter how careful you have been with your iPad, a used device is going to be heavily discounted. Here are a few things you need to know before selling, which will affect what kind of price you can expect.
The age of the iPad: How long it has been used is a big consideration, since it affects the warranty of the iPad as well as gives the user an indication of how heavily you’ve used it.
The warranty plan: Some iPads are covered with the AppleCare+ protection plan, in which most of the parts can get replaced so that your iPad is as good as new. AppleCare+ is transferrable in most regions, so you can factor that into the price of your iPad.
When the model was released: Let’s say you bought an iPad Mini 2 a year after it was launched. Let’s say I bought an iPad Mini 3 at the same time, which had just released. Even though we bought our iPads at the same time, I’ll get a better price since I have a later model.
The screen condition: The screen is the most important part of any tablet, and that’s what will be the biggest make-or-break part of your transaction. If your screen is scratched, expect the price to drop significantly. If your screen is in flawless condition, or better yet, if you used a screen protector from day one, you’ll get a good price.
How well the iPad works: The buttons, the speakers, the headphone jack, the battery, and the physical condition of the iPad are all as important, but less so than the screen. Where a scratched screen drops the price by about 20%, a dysfunctional headphone jack or a loose Home button drops the price by about 5%. But note, this is dysfunctional or lose. If it’s completely broken and non-functional, the price would drop more.
Accessories: The iPad cable is notorious for fraying, but if you still have your original charger and earphones, that will raise the price. If you are selling it to resellers like Swappa, having the box can also add a few bucks.
How soon you want the sale: It matters how much time you are willing to hold out to get the price you want. It’s best to make a sale when you aren’t desperate for the cash, because you are unlikely to compromise on the best price just to get the money right away.
Should You Sell to Resellers or Directly to Buyers?
You have two basic avenues to sell your iPad. You can either take it to resellers or sell it directly.
Resellers will buy your iPad based on a simple check of its conditions and have a fixed rate. Resellers don’t use the iPad themselves, they sell it again to a third buyer. Some of the most popular resellers are Amazon, Swappa, Gazelle, and SellMyMac. There are plenty of iPad resale sites, and Apple also has their own recycling program.
A reseller will give you a lower price than what a direct buyer will, because they are doing the legwork of finding a buyer, satisfying the buyer’s questions, and handling all of the transaction. On the plus side, if you sell to a reseller, you don’t have to worry about bargaining for a good rate or answering tedious questions. This is the quick-and-easy method.
Unless you’re selling online on Amazon or eBay, a direct buyer will want to inspect the device in person, ask you questions about it, and maybe even return it and ask for their money back. It can be quite the hassle. On the plus side, you will get a much higher price with this method than any other, and if you are good at making sales or bargaining, you’ll walk away with a great deal.
What Price Should You Get?
To determine the price your iPad is likely to get from a reseller, go to Swappa or Gazelle and walk through the steps of their guide. Once you choose your iPad model, its capacity, and its condition, the fixed rate from these resellers will show up.
You should also go to retail stores like your local Best Buy or Radio Shack to see if they have any trade-in programs for the iPad. You might just get a better deal here, and there’s a little more leeway to bargain with the managers for a better price than what they’re offering. Even if they don’t raise their price, you might be able to ask them to throw in some cheap electronics for free. Hey, you can never have too many USB drives!
To determine the price your iPad is likely to get from a direct buyer, About.com has a neat trick. Go to eBay and search for your iPad model. Click “Advanced” in the results, and filter it by “Sold Listings”. Sort the list by recent date to get an idea of what people are willing to pay for an iPad like yours now.
Once you have the price, it’s up to you whether you want to sell it to a friend or use an online system. Just remember to factor in external costs like shipping or the inconvenience of meeting someone at a coffee shop to safely conduct an online transaction in person. You should read our guide to sell better on eBay.
Throw in Cheap Accessories
If you bought an excellent iPad case that you can’t use any more, then make it a package deal. Similarly, if you have a good pair of headphones, add those in. You are more likely to sell these accessories when packaged with a larger item like the iPad.
It’s an old trick used by auctioneers and traders. The buyer think he’s getting more than just a tablet, so his mental price comparison of tablet-to-tablet is quashed. While he may know what he wants for the tablet, you are suddenly offering him the convenience of accessories that he would need to hunt and negotiate for all over again. These can be excellent bargaining chips for you.
In case you don’t have any accessories, it might be worthwhile to check out any online sales or discounts and pick up something cheap. Adding the AmazonBasics cable costs almost nothing if you’re looking at a resale price north of $200, and the seller thinks he’s getting a well-rounded product.
Clean It Up Physically
Once your mode of sale and price is figured out, it’s time to make your iPad shine. Whether it’s an iPad Mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro, you need to make it look as attractive as possible for a buyer. That first means actually cleaning up the device to get rid of any dust, gunk, or removable scratches.
Do you have a handheld air blower? If not, get one. Also grab a commercial cleaning spray and a soft microfiber cloth. If you don’t have these at home, it’s worth the investment since you can also clean other electronics (your TV, computer, smartphone) with them.
First, use the air blower to blast any dust in the headphone jack, the speaker groove, the Home button, and around the other buttons. A few air blasts on the screen and back would be good too. Basically, you need to get rid of all the dust before you use the spray.
Next, get your microfiber cloth and cleaning spray. Don’t spray the liquid directly on the screen! Spray a few squirts onto the cloth, and then use the cloth to gently wipe all areas. Apple recommends top-down swiping motions and not circular, so follow their advice to clean your tablet screen safely. Once you’re done, let the device dry in a spot where it’s unlikely to get more dust settling on it.
Take Photos and Videos Now!
While the device is at its cleanest, start taking photographs of the front, the back, and all four sides. Switch the device on and take more photos with the screen on.
Some buyers will want to know if the buttons work well, so take a video. Switch the iPad on with the power button, unlock the screen and swipe the menu, open apps and use the Home button a few times, and increase and decrease the volume. Finally, rotate the iPad to show that the screen changes orientation when held horizontally or vertically, and then lock the screen rotation with its button.
Remember, this entire exercise is about making your iPad look as good as possible, so ensure you have good lighting when you do this. Natural light works best, but you can also use a white background to make your photos pop.
Wipe the Data
Once you’re done with the photo and video, wipe all the data from your iPad. Of course, you should first back up important data from your iPad to a secure external drive.
Wiping is a simple process, where you just need to go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings — but you’ll need to take care to disable Activation Lock first. In a few minutes, you’ll be done. You’re now ready to sell your iPad.
Apple also has an official guide on what to do before selling you iPad.
For Cellular iPads Only
If you have an iPad with a cellular plan, don’t forget to take out the SIM card in case you plan on using the same plan for a new iPad.
If you aren’t going to use that plan any more, call your cellular service and discontinue your plan, or else you’ll be charged every month for the data cost. A lot of people forget about this, so make sure you don’t waste money through this absent-minded act.
Have You Sold an iPad?
You should now be ready to sell an old iPad and get the best possible price for it. Heck, you might just walk away with a better deal than you expected.
If you have sold an old iPad recently, we would love to know how much you got for it! Tell us the model you sold, the price you got, and its condition in the comments below.
Image Credits:hand giving money by Yellow Cat via Shutterstock