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How to trade-in your smartphone in SA

Out with the old, in with the new

(Image: © TechRadar)

Trading in your old phone may be daunting to some. It seems like a time-consuming, almost deceitful exercise. Who's to say that your impeccable iPhone 7 is only worth so much?  

Rather than going through an online reselling platform where you could be scammed of your property and money, there are various legitimate and easy-to-understand ways to trade-in that old smartphone. 

From in-store trade-ins, to doing everything online from home, trading in your old device has never been so simple. 

The benefits of a trade-in is that the phone will either be restored or recycled, so you're contributing to reducing e-waste and encouraging circular economic practices, which is a plus. 

Where to begin?

Finding the right trade-in platform that suits your needs may seem overwhelming but it really isn't. To start, go for an option that suits your device: Are you an Android or iOS user? What service provider do you use? By answering these two simple questions you've already narrowed down your options. 

Trading in at the iStore

If your old device is an iPhone, you're in luck. The iStore offers an easy way for you to swop out your old device for a new one. The only limitation is that the oldest iPhone they accept is the iPhone 7 but don't be discouraged. 

How it works is you can bring in the phone to your nearest iStore, someone will evaluate the phone and give you an iStore Gift Card to the value of the condition of your device. (Values are estimated and subject to a trade-in evaluation).

The gift card can then go toward the price of your new iPhone. It essentially acts as a pre-purchase discount to your new device.

According to the iStore's website

For an iPhone 7: Get up to R3000 back. 

For an iPhone 8: Get up to R4000 back. 

For an iPhone X: Get up to R7000 back.

For an iPhone Xs Max: Get up to R9500 back. 

It’s advised to have a spare iPhone available when opting in for the iStore Gift Card process, as your iPhone will be sent in to their Trade-in Centre before you get your money.

Don't forget to back up your iPhone before trading it in.

If you are with Vodacom and want to do a contract trade-in, you can do this with the iStore. You will need to physically go into the store though. 

How it works: 

Go to your nearest iStore and ask for one of the trade-in ambassadors.

The ambassador will be able to quickly assess and provide you with a value for your previously loved iPhone. If happy with the value, your device will be traded-in and handed over.

You’ll then be directed to a Cellular consultant who will use your trade-in value to reduce your monthly instalments on your chosen cellular contract.

If you're worried about going into public places, it's understandable. Luckily the iStore also offers an online trade-in service. It may take a bit more time but your human contact is significantly reduced. 

Step 1:

One of the online trade-in consultants will be available to assist you via the online chat system during regular business hours. Alternatively the consultant could call you back within 24 hours if requested.

Step 2: Remote Trade-in Review

Your trade-in Consultant will take you through a few questions and run a remote diagnostics test on your iPhone to help determine the Indicative Trade-in value of your iPhone.

Step 3: Indicative Trade-in value

You’ll be given an Indicative Trade-in value which is subject to further physical diagnostics checks. If you accept this value the consultant can proceed with collection of your previously loved iPhone.

Step 4: Courier collection

A courier will be sent to collect your product within 3 working days of accepting your previously loved iPhone indicative trade-in value. You will need to back up and turn off Find my iPhone before packaging your iPhone safely to avoid damage in transit.

Step 5: Trade-in Centre diagnostics

Once your product has arrived at our Trade-in centre, it will undergo a thorough hands on diagnostics test. This is to confirm that your iPhone matches the condition determined in the Remote Trade-in review, and to calculate your Final Trade-in value.

Step 6: Final Trade-in

Your iStore Gift card will be issued within 7 working days if your Final Trade-in value matches your indicative Trade-in value. If there’s a difference, one of our trade-in consultants will contact you with a revised Final Trade-in value for you to review and continue with your final trade-in value.

Only iPhone from 7 and newer will be accepted for trade in through the online programme. For the full terms and conditions for online trade in please click here.

Flip Phone

If you have an iPhone or Android device, there is a new online e-commerce platform called Flip Phone, that will trade in your smartphone for cash. 

Conor Copas, founder of Flip Phone, saw this as an opportunity to make it easier for South Africans to sell their old smartphones and create a market for cheaper, second-hand options.

Flip Phone use Instant EFT to send that cash right to your bank account, making the exchange pretty seamless. 

On Flip Phone's website, simply click the 'Sell My Phone' button, and fill in your phone details. You'll receive an instant quote which will be emailed to you too. 

Enter your details and follow the prompts on screen to arrange a convenient collection date. On the day of collection, our courier will overnight the phone to the offices for inspection. You get paid instantly once the company has inspected your phone, often within a single business day.


Vodacom offers a trade in service too but there is fine print to consider.

According to the service provider's website trade-ins are available on new and upgrade contracts but "Contract trade-in conditions apply." 

- Deals available for trade in only. 

- Phone must switch on. 

- Phones must be classified as working unit with battery and cover and this would mean intact, power up and screen in working condition (no cracks, pixels missing, etc.) 

- Device must not be blacklisted.

While these seem reasonable, there is very little detail about how the trade-in option works so you have to go through the process of calling them to find out.