October 24, 2013, 4:06 PM — My original iPad has seen better days. Its screen is all marred, scratches and dents adorn its back shell, and iOS 5--yep, you read that right--creaks along on its outmoded internals. It's time for an upgrade. If you're in the same boat as me, take heart: You don't have to be stuck with a tattered slab of aluminum and glass after you upgrade.
Lots of services allow you to sell back your old iPad in exchange for cash or store credit--or at least unload it on someone else who will dispose of it or recycle it for you. Here's what you need to know about four popular gadget-buyback services, and how much they'll give you for that "ancient" 18-month-old iPad you can't bear to use anymore.
Amazon will take back your old iPad in return for an Amazon gift card through its electronics trade-in program. To use it, visit Amazon.com, and click Shop by Department in the upper-left corner of the page. Click Electronics & Computers, and then select Trade In Electronics.
From there, you can search for the iPad model that you have by typing its description into the search field (for example, "iPad 2 32GB Wi-Fi"). This step can be a somewhat tedious endeavor--Amazon's search function isn't the most precise--but once you find your iPad model, click the yellow Trade in button. Once you do, Amazon will ask you to log in with your account. Sign in, and Amazon will ask you to specify the condition of your iPad and then step you through the trade-in process.
Amazon does not take back broken or severely damaged iPads, so make sure your slightly mangled tablet meets the eligibility levels: To see what each criterion means, simply mouse over it and Amazon will give you a full description.
If you want cash instead of an Amazon gift card, you can always sell your iPad through Amazon. This approach requires you to register as a seller with Amazon, which may be a hassle, but it does mean that you can set your own price for your iPad.
Much like Amazon, Best Buy will take back your old iPad through BestBuyTradeIn.com in return for a Best Buy gift card.
The process is reasonably straightforward: Scroll down and select Apple under the 'Tablets & E-Readers' heading, and either search for your iPad model or choose it from the list. Once you find your model, select it, and Best Buy will give you an estimate of how much it's worth, based on its condition. After you click the Add to Cart button, Best Buy will walk you through the process of determining your iPad's condition and sending it in for your store credit.
If your iPad is too damaged for you to get anything for it, Best Buy will offer to recycle it so at least it won't clutter up your desk anymore.
If you're looking for a site that's dedicated to buying back used electronics, Gazelle is for you. In addition to iPads and other tablets, it will buy back smartphones, iPods, and Mac laptops and desktops.
Start by visiting Gazelle's homepage. Select the iPad from the product lineup, and then indicate the iPad model you own, whether it has a cellular connection or Wi-Fi only, and your iPad's storage capacity. (If you don't know which iPad you own, it takes only a few moments to find out.)
Once you click through those questions, Gazelle will present you with three condition levels: Broken, Good, and Flawless. Choose the one that applies to your iPad, and Gazelle will tell you how much it will pay for your iPad. If Gazelle can't offer you any money for your old iPad--for instance, it's a broken first-generation model--the service won't take the device back, though it will refer you to information on recycling your iPad.
Glyde isn't a true buyback service in the same way that Gazelle is. Instead, it's a marketplace of sorts where you can easily sell your usable, nonbroken electronics. If Glyde determines that your iPad is too damaged to sell, Glyde will buy it from you outright and repair it to resell later. If your iPad has no resale value, Glyde will refer you to Glyde Donate, where you can donate your broken gear to the charity or nonprofit of your choosing.
To use Glyde, start at its homepage, and select Sell iPads. On the next page, choose your iPad model from the list. At this point, Glyde will ask about whether you have a model with cellular connectivity or Wi-Fi, your iPad's storage capacity, and its bezel color (if applicable).
Once you answer those questions, press the Next button, and Glyde will request more details on the condition of your iPad to get a better sense of its fair market value. After you submit your answers, Glyde will give an estimate of how much your iPad is worth and will offer to buy it back outright or to list it for you to sell.
If your iPad is in good enough shape to list on Glyde, the service will give you the option to adjust your asking price. By default it will show the Market Price--the standard going rate for your tablet--but you can adjust that up or down as you choose. You won't get cash up front, though, and Glyde will take a transaction fee and shipping fee out of your asking price.
Aside from the services above, you also have a couple of old standbys at your disposal: eBay and Craigslist. eBay lets you set a Buy It Now price or a starting price for auction, and at Craigslist you get to set the price yourself. If you choose to sell through either of these sites, you'll want to keep a few tips in mind.
Don't accept personal checks: A less-than-honest buyer could easily write a bad check, leaving you in the lurch should it bounce. Instead, either use a service such as PayPal or request a cashier's check or money order. This way, you can guarantee that you'll get paid.
Be honest: Disclose any damage to the iPad, and mention if anything is missing. Being up-front now will prevent hassles later.
Take lots of good photos: You'll want to provide plenty of photos that show your iPad's condition. Make sure you have good lighting, and try to take the photos on a clean, uncluttered desktop.
Don't make your buyer wait: Ship the iPad as soon as you can after you receive payment, and provide the buyer with a tracking number if possible so that they can get a better idea of when to expect it.