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Gadgets

These are the phones that retain the most value

There are few things more exciting than gently peeling off the factory-installed screen protector and setting up that new mobile phone. New mobile phones are a luxury purchase for many people, made only every other year or so.

Unless you have a contract with a service provider, a new flagship phone will cost a pretty penny. But what do you do with your old device? You could keep it as a backup phone in emergencies or give it to a family member. Tap or click here to find out how to properly get rid of an old device.

Others might try to sell it or trade it in. Not getting the price or the trade value expected can be a crushing blow to your plans. The reason is quite simple: certain phones retain their value better than others. Let’s look at the devices that retain value best.

Smartphone depreciation rate: Apple vs. Android

According to the mobile phone trade-in website BankMyCell, Apple devices retain their value better than Android phones. On average, if you are trying to sell an Android phone after one year of use, you can expect to get 33% less in value than the retail price. A new iPhone, by comparison, only loses about 16% of its value.

The older the device is, the more value it loses. That shouldn’t be a shock, but a two-year-old Samsung device loses 60% of its value, compared to just 35% of an iPhone. After four years, it’s almost not even worth trading in, as an Android phone depreciated by as much as 80%, and an iPhone lost 66% of its value.

phones value trade in

Why does it matter to you?

Knowing how much value a specific mobile device loses over the years can help you plan future purchases. Get the timing right, and it can help you save a few extra bucks.

BankMyCell pointed out that last year more people opted to trade-in their devices as flagship models became more expensive. In 2010 the iPhone 4 retailed for around $599, but a new model’s price has shot up drastically. An iPhone 12 Pro Max can cost you nearly $1,400 depending on the specs you choose.

Looking at previous iPhone models, iPhone 11 lost 12.84% of its trade-in value in 2020, while the Phone 11 Pro lost 21.31% of its value.

As for Android models, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 lost 34.73% of its trade-in value, while the Galaxy S20+ lost 30.59% value nine months after release.

What can you do about it?

There is no telling how much a phone will lose value after release, but it has become clear that advancing technology plays a factor. The better the technology developed for flagship models, the less value an older device has.

According to the research, if you want to trade in a seven-year-old Samsung Galaxy S5 Active, you will get a horrible deal. While it only made up 0.16% of trade-ins last year, it has a 90% depreciation.

The top three Samsung devices with the least depreciation:

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (depreciated by 2.2%)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 (depreciated by 8.10%)
  • Samsung S9+ (depreciated by 8.86%)

The top three iPhone devices with the least depreciation:

  • iPhone 7 Plus (depreciated by 3.8%)
  • iPhone 6 (depreciated by 9.98%)
  • iPhone 7 (depreciated by 11.49%)

Bottom line

The top three phones overall with the worst trade-in value are Android-based. Apple’s iPhone, however, only enters the list at number four with the iPhone 5C. Another iPhone doesn’t make an appearance on the list until about halfway through (iPhone SE, losing 33% of its value).

You would be much better off getting an iPhone if you want to trade-in a device towards your next purchase. But that isn’t to say you shouldn’t get an Android. The issue with Android and its trade-in value is market saturation. Picking the right Android will ensure a trade-in value that will be a little bit more palatable.

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