iPhone Seller's Guide

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How to Assess the Condition of an iPhone

Once your browser loads Gazelle's condition calculator, it's time to clean your phone and check for liquid damage to ensure an accurate inspection.

Cleaning Your iPhone

You'll need these basic supplies:

  • A gadget-safe cleaner, such as non-ammonia glass cleaner or isopropyl alcohol
  • A soft microfiber cloth
  • A good source of light, such as a small flashlight, a lighted magnifying glass, or an adjustable desk lamp

First, remove any screen protectors, skins, or cases from the iPhone body. Apply a small amount of cleaner to the microfiber cloth and gently buff the screen and casing until they look as "like-new" as possible. Be careful to avoid the headphone jack and charge port while cleaning with liquids.

Checking Your iPhone for Water Damage

To check your iPhone for evidence of liquid damage, angle the headphone jack towards you. Position your light source to reveal the liquid contact indicator in the bottom of the jack. A solid white sticker indicates no damage; a pink or red color indicates exposure to excess moisture. The iPhone 3G, 3Gs, 4, and 4S have an additional indicator in the charge port that requires a similar check. The newer iPhone 5 will have an indicator located in the nano SIM card slot. Look for a circular water damage sticker inside these ports to determine if you have a water damaged device.

Performing a Basic Function Test

Before you assess the cosmetic condition of your iPhone's screen and body, you should perform a basic function test to see if the most important hardware and features are in good working condition. Starting with your phone off, press the power button until the screen turns on. Allow the software to complete the boot process. Once that is finished, conduct these simple tests:

Test the charge port: Connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB sync cable. Open iTunes and verify that the software registers your phone in the dropdown "Devices" menu in the left column. If you're unable to get to a computer during this step, connect your phone to the AC adapter and see if the battery icon indicates a charge. Once you confirm the functionality of the phone's charge port, disconnect your iPhone from your computer or AC adapter.

Test call functionality and volume controls: Open your phone's dial pad. Before placing a call, press both volume buttons and switch the mute toggle on and off. Look for an icon registering changes in the volume setting and feel for the vibration when activating silent mode. Reset the volume to your preferred level, call a friend or family member and note the functionality of the microphone, speaker and speakerphone over the course of the conversation.

Test the touchscreen and accelerometer: Open the calculator app. While holding the phone vertically, press all of the calculator buttons to measure the responsiveness and accurate calibration of the touchscreen. Then, rotate the phone horizontally; the accelerometer should detect the change in orientation and switch the calculator to scientific mode. Continue pressing all the scientific calculator's keys to thoroughly assess the touchscreen.

Test the camera hardware: Open the camera app. Take a test photo and examine the results for distortion or discoloration.

Test the Wi-Fi antenna and screen backlight: Open the Settings menu. Select the Wi-Fi option and activate the antenna by toggling the switch to "On." The iPhone should scan for nearby channels. If you're in range of any Wi-Fi networks, the service names will be displayed under the "Choose a Network..." heading. Return to the Settings menu and select the Brightness option. Adjust the slider from minimum to maximum brightness and note the changes in backlight intensity.

Calculating Your iPhone's Gazelle Value

Finally, all your hard work pays off! Now that you've cleaned your iPhone and performed a basic function test, you can return to Gazelle's condition calculator. The calculator asks you to combine the results of your function test with an assessment of your iPhone's cosmetic condition. Pay particular attention to the screen, edges of the phone's body and its back casing. Then, consider how you would complete a statement that begins "My iPhone is..."

Broken Select this option if your iPhone does not power on or charge. Screen defects in this category include a cracked, chipped, or shattered screen. Body defects include large pieces missing from the case, missing buttons, or a phone body broken into multiple pieces. For iPhone 4/4S models, this includes cracks on the glass back side of the phone as well.

Good Select this option if your iPhone turns on, charges, and has cosmetic issues that are less severe than mentioned above. Screen defects include the lightest scratches all the way down to stuck or dead pixels. Body defects include scratches, scuffs, or nicks, even if there are only a few. This also includes small missing pieces, separation, or cracks in the housing. Your iPhone is likely in "good" condition; 9 out of 10 iPhones we see are in this condition.

Flawless Select this option if your iPhone still looks and functions like you just removed it from factory packaging. The screen must be absolutely pristine.

And that's all - no other questions are required. Even though submitting accessories does not increase your Gazelle value in any way, feel free to send them with your transaction if you no longer have a use for them. Now that you've calculated your iPhone's Gazelle Value, just select your payment method to continue.