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How to sell your used iPad

Eyeballing Apple's latest model? Here's how to get maximum cash for your old one.

Consider selling your old iPad to help pay for a new one.

James Martin

Apple's new education-minded iPad offers more bang for the buck than its predecessor, including a faster processor, a better camera and built-in LTE support (which normally adds extra to the price). Even if you're not a student (or a school), you might rightly be tempted to replace an aging iPad with this powerful new model.

Need help defraying the cost? Consider selling your used iPad for cash or credit. Although you're not likely to get anywhere near what you paid for it (yeah, depreciation sucks), you can at least get something to put toward the new tablet.

Let's take a look at some of the options. All the pricing data listed below was accurate at the time this was published, but the arrival of the new iPad will likely mean a glut of older models will flood the market -- meaning that in the weeks to come, resale values may drop.

Apple trade-in

Apple's iPad trade-in program offers two options: Bring your tablet to an Apple Store for store credit, or trade it in online for an Apple Store gift card.

How much can you expect to get? As with all sale and trade-in options, it depends on the model you have and its condition. An iPad Air ($219 at Amazon.com) 32GB (Wi-Fi), for example, would net you $130 -- provided everything's in good shape. "Normal wear and tear" are fine, but any screen cracks or broken buttons will drop the value considerably -- or leave you with nothing more than "We'll recycle your iPad for free."

To get an immediate estimate, visit Apple's Brightstar partner site and fill in the details about your model.

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Best Buy trade-in

best-buy-ipad-trade-in

Best Buy lets you get an online trade-in quote, but you'll have to bring your iPad to an actual store to get your credit.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Available in-store only, Best Buy's iPad trade-in option also nets you store credit, which you could then turn around and apply to a new iPad.

Even though you have to actually take your iPad to a store to complete the deal, you can get an estimate online. Using the same specs I tried on Apple's site (iPad Air 32GB, etc.), I received a quote of just $95. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if you don't have an Apple Store near you or don't want to deal with the inevitable crowds, you do have another retail option.

Staples and Target have iPad trade-in programs as well, so if you're determined to find a brick-and-mortar destination, check those stores as well.

Instant-sale sites

gazelle-ipad-sale

Sites like Gazelle will give you cash for your iPad -- after they inspect it.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

If you've ever looked into selling your old phone online, you've probably heard of sites like Decluttr, Gazelle and NextWorth. These sites will give you cash for your iPad, though it'll have to be shipped and inspected before you get your payout.

Starting with my same fictional iPad, I received quotes of $110, $90 and $63 from those three services. All three offer free shipping, so there's no extra cost there -- but if your item arrives in a condition that's not as you described it, you may receive less than promised.

Sell it yourself

Finally, we come to the old-standbys: Craigslist and Ebay. (Actually, let's throw a new standby in there as well: Facebook Marketplace, which I would argue is actually better than Craigslist.)

All three will let you list your iPad for free; Ebay, however, charges a small percentage of the final sale price. And just as selling a used car yourself is likely to net you a higher price than trading it in at the dealer, selling your iPad directly to another person should result in more cash.

That's assuming you can sell it. As I noted previously, there's likely to be a glut of used iPads in the coming weeks -- and if you check Ebay right now, you'll see there are already zillions of them for sale. When I checked the "sold" listings for models matching mine, the majority of them were priced right around $150.

If you're OK selling locally -- meaning someone comes to your house or you meet in a public place -- you may have even better luck on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. That's definitely the best way to turn your iPad into cold, hard cash -- and possibly more of it, since no one takes a percentage.

Don't want to deal with buyers directly? Check out Glyde. It acts as a middleman, pairing buyers and sellers (and taking a percentage for the privilege, of course). The service suggested I list my iPad Air for $145, which it described as "market price," though I also had the option of pricing it a little higher or just selling it to Glyde outright (for a mere $73).

Although the market-price option seemed pretty competitive (assuming it actually sold), the fine print noted that I'd put only $119 of that in my pocket.

The numbers game

Remember, all these numbers are based on current market conditions and a specific iPad SKU. You'll almost certainly encounter different values depending on when -- and what -- you sell.

Right now, I have to say that Apple's trade-in option is probably the most appealing. It's fast and easy, and it promised the highest value for my iPad. 

If you've already done this dance with previous iPad models, hit the comments and let us know how it all worked out!