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How to sell your Apple Watch for maximum profit

First make sure it's properly prepared for resale, then find the places that will give you top dollar.

09-apple-watch-series-1-vs-series-3

Is it time to bid goodbye to your previous-gen Apple Watch? Here's what you need to know.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Ready to sell your old Apple Watch so you can buy the Apple Watch Series 5? Or maybe you've just decided this wearable isn't the right one for you. (Amazfit Bip S, anyone?)

Whatever the case, there are a few important steps to take when selling an Apple Watch. The first is to make sure you've wiped everything. The second: Make sure you get top dollar for that bad boy.

Prep your Apple Watch for sale

Before you can sell your watch, you need to make sure it's unpaired from your iPhone and restored to factory settings. Can't you just use the Erase All Content and Settings option on the watch itself? No, because even after that step, it'll remain paired to your phone, meaning the new owner won't be able to set it up with his or her device.

unpair-apple-watch
Apple

Therefore, do this:

Step 1: With your iPhone and Apple Watch in close proximity, open the Watch app on the former.

Step 2: Tap My Watch at the bottom of the app, then tap the name of your watch (near the top).

Step 3: Tap the little "i" to the right of your watch name, then tap Unpair Apple Watch. Follow the prompts from there.

This procedure will not only disable Activation Lock (which is what would prevent the watch from being paired from a different phone), but also erases the watch and restores it to factory settings. If you're upgrading, have no fear: Your iPhone will keep a Watch backup that can be restored to the newer model.

With that done, gather up the box, charging dock and any other accessories you might have, because it's time to sell (and the more original stuff you can include, the more money you'll make).

Read more: The best smartwatches for 2020  

Sell your Apple Watch for top dollar

The rules for selling your Apple Watch dovetail pretty closely with those for selling your iPhone. Indeed, you have the same basic options: sell it yourself or look at trade-in/buy-back services.

Apple's trade-in program, for example, will give you up to $30 (in store credit) for an Apple Watch Series 1, up to $100 for an Apple Watch Series 3 and so on. Best Buy's trade-in rates are a little higher on those two models: $50 and $70, respectively, but keep in mind it can vary depending on watch size, condition, features and so on.

You may do better selling the watch outright via Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or eBay, where you can set your own price. My preference these days is to use Marketplace, as buyers are less anonymous than on Craigslist and you don't have to pay eBay's fairly substantial fees. Of course, you're working with a smaller pool of buyers (local rather than national or even international), so you might have a harder time actually making the sale.

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A site like BuyBackWorld will pay you cash for your Apple Watch.

BuyBackWorld

Somewhere in between the lowball offers of an Apple or Best Buy and the various hassles of Marketplace and eBay, you'll find buy-back services like BuyBackWorld, Decluttr and MaxBack. Using an Apple Watch Series 3 38mm GPS (in "very good" condition) as my baseline, I requested quotes from all three. Their offers: $75, $75 and $56.80, respectively.

Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on the model, style and condition of your Apple Watch. To save time, consider using a comparison site like SellCell to get quotes from multiple buyers all at once.

One important tip: If you are indeed planning to sell, don't wait. Apple typically announces new models in September, meaning a Series 6 is probably just a couple of months away. Once that happens, the value of your current watch will start to drop.

Have you sold an Apple Watch? If so, how'd you do it, and what was the experience like? Share your knowledge in the comments!

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