Owners of iPhone 4s, like this one, can make some cash from resellers in advance of the iPhone 5's (presumed) release.
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Owners of iPhone 4s, like this one, can make some cash from resellers in advance of the iPhone 5's (presumed) release.

Story highlights

As iPhone 5 nears, resell market for current models emerges

Sites like Gazelle, Nextworth offer up to $250 for used iPhone 4s

There's always eBay, Craigslist, etc. -- price might be better, but it takes more work

Worst case, you can always make your current phone an iPod and Wi-Fi Web device

(CNN) —  

If you’re looking to unload your current iPhone or other smartphone, now’s the time. Beating the potentially millions of folks who will be buying a new iPhone and selling their old one could put more money in your pocket.

With Apple virtually certain to announce a release date for the next-generation iPhone next week, lots of current iPhone owners (always an excitable bunch) are no doubt counting down the minutes – and wondering what to do with their current phones.

While some retailers offer discounts for a trade-in (Radio Shack was offering $100 for some previous models when the iPhone 4 was released), Apple stores and their designated carriers generally don’t give back as much cash, or credit, as an owner might earn outside the store.

But a growing online resell market has emerged to give folks another option.

Between now and Monday, the day before Apple has scheduled an iPhone-related event, one of those sites, Nextworth, is offering $250 for 16GB and 32GB iPhone 4s that are in good shape.

The company, which also has trade-in programs at some retail stores, bills itself as a way to get value out of your aging electronics while keeping the products out of landfills, where they can cause environmental problems.

The services wipe all data from your phone as soon as they get it, they say.

Nextworth, and others like them, refurbish used electronics and resell them. In the case of items like the iPhone, they sell them in countries where the items are typically unavailable, presumably bringing a healthier price.

Gazelle.com is offering $250 for a 32GB iPhone 4 in “flawless” condition and $169 for one in good condition. Got a busted model? It’ll give you $85 for one even if it won’t turn on or is physically damaged.

Of course, there are always the direct-sale sites like eBay and Craigslist.

You might earn more in exchange for the hassle of posting, selling and delivering the phone yourself. Folks were selling 32GB iPhone 4s on eBay on Friday for prices ranging from $245 to $634. In Atlanta, people had listed 32GB iPhone 4s for prices ranging from $290 to $450.

(We’re using prices on that model because it’s the top of the line. Older phones, like the 3GS, and 16GB and 8GB models obviously have a market as well, generally at lower prices).

Of course, the low-effort way to deal with a phone upgrade is to buy the new one at full price and just hold on to your current model. Even retired, your current phone can be a music player or Internet-surfing device when you have a Wi-Fi connection.