6 Cheap Ways You Can Upgrade to the New iPhone 5

A fake iPhone 5 -- but the real one is on its way
Rumor has it that the iPhone 5 will launch in mid-October, just in time for the pre-holiday rush and just after back-to-school. What does that mean? Many of us, me included, probably won't have extra cash lying around to pick up Cupertino's latest gadget -- but darn it if we won't want to!

My advice? Before the iPhone 5 launches, prep your current phone for resale on eBay, Gazelle.com, or Craigslist. Why? Because folks who may have not upgraded to the iPhone 4 yet will have their eye on last year's gadgets and will be willing to pay a slight premium for a nicely-maintained iPhone.

This price can often reach 50-60 percent of the price of the latest model -- even when you're not paying the contract costs. That discount is pretty impressive, and it's a great way to save on your next phone.


Here are some tips for how to get your existing iPhone ready for resale so you can ditch it when the next shiny widget rolls out of your favorite factory:

1. Buy a case. The worst thing that can happen right now is for your iPhone to shatter on the sidewalk. Just to reiterate: One of the best inadvertent features associated with Apple hardware is its resale value, but your phone needs to be in one piece before you sell it. If you don't have a case yet, go get one. A phone in pristine condition is obviously worth more than one that looks like the dog chewed on it. Spending the cash to replace an iPhone right now is just money wasted, especially this close to the launch of new hardware. Stay safe.

2. Buy insurance. Do you have butterfingers? Well, why not pick up another year of Applecare or get some insurance at WorthAveGroup or SquareTrade. These policies can cost less than $100 and will warrant your device over the next few months. The key with any hardware upgrade scenario is to have a good, working device in your hand when you want to make the switch.

3. Get ready to sell your old phone. Have all your media, apps, photos, and contacts backed up and ready to go at a moment's notice. In some cases you may want to sell your old device a few days before the "rumored" iPhone launch -- though this could backfire if you're without a phone for very long. I once sold my cell to a small electronics store long before Apple released any new ones and I was forced, tragically, to use another phone for a short period of time. Never again.

4. Upgrade your OS. Keep your device upgraded and fresh. Check for online updates and plug into your sync software on a regular basis. No one wants a phone running old software. If you're having trouble upgrading, pop over to your manufacturer's website (we're assuming we're talking about Apple here, but the same is true for any phone).

5. Back up your phone. While you're upgrading, back that sucker up. Most sync systems will securely back up your data, but make sure it happens before you sell your device. Once you're ready to sell it, you'll want to wipe the phone completely clean.

6. Don't fall for online scams. You know those sites claiming to give you a free iPhone 5 "to test" or any of those "pay-to-bid sites" where folks promise electronics for pennies on the dollar? They're all lies. Don't fall for them and please, please don't fall for auction services where you have to pay to buy a bid. If you stumble upon one, run the other way.

With a bit of preparation, you can grab a new phone for considerably less than you'd pay if you hadn't kept your gear in good condition while waiting for the upgrade. Good luck!

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