The FBI wants to crack another iPhone after Minnesota stabbings

The FBI and Apple might be headed for another fight over the case of a locked phone. Last night, FBI special agent Rich Thorton confirmed that the agency is trying to crack an iPhone belonging to Dahir Adan, a 20-year-old Somali immigrant who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall last month. Per Wired, Thorton said the bureau was already sifting through some “780 gigabytes of data from multiple computers and other electronic devices,” but unlocking Adan’s phone could shed valuable light on why he did what he did and help figure out who (if anyone) helped him on his path.

But cracking the phone isn’t a matter of course — the FBI’s currently weighing its “legal and technical” options to get inside the unspecified device. A lot of the FBI’s work here depends on what kind of iPhone they recovered, too — the introduction of iOS 8 two years ago meant not even Apple could decrypt the contents of a locked device running that software.

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” the company wrote in 2014, referring to photos, messages, contacts and more. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

Still, that didn’t stop the FBI cracking from iPhone 5c owned by Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters who killed 14 people in late 2015. The road to that crack was a winding one — the FBI originally pushed Apple for support to unlock the iOS 9-powered device, and got court orders compelling the company to assist. Apple resisted, but the FBI ultimately found a way to crack Farook’s iPhone without Apple’s assistance, a move that apparently cost the bureau a tidy sum. At the time, FBI director James Comey said he hadn’t decided if the bureau would reveal that crucial backdoor to Apple out of concerns it would be closed.

While the FBI might still have that particular ace up its sleeve, the process of sifting through Adan’s data might be way more difficult. Farook’s iPhone 5c lacked the secure enclave that was baked into newer models with the A7 chipset and beyond. It’s unclear at this point how much progress the FBI has made — only time will tell if it’ll try to force Apple to help somehow, or how Apple will response if the government comes knocking.

Source: Wired

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Google Pixel tools help you switch from an iPhone

We’ve seen many attempts at helping you switch from one smartphone platform to another, but Google is kicking things up a notch with its Pixel smartphones. The lineup will include software to bring over contacts, media and messages from other phones, including iPhones. It’ll even bring over your iMessages, in case you’re worried that all those blue chat bubbles will disappear while moving to Android. To that end, Google bundles an adapter to help iPhone owners make the leap. These tools aren’t that necessary if you store a lot of your data in the cloud, but it’s evident that Google wants to remove as many pain points as possible — it wants Pixel to appeal to everyone.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Google’s fall event.

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Japan’s noisy iPhone problem

I cancelled my iPhone 7 Plus order last week. Yes, I still had a two-week wait before it was scheduled to arrive, but it wasn’t impatience that got the better of me. It was where I live: in Japan. iPhones sold here (and in Korea) hold the dubious honor of being customized for their markets. We’re not talking about extra mobile wallet functions, but a limitation; a constraint. Ever since the iPhone 3GS arrived in Japan in 2008, taking a photo and even a screenshot (ugh) has been accompanied by a mandatory shutter noise — one that iPhone users elsewhere probably turn off right away. Even switching to mute mode doesn’t halt the awkward ‘passht’ added to discourage covert photography. I’ll soon leave Japan and return to my native England, at which point I’ll reconsider upgrading. I’m not buying another Japanese iPhone.

The mandatory shutter sound has been a part of Japan’s camera phones almost ever since they went on sale back in 2000. This was the first country to sell camera-equipped phones that could send photos electronically. Kyocera’s VP-210 had what was then a cutting-edge 0.11-megapixel sensor: the era of camera phones had begun.

There’s a misconception that there’s some kind of legal provision to ensure smartphones (or feature phones), make a noise when you take a photo. That isn’t the case.

As these devices proliferated and people got used to attaching photos to emails (“sha-mail”), voyeuristic “up-skirt” photography became a concern — especially in crowded places like rush-hour trains. According to Akky Akimoto, writing for The Japan Times in 2013, people were discussing the issue online as early as 2001. There’s a misconception that there’s some kind of legal provision to ensure smartphones (or feature phones), make a noise when you take a photo, but that isn’t the case.

Over these years, sending photos became a core feature of modern cell phones, and wireless carriers took it upon themselves to ensure that all the models they offered came with built-in cameras with shutter sounds that couldn’t be disabled. NTT Docomo has said it was implemented “to prevent secret filming or other privacy issues.” A SoftBank spokesman gave me a similar answer: “When we first offered camera phones and the ‘sha-mail’ service around 2000, we requested that manufacturers make the shutter sound compulsory, even on manner mode.”

“This was done to prevent camera phones from being used in ways offensive to public morals. We continue to request handset manufacturers use the shutter sound,” the spokesperson continued.

Phone manufacturers and carriers have cooperated ever since, ensuring all phones sold in Japan make a sound for still videos, still photos and screenshots. While this might been seen as a well-intentioned move (and one that could discourage would-be voyeurs), the companies are protecting themselves against legal repercussions from anyone who gets harassed or sees photos of themselves online or elsewhere, taken without their permission.

Apple’s iPhone is the same. Worse, the iPhone 7 actually has the noisiest shutter sound yet — something that my Japan-based colleagues are blaming on the new stereo speakers.

Japan residents could buy an overseas model: Recent iPhone models share a lot of LTE bands across countries, and the company even displays all the radio bands of each iPhone model it sells. However, the iPhone 7 is the first Apple phone to work with the country’s well-established Suica contactless payment system, used in convenience stores, restaurants and the country’s national railway. The American variant (or the Hong Kong one, anywhere but Japan) doesn’t include the same contactless hardware.

The mandatory noise hasn’t solved the problem of cellphone voyeurs either. According to the Japan Times, which cites an NHK TV program from early 2013, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police had seen a 24 percent annual rise in “camera voyeurism” — up 60 percent from 2007. The majority of those (64 percent) had used cell-phone cameras, although there’s something to be said for the remaining percentage that were taken on cameras that weren’t forced to make a shutter sound.

Limiting creepy photographers with enforced smartphone sounds is worsened by the availability (especially in Japan and Korea) of “manner camera” apps where users can take photos on iPhones and other smartphones with no faux shutter sound. These are often slower, typically taking lower-quality pictures; you also can’t launch them from drop-down menus or the lock screen. Unfortunately, if unscrupulous types really want to take covert photos of unsuspecting people on trains and elsewhere, they will find a way to do so.

With the current iteration of iOS 10, Japanese users can tinker with the phone’s accessibility functions to add a mute toggle to the screen that silences the shutter noise. But this is likely a bug that Apple will squash in a later update, which means my new iPhone order will remain cancelled for now. I’m not some kind of covert photographer; I just hate being so conspicuous when I use my smartphone. I can tolerate it in Japan, where everyone suffers the same fate, but anywhere else, where you can mute your phone, I look like an incompetent fool who got his first smartphone in 2016: “You can mute that, you know?” “No, I can’t..”

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Engadget UK giveaway: Win an iPhone 7 courtesy of Mobilefun.co.uk

It’s that time of year again. Do you upgrade to a new iPhone or hold out for next year’s models? Or, do you just let us make that decision for you? Thanks to our friends at Mobilefun.co.uk, we’ve got a silver iPhone 7 (32GB) to give away this week, complete with one of the accessory specialist’s cases “for life.” Even if you don’t win, you can take advantage of this promotion and get a free, clear shell for your 7 or 7 Plus by signing up to the retailer’s newsletter. Once you’ve received your cover, you can always unsubscribe if you’re not interested in the tips and offers, and you’ll still be able to claim another free iPhone case every time you upgrade (hence the “for life” clarifier). As always, you can enter the competition up to three times via the widget below — after you’ve read the rules, that is.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the UK, 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so direct your anger at our lawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One (1) winner will receive one (1) iPhone 7 and case for life.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a contact email or Facebook login. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Apple, Mobilefun.co.uk and Engadget / AOL are not held liable to honour warranties, exchanges or customer service.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries can be submitted until September 23rd at 11:59PM BST. Good luck!

Source: Mobilefun.co.uk

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The bottom line: Engadget on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now that the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus ditch the headphone jack. And if you’re like some of the readers who’ve been reaching out to us, you might be nervous about upgrading. Take it from us, since we’ve had a chance a to test both devices: Aside from the no-headphone-jack thing, these new phones are less radical than you think. In fact, we’d say Apple made some safe choices here, playing catch-up with other phone makers. These are the first waterproof iPhones, for instance, though Samsung and others have been offering this feature for some time now. Ditto for the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-lens camera: It’s cool, but hardly the first we’ve seen.

That said, these features will feel new to Apple fans, and also, it’s hard to argue with everything these phones have to offer, including fine build quality, fast performance, long battery life and strong image quality. If you own a recent iPhone like the 6s or 6s Plus, you might not feel compelled to upgrade, but if you have an older model, this is as good a time as any to trade in. As for the headphone jack, you’ll either use the included adapter or switch to the pack-in Lightning EarPods. Just avoid the AirPods for now.

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Some iPhone 7 owners report hissing sounds

Some early iPhone 7 adopters are getting considerably more than they bargained for. Reports are surfacing of both the regular iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus producing hissing sounds when they’re subjected to a heavy processor workload, such as a game. They continue to function, thankfully, but it’s a bit disconcerting when most phones are virtually silent. It’s not clear what the cause is — some suspect coil whine or similar electromagnetic effects, but there’s no guarantee that this is the case.

The issue doesn’t appear for everyone. I tested an iPhone 7 using 3DMark “Ice Storm Extreme,” a performance benchmark that puts the processor under serious strain, and heard no hissing at all. That suggests that the noise may stem from a manufacturing issue instead of an inherent design quirk. Not that this will make you feel any better if you’re affected, of course.

We’ve asked Apple for its take on the reports and will let you know if it has something to say. It won’t be pretty if you run into this issue and want a replacement iPhone, though. Supplies are already extremely tight, so you may end up waiting days to get a blissfully quiet device.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: Stephen Hackett (Twitter), Darrell Etherington (Twitter)

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T-Mobile tells iPhone owners not to install iOS 10 just yet (Updated)

T-Mobile issued a stern warning to its customers against downloading and installing the new iOS 10 update to their existing 6, 6 Plus and SE iPhone models. According to the T-Mobile website, doing so will, cause the handset to “lose connectivity [to the T-Mobile network] in certain circumstances.” Once that happens, the user can only re-establish their network connection by fully powering down the phone and restarting it. That said, the company does expect Apple to push a corrective patch live within the next 48 hours. Update: On Thursday night, T-Mobile announced that Apple had released its patch for the connectivity issue. If you had already downloaded iOS 10 (and were therefore at risk for this issue), go to Settings > General > About, to install the fix. If you hadn’t yet installed the new OS, feel free to do so without fear of having your cell service randomly drop.

Via: Verge

Source: T-Mobile

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The best places to buy and sell a used iPhone

By Jackie Dove

With a new iPhone arriving soon, many people will look to sell their old iPhone for some quick cash. But which places offer the best return and the smoothest process? To find out, Tom’s Guide tested seven services that buy and sell used iPhones.

To find out where you can expect the best return on your dollar, we bought an iPhone from each reseller service and then turned around and re-sold that phone to same service where it came from. We also rated each service on their convenience, ease of use and responsiveness to come up with our rankings.

The key takeaways from our testing:

  • Glyde and Swappa top our rankings of the best places to buy and sell a used phone.
  • Walmart and Best Buy finished at the bottom.
  • We resold our iPhones for an average of 52 percent of what we had paid for them.
  • We got the highest rate of return from marketplace services that connect smartphone buyers with sellers; the worst return came from big-box retailers.

How we tested

To best measure how much return you can expect from iPhone resellers, we selected services that both buy and sell used iPhones, evaluating seven. In addition to Glyde and Swappa, we also looked at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Gazelle and Walmart. We bought a used iPhone from each service, and then — without activating or using our newly purchased phone — sold the same model back to the seller where we purchased it.

From most resellers, we bought a 16GB iPhone 6. We purchased a 16GB iPhone 6 Plus from Amazon and GameStop due to availability issues, though we stuck with iPhones released in 2014 to get comparable quotes from resellers. Also, due to availability, some of the iPhones we purchased were tied to specific carriers, which we’ve noted below. In our experience, unlocked phones not tied to any one carrier generally fetch higher prices (though AT&T and Verizon phones have a high resale value, too).

MORE: The Best iOS Apps You’re Not Using

As you might expect, there’s a gap between what resellers will charge you for an iPhone and what they’re willing to pay out when you try selling that same phone back. Just like with cars that depreciate the moment you drive them off the lot, that iPhone you’re hoping to unload will never recoup its value. In our testing, resellers make their money by buying low and selling high.

When ranking these seven services, in addition to measuring how much we got back when reselling an iPhone, we also took the entire process into account. Were the instructions easy to follow? How quickly did it take to get a quote on our iPhone? Did the reseller offer cash or store credit? And how promptly did we receive that cash or credit after completing the sale?

Glyde: Our top pick

What we bought: Space Gray iPhone 6 (AT&T)
What we paid: $ 359.50
What we got back: $ 265.60
Rate of return: 74 percent
Cash or credit: Cash and bitcoin
Pros: Best rate of return; Clear explanation of policies with explicit breakdown of fees; Option to wait for a better price; Can verify your identity via PayPal; Flexible payment options
Cons: You’re not required to post a verification photo, a step that can help weed out scammers.

Glyde offers a straightforward, colorful and easy-to-navigate website where you can find an assortment of second-hand iPhones as well as Android models from Samsung, HTC, LG and others. To sell my iPhone 6, all I needed to do was select the website’s Sell tab and type in the phone’s model number, carrier, color and condition. Several questions from Glyde covered details about physical appearance and scratches, personalization, and whether I had included accessories like a power adapter and cable.

Note that prices can change, often from day to day. After trying a dry run, I went back to Glyde to re-enter information about the phone I was trying to sell, and the market price had dropped to $ 316 from $ 326.

The market price is what the buyer is going to pay, not the amount I would pocket. Glyde charges a 15-percent transaction fee, while a kit with packaging to ship off your phone will cost you $ 3. Glyde was the most transparent service when it came to spelling out fees. I wound up collecting $ 265.60. (That amount would have been $ 274.10 if I had stuck with the quote from my dry run.) That’s still the highest percentage of return from any vendor we tested, as we got back 74 percent of what we paid for the iPhone.

MORE: Upgrading to the iPhone 7? Read This Before You Do

While I was disappointed with the price drop over two days, I decided to take my profit immediately and hit the List for Sale button. From there, you type in information about the phone, enter your email and Glyde account password, and verify your identity with your credit card or PayPal account. Click the button, and your item is listed. You can post your listing on Facebook, Twitter and Google + right from Glyde’s page.

Two days after I listed my phone for sale, a buyer bit and then reneged within an hour; Glyde notified me via email about both events. The next day, another person offered to buy, which I quickly confirmed. A packing box arrived in the mail, with a prepaid label; all I had to do was drop the package into the nearest mailbox. Three days after the buyer receives and accepts the phone, Glyde posts the money into your account. From there, you can transfer the cash to your bank account, opt for Bitcoin payment or have a check mailed to you for a $ 2 fee.

Swappa: Runner-Up

What we bought: Space Gray iPhone 6 (Verizon)
What we paid: $ 465
What we got back: $ 325
Rate of return: 70 percent
Cash or credit: Cash
Pros: Posted items are approved quickly by Swappa; Ability to adjust listing; Solid rate of return; Added protection via PayPal purchases
Cons: Time-consuming process required for shooting photos of your phone; Agreeing to an immediate trade will lower your rate of return; Mandatory $ 10 PayPal transaction fee.

Swappa — as in “you wanna swappa?” — is an electronics website that features a fun interface for selling several dozen brands of phones, including Android devices as well as the iPhone. Just type in the specific search term to find the model you want to sell, and if it appears, you get an immediate idea of how much cash you’ll get.

My Verizon-tied iPhone cost $ 465, and from the site’s initial offer, I would have pocketed up to $ 307 in cash, which came to 66 percent of the total I paid for the device. Swappa also gave me the choice of selling my phone for from $ 340 to $ 559 if I wanted to wait for a better deal. I opted for a better return — and to take the deal, I had to register, either through Facebook or Google+ or via email and password.

It took longer to get my listing up on Swappa than it did with other sites. The process requires you to shoot a verification photo of the phone and its accessories using a specific, rather low-tech approach. You have to set up your shots with the site’s verification number handwritten on a piece of paper next to the phone, and then powerup the phone you’re reselling, so the screen is lit when you take your picture. You repeat the process with any included accessories. The idea is to prevent scams, and Swappa at least offers ample instruction on how to take your picture.

MORE: The Best iPhone 7 Carrier Deals

After I took the photos, Swappa took 15 minutes to verify and approve my entry. From there, it’s a matter of waiting for someone to buy your phone. If you’ve tried to get a higher price, you can revise your listing to Swappa’s lower price, which I did after waiting three days. The phone sold only after I settled on a new price: $ 335, which netted me $ 325 once I took into account a mandatory PayPal transaction fee.

That PayPal fee is the only cost — there’s no fee to sell on Swappa — and using PayPal to handle transactions felt safer than having to punch in credit card information. Swappa reviews and approves all listings before buyers can see them. Swappy promptly answered my questions about my listing when I sent queries via email and posted them to Swappa’s Facebook page. When my phone sold, I was notified that money had been deposited in my PayPal account, after which I had two days to mail out the phone.

As an extra added layer of protection, anyone who sells a stolen phone, or one with a damaged screen or water damage violates Swappa’s terms of use, giving buyers recourse through PayPal.

Gazelle

What we bought: Space Gray iPhone 6 (Verizon)
What we paid: $ 406
What we got back: $ 210
Rate of return: 52 percent
Cash or credit: Both
Pros: Quick and easy resale process; Multiple options for getting paid for your device; Inspection processensures quality selection of phones on sale.
Cons: Middle-of-the-road payment for trade-ins, compared to other resellers.

Gazelle has an attractive site that makes it easy to get started with your sale: The company trades in iPhones and Samsung Galaxy models as well as Android devices from HTC, Nokia, LG and others that cover the four major carriers.

If you take Gazelle’s offer on your phone, you have a choice of payment via Amazon gift card (which adds an extra 5 percent to your total), PayPal, charitable donation or standard check delivered within 10 days of Gazelle verifying the phone’s condition. Customers buy your phone from Gazelle, not you directly, and the company inspects the device before selling it as certified pre-owned to guarantee the condition. To ensure buyers are satisfied, there is a 30-day return policy.

After you enter your email address and a minimum amount of information about the phone’s brand, capacity and physical condition, you do not have to wait for a buyer — just accept the Gazelle offer, box up the phone and choose how you want to be paid.

As a reseller, Gazelle will appeal most if you want to unload your phone quickly and would like some options for how you’ll be reimbursed. We got back only half of the value of the iPhone we had bought, though.

Amazon

What we bought: Space Gray iPhone 6 Plus (unlocked)
What we paid: $ 549.99
What we got back: $ 265
Rate of return: 48 percent
Cash or credit: Amazon gift card
Pros: Process is clearly explained; Trade-in offer is immediate; Amazon offers free mailing label for sending in your phone.
Cons: Prices paid are fairly low; You’re restricted to store credit; Trade-in links can be hard to find.

To sell your old smartphone on Amazon’s massive website — which appears to sell a huge variety of almost every brand imaginable — requires an eagle eye and some clicking around to find the right path. In the end, typing the exact item into Amazon’s search box, clicking on a result and finding the trade-in link on the page was the quickest way to get an estimate.

For an iPhone 6 Plus that we bought for $ 549.99 from the e-commerce giant, Amazon offered $ 265 in trade — less than half of what we paid. While your phone’s appearance and condition may be acceptable to you, Amazon reserves the right to inspect the device and asks straightaway if you will accept a lower price or if you want the phone sent back if your price and Amazon’s don’t match. After my phone passed inspection, Amazon deposited the proceeds of my gift card directly into my account.

The company’s trade-in program offers an Amazon gift card in exchange for your used phone. If you don’t mind registering as an Amazon seller — which involves entering credit card and tax info — you can sell your phone on Amazon’s individual seller marketplace. But that’s a lot of hoops to jump through for a one-time sale, especially when the gift card can be used to buy any of the hundreds of thousands of things Amazon sells on its site.

GameStop

What we bought: Space Gray iPhone 6 Plus (AT&T)
What we paid: $ 459.99
What we got back: $ 240
Rate of return: 52 percent
Cash or credit: Both
Pros: Choice between cash or store credit; Simple process; In-store staff were helpful and professional during our testing.
Cons: Middling return on the value of our phone; Requires a visit to a brick-and-mortar store to complete your sale.

GameStop takes a different approach than other resellers because of its focus on games. While some resellers offer a mix of cash and credit, GameStop customers may be more inclined to trade in their phones for store credit in games, VR headsets and gaming systems, in addition to the refurbished iPhones and Samsung Galaxy models available on the GameStop site. The transaction is straightforward except for one thing: The final turnover of your phone for cash or gift cards must be done in person.

The website offers a list of the phone types GameStop accepts for trade. A working iPhone 6 Plus that has no missing parts, cracks or dents will trade or get cash totaling $ 240. That’s a little more than 52 percent of the $ 459.99 we had paid GameStop for the same phone the previous month. A damaged phone will trade for $ 95, while a dead phone gets $ 25.

My trade-in experience took just 15 minutes, as the pleasant and efficient clerk behind the counter tested the phone and looked up records. I walked out with a $ 240 gift card.
GameStop lets you search for stores within a 15-mile radius of your zip code. If there’s no retail outlet near you, you’ll want to turn to a different reseller.

Walmart

What we bought: Space Gray iPhone 6 (Straight Talk)
What we paid: $ 369
What we got back: $ 125
Rate of return: 34 percent
Cash or credit: Credit
Pros: Simple transaction requiring little information; Free shipping label supplied.
Cons: Very low return on resales; Limited to in-store credit.

You’ll find plenty of phones available for sale at Walmart, including contract, unlocked and refurbished phones available for the major carriers as well as the retailer’s in-house Straight Talk network. What you won’t find is the option to get cash back for your phone. It’s store credit and no negotiating.

It’s easy enough to go through the process, using the Gadgets for Gift Cards link. The used iPhone 6 we bought from Walmart netted a $ 125 offer, 34 percent of what we paid, which was the lowest return from any reseller. Interestingly, the phone was tied to Straight Talk. Had we tried selling back an unlocked phone or one tied to AT&T or Verizon, Walmart would have given us $ 160 in credit.

Once you approve Walmart’s appraisal, just log in to your account or create a new account with your email and mailing address. Walmart offers a printed label that you can use to pack up your phone and send it in. After that, just wait for your gift card to arrive via email, which it did within three days of receiving my phone.

Best Buy

What we bought: Space Gray iPhone 6 (AT&T)
What we paid: $ 599.99
What we got back: $ 208
Rate of return: 35 percent
Cash or credit: Gift Card
Pros: Trade-in process is simple, if you have no questions; Trade-ins at the store are handled efficiently by friendly staff.
Cons: Long wait times for answering questions on Best Buy’s 800-number; Low rate of return.

Best Buy has a busy website that features a vast variety of iPhones and flavors of Android phones for sale. But it’s still fairly easy to find the place to trade in your older iPhone. If you do, be prepared to accept payment in credit. Like Walmart and Amazon, Best Buy doesn’t deal in cash for phone trade-ins.

We paid $ 599.99 for an iPhone 6 that arrived in a sealed box (for an iPhone 6s oddly) but with no earbuds included, the only used phone we bought that was missing an item. That didn’t affect my trade-in price; when I turned in my iPhone for resale, the Best Buy clerk said I didn’t need to include accessories. But Best Buy’s offer was the second-lowest return from any reseller: just a $ 208 gift card, or 35 percent of what we paid for the iPhone.

MORE: Best Cellphone Plans for Your Money

Getting a quote from Best Buy’s website is simple enough. All I had to do was list the phone’s color, carrier and condition to get a trade-in value that I could redeem in person or by mail. Getting answers to questions proved more difficult. I called Best Buy’s toll-free number to ask about the missing earbuds and an issue with the phone’s IMEI number, and waited 20 minutes and through three transfers before I was told it would be a better idea to do my trade-in at a store. That took a much more efficient 15 minutes.

Other options

You don’t necessarily need to go through a reseller or e-commerce marketplace to unload your aging iPhone. Certainly, Craigslist offers the opportunity to find a willing buyer, and depending on your negotiating skills, you may be able to get a bigger return than you would from a reseller who’s going to offer you a set price.

That said, handling a sale on your own can be a hassle, and there’s always the risk of running into scammers. A reseller or reputable marketplace removes a lot of the headaches and potential risks.

If you’re planning on using the money you get from trading in your phone to finance the purchase of a new phone and you’re committed to a specific wireless carrier, you may want to see what that carrier will offer you for your old phone. Verizon offered us the best quote on an iPhone 6, with a $ 265 trade-in value. AT&T quoted us a price of $ 200 for a 16GB iPhone 6, while T-Mobile and Sprint offered $ 191 and $ 159, respectively. Those quotes assume a phone is in excellent condition, and the amounts can vary based on which carrier your old phone is tied to. You receive the trade-in value in the form of credit or a gift card.

Where to buy a used phone

Our testing of reseller services focused primarily on selling a used iPhone, because that’s where you’re likely to experience the greatest amount of variance, from the money you get back for your phone to the simplicity of the resale process. In contrast, shopping for a used iPhone from these sites is a pretty similar experience, though there are a few differences worth noting.

In terms of selection, you’ll generally find each service offers a wide degree of smartphone models and capacities. In our search for a used iPhone 6, we found that models tied to AT&T and Verizon were plentiful while T-Mobile and Sprint devices were in shorter supply. Amazon, Glyde and Swappa offered the widest range of phones in terms of carriers and capacities.

Used iPhone shoppers will find the best range of prices at Swappa, though lower-priced phones are likely to have been well-used. Glyde, Gazelle, GameStop and Amazon also offer attractive pricing on used phones depending on what model you’re looking for.

We found it easiest to shop for a used iPhone at Glyde and Swappa, which conveniently group iPhone models together, allowing you to drill down to the version you want. Despite its wide selection, Amazon offers very cluttered search results; type in iPhone 6, and you’re just as likely to get entries for the 6s, 6s Plus and 6 Plus as you are for the model you want. Walmart and Best Buy feature helpful filters for removing superfluous search results.

We should note that we ran into one quirk when buying our phones from Glyde and GameStop, though that’s likely a result of how we ordered our iPhones. Because we bought our phones through our corporate office and shipped them to an editor at another location, both Glyde and GameStop flagged our initial purchases, requiring us to set up a PayPal account to complete the deals. Most shoppers won’t run into that problem, though it could flare up if you’re buying a used phone as a gift for someone who has a different address than yours.

More from Tom’s Guide:

  • Walmart, Best Buy Offer Worst iPhone Trade-in Deals
  • The Best and Worst iPhone Trade-In Deals
  • iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus: What Should You Buy?
  • Why You Shouldn’t Get the iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Camera Tech: Can Apple Be the Best Again?

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iPhone 7 trade-in programs require two-year contracts

If you’re looking to get your hands on an iPhone 7 in the coming weeks but wasn’t fast enough to secure one when preorders open, there’s still hope. All four major phone carriers have implemented their own iPhone 7 promotions, but despite their seemingly generous offers, there are quite a few caveats that might keep you from cashing in.

All the carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T) are offering special trade-in programs that read nearly exactly the same in print, with differing names the only real thing that separates them. The deal is such that if you trade in your qualifying iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you’ll receive credit across 24 months toward your purchase of an iPhone 7.

There aren’t too many stipulations when it comes to the device you can trade in, except for the fact that it must be in “good working and cosmetic condition,” and you’ll only receive a credit of $ 650 toward the phone of your choice.

It may take a few cycles for the credit to show up, which is normal, but the iffy part is this: You have to keep your line active for a full two years.

While companies like Verizon touted the abolition of contracts, they still seem to be in vogue, just under a different name, “savings” in this situation. The deal may technically make your new iPhone 7 free, but you’re paying with it with your time as a customer at the carrier of your choice.

It doesn’t render the promotion useless by any means, but it does demonstrate the fact that carriers are still pushing many of the same ideas they were when they were still running with contracts. They’re just framing it differently. It’s still a good deal if you want to trade in your existing phone and have no qualms with staying with your current provider, but make no bones about it: it’s still a contract, even if it’s not in name.

Via: 9to5Mac

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The iPhone 7 is the walled-off computer Apple has always wanted

So Apple killed the headphone jack with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. But what does that really mean? Think back to the Apple’s origin story and the tale of the two young Steves, Jobs and Wozniak, building their first computer in a garage. From the start, Jobs pushed for simpler technology, with fewer ports, and less expandable options than IBM PCs at the time. And then there was the original Mac, which was criticized for requiring special tools to open up.

That philosophy has only evolved throughout Apple’s lifetime. Look at the iMac, the iPod and of course, the iPhone, all of which were vastly simpler, more “user friendly” (but less “tinker friendly”) than their competition.

Now we have portable computers whose only I/O port is Apple’s very own Lightning standard. No matter what you think of the headphone jack, there’s no doubt that losing it gives Apple even more control over what you can actually do with its latest phone. There won’t be any room for surprising innovations like Square’s credit card reader, or the shutter mechanism used by most selfie sticks. (Yes, there’s a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter included with the phones, but that still gives Apple more control over how that port is used.)

To create devices for the Lightning port, accessory makers have to sign up for Apple’s MFi (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) program. As we say goodbye to the 3.5mm jack, we’re also saying goodbye to a port whose history goes back over 100 years, and whose development was open to just about anyone. That not only gives Apple control over what you can do with the iPhone you own, it’s also another way for it to charge developers licensing fees. (It’s possible to make counterfeit Lightning devices, but Apple doesn’t exactly encourage that.)

That Apple is pushing users towards wireless audio, which still can’t reach the quality levels of wired headphones, isn’t too surprising. Even though it revolutionized the portable music world with the iPod and iTunes, Apple historically hasn’t been concerned about how things actually sound. Early iTunes songs were highly compressed 128kbps files, and Apple pushed its awful white earbuds on consumers for years. The EarPod was a step up in quality, but it still paled in comparison to similarly inexpensive alternatives. (They’re also a terrible fit in my ears; a slight head shake is all it takes to make the EarPods fall out, which doesn’t bode well for the AirPods.) Sure, buying Beats was a sign that Apple might finally be looking closely at audio quality, but that was also as much about brand recognition and software. At least the company was wise enough to debut a new wireless Beats lineup this week.

On the one hand, it makes sense for Apple to tighten its control over the iPhone’s hardware, it’s simply what the company has always done. The new MacBook was criticized for only having a single USB-C port, but at least that’s an industry standard. For anyone who’s used Apple products and felt trepditation over how it manages its ecosystem, the iPhone 7 is a red flag. It probably won’t be long before we see the company remove headphone jacks from the iPad and, perhaps, even the MacBook. Those are also devices where internal space is scarce, after all.

In what will likely be the beginning of a tech industry meme, Apple’s marketing head Phil Schiller said the reason the company dumped the 3.5mm port was “courage.” But as we’ve argued endlessly, that’s not really the case. A better word for Apple’s reasoning? “Opportunistic.”

Judging from the responses on the web, the Apple faithful (unsurprisingly) is fully onboard with the company’s decision to drop the 3.5mm jack. But as someone who’s invested in several pairs of great headphones, doesn’t want to have an annoying dongle sticking out of my phone all day, and enjoys the miraculous ability to listen to music and charge my phone at the same time, it’s a big problem. But most troubling to me, it limits what I can actually do with a device I own.

I won’t be upgrading to the iPhone 7, and I might even hold off on next year’s even more enticing redesign. For now, I’m planning to run my 6S into the ground. But I’m ready to give Android phones (with headphone jacks) an even harder look in the future.

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