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How Does Apple Trade In Work?

Apple Trade In is a program that allows you to exchange your old Apple devices for credit towards a new purchase. This program is popular among Apple users for its convenience and the opportunity it presents to offset the cost of new devices.

Updated: September 16th, 2023

How Does Apple Trade In Work?

How Does Apple Trade In Work?

Apple Trade In is a straightforward process that can be done either online or in-store.

Online Trade In

If you prefer to conduct your business from the comfort of your home, the online trade-in process is for you. You’ll answer a few questions about your device and its condition to receive an estimate. After that, you’ll mail your old device using Apple’s complimentary shipping label or trade-in kit.

Once Apple receives your device, their experts will evaluate its condition. If their assessment doesn’t match your initial description, the trade-in value will be adjusted accordingly. You can then accept the offer and receive credit to be used online or in-store.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Initiation of Trade-in: Begin by providing details about your device online. Based on the device and its condition, Apple provides an estimated value. For instance, an iPhone SE (3rd generation) might get an estimated value of $160.00. This value, however, is subject to assessment upon receipt of the device by Apple.
  2. Receiving the Trade-in Kit: After the initial assessment, Apple sends a trade-in kit to your address. This kit contains all the necessary packaging and instructions to securely send your device back to Apple.
  3. Shipping Your Device: Using the trade-in kit, pack your device securely and attach the provided shipping label. Ensure you ship the device within 14 days of receiving the kit to maintain the initial trade-in estimate.
  4. Assessment by Apple: Once Apple receives your device, their team of experts evaluates its condition. If there’s a mismatch between your initial description and their assessment, the trade-in value might be adjusted.
  5. Issuance of Apple Gift Card: Post-assessment, Apple initiates the process of issuing an Apple Gift Card with the final determined value. This card is sent to your email and can be used for any future Apple purchase, whether online or in-store.

Important Notes:

  • Beware of scams related to gift card codes. Never share your code with strangers.
  • The gift card is valid only for transactions within the U.S. on Apple properties.
  • The card is not redeemable at Apple resellers, for cash, or any refunds or exchanges unless required by law.
  • For any assistance related to the gift card, you can reach out to Apple support or call 1-800-275-2273.

In-Store Trade In

For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, in-store trade-ins are available. Simply bring your used Apple device into your closest Apple Store for a quick inspection and trade-in quote.

It’s worth noting that making an appointment for a trade-in can take some time. You may not be able to make one for a few days. If you’re in a hurry to get rid of your device, you might be better off sending it in.

Eligible Devices and Their Potential Trade-In Values

Apple’s Trade In program accepts a wide range of devices, and the potential trade-in value can vary significantly depending on the device and its condition. Here are some examples of eligible devices and their potential trade-in values:


Apple accepts all iPhone models from iPhone 5s onwards. The potential trade-in value can range from $30 for an iPhone SE to up to $790 for an iPhone 12 Pro Max in good condition.


All iPad models are eligible for trade-in, including the iPad Mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. The trade-in value can range from $40 for an iPad Mini 2 to up to $535 for an iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation) in good condition.


Apple accepts all MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini models for trade-in. The potential trade-in value can range from $110 for a Mac mini (Late 2014) to up to $1,530 for a Mac Pro (2019) in good condition.

Apple Watches

Apple Watch models from Series 2 onwards are eligible for trade-in. The trade-in value can range from $30 for an Apple Watch Series 2 to up to $235 for an Apple Watch Series 6 in good condition.

Trade-In Values

The trade-in value you’ll receive depends on the device you’re trading in and its condition. Newer devices in pristine shape will earn you more money than older ones. Visit Apple Trade In for the most current prices. These typically change a few times per year. Right after the major iPhone launch, during the holidays, again in March, then typically one last time in June or July.

Factors that Affect Trade-In Value

Apple’s trade-in values are often lower for certain devices, particularly older iPhones and iPads. This is because Apple prefers devices that can be sold back with ease. While they will accept older devices, they generally look for newer devices that are still high in demand.

Exploring Other Trade-In Options

While Apple offers a comprehensive trade-in program for their devices, those looking to upgrade specifically to the iPhone 15 might want to consider carrier-specific deals. Major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile often provide attractive trade-in incentives that can significantly offset the cost of the new iPhone. To gain a deeper understanding of these trade-in deals and how they stack up, check out our detailed guide on Understanding the iPhone 15 Trade-In Deals. This will provide insights into the best ways to maximize your trade-in value when upgrading to the iPhone 15.

Maximizing Your Trade-In Value: Actionable Advice

When it comes to trading in your Apple device, there are a few strategies you can employ to maximize your trade-in value.

Keep Your Device in Good Condition

The condition of your device plays a significant role in determining its trade-in value.  For instance, an iPhone 12 with 256GB storage unlocked can fetch up to $400 in trade-in value if it’s in good condition. However, if the same phone’s body is in “bad shape” (i.e., cracks, chips, scratches, shattered glass back, etc.), its trade-in value can plummet to zero.

An average iPhone can lose up to 23% of its value due to scratches, with percentages ranging from 11.1% to 34.9% based on your given model. More serious cosmetic damage, like a broken display, can further decrease its value. Therefore, taking good care of your device and protecting it with a case and screen protector can help maintain its value.

Unlock Your Device

A carrier-locked device is often worth less than an unlocked one since a locked device will only work with a specific carrier. You can lose up to 24.5% of your iPhone’s resale value by keeping it locked to AT&T, or T-Mobile, and up to 51.9% on smaller carriers. Therefore, unlocking your device before trading it in can increase its value.

Trade In Your Device Early

The value of your device tends to decrease over time, especially after the release of a new model. iPhones can lose up to 26.9% of their value in the three months following a new iPhone release. Therefore, trading in your device before the release of a new model can help you get a better deal.

Consider Other Trade-In Options

While Apple’s trade-in program is convenient, it may not always offer the best value for your device. Other platforms, such as eBay, Swappa, or third-party trade-in sites can sometimes offer higher trade-in values. However, these platforms may require more effort on your part.

The key to maximizing your trade-in value is to do your research, consider all your options, and plan ahead. By following these strategies, you can get the most value out of your old Apple device and make your next upgrade more affordable.

Use AppleCare+ to Fix Damages

If your device has minor damages like a cracked screen or shattered back glass, and you have AppleCare+, you can fix these damages for a relatively low cost ($29 for a cracked screen and $99 for shattered back glass). This can significantly increase the trade-in value of your device.

Payment Methods

Apple’s buyback program only gives store credit for trade-ins. Depending on whether you trade online or in an Apple Store, that payment will come as either instant credit, an Apple Gift Card, or be credited to an existing purchase.

Pros and Cons of Apple Trade In

The worth of Apple’s trade-in program depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. If you’re planning on upgrading your old Apple device or prefer Apple for all your needs, then Apple’s buyback program might be for you. However, if you’re looking to get the most money for your device, you might be better off trading in your device elsewhere.

Real User Experiences with Apple Trade-In

Here are some testimonials from individuals who have used the service:

Positive Experience

Hollie Walker shared her positive experience on Trust Pilot, stating:

“Just thought I’d put my positive experience for those that are reading all the other bad reviews and worrying about going ahead. I successfully did this and got what I’d been quoted. I made sure to take pictures including a picture with my iPhone serial number on show. I also wrapped my phone in bubble wrap for extra padding and sellotaped the box they send for you to post your old device to them for added security. The whole process took just over a week to go through and get approved. They updated the status of where things are at on your apple account really quickly. Overall I would recommend.” (Experience dated: December 16, 2021)

Negative Experience

On the other hand, a user named Rob had a less than satisfactory experience, as he shared on Trust Pilot:

“Do not under any circumstances use Apple trade in. Just the same as others, sent iPhone XS Max in perfect condition and value was reduced to 0 due Multiple cracks/missing camera lens. Have now received the phone back and they’ve trashed it with scratches and smashed camera glass. No doubt taken parts of mine to use on another phone. Because I was stupid enough to trust Apple I didn’t take photos of the undamaged phone so I guess nothing I can do. Music Magpie did exact same 3-4 years ago so I guess I’m the idiot for not learning my lesson.” (Experience dated: Oct 3, 2022)

Mixed Experience

Fredifrum shared a mixed experience on Reddit:

“I think superficial scratches that aren’t visible in normal use will be totally fine – you’ll likely get the quoted value. If they changed your Trade In value, though, you’ll have the opportunity to deny the new value and get the device shipped back to you. I’ve traded in plenty of devices by mail and it’s been totally fine. The only time the quoted value was different than expected was because I wasn’t 100% honest about how “minor” the damage on my MBP was (it had a big dent in the back case). They ended up reducing the trade-in value to $0, which I accepted anyway because I mostly just wanted the device to get recycled, and didn’t want to bother selling it on Ebay, or otherwise. But, if they reduce your estimate and you don’t like the new number, you can just get it shipped back to you. I personally don’t think it’s worth the drive to do the exact same process in person.” (Experience dated: 1 year ago)

These testimonials highlight the varied experiences users have had with the Apple Trade-In program. It’s clear that while some users have had positive experiences, others have faced challenges. These insights can help potential users make informed decisions about whether to use the service.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get Apple trade in?

The length of time it takes to complete an Apple trade in depends on whether you choose to trade in online or in-store. Online trade-ins require shipping time, while in-store trade-ins can be completed in a single visit.

Can you trade in multiple devices?

Yes, you can trade in multiple devices. However, each device will need to be evaluated individually to determine its trade-in value.

How does Apple’s trade in policy work?

Apple’s trade-in policy is straightforward. You can trade in your eligible device either online or at an Apple Store. The trade-in value you receive can be used as credit towards a new purchase.


Apple Trade In is a convenient way to offset the cost of new Apple devices. While it may not always offer the highest trade-in values, its ease of use and the convenience it offers make it a popular choice among Apple users. As always, it’s a good idea to do your research and consider all your options before deciding on the best way to trade in your device.