Apple Trade-Up program: Everything you need to know!

The time for new iPhones will soon be upon us, and if you're looking to upgrade, you might already be searching for the best way to trade in your current phone for money towards a new one. While there are a few options out there from carriers to big box retailers, you might want to take a look at Apple's Trade-Up program. The program lets you trade in your iPhone, either in-store or online, for credit towards a new phone or towards your monthly payments to your carrier. Trade-Up offers you as much as $260 for an iPhone 6s Plus.

Here's everything you need to know about Apple's Trade-Up program.

What is Apple's Trade-Up program?

Trade-Up is what Apple calls its trade-in program for iPhones. It's pretty simple, you give Apple your old iPhone, and they give you credit towards a new device.

Is this related to the iPhone Upgrade Program?

No. The iPhone Upgrade Program sees you pay off the full cost of an iPhone with Apple over 24 months. In that program, you're eligible for an iPhone upgrade when you trade in your current device after 12 payments.

How do I trade in my iPhone?

You can make your trade-in either at an Apple Retail Store or you can check out Apple's online recycling program to mail in your device for free and get an Apple Store gift card for the value of your iPhone mailed to you.

Can I trade in any iPhone?

Not exactly. For its in-store Trade-Up program, Apple only accepts the iPhone 5 through the iPhone 6s Plus. However, Apple recycling program partner Brightstar seems perfectly happy to let you trade in an iPhone 4s for around $15, while an iPhone 7 comes in for around $375, and an iPhone 7 Plus will net you around $425.

So how much is each iPhone worth?

Apple breaks down the trade-in value for each eligible iPhone like so:

  • iPhone 5: $45
  • iPhone 5c: $35
  • iPhone 5s: $70
  • iPhone SE: $135
  • iPhone 6: $135
  • iPhone 6 Plus: $70
  • iPhone 6s: $215
  • iPhone 6s Plus: $260

Both Apple and Brightstar note that the iPhone you trade will be evaluated on a number of criteria, including whether or not the device powers on, damage (normal wear and tear is fine), and if it's been damaged by liquid. How an iPhone does in its evaluation will determine the full value that you get for your trade-in.

Does the Trade-Up program only accept iPhones?

Nope. Apple lets you trade in "any eligible smartphone," though the company doesn't specify exactly which smartphones are eligible. It does say that trade-in values will range from $15-$260.

Do I have to use my credit towards a new iPhone?

Apple says that you can use your credit towards the full price of a new iPhone, or to lower the monthly payments you make to your carrier for your device.

What if I have a different device that I want to trade in, like a Mac or iPad?

While they're not part of the Trade-Up program, you can still get an Apple Store gift card from trading in select older devices through the Apple Renew and Recycling Program.

Update September, 2017: Updated with Apple's new trade-in values for some iPhone models.

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