Used device retailer's creepy campaign saw it AirDrop ads to devices in Apple Stores

AirDrop on iOS 14
AirDrop on iOS 14 (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

What you need to know

  • A used device retailer used AirDrop to tell Apple Store customers not to buy new iPhones.
  • The Back Market campaign saw ads sent to iPhones at Apple Stores in London, Paris, and Berlin.
  • The ads asked buyers to go the used route rather than buying brand new devices.

A used device retailer used AirDrop to send ads to iPhones in Apple Stores in an attempt to get buyers to go refurbished instead of buying new. Apple Stores in London, Paris, and Berlin were bombarded with the AirDropped link that opened a Black Market website.

In a YouTube video showing off how everything went down, Back Market shows people in the three Apple Stores receiving the link via AirDrop as they browsed devices including the iPhone 13 range. MacRumors was the first to spot the YouTube ad.

Back Market obviously wants people to buy its refurbished devices rather than Apple's new ones and there is undoubtedly an environmental case to be made to do exactly that. But sending unsolicited AirDrop messages doesn't seem like the best way to spread the word and I can't help but doubt whether any of the people supposedly ditching new iPhones because of the campaign were real customers.

For its part, Apple continues to make strides in ensuring it, and its suppliers, work to help the environment where possible. The company recently announced that its suppliers avoided almost 14 million metric tons of carbon last year, for example. Apple also sells its own refurbished products and has a special machine designed just to take iPhones apart ready for recycling.

As an aside, buying Apple Refurbished is a great way to save some money and get a device that has been fully checked out by Apple — and you can even buy AppleCare+, too!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.