Apple’s New iPhone Trade-In Program Launches Nationwide

Apple's new iPhone trade-in program is now being offered at Apple Retail Stores across the United States, details of which have been doled out to a number of news organizations. The trade-in program, a part of the iPhone Reuse and Recycling Program, lets customers receive a credit towards the purchase of a new iPhone by bringing in a working iPhone that's currently under contract. Apple has provided the following statement to various news outlets:

iPhones hold great value. So, Apple Retail Stores are launching a new program to assist customers who wish to bring in their previous-generation iPhone for reuse or recycling. In addition to helping support the environment, customers will be able to receive a credit for their returned phone that they can use toward the purchase of a new iPhone.

Joanna Stern from ABC News explains.

Apple store employees will assess the condition of the phone and determine the value of the phone. According to sources, a 16GB iPhone 5 in good condition would be valued at close to $300. It is unclear if phones with more storage would be worth more ...

If you are not currently on a contract or if your contract is up, customers will have to sign up for another cellular contract to take advantage of the program.

As Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch reports, the new trade-in program specifically applies to iPhones at retail stores.

Apple’s intentions for building its own in-store trade-in program were originally outed back in June, when it was revealed that it would partner with Brightstar Corp., a distributor of mobile devices, in order to offer the deal to users. Apple has previously offered up iPhone trade-ins via PowerOn thanks to its “Apple Recycling Program,” but this is in retail stores instead of only working via mail, and specific to iPhones, rather than covering a range of Apple hardware.

According to Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, the program won't be widely advertised to consumers.

The trade-in process can be conducted on the store floor, or at the Genius Bar. Apple will not be heavily promoting the program with marketing signage (as of now), but Apple Store employees have been instructed to recommend the program to applicable customers.

Update: Roberto Baldwin of Wired clarifies that the trade-in value you receive must be applied to a newer iPhone that the Apple Retail Store has in stock. This is correct. The iPhone trade-in program that's launching today is different from Apple's traditional online recycling programs. (I added this since the Wired article has everything in one place.)

It’s been reported elsewhere that Apple will issue credits or gift cards for new phones. That’s incorrect. If the iPhone you want is out of stock or unavailable, you will not be able to trade-in your old iPhone. The whole process has to happen at the same time. You go in with a phone and walk out with a phone. The employee will offer to set up the new iPhone with you at the store. Or you have the option of taking it home and setting it up there.

You can alternatively receive an Apple Store Gift Card for your iPhone or other electronic device by going through the Reuse and Recycling Program online, which works similarly to trade-in services such as Gazelle.

[via ABC News, TechCrunch, 9to5Mac, and Wired]