Pros and cons of using the Apple trade in program (2023)

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Trading in an eligible iPhone, Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, and even an Android device is a great way to save money and recoup some of your previous investment. Today’s electronics cost eye-watering prices, and with the recent events around the world, prices could go up even more. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that trading-in isn’t always the best solution, and there are a lot of horror stories out there, like my own experience, which could easily turn you away from using Apple and any other companies services to trade in your old laptop, phone, or smartwatch.


Apple is also adjusting to the high inflation and recent world events that affect its business, and it recently changed the value it pays for customers to trade in their old devices. The prices changed for iPhones, Mac computers, iPads, and even for older generation Apple Watches.

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Before we talk about the advantages and the disadvantages of trading in your old device, let’s take a look at the prices, and compare them to previous values to get a better idea if they’re worth considering (via MacRumors):

ProductPrevious Trade-in valueNew Trade-in value
MacBook ProUp to $1,350Up to $1,000
MacBook AirUp to $490Up to $400
MacBookUp to $315Up to $220
iMac ProUp to $2,135Up to $1,500
iMacUp to $1,200Up to $850
Mac ProUp to $2,720Up to $2,000
Mac miniUp to $600Up to $450
iPad ProUp to $680Up to $655
iPad AirUp to $335Up to $290
iPadUp to $200Up to $190
iPad miniUp to $205Up to $200
Apple Watch Series 6Up to $170Up to $150
Apple Watch SEUp to $135Up to $120
Apple Watch Series 5Up to $135Up to $120
Apple Watch Series 4Up to $105Up to $85
Apple Watch Series 3Up to $70Up to $50

The full list of all the values and products can be found on Apple’s website.

The new and adjusted prices are only slightly lower than the previous values, but it’s still a noticeable difference, especially for more premium devices such as the MacBook Pro, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro computers. If you plan on trading in for a new device, it’s worth considering all of your options, and there are plenty that could offer far better deals for your used items.

What are the benefits of trading in?

Pros and cons of using the Apple trade in program (1)

The first and most obvious benefit is that there is supposed to be no hassle, and it’s far more convenient. If you don’t like dealing with customer service and other people, it’s a great and quick way to get rid of your old electronics and receive money for them.

Trading in is as simple as selecting a few options on Apple’s website, getting a quote, and sending the product back to Apple via a paid shipping label. Once your item is reviewed, you’ll instantly get the gift card or the value taken off your newly purchased product, which can apply to other Apple products, including iPhones, Apple Watch, iPad, and other products and accessories.

Using Apple’s trade-in system is also often one of the best ways to maximize the return on your investment, as Apple often offers the highest prices for its products. That being said, it’s always best to check other third-party trade-in services as they may offer better deals from time to time. Apple also runs special trade in and other promotions that let you receive additional gift cards around Christmas, and it’s an excellent way to save money on some of the most expensive technology on the market.

If you have a fully broken and unusable device, you might want to remove it from your house. Electronics must always be recycled responsibly, as they contain a lot of components that could be reused in new devices. They have a lot of copper, gold, and other essential materials that could be used in new products. Apple does this well, and it can do that free of charge.

Why should you avoid trading in?

Pros and cons of using the Apple trade in program (2)

Source: Apple

While there are a lot of benefits of using the Apple trade-in service, there are also a lot of drawbacks. The first and most important factor is that you get credit in gift cards that you can apply and use towards other purchases inside the App Store and the Apple Store. There is no way to get physical money for your returned items, so you can’t make a quick few bucks by trading in.

I’ve had a typical horror experience using Apple’s trade-in program, which shows that customer service depends on the warehouse and technicians you send your device. Each place is different, and just because you receive a good quote for your device, you may be offered absolutely nothing in exchange by Apple’s staff members who deal with the returned items. There are also a lot of satisfied customers, though, and many have claimed that it was a relatively quick and pleasant experience, but it’s something to keep in mind.

It’s also worth noting that shipping an item to Apple’s partners involves shipping and using a wide variety of transportation methods, increasing the time and entire process, meaning that it could take multiple working days, or worse, weeks, until you receive your credit. You’re only allowed to send in your old devices using the Apple trade-in kit, which Apple sends out to you, and it includes extra padding to protect devices.

Last but not least is the valuation. There are other services out there that may offer physical cash for your devices and include a much higher price than Apple. The quotes Apple credit can only be applied towards purchases and gift cards, and customers cannot spend that money outside of the Apple ecosystem and stores.

Should use you use Apple Trade-In?

It depends on the product you want to trade-in, and your expectations. If you’re happy with the quoted amount that you’re expected to receive from Apple, and plan on using that towards another purchase, it may be worth considering. However, if you’re in need of cash and want to make a few bucks quickly, Apple is one of the worst options you could consider as it doesn’t offer cash for your products directly, and the gift cards are often hard to sell and pass on to others.

There are also many other options out there, such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Swappa, and Craigslist, to mention a few. All of these services offer up to 50% more for your old devices than Apple, and although it requires you to communicate and manage the sale yourself, you’re in control. Ebay, for example, protects both you, the seller, and the buyer in case there are inconsistencies with the product’s quality, description, or shipping.

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