Yesterday, we reported that Apple is gearing up to launch its iPhone trade-in program in September. The program will allow an iPhone user to exchange an older iPhone model for a new iPhone at a discounted price. Today, we’ve learned several new details about the program, including how it works, the official name, and information about the launch.

The trade-in program will be marketed as the “iPhone Reuse and Recycle Program.” It will begin rolling out in select Apple Stores this upcoming Friday, August 30th. Like we previously reported, a larger-scale rollout will occur during the month of September.

The program is applicable to both standard customers and business customers that want to purchase a new iPhone.

Here’s how it will work:

1) A customer tells an Apple Store employee that he/she would like to purchase a new iPhone and trade-in his/her older model. The new iPhone must be an on-contract phone and it must be activated on scene.

2) The Apple Store representative enters information about the customer’s iPhone into an application installed on their mobile EasyPay devices. The EasyPay is normally the device that you will see Apple Store employees carrying around in order to facilitate purchases.

3) Based on the information inputted into the EasyPay, a value for the old iPhone will be provided to the customer. The value will be created based on the following specifics about the old iPhone: Display quality, button quality, overall hardware damage, engraving, liquid damage, and being able to be powered on and used normally.

4) The Apple Store employee will then tell the customer that his/her phone could not be given back once they agree to the provided terms and conditions.

5) However, the customer will be given the opportunity to backup his/her iPhone before turning it in.

6) The Apple Store employee will then provide the customer with their new iPhone, a gift card with the value amount to be paid towards the new iPhone, and a plastic bag. The gift card must be used at that time towards the new phone and it cannot be used toward other products.

7) The Apple Store employee will then process the transaction for the new iPhone and place the old iPhone in the plastic bag.

8) The old SIM card will be given to the customer and the Apple Store employee will offer to setup the new iPhone.

This process can either occur on the store sales floor or at the Genius Bar.

We have also confirmed that the traded in iPhones will be shipped to and processed by BrightStar. The aforementioned old iPhones in plastic bags will be packed up into large cardboard boxes to be shipped to BrightStar. BrightStar has not replied to requests for comment on the matter.

Contrary to recent reports, these recycled iPhones will not be sent overseas for sales in emerging markets. The phones will be recycled for use only in the United States. Sources described this as part of Apple’s new theme of promoting its dedication to the United States. This was previously evident in Apple naming its new Mac operating systems after places in California and the manufacturing of the upcoming Mac Pro in Texas.

While this upcoming program is primarily built to be a trade-in program, this will also be Apple’s new in-store recycling program. Non-functional iPhones that are not worth any money will also be able to be recycled via this initiative through BrightStar.

The iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5 are eligible for both the trade-in and recycling aspects of the program. The program will be supported in the United States first, and it could reach international markets in the future.

We also understand that the pilot programs that occurred in Dallas, Texas over the past couple of weeks have been exclusive to testing internal procedures, and they have not been for customers.

The program is so vital to Apple that its retail employees will be provided overtime payment in order to ensure that the two hours of mandatory training is complete by the Friday launch date.

We’ve also been told that the trade-in pricing for the iPhones is slightly below the competition. For example, an unlocked, undamaged iPhone 5 16GB will be worth around $279, while an AT&T 16GB iPhone 5 will be worth $253 (which is around the pricing reported by TechCrunch). Gazelle currently offers $330 for both of those devices. A GSM 8GB iPhone 4 will be worth between $120 and $140, while the CDMA version will be worth around $80. However, sources say that the pricing will constantly fluctuate due to supply and demand of particular iPhone models.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is utilizing this new initiative as a way to boost sales in his large chain of retail stores. At a meeting for high-level retail employees in July, Cook said that iPhone sales are not strong enough in Apple Stores. With this new trade-in program, perhaps sales numbers will rise. The timing of a rollout prior to the launch of both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C makes sense; it could be a way to ensure the record breaking launch weekend sales numbers that Apple has enjoyed for multiple years.

Image via Wikipedia

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19 Responses to “Apple’s iPhone ‘Reuse and Recycle’ trade-in program detailed, begins rolling out August 30th”

  1. I assume if you’re in the middle of a contract you’ll still have to pay a fee to upgrade?


  2. Any word if this program is US only? What about up here in Canada?


  3. In Europe/Germany as well, or is it US only?


  4. I can’t imagine anyone will be that stupid to go through that route. You can get much more if you sell it on your own. Seriously getting $100 for iPhone 4 is a joke as well as $300 for iPhone 5. Quick check with Ebay shows that iPhone 5 is being sold for around $500 in average.


  5. “new initiative as a way to boost sales in his large chain of retail stores”
    “With this new trade-in program, perhaps sales numbers will rise.”

    The problem is that most people are not aware they can get their new iPhones anywhere but their carrier store. You do not know how many times I have to tell people this over and over again and when I tell them they can get their phone at any store such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target or even the Apple store, they never realized it and wonder why they never did it before. For the iPhone 5 launch I had to drive past my local ATT store, rep said their were 72 people in line. I went to Walmart (10 minutes after lunch), I was the first person to get one there. They sent an Apple rep from NJ and he was shocked but also said that no one realizes they can get them elsewhere.

    Even for support, I tell them to go to Apple direct, not the carrier and they always have a better experience.


  6. This program seems to be effective already – at least unofficially – in Germany. Last week I’ve been offered a new iPhone 5 (16 GB) with a 110,– EUR discount for trading in my over 2 year old iPhone 4 in the Berlin Apple Store.


  7. ardles says:

    Reblogged this on v2education and commented:
    A great initiative that should also be quite an astute move for apple with regard to retaining Apple iPhone users….like a good used car part exchange scheme. Interesting that it is launched now some weeks before the release of the iPhone 5S….Cynical? Moi? Jamais ;)


  8. Why would the price fluctuate based on demand for particular models? It’s not like they are going to be reselling them.

    I think the article is assuming and speculating a great deal, when it gets to talking about the prices.


  9. What if I have a Pre-Paid SIM in my 3GS from T-mobile and I want to purchase the iPhone 5S? can I just buy it unlocked with the Discount for my 3GS trade in?


    • jgrayson says:

      @Jorge El Yourch Guillen

      READ the article:

      1) A customer tells an Apple Store employee that he/she would like to purchase a new iPhone and trade-in his/her older model. The new iPhone must be an on-contract phone and it must be activated on scene.

      a pre-paid sim is not a on-contract phone.


  10. Where is the Official apple information release? Would apple start a rollout of a new program without releasing official information? Testing in certain areas is not a rollout. Display replacements were tested months before the rollout, then there was an official information release. This if anything is a test. Apple retail stores test lots of different programs that never see the light of day. These are usually aimed at creating a better experience for customers. it’ll be interesting to see if this really happens but for right now it just more Rumor….


  11. “I can’t imagine anyone will be that stupid to go through that route. You can get much more if you sell it on your own. Seriously getting $100 for iPhone 4 is a joke as well as $300 for iPhone 5. Quick check with Ebay shows that iPhone 5 is being sold for around $500 in average.”

    This is like asking why people pay $6 for popcorn at the movies when Pop Secret is $3 a box at the grocery store. It’s called convenience, that’s why people will flock to trade in their older Apple device for credit toward a new one. In some cases people may just be visiting the Apple store without an intention to buy a new phone, but upon realizing this program exists will ask how much their old phone is worth, and if they don’t have to pull money out of their pocket for a new one — why not? It’s that simple.

    Many people are scared to use Craigslist for a host of reasons — running into scammers, being given counterfeit money, being beat up, etc. There are a number of horror stories out there. And I’m not beating up on Craigslist. It’s just the reality of dealing with strangers, never know what you’ll get. For what it’s worth, I’ve sold and bought a number of things on Craigslist without issue. But that’s not the point.


  12. unredundant says:

    I hope this program reached Japan soon I have a new Macbook Air and an Iphone 4s. I would love to upgrade my phone and take advantage of built in tethering.


  13. Lim Kb says:

    Is the program available in Malaysia?


  14. Rosie Pérez says:

    Does anyone know if Virgin Mobile users would also be eligible for this trade-in program? I’ve got the 4S on VM and would like to upgrade to the 5. Thx! :)


  15. Bob Black says:

    Sounds like they are reaching now… innovation is gone… amazingly they could be the new Palm or Blackberry in a few years…


  16. I will most certainly buy a used Iphone 5 16gb for $ 279


  17. i have two iphones both are 3gs i want to exchange them with a new iphone