Why Apple Is Lowering It’s Trade-In Values & What That Means For You

Apple is lowering its trade-in values for products across the board ahead of its annual fall keynote, where it typically releases new products and software upgrades. The Apple Trade-In Program offers either credit to a new product or to an Apple gift card that users can use at any time. Though the company's in-house program typically undervalues products compared to the resale market, there are benefits to utilizing Apple's trade-in service. The process is quick and easy in one of the company's retail stores, and though there have been questions raised about the online process, it's pretty secure as well. For this reason, it's a simple way to use an old device to purchase a newer one.


To trade in devices at an Apple Store, users just have to make an appointment at the Genius Bar to turn in their old products. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, just about every action taken at one of the company's retail stores requires either a scheduled appointment or placement on a waitlist. Once a buyer meets with a representative, they can evaluate the device's condition and complete the trade-in. The maximum values a product can receive are listed on the Apple website, which usually represents a device that is in near perfect condition. Accidental damage to a product will decrease its value, and some extremely damaged or obsolete products will not qualify for store credit. The benefit to trading in a device in-store is that it will be evaluated on the spot, and buyers can back out at any time if they aren't pleased with the value of their device.

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Apple has held an annual fall event for years where it announces new products and releases the software upgrades that were previewed at the Worldwide Developers Conference in the prior months. This is where the new iPhone lineup is revealed, and it is typically released a few weeks after the announcement. There's already a lot that leakers know about the upcoming smartphones, but the keynote is where the rumors and leaks are confirmed or thwarted once and for all. Ahead of the upcoming product releases, the company is slashing the trade-in values of existing devices. For example, Apple has listed the iPhone 12 lineup as the highest-value smartphone, but the values have been knocked down in anticipation of the upcoming launch.

New Trade-In Values & What They Mean

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro on custom gradient background

The value of iPhones was decreased by as much as $50 through the Apple Trade-In Program ahead of the iPhone 14 launch. The iPhone 12 Pro Max garnered the highest amount of trade-in value and was lowered from $650 to $600. The iPhone 12 Pro was also reduced by $50, from $550 to $600. The standard iPhone 12 and 12 mini were decreased by $20, to $400 and $300, respectively. Other iPhones down the line were also incrementally reduced and are listed on the Apple Trade-In website. Select iPads and Apple Watches were also lowered in trade-in value, but not by much. All of these values represent the highest possible trade-in values and, due to device configuration and condition, might receive less store credit.

In essence, the move is lowering the amount of store credit buyers can use for the upcoming iPhone launch with a trade-in. It's also making room for the iPhone 13 lineup, which will likely be eligible for trade-in after the announcement of the latest smartphones. As people upgrade to the iPhone 14, they'll want to trade in their previous devices, some of which are iPhone 13 models. These products will garner the highest value, so it makes sense that the older iPhone 12 models are lowered in value ahead of the iPhone launch. Interestingly, the Apple Watch Series 6 didn't budge in value, but the Apple Watch SE was slightly reduced in value. The changes preview the shifts in Apple's product strategy in the fall event that is typically held in early September.