Apple has just boosted the trade-in value of some of its most recent iPhones, but not significantly enough to make them good value compared to alternative options.
In the US, Apple's estimated trade-in values for the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro have just gone up by $30, and it's also offering an extra $20 for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It's a similar story in the UK only with slightly lower increases – an extra £15 for Apple's two iPhone 13 Pro models, and a mere £5 boost for the iPhone 13 Mini.
These slight raises are a welcome contrast to January when Apple slashed the iPhone prices for its official Trade In program – and it seemingly went a bit too far. It's also worth bearing in mind that these are "estimated trade-in values" that, like other trade-in services, will vary depending on factors like your iPhone's condition and specs.
|iPhone 13 Pro Max||$600||$570||+$30|
|iPhone 13 Pro||$500||$470||+$30|
|iPhone 12 Pro Max||$420||$400||+$20|
Still, the prices do give us an idea of the maximum trade-in values that Apple's prepared to offer – and those are typically well below the ones you can get from phone carriers, third-party trade-in services, or private selling sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Here are those Apple Trade In price changes for the UK.
|iPhone 13 Pro Max||£580||£565||£15|
|iPhone 13 Pro||£500||£485||£15|
|iPhone 13 Mini||£330||£325||£5|
To give you an idea, we've compared the potential maximum prices for trading in an iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 with other services below. Apple's prices mostly trail the alternatives, aside from rivals like Carphone Warehouse (in the UK).
This isn't to say that you should never use the official Apple Trade In program – it's still one of the most hassle-free ways of upgrading to a new iPhone, and that's likely why Apple has given its prices a slight boost during a tough time for smartphone sales.
|Service||iPhone 13 Pro||iPhone 13|
|Apple Trade-In||up to $500 / £500||up to $400 / £390|
|ItsWorthMore (US)||up to $696||$511|
|GadgetGone (US)||up to $711||$530|
|Swappa (US)||up to $654||up to $533|
|Carphone Warehouse (UK)||up to £485||up to £380|
|eBay (typical price)||up to $849 / £700||up to $599 / £525|
But Apple's program also won't necessarily see your old iPhone recycled. The program's small print says that if your phone's "in good shape", it'll "help it go to a new owner". And this is partly why Apple's trade-in prices aren't quite as good as alternative options, as there is a cost involved in doing that.
Naturally, the highest possible prices, from going the private sale route, also come with the most potential hassle in the form of fielding questions from buyers and the risk of dispute. But you may find that there's a sweet spot between third-party services and Apple's Trade In prices, even if the latter has been given a slight boost.
Analysis: doing trade-in research pays off
There's no single best way to trade in your old iPhone – instead, the options are more on a sliding scale of convenience versus value. The exception is if you have an old device that you're keen to recycle rather than resell, as you'll want to use a trusted recycler like Apple Trade In (opens in new tab), EcoATM (opens in new tab) (in the US), or Fonebank (opens in new tab) in the UK.
Some programs, like Three's Reconnected (opens in new tab) and Vodafone's Great British Tech Appeal (opens in new tab) in the UK, also let you donate your old iPhone to someone in need, which is another good middle ground between selling and recycling.
But if you need the financial boost from your current iPhone to put towards a new option, then Apple's official program in simply one of many options that we've rounded up in our guide to the best Apple Trade In alternatives.
Apple's service can still be a good, hassle-free option – particularly if you do it in-store. If you go the online route with Apple Trade In, the company says "it generally takes 2-3 weeks". Once Apple's checked the device, you'll either get instant credit towards a new iPhone or an Apple gift card.
But to get the highest price for your old iPhone, it's still more rewarding to go through phone carrier trade-in plans or to sell privately on the likes of eBay or Facebook Marketplace.