Earlier this month, Apple quietly made a few key changes to its ‘Reuse and Recycle’ program. The lack of ceremony surrounding the changes are easily explained: it’s not particularly good news for customers.
Customers in Canada and the United States will now get less money for trading in their iPhone. The new top value is $225, versus the former rate of $270. Go back two years and Apple were offering up to $345 for a pristine iPhone 4S (then the latest model). The new pricing plan is the lowest since the program was launched.
Even with the higher prices on offer, Apple’s recycling scheme was one of the least-trumpeted aspects of their business. Many iPhone users remain completely ignorant of its existence. It works like this:
- An Apple customer goes to the Apple Store and asks to trade in their older phone for a new, on-contract model.
- The Apple Store rep keys in the customer’s existing iPhone details using their EasyPay device (those neat mobile touch screen gizmos you see reps clutching).
- Based on the information entered, a value for the old iPhone is given to the customer. Metrics include display quality, button quality, overall hardware damage, liquid damage and functionality.
- The Apple Store rep lets the customer know they cannot get their original phone back, and they should back up any info they need.
- The customer gets a new iPhone and a gift card with the agreed-upon value pre-loaded to go towards the new device.
- The old phone is placed in a plastic bag, and the old SIM card is given to the customer while the employee sets up the new iPhone.
According to Apple, recycled iPhones are only re-sold in the United States, although they’ve not ruled out expanding the program to international markets. Despite launching the scheme to little fanfare, the tech giant did assert its commitment at the time, stating: