SMARTPHONES:
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020

SMARTPHONES:
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020

ecoATM vs.
Apple Trade-Ins

ecoATM vs Apple Trade-Ins

When you're done with your old phone or tablet, don't throw it away. Instead, keep it out of landfills by reusing, donating or recycling it. Many retailers, including Apple®, have trade-in programs that let you send them your old device in exchange for store credit. You can also turn your device in to an ecoATM, where you'll receive an instant cash payment. 

  • How Apple Trade-Ins Work 
  • How ecoATM Works 
  • Benefits of Using ecoATM 
  • Signs It's Time to Trade in Your Device 

So, which is better — ecoATM or Apple trade-ins? It depends on how much time you have to invest in the process, the type of device you're trading and what kind of payment you want to receive. 

How Apple
Trade-Ins Work

Eligible Devices
Payment Options
Preparation Requirements
Trade-In Locations
Guidelines and Conditions
Length of Time
Environmental Initiatives

How Apple Trade-Ins Work 

If your existing Apple phone or tablet is broken or you're due for an upgrade, Apple's trade-in program can help you get credit for your unwanted device.  

Eligible Devices 

All Apple trade-ins are conditional and based on the type of device you're trading, including its age, condition and configuration. They currently accept the following devices, though the list is subject to change without notice:

  • iPhones: Currently, Apple accepts conditional trade-ins for first and second-generation iPhone® SEs, the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the iPhone X, the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and the 11 Pro Max. 
  • iPads: Apple accepts possible trade-ins for your iPad®, iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad Pro. 
  • MacBooks and iMacs: You may be able to trade in your MacBook®, MacBook Pro®, MacBook Air®, iMac®, iMac Pro®, Mac Pro® and Mac Mini®. Mac trade-ins are online only. 
  • Apple Watches: Get credit for trading in your series 1 through 5 Apple Watch. 
  • Non-Apple devices: Apple also accepts some non-Apple devices, like Android cell phones from Samsung® and Google®.  

Payment Options 

When you participate in Apple's trade-in program, you have two payment options — gift card or store credit: 

  • Apple gift card: If you want to save your Apple credit for the future — or if you're trading online — Apple will give you an Apple gift card in exchange for your unwanted device. Apple sends gift cards via mail post-inspection.
  • Account credit: If you're trading your product in-store, you can have your payment credited toward your in-store purchase. This is a good option for anyone looking to upgrade quickly.   

Preparation Requirements

Apple requests that you reset all devices and disable "Find My iPhone" before trading them in. If trading online, they will send you step-by-step instructions for backing up your data and resetting. If you're in the Apple store, a representative can walk you through the process. If you're switching to a new Apple device, transferring your data is simple if you use iCloud® or Time Machine® storage. Transferring data between an Apple and non-Apple device requires outside cloud storage or an external storage device. 

Trade-In Locations 

To participate in the program, you can either initiate the process online and ship your device to Apple or visit a local Apple store, with the exception of all Macs, which must be traded online: 

  • In-store: Visit a local Apple store for in-store trade, and an associate will walk you through the process and answer questions. Keep in mind, in-store trades often include lines and wait times, and it's not a contact-free experience. 
  • Shipping: When trading online, Apple will send you a prepaid trade-in kit and shipping label to prepare and send your phone or tablet. The process must be completed within two weeks of initiating the trade-in. Remember to account for possible shipping delays. 

Guidelines and Conditions 

All trade-ins are conditional. When you begin the process online, you fill out a questionnaire about your device's status and condition. Apple will then provide you with an estimated trade-in offer but will not pay you until they receive the device, inspect it and confirm it matches your reported condition.

If the device does not match but is still eligible for trade-in, they will send you a new request that you can accept or deny. If it's ineligible for trade-in, they will recycle it for you at no cost. If you're trading in your device at an Apple store and it's in approved condition, you'll get the option to receive instant credit toward your purchase. All trade-ins are separate from Apple's payment plans, including the upgrade program and monthly installment plans. 

Length of Time 

Assuming there are no shipping delays, the average Apple trade-in takes two to three weeks until payment is received. If you're only recycling your device without receiving credit, the process is generally quicker. Keep in mind that, once Apple gets your device, they will inspect it and may find it does not meet the conditions for their previous quote. If this happens, they may offer you a new quote, which will cause the process to take longer. You can track the status of your trade-in through your Apple account.

Environmental Initiatives 

Apple has made recent strides in environmental practices, including using more recycled materials for production and shipment and utilizing cleaner energy initiatives during manufacturing. Once Apple has your device, they will either sell it as a pre-owned device or send it to an electronic recycling center for material reclaim. If you're trading in an iPhone, they may also send it to Daisy, their disassembly robot that removes interior materials from the phone for reuse. Although you're not required to trade your chargers and cables with your device, Apple will also recycle them.  

How ecoATM Works 

Looking for a fast and convenient alternative to Apple trade-ins? ecoATM has you covered. 

Eligible Devices 

Every ecoATM location accepts trade-ins for the following: 

  • Cell phones: We accept all types of cell phones from all manufacturers, including Samsung, Apple, Google, Motorola®, ZTE®, Blackberry®, LG®, HTC® and more. 
  • Tablet: Have an iPad, Galaxy® Tab, Amazon Fire® or e-reader you're finished with? ecoATM accepts tablets, too. 
  • MP3 players: Now that music is readily available for cell phone streaming, you may have an old iPod® or MP3 player lying around. Declutter your space and get cash by trading it in with ecoATM. 

Although they are not currently a part of our payment program, you can bring along your accessories to place in the labeled accessory bin while trading in your phone at ecoATM. We'll make sure they're given a new life or safely recycled. 

Payment Options 

When you trade your device with ecoATM, you get cash on the spot — no waiting, gift cards, store credit or conditional reevaluation. When you connect your phone or tablet to the kiosk, it will generate a quote you can choose to accept or reject. Once you accept, just wait a few minutes while it prepares your cash payment and you're free to go.  

Preparation Requirements 

To prepare your device for an ecoATM trade-in, follow these steps:

  1.   Back up all important information via external or cloud storage, including contact information, notes, pictures, videos and app data.
  2.   Turn off your "Find my iPhone" setting, if applicable.
  3.   Wipe or factory reset your device, to protect your personal information.
  4.   Remove all accessories, including cases and screen protectors.
  5.   Charge your device, if possible.
  6.   Bring your state or government-issued ID to verify your identity during trade-in.

Enter your address on our ecoATM location map to find a kiosk near you, view hours of operation and get directions.

Trade-In Locations 

ecoATM has more than 4,000 kiosks located all over the country. Enter your address on our ecoATM location map to find a kiosk near you, view hours of operation and get directions. 

Guidelines and Conditions 

ecoATM will take your trade-in, regardless of condition, including: 

  •  Cracked, scratched and shattered screens 
  •  Slow and lagging performance 
  •  Unable to power on or off 
  •  Damaged and dead batteries 
  •  Scuffs and chips on the phone's body 
  •  Peeled paint on buttons 
  •  Signs of general wear 

Unlike Apple trade-ins, ecoATM kiosks analyzes your device and provides an instant offer, eliminating the chance for discrepancy between your estimated quote and trade-in offer. Once you connect your device to the kiosk, it generates an offer for you based on the type of device, its second market value and its condition. You will then have the opportunity to accept or reject the provided offer before turning it in. You can also get a value estimate online before visiting a kiosk, though that offer is subject to change at the kiosk. 

Length of Time 

At ecoATM, we understand that your life is busy — that's why we made our trade-in process as quick and easy as possible. Once you get to the kiosk, the entire transaction only takes a few minutes — usually three to five total — including cash payment. 

Environmental Initiatives 

Cell phones have more than 40 persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and plastic or ceramic materials. Batteries and screens contain hazardous chemicals that endanger the environment and put human health at risk. Only 20% of electronic devices are responsibly recycled in the US, quoted from an EPA Study. Used mobile phones, if not properly handled, can end up in landfills, where they threaten soil and water conditions, injure wildlife and expose human workers to unsafe conditions. To combat these concerns, ecoATM is committed to helping consumers access safe electronic recycling options. So far, our efforts have collected more than 25 million devices, and we're not slowing down.

After you sell or recycle your unwanted device with ecoATM, it's sent to a processing facility, where we inspect its condition and appearance. Whenever possible, we prepare phones, tablets and MP3 players for resale. When resale isn't possible, often due to extensive damage, we reclaim as many usable materials as possible and safely recycle the remaining parts. 

Benefits of Using ecoATM 

ecoATM is the smart, easy and environmentally friendly way of trading in your device — but how do you know when it's time to recycle your cell phone? Some of the most common reasons for trading in your device include:

When you compare ecoATM to the Apple trade-in program, the benefits of choosing ecoATM are clear: 

  • The process is simple: Instead of navigating complicated specifications and trade-in guidelines, ecoATM's approach is simple. No matter the device, all you need to do is accept your generated quote, drop it into the trade-in bin and wait to receive payment. Our kiosks even have convenient accessory bins, so you can responsibly recycle your chargers and cases while you're there. 
  • No shipping required: Shipping requires you to follow specific guidelines and regulations, especially for damaged phones. It's also a time-consuming process that may or may not get your phone where it needs to go. There are thousands of ecoATM locations across the country, and each one makes it easy to drop off your device. 
  • It's contact-free: ecoATM kiosks eliminate the need for in-store device evaluations. This contact-free process means you get to avoid long lines and complete your transaction while safely distanced from others.  
  • We accept all devices: Whether Apple, Samsung, Google or another manufacturer — no matter the age, condition, model or brand — ecoATM takes it. Unlike Apple and other retailers, we don't care what your phone looks or performs like. We are just here to help you sell or recycle your device. Once we receive your phone, it undergoes inspections and analysis to determine whether it's suitable for resale as a certified pre-owned device. If not, we reclaim as much usable material as we can for reuse. 
  • You get instant cash: Apple trade-ins can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and there's always the chance that your payment quote will change once they receive your device. With ecoATM, our kiosks generate a fair, competitive price in just a few minutes. Even better, you don't have to settle for an Apple gift card or account credit — we instantly pay you in cash. 

Signs It's Time to Trade in Your Device 

If you're experiencing one or more of the following, it's time to trade in your cell phone: 

  • Your phone isn't performing well: If you're experiencing sluggish performance, lag or system glitching, it's probably time for a new device. In some cases, updating your phone to the latest operating system may be enough to fix those issues, but older devices may be incompatible with current operating systems. 
  • Your device has irreparable damage: Many forms of device damage, including cracked screens, might be fixable if you take it to a repair shop. If the damage proves too costly or complicated to repair, trading it in for recycling is often the better option. 
  • You've had a lifestyle change: Whether you've gotten a new job that requires a top-performing cell phone or you want an easier way to stay connected with loved ones over long distances, it might be time for a new phone. 
  • You're out of storage space: Phones ship with either 32GB, 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage space, with a few higher and lower outliers. Your device relies on this storage space to save data, apps, files, pictures and videos, and some of that space is automatically allocated to the operating system. Some phones have expandable storage, or you could use external storage cards or cloud storage to transfer your information elsewhere. If you continuously run out of space, you might want to upgrade to something with more room. 
  • There's been a new tech release: As smart phones get more innovative, it's tempting to upgrade purely for the new features. For example, augmented reality can make it easier to game or shop online, and phones with vehicle compatibility may be a good upgrade for someone who spends a lot of time traveling. 
  • You're decluttering your home: Most of us are guilty of keeping things we no longer need, including tech devices. According to one specialist, clutter takes up nearly 20% of the average household's living space. When it's time for a spring cleaning, save all your phones, music players, tablets, laptops and accessories and recycle them at an e-waste center or ecoATM kiosk. 
  • You have a prepaid phone plan: Contract phone plans usually include regular phone upgrades. Those who rely on prepaid cellular service don't always have easy or affordable access to a new phone when it's time for a change. In this case, you can trade in your phone to an ecoATM kiosk to get cash you can put towards your next device. 

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Find an ecoATM Kiosk Near You 

If you're ready for an upgrade, ecoATM is here to help! We keep our trade-in process simple and fast, with a cash payout in minutes. Our kiosks let you skip in-store lines and long processing times while avoiding the hassle of shipping your device. Find an ecoATM kiosk near you to get started today. 


ecoATM is not affiliated with nor has it been authorized or sponsored by the manufacturers or service providers in this article.