Want the iPhone 12? Why Apple might not be the best bet to trade-in

Those who trade-in old iPhones using Apple’s official scheme could be left nearly £100 worse off compared to alternative reselling options, new research claims.   

Apple made cuts to trade-in prices earlier this year, meaning customers will now be up to £97 worse off if they use the scheme, according to comparison service, Compare My Mobile.

It found consumers opting for the Apple scheme could lose out by as much as 36 per cent compared to the average third party trade in values. Many opt to sell or trade-in the gadgets to get a newer version.

The new iPhone 12 will launch next month which will lead to many trading in old phones for the new model.

Apple made cuts to trade-in prices meaning customers could now be up to £97 worse off

Apple made cuts to trade-in prices meaning customers could now be up to £97 worse off

Apple made cuts to trade-in prices meaning customers could now be up to £97 worse off

Due to this, experts are warning that iPhone 11 trade in values which currently sit between £513 to £716 could drop by as much as 20 per cent once the new handset launches.

Rob Baillie from Compare my Mobile, said: ‘Apple played its hand early this year, slashing trade-in prices for iPhones across the board, however this has not been the case among third party trade-in services.

‘That means, for now, those looking to trade-in their phones to put towards the new model, would get a significantly better deal with a third party recycling service than through Apple, in some cases getting over a third more for their current handset.’

Trading in an old phone is a good way to get money off a new model as firms, including Apple, will pay for the old device. 

How much you get paid will depend on how old the model is, how big the capacity is and its condition. 

The research found that the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus have the biggest difference in trade-in prices between Apple and private firms – both with a gap of 36 per cent. 

OFFICIAL APPLE TRADE IN VALUES VS THIRD PARTY RECYCLING OPTIONS 
Model Apple Trade in Price (up to) Private Trade in Price Difference (£) Difference (%)
iPhone XS Max            £350 £447 £97 28%
iPhone XS £320 £402 £82 26%
iPhone XR £280 £352 £72 26%
iPhone X £245 £332 £87 36%
iPhone 8 Plus £185 £247 £62 36%
iPhone 8 £165 £186 £21 13%
iPhone 7 Plus £135 £170 £35 26%
iPhone 7 £105 £108 £3 3%
iPhone 6s £55 £63 £8 15%
Source: Comparemymobile.com       

The iPhone X, which was released in 2017, can be traded in for £245 with Apple but a potential £332 with a private trade in – a difference of £87. 

Similarly, the iPhone 8 Plus, which was also released in 2017, can be traded in with Apple for £185 but potentially grows to £247 when swapped with a private firm – a difference of £62. 

The lowest difference in price is on the iPhone 7, which was released in September 2016. 

The phone can be traded in for £105 on the Apple site and £108 on a third party firm, a difference of just £3. 

The newest models, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XS, have high trade-in rates of £447 and £402, respectively, with a third party firm. 

This is because the newest models are the most likely to be accepted by trade-in firms.  

Baillie added: ‘Apple products tend to hold their value better than other brands, but the trade-in deals from Apple represent some of the worst on the market and in most cases don’t reflect the current value of the handsets.

‘However, if you are thinking of trading for a newer model, it’s worth acting fast. 

‘We would expect to see the trade-in values for iPhone drop across the board during the launch week for the iPhone 12, meaning customers could lost around 20 per cent of their phone’s value in just a few weeks from now.’

This is Money has contacted Apple but it declined to comment. 

Before trading in a phone with a third party company, customers are advised to check the legitimacy of the website and ensure they are not sending their phone off for free. 

One way to do this is to check the URL of the site as websites that end in .net or .org aren’t generally used for online shopping.

Looking at online reviews of a site is also a good way to ensure that you are using a well respected e-retailer. 

It is also worth checking a number of different websites to ensure you get the best price. Some mobile operators also offer trade-in services, which can also be worth getting a quote from. 

The data was used from the trade-in values found on Apple’s website and the data of third party trade-ins was taken from Compare The Mobile’s website. Information was correct as of 11 August 2020. 

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