With the Apple Trade-In program, you can reduce the out-of-pocket cost of a new Apple device by turning in your current one for credit. While the value of your trade-in is partially dependent on the type of device and its various specs – as well as its age – part of what your trade-in is worth is based on factors you can control. If you want to maximize the value of your Apple trade-in, here are eight tips that can help you get the most money for your device.
1. Protect the Device
One of the most crucial steps you can take to maximize the value of your Apple trade-in is to protect the device the entire time you own it. Since scratches and cracks can significantly diminish the device’s value as a trade-in, doing everything you can to keep it in the best possible shape makes a difference.
There are several straightforward ways to protect the device. Using a case and screen protector are both worthwhile steps, as they dramatically reduce the risk of damage if your device is dropped or hit against an object. If you opt for a case that also shields the device from water exposure, that’s even better.
2. Keep the Device Clean
Even if your device is physically in excellent shape, it will lose trade-in value if it’s handed in to Apple visibly dirty. Ideally, you want to keep the device clean the entire time you own it, but wiping it down before you have its value assessed is outright essential.
Precisely what you need to do to clean the device may vary depending on the device type. However, using an appropriate cleaner – such as eyeglasses cleaner – and lint-free microfiber clothes works well for most electronics when you’re wiping down the surface.
3. Unlock the Device
If your device is locked to a particular carrier, it may have less value than an unlocked device. The reason is that locked devices might not connect to some carrier networks, while unlocked ones will work on any network.
Unlocking a device usually involves contacting your carrier and requesting an unlock. The exact process may vary from one carrier to the next, but once the request is properly submitted and fully processed, the device is usually unlocked within a few business days.
4. Keep the Original Packaging and Accessories
Having the original packaging and accessories for the Apple device can potentially increase the trade-in value. As a result, it’s best to store them in a safe place until it’s time for you to move forward with a trade-in.
Another tip that can work in your favor is to avoid using the original accessories and instead getting new ones separately. That ensures the accessories are essentially brand new when you initiate the trade-in, and it may lead to a higher overall value.
5. Time Your Trade-In Correctly
The age of the device your Apple trade-in significantly impacts its value. Primarily, that’s because various versions of the device become less desirable over time, as consumers usually favor newer models over older ones.
If you’re going to trade in your Apple device, be mindful of when new versions are released. Handling a trade-in before the newest one comes out – even if that release occurs relatively quickly after your trade-in is complete – may lead to a higher overall value.
6. Leverage AppleCare+ Plans
If you have an AppleCare+ plan in place and the device you want to trade in has any damage, see if you can get a free repair using AppleCare+ before you have the value assessed. AppleCare+ can make getting cracked screens or similar issues fixed affordable, and by moving forward with the repair, the increase in value often offsets anything spent to use the program.
7. Explore Other Trade-In Options
While many people use Apple’s trade-in program, there are others available. For example, cellular carriers typically have their own trade-in programs, and they may offer you more for your Apple device than if you go through Apple directly.
As a result, it’s wise to get quotes from Apple and your carrier at a minimum. That way, you can use the one that provides you with the best deal.
8. Consider Alternatives to Trading In
While using a trade-in program is convenient, using a different strategy may help you get more money for your used Apple device. For example, selling the device directly to a new user could allow you to get more cash.
The main reason trading in doesn’t always result in the most money is that the company accepting the Apple trade-in needs the ability to profit off of the deal. As a result, they won’t necessarily offer you the market value of the device. Instead, they’ll give you a little less so that the company can maintain a profit margin. But by directly selling to someone, getting fair market value of your Apple device is possible.
Do you have any other tips that can help people maximize the value of their Apple trade-in? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald is a U.S. Army veteran with 20 years of service, including five years as a military financial advisor. After retiring from the Army, she spent eight years as an AFCPE-certified personal financial advisor for wounded warriors and their families. Now she writes about personal finance and benefits programs for numerous financial websites.