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iPhone trade-in program roundup: Apple retail, Gazelle, Walmart

Just ahead of Apple's expected reveal of the new iPhone, Walmart is looking to attract iPhone trade-ins with a new program announced on Tuesday, a move that will bring the retail giant into competition with not only established services like Gazelle, but also with Apple itself.

Walmart's program joins the ranks of established and recently announced programs capitalizing on the high value retention of Apple's bestselling smartphone. In the lead up to the expected announcement of a new iPhone, even Apple has gotten into the action with its own trade-in program.


Apple's program is based out of its U.S. retail locations, with customers able to bring in functioning iPhone models for trade-in toward the purchase of a new iPhone. Apple's program is likely the most strictured any of the major offerings, as it is only accessible through an Apple retail outlet and can only result in the customer receiving a gift card that must go toward the purchase of an iPhone on contract with a carrier.

Going the Apple Store route also means that customers will likely get less for their trade-in than they could at some other locations. Shortly after news broke of the program's confirmation, reports emerged that the top trade-in value a customer could receive would be $280, though AppleInsider's attempts to confirm this figure with numerous stores was unsuccessful. Apple retail employees will not give out estimates on trade-in value without going through the actual trade-in process.

Notably, Apple's trade-in program is a one-to-one affair: customers cannot bring in multiple older phones to trade in toward the value of a new one. The program does accept older models back at least through the iPhone 3G, though that device's age likely means its trade-in value would be minimal.

Apple's trade-in program is aimed more at providing convenience for customers rather than returning top dollar for their devices. It also helps lock consumers into Apple's system by removing the option of using the trade-in value for anything but credit toward another contracted iPhone. In announcing the program, Apple took a big step onto the turf of one company in particular.


Gazelle has become made a name for itself online handling buybacks of iPhones, as well as Macs, iPods, and iPads. Currently, the service is taking iPhone models all the way back to the iPhone 3G, an 8GB model of which will net the seller $10 if it is in good shape. On the high end, a 64GB model of the iPhone 5 will pull in $350 — higher than the reported maximum payout from Apple — so long as it is in flawless condition.

Gazelle's site will give estimates on a device's worth, and the service will confirm that worth with an inspection once it has been sent to Gazelle. Thereafter, customers are not required to put any funds toward the purchase of a new iPhone. Instead, they have the option of receiving payment via an Amazon Gift Card, PayPal deposit, or a standard bank check, delivered by mail within 10 days. They also have the option of donating the value of any devices to a charitable cause.

Gazelle users also have the option of trading in multiple devices at one time. Further, the program is not limited to iPhones. Gazelle's prices on iPhones are currently locked in through October 15.

MacBook Pro MacBook ProFlawless MacBook ProGood MacBook ProBroken
Current iPhone Trade-in Payouts
iPhone 3G 16GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $12 $10 $0
iPhone 3G 8GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $12 $10 $0
iPhone 3G S 16GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $12 $10 $5
iPhone 3G S 32GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $12 $10 $5
iPhone 3G S 8GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $12 $10 $5
iPhone 4 16GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $120 $115 $50
iPhone 4 16GB (Verizon) $80 $75 $30
iPhone 4 32GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $125 $120 $50
iPhone 4 32GB (Verizon) $82 $77 $30
iPhone 4 8GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $115 $110 $50
iPhone 4 8GB (other) $55 $50 $20
iPhone 4 8GB (Sprint) $65 $60 $20
iPhone 4 8GB (T-Mobile) $70 $65 $20
iPhone 4 8GB (Verizon) $65 $60 $20
iPhone 4S 16GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $200 $190 $80
iPhone 4S 16GB (other) $140 $130 $60
iPhone 4S 16GB (Sprint) $160 $150 $70
iPhone 4S 16GB (T-Mobile) $160 $150 $70
iPhone 4S 16GB (Verizon) $170 $160 $70
iPhone 4S 32GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $205 $195 $80
iPhone 4S 32GB (other) $140 $130 $60
iPhone 4S 32GB (Sprint) $165 $155 $70
iPhone 4S 32GB (Verizon) $175 $165 $70
iPhone 4S 64GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $210 $200 $80
iPhone 4S 64GB (other) $140 $130 $60
iPhone 4S 64GB (Sprint) $170 $160 $70
iPhone 4S 64GB (Verizon) $180 $170 $70
iPhone 5 16GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $300 $290 $120
iPhone 5 16GB (other) $210 $200 $80
iPhone 5 16GB (Sprint) $210 $200 $85
iPhone 5 16GB (T-Mobile) $250 $240 $85
iPhone 5 16GB (Verizon) $300 $290 $120
iPhone 5 32GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $305 $295 $120
iPhone 5 32GB (other) $215 $205 $80
iPhone 5 32GB (Sprint) $215 $205 $85
iPhone 5 32GB (T-Mobile) $260 $250 $85
iPhone 5 32GB (Verizon) $305 $295 $120
iPhone 5 64GB (AT&T or Unlocked) $310 $300 $120
iPhone 5 64GB (other) $220 $210 $80
iPhone 5 64GB (Sprint) $220 $210 $85
iPhone 5 64GB (T-Mobile) $270 $260 $85
iPhone 5 64GB (Verizon) $310 $300 $120


Walmart's new program is not limited to iPhones either, though those are the devices that will likely yield the highest trade-in values. Beginning September 21, iPhone and other smartphone owners can bring their devices in to any of the 3,600 Walmart Stores and 500 Sam's Clubs locations across the United States in order to get between $50 and $300 in credit.

As with Apple's program, Walmart's trade-in offer requires that a customer sign up for a new two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. Customers also have the option of signing up for one of Walmart's pre-paid wireless plans.

Walmart declined to go into specifics on what customers could expect in terms of value, but reportedly an AT&T 16GB iPhone 5 in good condition would net about $300 in credit, with more value accruing as the device's internal storage increased. A 16GB Samsung Galaxy S3, however, would garner about $175 in credit.

Walmart's program is similar to Apple's in that it is trading on ease of access and simplicity: customers bring their devices into the store and walk out with a new device. The company's thousands of retail locations will likely aid its program, further crowding in on services like Gazelle.


Online retail giant Amazon is also a major player in the iPhone and general electronics trade-in market. Amazon offers the most of any of the major players in terms of value, with a "Like New" 64GB iPhone 5 going for up to $393.25. Amazon's service, though, requires that customers receive their trade-in value in the form of an Gift Card.

The program accepts iPhones back through the iPhone 3G, a 16GB unit of which can net up to $50 if in "Like New" condition. Amazon, of course, will only accept functional devices with only light signs of wear. Multiple trade-ins will be accepted, but only up to a total value of $1,250. Any equipment in excess of that total must be shipped separately. Trade-in values are automatically applied to a customer's account.

Best Buy

Another player in the trade-in game is Best Buy. Best Buy runs an ongoing trade-in offer on a number of device types, not just the iPhone. That program assesses a value for a contract mobile phone and then offers an additional $50 if the customer trades it in and upgrades that device in-store as well.

Occasionally, Best Buy will run an iPhone-specific trade-in program. The last trade-in program Best Buy held was over Labor Day Weekend, when it offered customers at least 50 percent off the on-contract purchase price of an iPhone 5 if they brought in a working iPhone 4 or 4S.

Like Apple and Walmart, Best Buy's offer was contingent upon the customer signing up for a new two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.

In all likelihood the launch of the next generation of iPhone will probably spur the announcement of another iPhone-specific trade-in offer from Best Buy, as the company looks to capitalize on excitement surrounding the new device.

AppleInsider currently hosts a Trade-In Guide covering not only the various generations of iPhone, but also assorted other Apple products. The Guide also covers offers from other online trade-in outlets, including NextWorth and USell.