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Apple starts replacing titanium Apple Cards from original 2019 batch

Apple to recycle old titanium cards as replacements are issued

Apple has begun notifying users of the first-generation titanium Apple Card rolled out in 2019 about its upcoming expiration and replacement.

The first physical Apple Cards are nearing expiration in July 2024 for those who signed up for the service in 2019. The cards are known for their unique design and absence of traditional card numbers, which Apple bills as a privacy feature.

In an ongoing email campaign to its customers, Apple assures that the replacement cards will be sent to the billing addresses on file and should arrive within two weeks from the notice date.

We're sending a replacement titanium card to your billing address so you can continue to use it at physical locations. Remember, even without a physical card you can always use your Apple Card at any location that accepts Apple Pay. Your new titanium card will be shipped within 2 weeks from the date of this communication.

You can continue to use your titanium card until it expires or you activate the new one. You can still use Apple Card with Apple Pay and your virtual card number to shop at merchants that don't yet accept Apple Pay by typing in your number from Wallet or using Safari AutoFill.

The company encourages cardholders to activate their new cards as soon as they arrive, as the existing cards will be deactivated at their expiration. Interestingly, Apple may also send a prepaid shipping label to customers so they can mail the card back to the company for recycling, according to MacRumors which first noted the emails from Apple.

Only some Apple Cards may be replaced in 2024

There is some uncertainty as to which customers will receive a replacement. For example, Apple initially held a beta test where some people could get an Apple Card before the official release.

But some AppleInsider staffers have different expiration dates. One got an Apple Card in 2020, and it doesn't expire until 2027, while another who got a replacement card in 2023 doesn't see an expiration until 2038.

A smartphone displaying a virtual card interface with fields for name, card number, and expiration date.
Some Apple Cards will expire in 2024

Further, although the report says that Apple is intent on recycling its titanium Apple Card, the metal can be hard to recycle.

First, titanium has a high melting point and strong chemical reactivity with elements like oxygen and nitrogen at high temperatures, requiring energy-intensive techniques for processing and recycling. Standard recycling facilities aren't typically equipped to handle that sort of product inflow.

Furthermore, titanium is typically used in alloy form with other metals to enhance its properties, such as strength and corrosion resistance. The diversity in alloy compositions also complicates the recycling process because separating these elements can be technically challenging and cost-prohibitive.

If Apple does indeed intend to recycle Apple Cards, it presumably has found a method to make them cost-effective and environmentally friendly, per its standards.

Customers can expect their new cards to arrive within two weeks of notification and are encouraged to activate them promptly upon receipt. To activate a new Apple Card, open the Wallet app on an iPhone, tap Apple Card, and follow the on-screen instructions.