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Old iPads are a staple in US homes, long after they've gone obsolete

Many Apple users keep their old iPads despite new releases

While nearly every user gets rid of their old iPhone when they get a new one, iPad owners are more likely to repurposes older devices for uses beyond their original intended function.

In the twelve months ending March 2024, 67% of repeat iPad buyers retained their old iPads, compared to only 41% of iPhone buyers who kept or handed down their previous iPhones. The behavior highlights unique aspects of iPad usage and customer loyalty.

Many old iPads find new life with family members or friends. Approximately one-third of old iPads are handed down, compared to about 10% of old iPhones.

The necessity of replacing old devices also differs between iPad and iPhone users. About 23% of iPad upgraders replaced their device due to loss, theft, or damage, compared to only 6% of iPhone upgraders. The new data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) suggests that iPads are less frequently replaced out of necessity, further reinforcing their longevity and usefulness.

CIRP horizontal bar chart showing disposal methods for iPad and iPhone: family/friend, kept, lost/stolen/broken, sold, trade-in, other.
Previous iPad and iPhone Usage Trends (Twelve Months Ending March 2024)

The trend suggests that older iPads remain functional and desirable even as new models are released. For many, the need to upgrade to the latest iPad isn't as urgent, allowing the older devices to serve more roles in households.

Another critical factor is the trade-in and secondary market for iPads versus iPhones. Less than 10% of iPad upgraders trade in their old device, compared to almost half of iPhone upgraders.

The difference indicates that users value keeping their old iPads more than selling them. Moreover, the retained value and utility of old iPads often outweigh the benefits of trading them in for a small financial return.

Apple's iPad remains a versatile and valuable device long after its initial purchase. The tendency of users to keep or repurpose their old iPads highlights their lasting usefulness. Whether as a hand-me-down or a repurposed tablet, old iPads continue to find meaningful use.