Will Apple Buy Back Your Broken Phone?

When an iPhone reaches the end of its lifespan, it’s not safe to throw it in the trash due to the lithium-ion battery. It would also be pretty disappointing to get nothing out of such a big investment, considering iPhones can be upwards of a thousand dollars. So, what can you do with your old iPhone? Will Apple buy it back from you, even if it’s broken?

Apple won’t buy back an iPhone for cash, but they will offer a gift card or credit on your next Apple purchase. The amount offered depends on the condition of your phone. If the phone is in very bad shape, they may only offer to recycle it for free.

Let’s take a closer look at whether Apple will buy back your broken phone, as well as where else you can go if Apple isn’t offering what you’re looking for. Luckily, there are several good options to consider. Let’s find the right one for you!

Does Apple Buy Back Broken iPhones?

Smartphone with broken screen

The good news is that Apple does buy back broken iPhones, although the value of a broken iPhone will be much less than one in good condition. The trade-in value depends on the exact issues with your phone.

For example, Apple may buy back a phone that has a few minor flaws, but if the screen is damaged, they won’t offer to pay anything for it. Instead, they’ll only offer to recycle it for free.

It’s also important to note that Apple won’t really buy a phone from you in the traditional sense — you won’t be walking away with a freshly packed wallet. Instead, they’ll offer you a credit or an Apple gift card that must be redeemed at their store.

Fortunately, they have an extensive online calculator that you can use to determine the value of your phone before you send it off. The number it gives you isn’t guaranteed; it’s only based on the information you’ve provided to Apple.

If you send a phone in and the condition isn’t as stated, or if it breaks in the meantime and you proceed to send it in, Apple will write back and ask if you want them to recycle the phone or send it back to you, as they can no longer honor the estimated value.

What Is Apple Trade-In?

Apple Trade-In offers you a credit value off your next purchase or phone contract if you choose to trade your old phone in. The value they’ll give you depends on whether anything’s wrong with your phone, as well as the model. The newer the model, the more the phone is probably worth.

If you choose to proceed with this option, Apple will send you a prepaid envelope so that you can pack up your phone and ship it off to them. When they receive the phone, they’ll assess it and give you the credit on your purchase.

This may involve a refund to the credit card that you used for your latest phone or a lump sum taken off the contract, if you’re paying monthly. 

What if the Trade-In Value Changes?

Sometimes, you might find that the trade-in value changes once your phone arrives to Apple. Something might have gone wrong in the mail, or you may not have noticed a fault with the phone that Apple considers to be significant.

If this happens there is, unfortunately, no fighting it — you’ll have to accept Apple’s decision. If you’re not satisfied, they can send the phone back to you and you can try somewhere else.

Other Places to Trade in Your Broken iPhone

Because Apple doesn’t actually offer cash for phones and you can only redeem the trade-in credit at their store, many people choose to go elsewhere to trade in their phone.

Furthermore, other places may offer cash for a broken iPhone that Apple would only offer to recycle. 

There are large stores that will buy back iPhones (though most of the larger ones also don’t offer cash), including:

  • Best Buy
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • GameStop

There are also many retailers online that will pay cash for a broken iPhone — however, you should make sure they’re legitimate before you proceed.

Make sure the store is credible by checking out the reviews and doing some research before shipping your phone off to them, or they may pay you less than promised (or never send you the money at all).

No retailer will offer you the money before you send away the phone, so don’t expect it upfront. It usually takes them a few days to process incoming devices.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best alternatives to Apple Trade-In:

Best Buy Trade-In

Best Buy doesn’t offer cash, but they do offer gift cards for your store. You can enter your phone’s details into their online calculator and see what they would offer for it. You can then compare their offer to those of Apple and the other stores to check where you’ll get the best deal.

Walmart Trade-In

Walmart allows you to send away your phone and get a gift card in return. They don’t offer cash for phones. They do, however, offer an upfront quote and you can ship for free with Fedex, so there’s no cost to you.

Target Trade-In

Target functions similarly to Best Buy and Walmart, allowing you to do a calculation online to find out how much your phone is worth before you send it off to them. They’ll then send you a gift card for the value, provided the phone matches what you told them about it.

GameStop Trade-In

GameStop is one of the few larger retailers that offers cash as well as a gift card, though the cash is significantly less than if you’re willing to spend the reward at their store. Otherwise, the process is much the same as the other larger retailers.

How to Sell a Broken iPhone

Broken iphone

There are a few other ways you can choose to sell your iPhone; you don’t have to stick to trade-in services.

Selling Through Ebay or Craigslist

Ebay and Craigslist have a lot of phones listed because people can ask for a much higher price there than they would with a trade-in service. The issue is that you might have a lot of competition, so you should make sure that you’re listing the phone for a competitive price.

You should also be honest about the phone’s problems. If you’re not, you could get banned from the website you’re selling it on. Ebay, in particular, comes down hard on sellers it considers to be scammers.

If you choose to sell through Craigslist, you should also be careful to avoid scammers. Meet up in a public place to exchange the iPhone if possible, and it’s best to use PayPal so that the transactions are tracked. PayPal can always investigate if there’s any fraud.

Selling Through Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is another place where you can sell your broken iPhone, and it’s very handy for avoiding shipping fees.

Like eBay and Craigslist, you’ll have some competition, but since the Facebook Marketplace is confined to your local area, there may be less of it. Be sure to meet somewhere public and safe.

There are also buy and sell groups on Facebook that you can look into, though they are technically against Facebook’s terms and conditions outside of the marketplace. Enter them and sell at your own risk.

Selling to Friends and Family

There’s also a chance that one of your friends or family members might be willing to buy the phone. You can ask around in person or on social media, though they may not want a broken phone — and they may expect a steep discount!

Still, if someone is handy with technology and can fix the device or if it still works well enough to perform basic functions, it may be useful for someone.

You can also ask around on the local neighborhood apps, such as Nextdoor, to see if anyone who isn’t on Facebook wants it.

Selling Through a Buy-Back Service

If you didn’t get the phone through Apple, check out the retailer or phone network that you got it from. They may offer a buy-back service where you can get some money for the phone, regardless of its current state.

As always, you should be honest when describing the phone’s faults or there could be a disappointment later on.

Network carriers will usually offer some sort of deal, but chances are you’ll have to spend it on in-store credit. If the phone isn’t good enough to fetch a price and you’ve been with the network for a while, they may offer you a discount on your next purchase out of goodwill. 

Should I Repair My Phone Before Selling It?

Smart phone repair

One question people often ask is whether repairing their phone before they sell it will get them more of a profit. The answer is: It depends.

If you’re confident enough with technology, then replacing a screen or battery yourself might be worth it. You can buy the part online, do the labor yourself, and then sell it. However, Apple normally won’t accept phones that have other third-party parts in them, though other retailers might. You should make sure you’re upfront with them to prevent disappointment.

If you definitely want Apple to take your phone, then your best bet is to get it fixed through them. Unfortunately, Apple repairs can get pretty expensive, especially if you have the latest model of the iPhone.

However, if you have AppleCare and can get the phone fixed under that service, it’s definitely worth getting the repair done and then checking your trade-in value again. Chances are, it will have risen significantly.

What Can I Do if No One Will Buy My Phone?

If your phone is so badly damaged that no one will buy it, then the best thing to do is have a legitimate company recycle it for you. Due to the lithium-ion battery, it’s very dangerous to dump an iPhone in the regular trash.

Apple will recycle the phone for free and even send you a prepaid envelope to mail it away in, so it costs you absolutely nothing to dispose of it safely.

Overall, there are many options if you have a broken iPhone you’re looking to sell. It’s a good idea to shop around and get quotes from different places because, while Apple will offer credit for your iPhone, it may not be the best deal.

Take your time to figure out the best option for you, and don’t be deterred if your iPhone isn’t in full working order.