How to Make a MacBook Trade in with the Apple Giveback Program

What Is Apple's Giveback Program?

Apple’s giveback program is a great option if you are looking to purchasing a new MacBook or iPhone. The program is actually super simple to use and a great way to shave a couple bucks off a new device. Not only does this program help save you money on a new purchase, but it also helps the environment. Look at that, hitting to birds with one stone (I do not support throwing rocks at birds). So let us get started with this already, I will tell you about Apple’s giveback program and you will pretend to be interested. Well, maybe, hopefully, you might find some interest in this program.

How to use Apple's Giveback Program

Using Apple’s giveback program is actually super easy. As of right now, there are two separate ways of benefiting from the giveback program. You can either mail it in or actually go into a physical store. Pros and cons to both, but regardless, you will still end with cash in hand and a clean conscious. 

Mailing In:

To mail in your old electronic device you must fill out some information on Apple’s website. For an iPhone, they ask what type of phone (it does not need to be an Apple product) and general condition. Once you have filled out that information they will provide you with a quote on the amount your device is worth. If you agree to the terms, they will send you a package to mail your device in with. And don’t worry, the postage is covered by Apple. Once they receive the device, they will complete a evaluation of the device. If everything is as you said it was (no lying), you will be credited in store credit for your device. As simple as that.

In Person: 

This method is a little more direct and to the point. You can trade-in your device to a physical Apple store in two ways. You can either have an appointment or not. Now, if you do not have an actual appointment for trading-in a device you cannot be guaranteed a trade-in that day. So I would recommend that you call or go online to schedule an appointment with your nearest Apple store. Once you go in (appointment or not) they will access your device and provide you with a quote. If you accept the quote you will get in-store credit or you can use the amount to apply directly towards a new device. Again, pretty simple.  

History of Apple's Giveback Program

Apple’s giveback program is not new, but it has gotten more streamlined and user-friendly since its inception in 2014. The giveback program actually developed from negative publicity aimed towards Apple. Around 2014 consumers and environmentally aware individuals began to criticize Apple in their significant contribution to electronic waste. To combat these complaints, Apple gave birth to their giveback program, developed an iPhone dissembling robotic arm named Daisy, and just released MacBook Airs and Mac Mini’s that are constructed with 100% recycled aluminum. Wow, Apple sure has gone out of their way in their response to address that criticism. But hey, this is all great news for us the consumers, and for the environment. 

The Financial Benefits of Trading in Your Used Apple Products

This can be a fairly hard question to answer because it depends on what you're trading in. But let's talk some numbers. 


I have an old iPhone 6 (yes I still use it, and yes it stills works) and Apple would offer me $75 for my old, outdated, and ever slowing phone. Not that bad right? Right! But let's reaffirm that affirmative right. If I were to sell that same prehistoric iPhone to a similar service like Gazelle, I would only walk away with $25. So when we are comparing apples to animals (get it? An apple and a gazelle…) the fruit is the clear winner.

Now the value that Apple will pay will range from nothing (recycling only) all the way up to $1000. This huge range comes down to what you are trading in. For instance, if I were to walk into an Apple store and turn in a year old iPhone X I would walk out with $500. Now to me, this is a bad deal for you, the consumer. You just paid $1000 for that phone like 12 months ago, and are receiving half the amount back. But if you were to trade in that same phone to Gazelle, you would only get $480. Again, Apple proves to be one of the best places to give back or trade in an old electronic device.


The big money comes from turning in an old MacBook. Let's compare apples and animals again. Apple would pay me $165 for my 2012 13” i5 MacBook Pro. Not a lot, but actually worth more than what I bought it for (great deal, right?). While on the other hand, our good friends over at Gazelle would only pay me $135. Dang, the fruit wins again. But to earn that mythical amount of $1000 you will have to trade in a fairly new and powerful computer. Again, this is not a great investment for the consumer. To have a computer that falls within that range you would have had to buy it 1-2 years ago. And you would have paid north of $1,800 for it. So in the sense of return on investment, you are losing money.

The Environmental Benefits of Trading in Your Used Apple Products

Upon doing some research, I have discovered that Apple is extremely involved in decreasing its carbon footprint. Their efforts range from recycling devices to building their own reusable energy facilities. But for the sake of this article, and to stay true to its title, I am going to focus on their recycling efforts. So without further adieu, introducing Daisy, the autonomous iPhone dissembling robot. 

Daisy is Apples second generation iPhone dissembling robotic arm. This amazing robot is able to disassemble 200 iPhone devices an hour. That is pretty impressive if you ask me. The purpose of Daisy is to assist Apple in their vision of using 100% recycled materials in all of their products. Apple believes that in the near future they will no longer need to harvest any materials from the earth, but rather, only use recycled materials. This is a lofty goal from such a large corporation, but a goal and dream that we should all have.

So even if Apple does not reimburse you for your trade-in, you should still give it back to them. If you are buying a new iPhone or MacBook, trade-in your old one. That is the absolute best thing that you can do to help save the environment. Besides, what are you going to do with that old iPhone? Save it for your kid to play with? Do you really want your child to play with something you used while sitting on the toilet? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

When to Giveback?

Instead of asking yourself “if” you should give back, you should ask yourself “when” to give back. I have already mentioned that trading in a fairly new device is a poor financial decision (unless you MUST HAVE the newest phone). To get the best bang for your buck, wait around 2 years before trading in your old device. And to be even more specific, make sure to trade it in prior to October. This is a helpful hint in that every October Apple announces and releases its new line of iPhones and sometimes their new MacBooks. 2 years is the ideal time for the average user. It is long enough for you to get the most out of your device, but still get a decent return on your trade-in. 

While on the other hand, the tech enthusiast, who loves all things new, should consider trading in earlier. Yes, you take a 50% cut on your investment over the course of 12 months. But if you are going to get the newest device anyway, do it sooner. As we saw with the numbers that I provided, the longer you wait, the less you will get in your trade-in. Again, you should never ask yourself “if’ but always ask yourself “when”.  

What Does Apple Do with the Devices?

This is a great question (if I do say so myself). Well, first, almost all of the products that Apple makes are made of aluminum. So by returning old devices to Apple for recycling, they are able to reuse the aluminum in new products. Which means they are not digging it up out of the ground. During their 2018 October event, they announced that they have developed a new method for reusing recycled aluminum. Amazingly, due to this new process, both the new MacBook Air and Mac Mini’s are made from 100% recycled aluminum. Now that is something that we can get behind.

The fun does not end with aluminum. The majority of the products made by Apple also include 100% recycled tin and ever-increasing amounts of recycled plastics. So as you can see, the more that we recycle our old devices the more ways they can be recycled. It is a great process, the more we do it, the better it becomes.


Even if you don’t care for Apple or for any of their products, they are still one of the best companies for handling old electronics. Chip in, do your part, and help decrease the waste caused by electronics. And think, that old iPhone in your drawer might actually be worth a couple bucks. As always, if a lot of people do a little then a lot will happen.

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Tyler Farr

Tyler is an energetic nature enthusiast who is currently considering moving into a tiny house. Tyler and his wife enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, and doing anything in the great outdoors. He hopes that the articles he writes will help others learn how important it is to take care of the environment.

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