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What Happens To Your Old iPhone After You Trade-in Or Sell It?

So, you have recently sold your old or broken iPhone to trade-in some cash or upgrade it to a newer version of the iPhone. Well, congratulations!! You’ve taken a step towards a sustainable environment by doing so. But do you ever wonder what happens to your iPhones afterward? In this blog, we’ll tell you all you need to know about the afterlife of your old smartphone once you give it away. With a plethora of new affordable phones with advanced technologies hitting off the shelves each passing year, people have been rapidly changing their phones to upgrade to the newer versions. 

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Based on research data, over 1.5 billion phones are sold every year. Most of the people either shove off their old phones in their drawers or quite pack them away in the boxes. Then at times, we might simply throw them away, and these phones end up in the landfills discharging toxic chemicals into the environment. You might be surprised, E-waste standalone accounts for 70% of the toxic waste.

Due to this reason, smartphone companies are making their way to push enough by finding different ways to contribute to a sustainable environment & reduce e-waste as much as possible. Recently, Apple started sourcing paper products from managed forests and is also making sure that a new tree is planted for each one removed. It has also pushed its envelope by urging customers to use Apple trade-in programs. 

That being said, let’s get back to our main topic.

So, what happens to your older iPhones?

Let’s break it down step by step -

1. iPhone inspection

  • Reputable recyclers inspect the phone to see if the iPhone can be refurbished or reused. If the condition is good, the iPhone gets ready to be sold as a refurbished iPhone in the secondary market. Apple itself sells certified refurbished iPhones with a warranty on its platform. 
  • Devices not selling in the U.S may also get shipped to different distributors in Asian & South American Countries. 
  • iPhones in a weak condition that can’t be refurbished is sent for recycling. 
Broken Iphone

2. iPhone recycling

  • iPhones past the point of no returns or refurbishing are sent to different recycling plants. Inside of the plants, they are put through all-purpose large powerful shredders for a breakdown. 
  • Important metal components are removed and are melted down to recover precious metals from the circuit board including gold, palladium, aluminum, etc. 
  • When we through our used iPhones in the garbage, the other important metals inside of it goes wasted. Although in smaller amounts, if we add up it becomes huge. Based on a report, it is estimated that the gold in the e-waste equals 11 % of the total amount of gold mined each year. Startling fact, isn’t it?
  • Apple says that most of the aluminum recovered from the iPhone through recycling become a part of 100% recycled aluminum enclosure of Mac Book Air and the cobalt recovered from your iPhone battery is used to make brand-new batteries. 
  • Apple has leaped ahead in this recycling initiative towards a sustainable environment by developing its own robot ‘Daisy’. Housed inside a 9000 square foot warehouse in Texas, Daisy is a 33 foot long, five armed robot capable of disassembling over 15 different iPhone models with a speed of 200 iPhones an hour.

Hope this gives you a good idea about the afterlife of your iPhone and the cycle it goes through.

If you’re looking to sell your old iPhone, make sure to check out our trade-in program. 


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trade-in, What happens to your old iPhone after you trade-in or sell it?

About the author

Ravi Shah

Ravi is the head of Content Strategy at iFixScreens Corporate. With over a decade of experience writing technical content for his readers, Ravi has helped thousands of readers with helpful content, tips, and tricks. He mainly writes content related to gadget repairs, such as iPhones, Smartphones, tablets, and laptops.