/ Technology

Should you take up Apple’s trade-in offer?

Apple offers a trade-in scheme in return for a gift card or refund on a new purchase – but is it a deal worth going for? And what happens to your old device?

A few weeks back, Jon asked whether or not you recycle your old tech to give it a second life, or if your old devices end up in a drawer, gathering dust.

For those who do look to repurpose their old tech, Apple is offering a trade-in scheme in return for an Apple Store gift card or a refund on a new purchase.

Should we all have the right to repair our devices?

I was recently asked to address a few concerns from a member – what will Apple do with their old iPad? And should they have any concerns that the data that’s on it won’t be compromised?

Erasing your old data

Wiping and resetting your iPad makes it virtually impossible for hackers to access your information, although it’s your responsibility – not Apple’s – to make sure that it’s clear of personal data before you send it in.

Apple told us that it refurbishes devices in good working order, which accounts for around two thirds of everything it receives.

Devices that it believes can’t be sold to a new owner are recycled responsibly and this comes at no cost to you.

Alternative trade-in options

You don’t have to send your iPad back to Apple to get money back, though.

Apple will give you up to £380 depending on the model and its condition, but you could get a better deal selling through high street shops such as CEX, or online through eBay.

Alternatively, you could donate it to charity or visit WeeeCharity to arrange for it to be recycled.

If you are going to trade or recycle your device, make sure you back up all your data first. Sign out of all your apps, then factory reset the device.

If you need a hand with the process, our guide shows you how to do it here.

Do you have an old Apple device you want to trade in? Considering Apple’s offer? If not, what do you think you’ll do with it?


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If you have nothing really really important on your HDD e.g. things related to national security just use DBAN. A BOOT program designed to destroy all data including the OS and using 3 destruction passes. Even if there is some kind of residual information (unlikely) it will very hard to locate the data, make sense out of the data and it will extremely noisy.

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DBAN seems to be freebie bannerware for Blancco Drive Eraser (see-https://dban.org/).

I bet DBAN will wipe some but not all SSD’s.

Also, in practice, with modern PC’s, I’d be very wary of trying just one bootable linux-based disc wiping tool in case it cannot see or mount (let alone wipe) any of the SDD’s that come built-in with a lot of todays laptop PC’s.

I don’t think I will be taking advantage of Apple’s offer. My iPhone 5s is getting on for six years old and is not covered by the deal. It still works fine and seems to be still supported because there was a recent update.

I hold on to Apple computers for years, for various reasons, even though I have a recent laptop. Recently I needed to show a DVD at a social meeting. Apple stopped including optical drives in laptops about five years ago, so I used a MacBook Pro that was bought in 2011, with an older one in reserve. Today, I’m working on a new leaflet design on an iMac that must be ten years old. The Adobe InDesign software won’t run on the current operating system. Apple’s trade-in offer will do me no good, but it will help those who would not be seen without the latest iPhone.

My old desktop PC conked out a few weeks ago and won’t restart. I already had a new replacement and I now use that for serious work, but the old machine is still lying on the floor and I would like to dispose of it [it has no commercial value]. I should like to know the best way of getting rid of it; is the Duncan process the best option – take it apart and smash up the hard drive with a heavy hammer?

For a device that has a part-exchange or trade-in value that technique could be self-defeating.

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A few years ago, one of my brother’s neighbours abandoned an old desktop PC in their back alley, just before they moved house. After it had been out in the rain we recovered it and found it was still working. They had made no attempt to remove or wipe the hard drive, so we did that on their behalf.

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Though I have smashed a couple of hard drives before disposal, being well aware that deleting files does not remove them, it does seem like a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

Although I’m a mere Mac user, I would have checked simple things like whether John’s computer could easily be fixed. It is important to have at least two working computers to ensure continuity of access to Which? Convo.

My experience has been that old desktop PC’s are usually easy to fix and or upgrade, but can reach a point where they are too old and too slow to warrant any further use.

Kevin says:
13 November 2019

If you have an old PC with a mechanical disk, an SSD should be plug in replaceable. The manufacturers typically have free software to clone the drive. This will make a major improvement to performance, especially startup. Then check how much RAM it has, legacy memory new is typically very expensive, but there’s plenty of good components second hand – it typically either works doesn’t, but use the built in options (Windows has this, there may be a built in hardware utility too) to identify any intermittent faults.

You can sometimes upgrade the processor but this requires a bit more fiddly work with a fan and heatsink, although technically it’s usually quite simple if you have a motherboard tech ref document to identify a suitable CPU.

Finally if it’s a generic PC, a motherboard replacement is an option, but may be as much as a new PC.

If you want to wipe a disk, DBAN is good for old mechanical disks to whatever level of paranoia you require. SSD’s need a more specialist approach, but check the manufacturer web site, the good ones have free software erase the SSD eg Crucial, Seagate.

And if you’re running Windows, consider just re-installing it, but erase the hard disk first (after backing up data), a couple of minutes of Microsoft’s incremental updates over time adds years to your Windows installation hips, reinstall, you will hopefully just get one or two big cumulative updates.

Written on a 15yr old PC, with an SSD and 8GB RAM, running a current Windows version, upgraded (clean install) 3 years ago from Win7.

Thanks Kevin, but it won’t help me as a Mac user.

You and Derek could have a competition for the oldest PC that is still online. I won’t enter because I don’t use old Macs online.

I suppose we should return to the subject on the card. 🙂

Thanks for al the suggestions, but since my old PC won’t even start up and is in the category described by Derek as “too old and too slow to warrant any further use” it has to go, especially since I had a brand new one waiting in the wings which didn’t take long to get up and running. The old PC had the Vista OS so no great loss although I was used to it and it did a huge amount of work. I have lost a lot of data but nothing critical – anything important was either shared with my laptop or I have a hard copy. I agree with Wavechange – it is useful to have two computers in case something goes wrong.

John, there is a good chance that all your old data could be recoverable – always assuming you’ve not yet taken a hammer to it.

The only time I destroy any HDD is once the drive itself resists any attempt from our small army of machines to extract any residual data. Once that happens, I dismantle the HDD, check to ensure the platters are steel (there was a move towards glass at one point) before taking them out and subjecting them to the vice in the garage.

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I suspect that’s because DBAN doesn’t work on SSDs. Encryption is usually a better bet.

Duncan, I don’t see why any consultancy business would ever recommend a free and open source product such as DBAN over and above a proprietary alternative, i.e. where they might gain fees and commissions from the use of the software.

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Duncan I think that was my point exactly – if Sviko were seeking to earn consultancy fees, they wouldn’t get very far by just advocating the use of a freely available linux download.

I cannot remember if Apple has offered trade-ins before. They offer an educational discount on computers and years ago I had a couple of ‘free’ iPods by buying shortly before the start of the academic year. I don’t think iPhones were ever included in educational discounts and iPads must have been added since I bought mine in 2011.

Christine says:
15 November 2019

My husband is a regular user of Duolingo and the latest upgrade to the software will not load onto his older i-pad. It works fine but the software company refuse to write the software to run on older machines thus forcing him to consider buying a new machine just to continue his language lessons. The OS is the latest version, so if Apple can do it why can’t Duolingo?

Hi Christine, I’m not an Apple expert, but the App Store website shows that the iOS version of the Duolingo app needs iOS version 11.0 or later (see:-https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/duolingo/id570060128 ).

Meanwhile Wikipedia says that iOS version is not available for 4th generation or earlier iPads (see:-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_version_history#iOS_11 ).

That leaves me rather confused, because it suggests that, if your husband’s iPad is running the latest version of iOS, i.e. iOS 13, then the latest Duolingo app should work with that.

From my own experience with ageing Apple PC’s such as MacBooks and iMacs, I’ve noted that Apple’s OS software support ends after about 6 years and also then it becomes difficult to install software from the App Store.

The motherboard failed on my 8-year-old MacBook. It would have cost £400 to repair, I didn’t think that it was worth getting fixed. I looked into selling it, I removed the hard drive, easy to do. Sold the MacBook on eBay, advertised as broken, parts only, it went for £185, I was very happy. I could have possibly got more by selling the battery and power cable separately.

Well done Martin! Personally, unless I wanted to salvage specific parts for a repair, I wouldn’t normally pay more than about £20 for any “spares or repair” PC.

To dispose safely, take out the hard drive, place on a bonfire or the like and you end up with an interesting sculpture

. . . or as the Prime Minister said recently about his oven-ready Brexit deal, “stick it in the microwave and cook at Gas Mark 4”.

We can credit Boris Johnson with adding ‘prorogue’ to popular vocabulary but maybe he has cooked his goose.

Other “leaders” have perhaps more sinister traits.

Corbin makes my skin crawl. He’s not the cuddly grandad image he portrays.

Whether it’s down to Trump or whether the world is currently moving into a sharply polarised era the extremes are emerging and extremes bring no one any comfort.

Hi everyone – I know that politics are taking a lot of our lives at the moment – but could we keep this on topic please! Thank you. 🙂

Len M says:
19 November 2019

Back to the topic of HDDs, I have ended up with several, saved from old PCs. It didn’t take much effort to take them apart, and use the platters as coasters. Of more use, though, are the magnets. They are really powerful, and I found one excellent for finding ceiling joists, by locating the nails holding the plasterboard.

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Get a stethoscope and run the tap.

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Back on topic. It depends

I traded in a 3 year old iPhone 7 against a 10 and got a very good price, better than I’d have achieved on eBay.
Apple offered me £35 for an iPad I sold on eBay for £90.
Apple, naturally, not interested in a 3 year old iPad where the motherboard had failed but I got £55 from a company in High Wycombe.
Apple offered me £40 for an elderly iPad I sold to the above company for £70.
Apple, again, naturally not interested in an iPhone 6 with a cracked screen and a few scratches which got me £66 on eBay.
And finally, Apple have offered me £35 for my iPhone SE (in excellent condition) which has bids on eBay at the moment in excess of £75.

Graham Toon says:
26 November 2019

I have a late 2016 MacBook Pro 15″ with touch bar in perfect condition. Out of curiosity I thought I’d check the trade-in value and Apple offered a pathetic £310. I’ve seen them advertised for £900+ so I would advise against their trade-in “offers”.

John H says:
5 January 2021

Brightstar Apple Trade-in care is the worst outfit I’ve experienced. Don’t answer the phone and don’t reply to emails. Im surprised that Apple are using them as a partner.