Apple’s iPhone trade-in program has a major flaw: Apple relies on third-parties to collect and deliver customers’ old iPhones which introduces the very real possibility of theft in transit. Then what happens? Headaches for loyal customers, that’s what.
Over the last several years, Apple has increasingly focused on its iPhone trade-in program. By offering lucrative trade-in details, often in partnership with carriers, Apple can entice iPhone users to upgrade every year. This trade-in program, however, has caused users a number of headaches, and the situation doesn’t appear to be improving.
I’ve traded in a few iPhones to Apple over the years without issue. This year, however, I received an email about a week and a half after I mailed in an iPhone 13 Pro Max saying that the box had arrived at Apple’s trade-in facility, but that there was nothing inside the box.
When I posted about this situation on Twitter, it quickly became clear that this is a common problem. Countless iPhone buyers seem to receive an email like this every year, and the iPhone 14 launch this year appears to be no different. A quick look on forums like Reddit reveals that this is a pretty common problem.
There’s a clear problem in the process of Apple’s iPhone trade-in program. The company relies heavily on third parties for crucial aspects of this program, including UPS and FedEx for shipping and other third parties for managing receiving and inventory of traded-in iPhones.
What’s most likely happening here is that somewhere between when the customer drops the iPhone off at a courier (like UPS in my case) and when it’s received at the trade-in facility, the iPhone is stolen from the box. Someone involved in that process opens the box, takes the iPhone, seals it back up, and it’s shipped to its final destination as if nothing happened… It’s a stressful situation that makes a customer less likely to buy an iPhone the next year.
Apple needs a version of Find My that stays enabled on your traded-in iPhone until it reaches its destination.
— Chance Miller (@ChanceHMiller) October 14, 2022
MacDailyNews Take: If you live close enough to an Apple Retail Store, do your iPhone trade-in in person to eliminate the very real prospect of thievery during shipping. Short of Apple starting their own version of UPS/FedEx or the shipping companies somehow magically hiring only ethical people with sound morals, that’s your best bet.
If you live too far away from an Apple Store, however, all bets are off. Good luck out there, now, ya hear?
[UPDATE: 2:44pm EDT: Fixed typo, thanks Dustin!]
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