Switch to iPhone, get money: Apple may offer gift cards to Android users who defect

Apple already gives some assistance to new customers switching over from Android, helping them move their photos, contacts, email accounts, music, and so on from their Android phone to a new iPhone. Soon, according to a report on 9to5Mac, that assistance could include cold, hard cash--well, cold hard gift cards, anyway.

Citing unnamed sources, 9to5Mac claims Apple will launch a trade-in program, wherein you turn in your smartphone--even an Android smartphone--and receive a gift card. This program is still unconfirmed (I've reached out to Apple PR for comment), so we don't have details on when it'll start or how much Android switchers can expect to get.

The Apple Watch launches next month, and an Ipsos survey recently found that up to 60 million American adults are at least considering buying one--and almost 13 percent of that chunk doesn't already own an iPhone, meaning they're considering buying an iPhone and an Apple Watch together. Apple is probably anticipating at least a small bump in iPhone sales (which are already fantastic) when the Watch debuts.

Expanding an existing program

Apple does already have a Reuse and Recycle trade-in program for iPhones and iPads. If you're upgrading your device, you can bring your old unwanted iPhone or iPad to an Apple Store for immediate credit, or mail it to a recycling partner to receive an Apple Store gift card. Apple's Recycling Program will even send you a gift card for your old PC, if Apple determines it has "reuse" value (otherwise, the company will offer to recycle it for you at no charge). And if you just want to responsibly dispose of an old cell phone of any make or model, Apple will recycle it for free as well.

But paying people to give up their Android phones is a new step, assuming this rumor is true. Obviously just bringing your phone along when you head to the Apple Store to pick up an iPhone is a convenient solution. But if you want to maximize your return, you'll need to poke around a bit to make sure you're getting the best deal. All four major U.S. carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) have trade-in programs too, offering you a gift card or account credit, whether you're switching carriers or not. (And if you are switching, those deals that take out your early termination fees usually require you to hand over your previous phone.)

Resellers like Gazelle and NextWorth can pay you actual cash for your old device, but you'll typically do better if you make the effort to sell it yourself on eBay or Craigslist. Of course, if you have several devices to unload at once, those resellers can take them all, which would be quicker than selling each one individually yourself. If you can unlock your device before selling it, you'll typically make a little more.

Before the iPhone 6 launch, we rounded up all the options for trading in your previous iPhone. So take some time to weigh all your options, and don't just assume that whatever deal Apple offers is the one you should take.


Susie Ochs

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