Leading up to the unveiling of the newest iPhone, Apple is reportedly getting ready to launch an iPhone trade-in program. The program, which has quietly existed within Apple for two years, is still in its early stages, but it does have a very specific recycling process behind it.

All used iPhones collected, in exchange for iPhone or Apple credit, will be wiped and resold in emerging global markets.

“Used iPhones collected in the U.S. will only be resold in emerging markets, where Apple’s share is lower and demand for cheaper devices is greater,” said a source in June.

The value of the used smart phones will be appraised by Apple employees with the help of a computer program and the previous owner, who will testify to the state of the used device. Owners would then be able to trade in old iPhones for gift cards that could then be used towards buying a newer iPhone.


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“I see channels doing it, and I like the environmental aspect of it, and so that part of it really is encouraging to me,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said recently.

Apple is partnering with Brightstar, a company that specializes in these buy-back and recycling policies, and the trade-in program will only be available at Apple retail stores. Though word of the program came out in June, new reports suggest that current Apple retail employees are currently being briefed on the program in preparation for its launch.

Many expect Apple to debut the new iPhone – the current name is rumored to be iPhone 5S – at a special media event on Sept. 10. Apple is hoping to begin the program Aug. 30, according to MacRumors.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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