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What Does Apple Do With Old iPhones?

Hey there friends,So recently Apple made an mind blowing announcement. Can you guess, what it was? Brace yourselves! The number of active in-use iPhones has soared to over a billion! Woohoo! Its an incredible milestone for Apple, But let's pause for a moment and think about the future, eventually one day, all these iPhones will need to be disposed of. So, today, let's dive into the fascinating world of what Apple does with old iPhones.

1. The Birth of a Trading Option

In 2013, Apple came to the realization that there was an issue at hand. With their shiny new iPhones dropping into the market every couple of years since 2007, most folks in developed nations already had an iPhone if they wanted one. And you know what? Those iPhones were still functioning perfectly fine. Unless something went terribly wrong, people didn't feel the need to upgrade.

Faced with its first dip in profits in quite some time, Apple had to come up with a solution. And they did! They introduced a trading option for consumers. Here's how it works: if you have an old iPhone, you can bring it back to the Apple store and receive store credit toward the purchase of a newer, sleeker model.The trade-in process is completed by Apple representatives who will give you a voucher and send your old device off to a refurbishment center.


2. A Stroke of Genius: Selling the Same Device Twice

Now, here's where Apple's brilliance shines through. When the returned iPhones are in saleable condition, Apple repackages them and resells them. But wait, here's the kicker: they usually sell these refurbished devices to vendors in emerging markets like India or Africa. Talk about making the most of what you have got, right!

Apple's strategy is rather simple - sell one device as two. This benefits both parties involved. The buyer is presented with a sleek and new iPhone, while Apple succeeds in prolonging the longevity of their wares and targeting new markets. Genius, right?


3. Recycling with Daisy the Robot

But what about the iPhones that are no longer in saleable condition? Fear not, my friends, for Apple has a plan for those too. Meet Daisy, the robotic wonder! Daisy resides in a nondescript building on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. This incredible robot is capable of deftly dismantling up to 200 phones an hour, and she can handle a whopping 15 different iPhone models.

What's even more amazing is that Daisy herself is manufactured from recycled components of a previous dismantling robot named Liam. Talk about sustainability at its finest! Daisy's robotic arm skillfully extracts valuable materials like gold, which can be found in iPhones. In fact, Daisy can retrieve as much gold from one ton of iPhones as a regular miner would get from a staggering 150 tons of ore. Impressive, right?

But gold isn't the only treasure Daisy uncovers. She also recovers other useful materials like precious cobalt from the battery, copper from the camera, and silver and platinum from the main logic board. Apple could take it a step further by reselling intact components, such as cameras and screens, for non-mobile applications. Imagine those components being used in touch screens for New York taxis!


4. Say Goodbye to Counterfeit Devices

Now, you might be wondering, why doesn't Apple resell these components to anyone who wants them? Well, my friends, Apple is known for its commitment to quality and brand integrity. They can't stomach the idea of a black market popping up, where counterfeit devices made from old Apple components are sold. So, to maintain control, all Apple components are shredded, with their logos meticulously removed.

Once all the valuable metals have been extracted from the devices, the hazardous waste is shipped to specialized facilities such as the Litong plant in Yangmen, China. These facilities handle the responsible disposal of electronic waste. And guess what? Any remaining usable materials are transformed into raw materials for other products, such as aluminum for furniture or even the shell of the new generation MacBook Air. Talk about giving old components a new lease on life!


5. Expanding the Recycling Reach

Now, let's face it—shipping every old iPhone to Austin for a date with Daisy isn't feasible. That's where licensing and subcontracting come into play. Apple partners with firms around the world, such as Li Tang in Hong Kong, to expand the reach of their recycling process. These companies specialize in post-industrial recovery and post-consumer recycling, making them experts at tackling the challenges of electronic waste disposal.

Apple does its best to extract value from your old iPhone, whether it's by selling it to a third party or recycling its precious resources back into raw materials for new products. It's a commendable effort, but the question remains: Is Apple doing enough to compensate for the environmental impact of its awe-inspiring hardware? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Comment below to share your thoughts.

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In conclusion, Apple has taken impressive steps to address the issue of old iPhones. Through their trading option, they give consumers an opportunity to upgrade while extending the lifecycle of their products. The refurbishment and resale of iPhones in emerging markets is a stroke of genius, showcasing Apple's business acumen.

With Daisy the Robot leading the charge, Apple is recycling materials from old iPhones, extracting valuable metals, and repurposing them for new products. By partnering with specialized recycling facilities globally, Apple is committed to responsible disposal and minimizing electronic waste.

While Apple's efforts are commendable, the question of whether they are doing enough to compensate for the environmental impact of their hardware remains open. It's a topic that sparks debate and calls for continuous improvement in sustainable practices.


1. Can I trade in my old iPhone for a new one at any Apple store? 

Absolutely! Apple offers a trading option at their stores, allowing you to bring in your old iPhone and receive store credit toward the purchase of a newer model.


2. What happens to old iPhones that are not in saleable condition?

Old iPhones that are no longer in saleable condition are recycled. They go through a meticulous process where valuable materials are extracted and hazardous waste is disposed of responsibly.


3. How does Daisy the Robot help with recycling iPhones?

Daisy the Robot is capable of swiftly dismantling iPhones, extracting valuable materials such as gold, cobalt, copper, silver, and platinum. She plays a crucial role in Apple's recycling efforts.


4. Are Apple's recycling practices environmentally friendly?

Apple strives to be environmentally conscious by repurposing materials and partnering with specialized recycling facilities. However, there is always room for improvement, and the environmental impact of technology remains a complex challenge.


5. Can I recycle my iPhone myself?

While it's not feasible for individuals to perform the same level of recycling as Apple, many countries have dedicated electronic waste recycling programs. Check with local authorities or recycling centers to learn more about recycling options in your area.

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