How To Dispose of iPhone/iPad?

Disposing of an old iPhone or iPad is a common issue faced by many people as they upgrade to newer devices.

It’s important to dispose of these electronic gadgets responsibly, not just for environmental reasons but also to protect your personal information.

You can either return your iPhone to Apple in return for a gift card or try to sell it online. Your iPad might also be a wonderful gift for a local school or charity.

This article will guide you through the process of properly disposing of your iPhone or iPad.

Ways to Dispose of Your iPhone or iPad?

The easiest approach to get rid of an iPad is to contact your local public works agency and request assistance with such possibly dangerous material.

You might take it to an e-waste distribution center in your city if you know of one.

Some groups even have awareness drives and campaigns. You could take your iPad to one of these and have a professional tell you what you should do with it.

Trade-In with Apple

Apple offers a Trade-In program for your iPhone or iPad, which allows you to exchange your old device for credit towards a new one or an Apple Store Gift Card.

The process is straightforward; you only need to provide your device’s details and receive an estimate of its value.

If you decide to trade in your device, you’ll receive a prepaid shipping label to return it to Apple.

Apple Recycling Program

Apple has highlighted the problem of e-waste, collecting more than 40,000 tons of electronic garbage in 2014.

Apple, however, has taken steps to provide consumers with remedies.

Apple’s Recycling Program is run by a third-party company called PowerON Services, and it allows customers to return their phones.

The company evaluates the phone’s worth and exchanges it for an Apple Store Gift Card equal to the item’s fair market value.

In general, the company’s recycling program will accept iPhone products.

Apple items can be recycled for free, but if they don’t have any monetary worth, you’ll be charged $30 to recycle them.

It is recommended that users make a full backup of their device and then perform a data reset before sending it in for testing.

Once it’s been delivered, the equipment is inspected and tested before being offered on the secondary market for resale, while the items that can’t be resold are responsibly recycled.

Liam is a disassembly robot developed by Apple. 2.4 million phones can be dismantled annually by these clever bots.

Apple can reuse high-quality components and decrease the need to mine more resources by developing efficient recycling technology.

Also read: How to Dispose of Gaming Consoles?

E-Waste Charities

An excellent approach to dispose of your old iPhone while doing good deeds for the community is participating in e-waste charity events.

If your old iPhone is no longer functional and cannot be repaired or sold for a profit, this is an excellent option.

E-waste collection days are frequently scheduled by non-profits and community service organizations in the area.

These groups can take e-waste for a modest price, and the money received will be used to fund their activities.

E-waste recycling programs are likely offered by your town, city, or county; visit their websites for further information.

Make sure to wipe your device’s data and restore it to its factory settings before donating it to protect your personal information.

Also read: How to Dispose of Old Refrigerator?

Sell Your Device

If your iPad or iPhone is still in good working condition, you can consider selling it.

There are numerous platforms where you can sell your device, such as online classifieds, social media marketplaces, or dedicated websites for selling electronics.

By selling your device, you’ll not only dispose of it but also earn some extra cash.

iPhone Carrier

Recycle your old cell phones with your service provider, if available.

To recycle old smartphones, wireless phones, batteries, and accessories, customers can use the AT&T Trade-in Service at AT&T retail locations. AT&T has a free mail-in program, just like Apple.

Also read: How To Dispose Of Old Cell Phones?

Gifting or Donating

If you’re looking for a way to discard an iPhone, consider giving it as a present to someone you care about.

With Apple launching new iPhone models every year, it’s logical that you’d desire the most up-to-date model.

When the iPhone 13 is the hottest thing on the market, you can’t be seen with an iPhone 10.

However, your iPhone or iPad may still be in excellent working order. And it might yet be helpful to someone else. An old iPhone could be just the thing a family member or friend needs.

So, instead of tossing it away, you can gift it to someone after removing your memory cards and performing a system restore on the device.

Note: Make sure you’ve backed up anything you wish to save on the iCloud or iTunes before wiping out your iPhone or iPad.

Apple gadgets come pre-installed with encryption.

This implies that deleted files aren’t just buried and displayed as space; they’ve been destroyed, and no software can bring them back.

Also read: What to Do With Old Headphones?

How to Back up Your Device?

It is highly critical for you to back up your iPhone or iPad before factory resetting your device; otherwise, you may lose important data.

There are 3 ways you can back up your data on an iPhone or an iPad

It is recommended to back up your device regularly, but if you haven’t, here is how you do it:


iCloud backup is apple recommended as it is the quickest and simplest way to back up your device, and the procedure is straightforward

  • Connect to your network via Wi-Fi.
  • Go to Settings, select your name, and click on iCloud.
  • Scroll down and select iCloud back up.
  • Check or uncheck things you want to don’t want iCloud to back up.


The first thing you must do if you decide to back up your iPhone or iPad to a computer is to install the most up-to-date version of iTunes.

The second step is to connect to your PC and your iPhone, install iTunes, and you’ll see a phone icon in the iTunes window.

The next step would be to check the left pane, click on the summary tab, find an option named ‘Backups” in the right pane, choose the “This Computer” option, and click Back up now!

As soon as you click on the button, iTunes will automatically begin the process of backing up your device to the computer.

Wait till the backup procedure is completed in a calm and collected manner.

You must make sure that you do not remove the iPhone from the computer or otherwise interfere with the process in any way.

Also read: How to Dispose Of a Printer?

How to Erase the Data on Your Device?

It is possible that your personal and sensitive information could be exposed if you discard, trade-in, or give away your old iPhone or iPad without erasing the data on them.

When we use our mobile devices daily, we may be storing personal and confidential information.

It can include our contacts, messages, online surfing, GPS locations and images, and login ID and passwords to email, social media, and other websites.

Based on your version of iOS or iPadOS, the steps or language used may differ significantly, but here’s a broad overview of how to reset an iPhone or iPad.

Step 1:  Go to the settings, select General, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and find the reset iPhone button.

Step 2: When you go to the reset iPhone page, click on the “erase all content” button. You may be required to enter the pin code to erase the data or restore your phone.

Note: There is no known way to reset your iPhone or iPad on your own without the pin code. Suppose you don’t remember the code. You may need to go to the Apple service center.

Step 3: Your device will present you with a summary of the things that will be erased from your device due to this factory rest.

Ensure to read everything and then click continue; you will now be required to enter your Apple ID password so that the account can be deleted and Find My iPhone can be turned off.

Step 4: You’ll now see the welcome screen, swipe, and proceed as your phone guides you.

This will take a few minutes of your time, but after that, your phone will be ready to be sold, gifted, donated, or to be taken to an Apple store for recycling.

Also read: How to Dispose Of CDs and DVDs?

Why Disposing of Your iPhone or iPad Matters?

Disposing of your iPhone or iPad matters because of a lot of reasons; here are a few:

Helps Save Metals

Some of the precious metals are contained within your phone and its switchboard.

If you dispose of your old phone in a landfill, you are wasting those valuable metals.

Thanks to the recycling process, it is possible to utilize these valuable metals in various activities.

Helps Control eWaste

As we all know, we live in a digital world, and people buy and sell several gadgets every year.

A considerable amount of waste accumulates every time you discard your old phone, which can be highly toxic to the environment.

Helps Promote Eco-Friendliness

When electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets are disposed of in landfills, they pollute groundwater.

As a result of these considerations, most mobile phone manufacturers have begun producing phones that contain low levels of harmful materials.

Recycling smartphones would potentially reduce the piling of dangerous chemicals in landfills.

Helps You Financially

When you originally purchased your tablet, smartphone, or MP3 player, you most likely spent a significant amount of money.

Depending on how old it is, you may be able to obtain a good amount of money back when you sell it for recycling purposes.

Also read: How To Dispose Of Computer Monitors?

Frequently Asked Questions about Disposing of Old Ipads

Here are some common queries people have about disposing of iPhones and iPads.

How can I securely erase data before disposal?

To securely erase data from your iPhone or iPad before disposal, perform a factory reset.

This will remove all personal information and settings, leaving your device in a “like new” state.

For iPhones, navigate to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. On iPads, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Remember to sign out of iCloud and remove the device from Find My before resetting.

Where can I recycle iPads and iPhones?

You can recycle your old iPads and iPhones at various e-waste collection centers or through electronics recycling programs.

Apple also offers a recycling program—the Apple Trade In program, providing free recycling for your device. You may receive a prepaid shipping label and instructions for proper recycling.

What’s the procedure for disposing of broken devices?

For broken iPhones or iPads, it’s essential to follow the same steps to erase data and sign out of your accounts.

If the device is nonfunctional, remove the SIM card and, if possible, any sensitive information stored on it.

After securing your data, you can dispose of the broken device through e-waste collection centers or through Apple’s recycling program.

Does Apple have a recycling program?

Yes, Apple has a recycling program called Apple Trade In. It allows you to recycle your old devices, including iPhones and iPads, for free.

Depending on the device’s condition and model, you may even receive an Apple Store gift card as part of the program.

Can I sell my old iPads and iPhones for cash?

Absolutely, many platforms let you sell your old devices, like eBay, Swappa, or Gazelle.

Before selling your device, make sure to follow the secure data erasure steps mentioned earlier and check if your device still has reselling value.

What are some other uses for old, nonfunctional devices?

If your old iPhone or iPad is nonfunctional, consider repurposing it for:
A DIY project: Transform your old device into a custom photo frame, security camera, or kitchen aid tablet.
Donate to charity: Some charities accept nonfunctional devices for recycling purposes or use them in educational and art projects.
Keep as a backup: While your old device may no longer function as a primary device, keep it as a backup in case of emergencies. Use it for specific tasks that don’t require the latest software or functionality.

Also read: How to Dispose of Old Routers?

Final Thoughts

Disposing of an iPhone or an iPad, whether old or new, is pretty simple, and luckily there are a few options to dispose of and back up your iPhone so that if one doesn’t work, there is another.

So, make sure to recycle or dispose of your iPhone or iPad the right way, but never throw it away because it can be very toxic to the environment.

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