If you accidentally dropped your iPhone or iPad in the toilet or in the bathtub, you’re not completely out of luck. Apple has made changes to its Reuse and Recycling Program and the company will now accept water-damaged iOS devices to trade in for an Apple Store gift card.
Previously, water-damaged devices weren’t accepted as trade-ins with Apple, but the company’s website now asks if the iOS device you’re trading in is water-damaged, and if so, they’ll still offer you cash for it, but don’t expect a whole lot. A 16GB Verizon iPhone 5 with no water damage would earn you a $275, providing that the phone is in good condition and includes the cable and charger. However, if it has water damage, the price drops to $245. Of course, that’s only if the phone still works.
A non-working unit with water damage will only get you $50 from Apple, but it’s better than nothing. Of course, you might be able to get more if you sold it on eBay, as some people are willing to shell out a bit more cash in the hopes that they’ll be able to repair the device and resell it for a profit down the line.
If you’re not sure if the device you’re trading in has water damage, Apple gives you simple instructions for finding out. Your iOS device has a liquid contact indicator that’s usually located at the bottom of the headphone jack. If you shine a light down into the jack you’ll see if the device has been swimming around in water. If the indicator is white or silver, you’ll all good, but if it’s red or pink, that means it’s been affected.
The indicator is positioned on the bottom of the dock connector for the iPhone 3G and later, as well as all iPads. The iPhone 5′s indicator is located inside of the SIM card tray.
Unfortunately, Apple isn’t yet opening up trade-ins for the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c, presumably because they’re still new devices, which is the same reason why you don’t see refurbished Apple products available until well after the products initial launch, but Apple should be starting trade-ins for these newer devices sooner or later.