Feedback - Apple's Trade-in Program on Apple Watch

When I bought my new Series 4 Apple Watch, I took advantage of Apple’s trade-in program which offered $225 for my Series 3 Cellular Aluminum watch which was in good condition. I wanted to share how that process went in case others decide to take advantage of this program.

About a week after receiving my new Series 4 watch, I received a FedEx box from Apple’s trade-in partner, Phobio with instructions on how to ship the old watch back. They asked for the watch and band, but not the charging cable. Now I have a spare charging cable I can stow in my travel kit - a nice bonus. Shipping costs were free, I just needed to drop off the provided box at a FedEx station.

About 10 days later, I received an email letting me know my old watch was received and the trade-in value of $225 had been confirmed. I was a little nervous about this part - my Series 3 watch was in good condition, but it wasn’t perfect. There were minor scuff marks around the edges of the watch case, and the black sports band had clearly seen better days, so I was very happy that the original value estimate held up.

About 5 days after that, I received a credit on the credit card I had used to buy the Series 4 watch for $245. The extra $20 was a refund of sales taxes. Another unexpected bonus.

All in all, this was a very smooth and pleasant trade-in experience.


This pretty much mirrors my experience. Except that I forgot to actually include the band, so I only sent back the Series 3 watch itself, and still received the full credit quoted plus the sales tax.

Very easy process.


Thanks for posting your experiences. I just purchased a SS S4 last night, and will be sending back my current SS S3 under the program. Good to hear it went smoothly.

Bob - did they proactively ask you about the trade in option? I’d love to see what my Series 1 would get me before potentially buying the Series 4.

Yes, in the checkout process you are asked whether you have a watch to trade in as part of your purchase. You’ll need to enter your serial number of your Series 1 to see what the trade-in value would be.

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Good to hear. I just shipped my Series 3 to them earlier this week.

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This is different than my experience. Because I purchased the watch on something other than Apple’s website I could not get the direct refund. I used the Apple gift card option and was directed to BrightStar to handle the transaction. $115 for my series 2 aluminum.

A refund is certainly preferred, but my gift card will be used the instant Apple announces their new iMacs!

One nice thing is that these services take the Apple Watch whereas most other places—like Gazelle—do not.

I’d like to take advantage of this, but my S3 has a few notable scuffs on the screen, not deep, but noticeable. Anyone have an experience with a scratched screen on return value.

Just ordered an upgrade to my Series 3 Aluminum 42MM Cellular. Apple’s Giveback program offered $200 US. Which I’ve accepted. Shipping date is estimated as 3rd/4th week of November.

A quick update on my Apple Watch Give Back experience: For some reason the package with my watch took almost a week to pop up in the FedEx system (Maybe it was sitting in the drop box the whole time?). During that long wait Apple actually closed out my trade-in. However, once FedEx got off their duffs and delivered my watch to BrightStar I got $250 (the full promised amount) credited to my card in short order.

Next time I’ll drop off my device at a FedEx store rather than one of their drop boxes. And it will be fairly soon; I’m trading in my 1st Gen 12.9" iPad Pro to help offset the costs of the new one I ordered yesterday.


I am not sure about the watch trade in instructions but the ones that came with my iPhone return stated to not trust the package to a drop box but rather tender it to a person at a store or service desk at the depot and get a receipt. That way everyone knows it’s in the system.

Of course, this requires a nearby FedEx office/store which might not be feasible for everyone.