Apple Launches iPhone Trade-in Program in U.S.

Starting Friday, all U.S. Apple stores will allow iPhone users to trade in their older-generation phones for a credit that can be applied towards the purchase of a newer model.

The announcement comes a few weeks before Apple releases the next generation of iPhone, expected to hit stores September 20. There are many rumors swirling around the new iPhone: there's a chance it will have a fingerprint scanner to prevent anyone but the owner from unlocking it, and it might be gold — sorry, "champagne" — colored. As Bustle reported:

Apple bought a company specializing in fingerprint-recognition technology last year for $350 million. Last week, a respected French tech blog leaked photos of the new iPhone's alleged interior — which appears to show a fingerprint scanner sitting right near a home button.

Apple had already quietly launched an online recycling program, and the new buyback program will compete with others from outside partners, as CNBC reported:

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all launched early-upgrade programs this summer that rely on consumers trading in old devices. Retailers including Best Buy, Radio Shack and Amazon.com also have trade-in programs, as do manufacturers including Samsung and HTC and resale sites Gazelle.com and NextWorth.com.

The various programs differ greatly in scope, and often depend on the condition of the phone being traded in. At Best Buy, an older phone gets you a $100 or $200 gift card, according to PC Mag.

But you can still make way more money by putting an iPhone up for sale online. A search for the iPhone 5 shows that most phones are going for more than $400 on Craiglist — double what a very generous buyback from Best Buy would get you, and in cold, hard cash.

If you're still looking for a yearly-upgrade plan, though, you can check out Bustle's comparison shopping roundup here.