What do people do with their old iPhones and iPads: Keep, sell, or give away?

What do people do with their old iPhones and iPads: Keep, sell, or give away?
Header image is referential, showcasing the iPad Pro (2022). | Image credit — PhoneArena

Just a couple of weeks ago, Apple finally lifted the curtain on its latest offerings, the iPad Pro M4 (2024) and iPad Air M2 (2024). If you've been eagerly eyeing these updates – not for yourself, but perhaps to snag the previous models secondhand – well, you might have to rethink your strategy.

Here is what Apple users do with their old iPads and iPhones

Insights from a new report by consumer research firm CIRP shed light on the fate of "old" iPads when owners upgrade to a new one. To put these findings into perspective, the company cross-referenced them with the habits of iPhone owners and what happens to their previous devices upon upgrade.

Turns out that over the twelve months leading up to March 2024, a whopping 67% of repeat iPad buyers held onto their old devices, either passing them on to a family member or friend or simply holding onto them. In contrast, only 41% of iPhone buyers opted to keep or pass down their old iPhones.

The significant contrast lies in the realm of hand-me-downs. Roughly one-third of old iPads find new homes with friends or family members, whereas only about 10% of old iPhones enjoy a second lease on life with loved ones. This might suggest that old iPads remain highly functional and valuable, so there's less urgency to retire them, even in favor of newer models with enhanced features.

While nearly half of iPhone upgraders opt to trade in their old devices, fewer than 10% of iPad upgraders follow suit. This hints that there might not be as big a market for refurbished iPads as there is for iPhones, or maybe people just think it's worth more to keep an old iPad around than to sell it off.

The latter makes sense, considering iPads generally don't fetch as much in resale as iPhones do, so most users just hang onto their tablets instead.

Interestingly, there's a big gap between the percentage of iPad and iPhone upgraders who say their old device was lost, stolen, or damaged. About 23% of iPad upgraders, as opposed to just 6% of repeat iPhone buyers, had to make a replacement purchase out of necessity.

What about you? When it's time to upgrade, do you lean towards keeping your old device, passing it down to loved ones, or selling it off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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