Sell, trade in, recycle, or donate your old smartwatch for the new Apple Watch 6

Apple previewed its Apple Watch 6, but don’t toss current devices in a landfill. Here are ways to lessen the e-waste burden on the Earth as well as your conscience.

Image: Apple

The just-announced added features for the new Apple Watch Series 6 during an Apple virtual event on Tuesday may have convinced you to become a first adopter on the 18th. 

If so, it’s time to think about whether you should sell, recycle, trade in, or donate your current Apple Watch. TechRepublic reviewed such options for those poised for the new iPhone

When the new iOS is released today (Sept. 16), provided you have a Series 4 or newer with a cellular plan, you’ll be able to avail of some of those features, including the new Family Setup, perhaps the most significant addition to the latest Apple Watch. 

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Image: Apple

Family Setup: discreet and worry-reliving monitoring services

The Apple Watch 6 comes equipped with Family Setup—and the other new features—and allows family members who don’t have an iPhone, like older users or young children to use the Emergency SOS, Maps, Siri, FaceTime, Alarms, and the App Store.

Each family member with only an Apple Watch 6 will have a separate phone number. Parents and adult children can monitor control by specifying the contacts your kids or older parents can contact while using iMessage and FaceTime. The controls provide those monitoring with the ability to set up notifications to track family members (ideal for wandering kids and seniors), as well as restrictions on app downloads. 

As e-learning has become the norm, it’s quite timely that parents can impose the “Do Not Disturb” or “Schooltime” mode, in which during that time period—kids can stay focused on school. The Apple Watch-only members will be able to turn it on from the watch’s control center. 

SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Sell, trade, recycle, and donate

So if the health-monitoring, new styles and sizes, as well as Family Set up are enough enticement to overhaul the families’ Apple devices, you’re probably going to consider what you’ll do with your current Apple Watch.

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Apple

Offset the price of a new device

Depending on current stock and expected demand, prices for the trade-in value will vary. In general, wearables haven’t reached the popularity of smartphones. There aren’t as many options to sell/trade-in/recycle/donate smartwatches as there are for smartphones, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Amazon Trade-In Currently does not have a smartwatch trade-in category.

Best Buy Trade-In The device retailer will buy your Apple Watch, but you don’t get cash, you get a Best Buy gift card, which you can then use toward the Apple Watch 6. Yet another option is to visit your carrier at Best Buy (but you’d get the same offer in store or online). 

The following is for a watch in “good” condition, which Best Buy describes as “light wear and tear. Minor scratches/scuffs on body. Functions properly and runs off battery. No cracked LCD screen.” The other two or three conditions are “poor” and “recycle.”

A sample of Best Buy Trade-In:

  • Series 1 42mm Space Gray Watch or a 38mm Rose Gold in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $40
  • Series 1 Apple Watch Sport 38mm Space Gray Aluminum Case – Space Gray Sports Band in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $30
  • Series 2 Apple Watch 38mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case Light Pink/Midnight Blue Woven Nylon Band Rose Gold Aluminum in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $60
  • Series 2 Apple Watch 42mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $75
  • Series 3 Nike (GPS + Cellular) 38mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band Space Gray Aluminum, in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $85
  • Series 3 Apple Watch Nike+ (GPS) 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band – Space Gray Aluminum in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $90
  • Series 4 Apple Watch Nike+ (GPS + Cellular) 40mm Silver Aluminum Case with Pure Platinum/Black Nike Sport Band Silver Aluminum, in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $110
  • Series 5 Apple Watch Nike (GPS + Cellular) 40mm Silver Aluminum Case with Pure Platinum/Black Nike Sport Band Silver Aluminum, in good condition, estimated trade-in value is $150
  • Series 5 Apple Watch Nike (GPS + Cellular) 44mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band – Space Gray Aluminum

EcoATM kiosks currently do not have a smartwatch trade-in category.  

Gazelle is another buy-and-sell used tech site, but it, too, doesn’t have an Apple Watch category.

Swappa, which has a smartwatch category, describes itself as “buy and sell newish tech” and “a friendly marketplace.” The heavily stocked online consignment service’s seller prices shown here, start as valued from “good.”

  • Series 1 Apple Watch 38mm ranges from $88 to $130, 42mm ranges from $95 to $130
  • Series 2 Apple Watch 38mm ranges from $113 to $139, 42mm ranges from $90 to $159
  • Series 3 Apple Watch 38mm ranges from $164 to $235, the 42mm from $160 to $670
  • Series 4 Apple Watch 44mm in good condition, starts at $275 to mint condition for $720
  • Series 5 Apple Watch 44mm in good condition, starts at $305 to the Hermes version in mint condition, for $1,170; a 40mm starts at $289

Trademore is another company that will pay you immediately, if you’re anxious to sell your Apple Watch. You get an estimated price, a prepaid packaging to ship your Apple Watch to its warehouse and it will assess the watch and determine if you’d described it well and pay the estimated amount, but if not, you’ll be offered less. Trademore gives you the option to choose an acceptable range even before you ship your Apple Watch to them, or you can indicate you only want the original offer and your phone will be returned to you. You get paid through either a virtual Mastercard gift card or through PayPal. They offer:

  • Series 2 Apple Watch, up to $30
  • Series 3 Apple Watch, up to $67; Hermes version, up to $58; Nike version, up to $94 (up to $56 without cellular)
  • Series 4 Apple Watch, up to $138; Nike version, up to $149 (for an Hermes version in “perfect” condition the offer is $28)
  • Series 5 Apple Watch, up to $212 for GPS only (includes Nike versions), up to $213 with cellular

If you can really use the money, whether in general, or to fund a new Apple Watch Series 6, there may not be as many avenues to formally sell your old smartwatch, but consider selling it locally, through Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

Why you should definitely donate it

Whatever you decide to do, please don’t throw it away.  

Smartwatches are built from earth minerals used for the display screen and batteries. Extracting these minerals—usually through surface mining—can cause pollution, as well as deplete valuable resources. 

Other environmental concerns in the manufacturing of smartwatches include its impact on landscape and environment. Machines used by workers (including their commute) pollute. Once the materials are taken, chemical processes filter and separate minerals, and the water used in this process can contaminate if regulations are not adhered to by the mining companies. Contaminants, in general, are not something to release on the ecosystem.

Smartwatch users charge them daily, and due to manufacturers proprietary policies, when a cracked screen happens or when it stops working, most people find repair too prohibitively priced, so they end up buying the latest version. Proprietary brands often hold the exclusivity to repair the devices they’ve manufactured, under the argument that they need to protect their intellectual property, they often charge high prices making it way more appealing and financially wise to buy the latest versions available.  If you don’t need the trade-in funds to get the Apple Watch 6, there are several ways to donate and be charitable.

If you just want to give it away, first review the charities you support and see if they have a thrift shop you can donate it to, or an auction site (Goodwill has one, for example). Many cities have a “Buy Nothing (Name of city/area)” Facebook group which would be a good way to literally give back to the community.

Some retailers such as Lowe’s, Kroger, Safeway, Batteries Plus, Walmart, and others may have recycle drop-off stations for smart devices to be recycled into new electronics instead of ending up in a landfill. 

Local municipalities may also offer electronics recycling, but call or email local government officials for details.

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