CIRP: Apple iPhones traded in at three times the rate of Androids

From “What Happens to Old Smartphones, and Why?” posted Monday by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners:

iPhones owners report their old phone screens are in better condition, while Android phone owners report that their old phones have better battery life. Still, a much higher percentage of iPhones are sold or traded-in than Android phones. Consumers report Android phones are recycled or lost, broken, or stolen at a much greater rate than iPhones, or merely kept for future use, compared to iPhones…

Almost one-third of iPhones are traded-in for a new phone, compared to 10% of Android phones. In contrast, almost half of Android phones are kept by the consumer for future use, compared to only 29% of iPhones. And, 24% of Android phones are either recycled or reported as lost, stolen, or broken, while only 17% of iPhones are recycled, lost, stolen, or broken.

apple android recycle cirp

Click to enlarge. 

My take: I used to give my old iPhone to the family member who needed it most. Apple’s trade-in program put an end to that.


  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    I would have liked to have seen lost/stolen/broken broke out to see the number broken.

    Kept tells me the handset still works but has no value. In fact, you could attribute all of the Android numbers, when compared to iPhone numbers, to not having as much remaining value.

    Hell, my original iPhone, bought on day one is still selling for $125.

    September 14, 2021
  2. Mordechai Beizer said:
    It could be simply because old iPhones retain more value hence they’re more useful as trade-ins. An older Android device may be more likely to be kept as a spare “just in case” if it’s not worth much as a trade-in.

    September 14, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      Android devices lose value faster and in shorter time than similar age iPhones, this is backed by survey after survey. And since most Androids are already less expensive or cheaper, their ultimate values are less in both the trade in market or in private sales, leading to being essentially worthless after a few years, especially with minimal to no after warranty OS support.

      So that leaves Android recycling, or if still operational, being stuck into a drawer for “just in case” situations. Old iPhones do end up in drawers too, but some with still tangible value and unless broken, usually in operational condition. IMO, Apple has a better program to recycle old iPhones, a good refurbishment program for applicable condition trade-ins, and a user base which just might be more inclined to properly trade-in or hand-me-down their products, or recycle them for the good of the environment.

      At least that’s what Apple has encouraged us to do.

      September 14, 2021
  3. Fred Stein said:
    Adding the family/friend category, 53% of iPhones remain in service, vs about 30% (eyeballing it) for Android.

    The family/friend category often includes some free ‘support’ from the giver – more validation of the power of the ecosystem.

    September 14, 2021
  4. Androids in a drawer become Androids in a landfill. Li-ion batteries should not be kept long-term in said drawer. Refurb market sales on the web or in small kiosks all over Africa, Asia and ME are tough to measure. Used iPhones cost more than used Androids but the difference the buyer sees is the appearance after heavy use.
    Apple also has Daisy robots that quickly dissect many models for recycling and best-in-class Material Recovery facilities (subcontractors have been caught selling supposedly ‘recycled’ iPhones to Africa/Asia):
    Note to Philip: Very trendy to put those ‘chasing arrows’ up as the story photo. California being in an uproar right now over that recycling logo.

    September 14, 2021
  5. Rodney Avilla said:
    ” I used to give my old iPhone to the family member who needed it most. Apple’s trade-in program put an end to that.”

    It’s because of their high trade in value that I continue to give my old phones to family. It makes for a nicer, more appreciated gift.

    September 14, 2021
  6. David Drinkwater said:
    Does Android “kept” mean “in the trash can, because it has zero resale value”?

    September 14, 2021

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