How to Properly Dispose of an iPhone

By C. Taylor

Recycling an old iPhone is the responsible thing to do.
i Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you're planning to dispose of a working iPhone, you should erase all content on the device to protect your personal data. After the iPhone is erased, you have a couple of options to properly dispose of the unit, none of which involves tossing the iPhone into the trash. Working units have monetary and functional value, so you can sell them, donate them or turn them into Apple's reuse program to receive an Apple gift card for the fair market value of the iPhone. Nonfunctional iPhones may still have recycling value, so -- although you won't receive compensation -- you can take solace in the fact that you're helping the environment.

Erasing an iPhone

Step 1

Fully charge your iPhone or connect it to a power source before erasing the device.

Step 2

Tap "Settings" on the iPhone's home screen, followed by "General" and then "Reset."

Step 3

Tap "Erase All Content and Settings" and confirm your selection to erase the iPhone. The process could take several minutes to complete.

Working iPhone

Step 1

Visit Apple's Reuse and Recycling page (see Resources) if you want to submit a working iPhone to the Reuse program in exchange for a gift card. As an alternative, you could donate the iPhone to a charity, give it to a friend or sell it to a third-party.

Step 2

Walk through the assessment form until you get a price offer. You'll be asked to select the iPhone series, model and condition. Click "Continue" between screens.

Step 3

Click "Continue" if you agree to the price offer.

Step 4

Fill in your contact details. Agree to the terms and conditions and click "Continue."

Step 5

Mail the iPhone to the address supplied and include any requested documentation. In a few weeks, you'll receive a gift card for the agreed upon amount that can be used in the online Apple Store or an Apple retail establishment.

Nonfunctional iPhone

Step 1

Visit the Apple Retail Store page and enter your zip code to locate the closest Apple Store. The iPhone can be dropped off at that store, or you can opt to mail it.

Step 2

Visit the Apple Recycling Program website and fill in the form if you decide to mail in your iPhone. You'll need to enter the quantity of iPhones, your contact details and shipping option. You can opt for a prepaid printable label or have a prepaid mailer sent to you within 10 business days. Click "Continue."

Step 3

Mail the iPhone to the address supplied by Apple. Apple then recycles the components. Apple professes a 90 percent recovery rate when recycling Apple products, which means all but 10 percent of the recycled product is reused.