Apple just decided that Android phones are worth a lot less

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Maybe Apple isn’t as keen on courting Android switchers as it used to be. Sure, you can trade in plenty of Android phones to get one of the best iPhones, but Apple says those Android devices are now worth less.

According to a report by MacRumors (opens in new tab), Apple has reduced the maximum amount you can get for a host of Android handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S21 line, Galaxy Note devices and several Google Pixel models. 

For example, the trade-in value for the Galaxy S21 5G has dropped from $325 to just $260, and the Galaxy S21 Plus has plummeted from $535 to $325. By comparison, a third-party site like Gazelle (opens in new tab) will give you as much as $401 for the regular Galaxy S21 and $429 for the Galaxy S21 Plus. 

For the same two phones Best Buy’s trade-in program (opens in new tab) will give you $350 for the Galaxy S21 and $450 for the Galaxy S21 Plus. These estimates were for phones on Verizon’s network, and the value can vary by carrier. Regardless, it seems that Apple is placing less of a value on the best Android phones than others.

By comparison, let’s say that you wanted to trade in your iPhone 12 for an iPhone 13 Pro. Apple would give you a max of $450. So Apple is basically saying that the iPhone 12 is worth $190 more than the Galaxy S21. In fact, Apple says its old iPhone 11 is worth up to $300, which is still $40 more than the value it places on the S21. Yikes. 

Things don’t look much better if you happen to have a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and you’re itching to maybe upgrade to an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apple will give you just $405, which is down $140 from the previous $545. 

If you happen to own a Google Pixel handset, there’s more bad news. The newest phone Apple lists is the Google Pixel 5, which is worth only $235 to Apple, compared to $315 previously. And the Pixel 4a will get you a measly $120 (down from $160).

To be fair, Apple has downgraded the value of some of its own products as well, such as the iPad Air ($345 to $335) and MacBook Pro ($1630 to $1415) but in general the drops are not as drastic as what we’re seeing with Android phone trade-in values. You'd also expect Apple to place a higher value on iPhones in good condition than on Android devices it wouldn't be inclined to refurbish.

So, for now, our advice is try other outlets before you go to Apple to see what your Android phone is worth. You’ll likely get more for your money if you go a different route.

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.