How to trade in your Apple Watch

Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Future)

Apple Watch trade in programs can help you finance an Apple Watch Series 8 upgrade, when the new smartwatch comes out. Instead of keeping your older Apple Watch in a junk drawer or selling it off yourself, you can exchange it for credit.

As is the case with iPhones, iPads and Macs, you can send your Apple Watch to Apple for money towards your next product purchase. In some cases, Apple Watch trade in values can cover half the cost of a newer model, making for some of the best Apple Watch deals around.

For example, Apple will give you up to $210 for your Apple Watch 6 right now and put it towards an Apple Watch 7, which starts at $399. The Apple Watch doesn't offer significant generation-to-generation upgrades like the iPhone does, but who wouldn't want best smartwatch on the market? Alternatively, you can trade your current Apple Watch in for an Apple Gift card. 

Best Buy will surprisingly give you $20 for your six-year-old Apple Watch Series 1, which isn't even supported by watchOS software updates. That Apple Watch trade in credit then goes toward any purchase at the big box tech retailer, Apple device or not.

If you own an LTE-equipped model, you can check for Apple Watch trade in values with your wireless provider, too. You could also turn to trusted trade in destinations like Decluttr and Gazelle for a cash return.

But for the most reliable Apple Watch trade in experience, especially if your goal is to upgrade to a newer model, we'd stick to Apple's in-house offer or Best Buy's trade in program. Here's how both work, plus how to get your Apple Watch ready for return.

Apple Watch trade in at Apple

Apple Watch trade in values

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple makes it convenient to trade in your current Apple Watch for a new one. When you shop for a product directly on Apple's website, you'll be asked whether you want to trade in a device for credit towards your purchase.

After you've configured your new device, you'll see a section showing your final price and further options like financing, Apple Care+ coverage and, yes, trade in. Click 'Get Started' to answer a few questions about your current Apple Watch. Note, you'll need the serial number, which can be found by going to Settings > General > About on your smartwatch. 

Apple Watch trade in

(Image credit: Future)

If you want to trade in your Apple Watch now for Apple Store credit to use at a later time, visit this page on Apple's website. Scroll down until you see 'Trade in and get Apple Gift Card credit — even without a purchase' and follow the same steps above.

Apple Watch trade in

(Image credit: Future)

Currently, you can buy the Apple Watch 7, Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch 3 with trade in credit. That said, a used Apple Watch 3 is worth up to $70 in working condition.

It's not much, but you can get $10 for your first-generation Apple Watch and up to $25 for the Apple Watch 2. Neither are supported by software updates anymore, so it could be worth offloading these old smartwatches if you still have them laying around.

The Apple Watch 4 and Apple Watch 5 offer some of the best Apple Watch trade in values at Apple as well. You can get up to $105 for the Series 4 and $145 for the Series 5. These values go down as each new Apple Watch is released, so when the Apple Watch 8 eventually materializes, the Series 4 and 5 will be worth less.

Apple Watch trade in at Best Buy

Apple Watch trade in

(Image credit: Future)

An alternative Apple Watch trade in destination we recommend to readers is Best Buy. If you want to swap out your Apple Watch for a different wearable (say, one of the best fitness trackers from Fitbit) you'll want credit to store with variety. You could even put your Apple Watch trade in value towards one of the best TVs, best smart home devices or any of the other tech products Best Buy carries.

The best Best Buy deals are often on Apple Watch models, too. That means you can use the money from your traded in Apple Watch combined with Best Buy's discount to score a smartwatch for much less than full retail.

To trade in your Apple Watch with Best Buy, go to this page and select Apple from the 'Filter by brand' menu. You can either scroll through the list of Apple Watch models to find your exact configuration, or search the specs. We found you need to be specific on your watch size, case color and generation when searching.

Apple Watch trade in

(Image credit: Future)

Click on your model when you find it, then click 'Good' to specify your Apple Watch condition and see your trade-in value.

Read this before you trade in your Apple Watch

Now that you know your Apple Watch trade in value and have selected your trade in destination, there are a few things you'll want to note before going through with the transaction.

First, make sure your Apple Watch is in returnable condition. There can't be any casing cracks or extreme damage to the exterior, though a few light scratches from normal use is OK. The devices needs to turn on and be able to charge, too.

Next, you should learn how to reset an Apple Watch if you don't know how already. Not only could sending in a non-reset Apple Watch void your trade in — you don't want your personal information possibly falling into the wrong hands. Reset your Apple Watch to factory settings before putting in the box.

Finally, should you send in your Apple Watch via mail instead of trading it in at a physical store, pack it carefully. If it gets damaged in transit, it's unlikely you'll get trade in credit. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.