Apple Trade Up with Installments Plan: What You Need to Know

It's easier than ever to get a new iPhone. Apple's new Trade Up With Installments program lets you get up to $350 credit towards a new iPhone, or lease one at a low monthly price of $15. That's almost a 50 percent discount on the full price of Apple's latest flagship.

Combined with its iPhone Upgrade  and existing trade-in programs, Apple's new purchase offering makes saving up for the $600-or-so handset easier, as long as you have an eligible device to exchange. Here's what you need to know about Apple's new trade-in program.

Is my device eligible?

Apple will accept iPhone 4 up to iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus), and will give you between $100 and $350 of credit that can immediately be applied towards buying a new device. Those who own Apple's latest handsets -- iPhone 6s and 6s Plus -- will have to wait till newer iPhones are available to trade them in. You can also bring in your iPad or MacBook for money towards a new device.

Apple is partnering with device-recycling company Brightstar to accept non-Apple phones. Brightstar takes in select phones from BlackBerry, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung, as well as the Google Nexus devices, and the amount of money you get for those devices depends on Brightstar's assessment.

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How much money can I get?

An online estimate of your device's worth is available on Apple's site or, for non-Apple devices, via Brightstar. The iPhone 4 and 4s get you $100, iPhone 5, 5c and 5s get $200, the iPhone 6 fetches $300 while the iPhone 6 Plus nets you $350.

A black, 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6 on AT&T that powers up and is in good working order can fetch $290, according to the brief assessment I filled out on Brightstar's website. A white, 32GB Nexus 6 on AT&T in similar condition gets you $190.

What if I want to pay in installments?

The highlight of Apple's new payment option is the installment method, but it's somewhat complicated. Trade in an older phone and you can get a newer, albeit not the latest, iPhone for as low as $15 a month. Go for the latest flagship, though, and your monthly price goes up. The fees are based on a 24-month installment plan.

So if you bring in an iPhone 4 to trade in, you can get the 16GB iPhone 5s for $15 a month, a 16GB iPhone 6 for $19 a month and the 16GB iPhone 6s for $23 a month. That's assuming your iPhone 4 gets the maximum trade-in value.

Do I need to be tied to a specific carrier?

Each new iPhone bought via Trade Up With Installments remains unlocked after activation, so you can pick your own carrier and plan.

Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.