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Apple now accepts trade-ins of Android, other rival phones

Will the new policy convince more owners of non-iPhone devices to jump ship to Apple?

screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Anyone looking to unload an Android or BlackBerry smartphone can now turn to Apple.

The company expanded its trade-in program on Monday to accept certain models of rival phones, including Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone handsets. Your old phone scores you store credit, which you can then use to purchase a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, though not an Apple Watch, according to Apple news site 9to5Mac. The program is available in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, an Apple spokesperson told CNET.

Apple is constantly working to gain more traction over Android device makers, most notably Samsung. A report from market researcher Gartner this month showed that Apple inched past Samsung in worldwide smartphone sales in the fourth quarter.

Apple didn't formally announce the expansion of its trade-in plan, aka its Reuse and Recycling Program. But individual Apple Store pages now show the Reuse and Recycling Program section with the following line: "Get credit when you recycle your eligible iPhone, iPad, or select smartphone from another manufacturer."

The program also now accepts PCs from manufacturers other than Apple, allowing you to trade in your Windows computers for store credit that you can apply toward a Mac.

The new trade-ins will be available at Apple retail stores and Apple's online site, the Apple spokesperson confirmed. Apple's UK site has been updated to reflect the changes, but Apple's US site has not yet been updated.

Apple has offered an online trade-in program through a third-party vendor called Brightstar. The Brightstar page for the UK shows several non-iPhone brands that you can trade in, including Samsung, Sony, Nokia, and BlackBerry. But the Brightstar page for the US still shows only iPhones as acceptable trade-in devices.

Similarly, the UK page for Apple's Reuse and Recycling Program says: "Get credit for your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and eligible smartphones and PCs from other manufacturers. Depending on the device, take it to an Apple Retail Store or get started online." But the US page still displays only Apple devices as eligible for online trade-in.

Update, 8:40 a.m. PT: Apple's comments were added.