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Don't buy an Apple Watch 7 until you learn how the trade-in program works

Are you ready to buy the new Apple Watch Series 7? We'll explain what you should know about trading in that old Apple Watch.

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Apple's new Series 7 lineup is on sale now.
Apple

The Apple Watch Series 7 ($399) is pretty impressive: The device runs WatchOS 8 and has a larger, more durable screen, as well as new workout and fall detection options. If you're planning to upgrade, you might be wondering what to do with your old Apple Watch.

Don't just abandon your old watch in a junk drawer. You can save money on a new watch by trading in the old one. There are deals through Apple and all three major mobile carriers. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are offering deals to persuade people to upgrade to 5G iPhones. For example, AT&T is offering up to $1,000 off the iPhone Pro or Pro Max and $700 off the iPhone 13 and Mini.

We'll break down everything you need to know about trading in your Apple Watch, when you'll get your new one and how much you could save. 

How to trade in your Apple Watch for a Series 7

To trade in your watch, you can visit apple.com/shop/trade-in. Scroll down and select Apple Watch out of the product lineup. You can also visit the nearest Apple Store to get the process started at a retail storefront.

You'll need to provide your watch's serial number (Apple has this guide to finding your serial number), model and condition to get a more accurate estimate. From there, you can start shopping for a new watch and apply the credit toward your purchase. You can also opt for an Apple gift card instead of replacing your old product with a different one right away.

Apple Watch Series 7

The new Apple Watch Series 7 runs on WatchOS 8.

Apple

If you accept the trade-in estimate, Apple will provide a prepaid trade-in kit by mail or at the Apple Store. You don't have to include device accessories like the charger.

When to expect your Apple Watch Series 7 arrive and how to track the delivery

The online trade-in process takes about two to three weeks, according to Apple, and the company must receive your device within two weeks of starting the trade-in process. You can track the trade-in process from your Apple Store account.

If you decide you no longer want to trade in your device, simply keeping it will void the process. If you've already dropped off or shipped your watch, the trade-in can't be canceled. 

What to do before trading in your Apple Watch

Before trading in your Apple Watch, make sure to unpair it from your iPhone

1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
2. Tap the My Watch tab.
3. Choose your watch's name.
4. Tap the Information button.
5. Tap Unpair Apple Watch. If you own a cellular model, tap Remove [Carrier] Plan.
6. Enter your Apple ID password to turn off the activation lock.
7. Tap Confirm.

If you already returned your Apple Watch, you can erase or turn off the activation lock via iCloud.com. Just log in with your Apple ID and select your Apple Watch under All Devices. Click Erase Apple Watch and follow the prompts to complete the process.

yt-apple-watch-7-7

The new Apple Watch features a new design and more health features.

Oliver Padilla/CNET

How much money you could get for trading in an old Apple Watch

These are the devices and corresponding estimated trade-in values listed on Apple's website: 

  • Apple Watch SE: Up to $155
  • Apple Watch Series 5: Up to $145
  • Apple Watch Series 4: Up to $100
  • Apple Watch Series 3: Up to $70
  • Apple Watch Series 2: Up to $25 

Keep in mind that these figures come with a few caveats. The credit amount is based on the information you provided about your watch, including condition. If something doesn't match up once Apple receives the trade-in, the amount will be adjusted. In addition, the estimates given online might not be what you get in the store. 

The type of credit also depends on what you buy and how you pay for it, according to Apple. If you buy an Apple Watch and pay in full, Apple will credit your original payment method up to the total purchase price. Any remaining amount will go on an Apple Gift Card via email.

Other ways to trade in your Apple Watch

Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint all offer trade-in programs for Apple Watches and other devices. There are also sites like Swappa, eBay, Trademore and BuyBackWorld; since these are third-party sites, we recommend having a read through their Trustpilot ratings before making any decisions.

For more, check out everything announced at the Apple Event and the Apple Watch Series 7's new design.

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