Apple is reportedly changing their trade-in policy as it relates to water damaged iPhones, this news according to Apple retail employees speaking to 9to5Mac. Previously if an iPhone showed any signs of water damage, Apple would effectively refuse to offer any trade-in value on the used phone. Water damage had previously been defined as showing visibile signs or by tripping the liquid contact indicator.
Apple employees are able to check by using a flashlight. On the iPhone 5, the liquid contact indicator is in the nanoSIM card slot. If it has been submerged in water, it will trigger a red or pink dot. Previous iPhones have had these located in the headphone jack or dock connector.
The change in policy doesn’t apply to all water damaged iPhones. If an employee notices water under the screen or any parts that show corrosion due to the water damage, they will not offer any value on your trade-in. The exception appears to be an iPhone that has no signs of water damage outside of the liquid contact indicator.
Apple’s Reuse and Recyling Program offers customers and affordable way to upgrade to a new iPhone by offering a store credit that can be used towards the purchase of a new iPhone. It’s not clear how this may impact trade-in value of your old iPhone.