My original iPad has seen better days. Its screen is all marred, scratches and dents adorn its back shell, and iOS 5 -- yep, you read that right -- creaks along on its outmoded internals. It's time for an upgrade. If you're in the same boat as me, take heart: You don't have to be stuck with a tattered slab of aluminum and glass after you upgrade.
Lots of services allow you to sell back your old iPad in exchange for cash or store credit -- or at least unload it on someone else who will dispose of it or recycle it for you. Here's what you need to know about four popular gadget-buyback services, and how much they'll give you for that "ancient" 18-month-old iPad you can't bear to use anymore.
Amazon will take back your old iPad in return for an Amazon gift card through its electronics trade-in program. To use it, visit Amazon.com, and click Shop by Department in the upper-left corner of the page. Click Electronics & Computers, and select Trade In Electronics.
From there, you can search for the iPad model that you have by typing its description into the search field (for example, "iPad 2 32GB Wi-Fi"). This step can be a somewhat tedious endeavor -- Amazon's search function isn't the most precise -- but once you find your iPad model, click the yellow Trade In button. Once you do, Amazon will ask you to log in with your account. Sign in, and Amazon will ask you to specify the condition of your iPad and then step you through the trade-in process.
Amazon does not take back broken or severely damaged iPads, so make sure your slightly mangled tablet meets the eligibility levels: To see what each criterion means, simply mouse over it and Amazon will give you a full description.
If you want cash instead of an Amazon gift card, you can always sell your iPad through Amazon. This approach requires you to register as a seller with Amazon, which may be a hassle, but it does mean that you can set your own price for your iPad.
Much like Amazon, Best Buy will take back your old iPad through BestBuyTradeIn.com in return for a Best Buy gift card.
The process is reasonably straightforward: Scroll down and select Apple under the Tablets & E-Readers heading, and either search for your iPad model or choose it from the list. Once you find your model, select it, and Best Buy will give you an estimate of how much it's worth, based on its condition. After you click the Add to Cart button, Best Buy will walk you through the process of determining your iPad's condition and sending it in for your store credit.
If your iPad is too damaged for you to get anything for it, Best Buy will offer to recycle it, so at least it won't clutter up your desk anymore.
If you're looking for a site that's dedicated to buying back used electronics, Gazelle is for you. In addition to iPads and other tablets, it will buy back smartphones, iPods, and Mac laptops and desktops.