Apple’s new trade-in tool will let you scan your iPhone for cosmetic damage

A new iPhone trade-in tool from Apple, dubbed “Trade-In Tool and Cosmetic Scan,” will let you scan your device for cosmetic damage with another iPhone camera.

 scene from Ap-in ad showing a male hand handing an iPhone 5s over to another male's hand
  • Mentions of “Trade-In Tool and Cosmetic Scan” were discovered in the iOS 15.4 code
  • The feature may let you scan an iPhone for cosmetic damage with another iPhone
  • It appears designed to help you get a more accurate trade-in estimate for your device
  • Currently, you only have to tick a box saying no cosmetic damage is visible

Introducing iPhone Trade-In Tool and Cosmetic Scan

As discovered by iOS developer Steve Moser on Twitter and corroborated by MacRumors, we currently know very little about this trade-in tool, how precisely it’s supposed to work, whether or not this will be a system feature in iOS 15.4 or a downloadable app, and so on. There are no user-selectable switches for this feature in the Settings app on iOS 15.4.

As MacRumors notes:

There are no outward-facing signs of this feature available at the current time, but since it’s linked to trade-ins, it might be something that we’ll see when the iOS 15.4 update is released to the public.

Presumably, you’ll use another iPhone’s camera to capture still images or a video of your current iPhone, perhaps from multiple angles, too. Then, and this is pure speculation on our part, the images will be fed to a machine learning network for on-device analysis of the condition your device is in. And only then, our presumption goes, would you get a reliable trade-in estimate when it comes to domestic damage.

This would be a major departure from the current system where when you’re doing a trade-in, you’re required to confirm by ticking a box that, no, your device has no visible cosmetic damage (this is actually closely inspected by a technician after you send in your device). Read: How to find the estimated value of your device with Apple GiveBack

Just because code for the feature was discovered in the iOS 15.4 beta doesn’t mean that “Trade-In Tool and Cosmetic Scan” will be ready for prime time when iOS 15.4 launches publicly a few weeks from this writing. That being said, however, the very presence of relevant code in the iOS 15.4 beta at least indicates that “Trade-In Tool and Cosmetic Scan” could be in testing or close to being released in the near future.

Either way, we’ll keep you posted as soon as new information becomes available.