When you bring an old iPhone into the Apple Store to take advantage of its trade-in program, the company has a simple test to check for water damage. Each device contains a liquid contact indicator—basically a sticker that changes color when it gets wet. If Apple detects any water damage at all it typically deems the phone completely worthless. This week, however, the company will start to accept iPhones for its trade-in program with minimal water damage as part of its environmental efforts.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple's new policy on water-damaged iPhones is part of its "Reuse and Recycle" program, which accepts broken devices and disposes them in an environmentally friendly way. As part of this initiative, the company will extend its trade-in policy to cover any iPhones that still function even if the liquid contact indicator shows previous water exposure, starting this week.
Apple will still draw the line at broken iPhones however. Any devices showing serious water damage, including liquid under the display or damage to the port, will still be considered worthless—even if the indicator sticker shows no water damage. The new policy also only covers in-store trade-ins, and won't be reflected in online trade-in estimates.