The government of India has refused to allow Apple to sell used iPhones in India, rightly

Apple not allowed to sell used iPhones in India
Apple not allowed to sell used iPhones in India

For a very long time Apple has been trying to sell used iPhones in India but never seems to be able to get the needed permission from the Indian government. These are also called “refurbished” iPhones.

When people return their iPhones in order to either upgrade to a newer version of the iPhone or maybe move on to another category of smartphone, these iPhones are either recycled and even gold is extracted out of them, or they are resold as used iPhones or refurbished iPhones.

Time and again Apple has been applying for the permission to sell used iPhones in India, and Indian government has been refusing. This time too, Apple had made a new bid to sell used iPhones in India but this time also the government, after due consideration, has refused.

The decision involves several ministries, including PMO’s office. The Department of Electronics and Information Technology is reported to have told the Environment Ministry (where the application was received from Apple) and the Director General of Foreign Trade that it does not support the import of second-hand consumer products that may contribute to electronic waste being dumped in India.

A previous application from Apple to get permission to sell used iPhones in India was also rejected by the Environment Ministry because people won’t be able to use the used iPhones for a long time and they would be dumped very soon, increasing e-waste burden on the country.

Is this the right decision? This Forbes reporter begs to differ but as you read what he has to say, you will realise either he has no sense of the Indian economy or he pompously assumes Indians should be grateful that they are receiving the cherished used iPhones, poor as they are. Typical first-worldly attitude.

It’s a different topic whether the government should interfere in industry or not, Apple should be discouraged from selling used iPhones in India because great innovation is happening in the country itself. The country wouldn’t like to throttle the fledgling electronics industry. Yes, there is a market for used iPhones in India and people will certainly lap them up as the market gets flooded with them, but then at what cost? Isn’t buying a state-of-the-art Micromax smartphone is much better than buying a used iPhone with outdated technology and that also, at a much lower cost? Only stupid people obsessed with Apple as a brand will buy used iPhones in India, to be frank. Sadly, there are many.

To be fair Apple also has a point. The company says that used or refurbished iPhones doesn’t mean that people will be able to use them just for a couple of years. These iPhones are as good as new iPhones, it’s just that on the paper they have to be branded as used iPhones or more technically, refurbished iPhones. The get a unique ID, they also get a new IMEI number and it even goes to the original equipment manufacturer for the replacement of major parts. But that’s another issue.

Instead of allowing the smartphone market it to be flooded with outdated used iPhones and other smartphones, the Indian government should allow Apple to open its official stores in the country so that it can sell its latest devices and gadgets just as it sells in other countries, that would be much better. I’m pretty sure Apple will be able to make more money in India than it was able to make in the US.

About Amrit Hallan
Amrit Hallan is the founder of He writes about technology not because "he loves to write about technology", he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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