Apple recovered a ton of gold from old iPhones last year

If you happen to have an iPhone, you could be sitting (well, texting people) on a goldmine since Apple recovered a ton of gold from old iPhones.

In Apple’s latest environmental report, the company revealed it harvested more than a ton of gold from old or out of use iPhones, iPads and Macs in 2015. A TON. To be exact, that’s 2,204lb of precious metal you handed over when you took your old phone back to trade it in, or similar.


It’s a good thing really, because it means the company is recycling the metals instead of sending out miners to get more of it out of the ground. It means old phones don’t end up in landfill.

But the sheer amount might surprise you.

Material Volume (lbs)
Steel 23,101,000
Plastics 13,422,360
Glass 11,945,680
Aluminium 4,518,200
Copper 2,953,360
Cobalt 189,544
Zinc 130,036
Lead 44,080
Nickel 39,672
Silver 6,612
Tin 4,408
Gold 2,204

Gold is used because it is an excellent, speedy conductor of electricity which does not corrode easily. Although copper is a lot cheaper, it conducts more slowly so for the most important tasks, it’s better to use gold.


However, it is also very expensive. A pound of 9 carat gold is worth around $6,200 and a pound of higher purity 22 carat gold is worth around $15,100.

So how much is in my iPhone?

According to CNN money, each iPhone contained around 0.034 grams of gold in 2011. Not enough for earrings or a wedding ring, but enough to net you roughly $1.80 at the time.

If you ran a salvage company dealing with lots of phones, it could add up pretty quickly.