Almost Nothing About the ‘Apple Harvests Gold From iPhones’ Story Is True 

Here is the truth: Apple paid independent recyclers to recycle old electronics—which were almost never Apple products, by the way—because it’s required by law to do so. Far from banking $40 million on the prospect, Apple likely ended up taking an overall monetary loss. This is not because Apple is a bad actor or is hiding anything, it’s simply how the industry works.

Vice report that the $40m of gold recycled from Apple devices really wasn’t from Apple devices.