Image source: Apple.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to accumulate cash at an impressive rate, thanks to the ongoing release of new gadgets that consumers line up to purchase. The company had hoarded cash for years under Steve Jobs, but eventually, the amount of money that Apple had on hand began to invite criticism. Tim Cook changed all of that by introducing a capital return program that would help reduce its total cash balance while alleviating investor concerns about capital allocation.

The Mac maker now pays out dividends and repurchases shares, in line with many other large tech companies. But the vast majority of Apple's cash is held by foreign subsidiaries. Apple will likely continue growing its foreign reserves in order to avoid repatriation taxes that it would face if it were to bring those funds home.

As of last quarter, Apple had a total cash position of $205.7 billion.

Apple's Cash
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Here's a breakdown of Apple's total cash position since the beginning of 2013.

Quarter

Foreign

Domestic

Total Gross Cash

Q1'13

$102.3

$42.4

$144.7

Q2'13

$106

$40.6

$146.6

Q3'13

$111.3

$35.5

$146.8

Q4'13

$124.4

$34.4

$158.8

Q1'14

$132.2

$18.4

$150.6

Q2'14

$137.7

$26.8

$164.5

Q3'14

$137.1

$18.1

$155.2

Q4'14

$157.8

$20.2

$178

Q1'15

$171.3

$22.2

$193.5

Q2'15

$181.1

$21.7

$202.8

Q3'15

$186.9

$18.8

$205.7

Source: SEC filings. Calendar quarters shown. Cash figures in billions.

Since dividends and share repurchases must be funded with domestic cash, Apple has begun issuing increasing amounts of debt in order to fund its ambitious capital return program. Investors must also factor in this debt to calculate Apple's net cash position.

Quarter

Total Gross Cash

Total Long-Term Debt

Net Cash

Q1'13

$144.7

$0

$144.7

Q2'13

$146.6

$17

$129.7

Q3'13

$146.8

$17

$129.8

Q4'13

$158.8

$17

$141.9

Q1'14

$150.6

$17

$133.6

Q2'14

$164.5

$29

$135.5

Q3'14

$155.2

$29

$126.3

Q4'14

$178

$32.5

$145.5

Q1'15

$193.5

$40.1

$153.5

Q2'15

$202.8

$49.9

$152.9

Q3'15

$205.7

$56

$149.7

Source: SEC filings. Calendar quarters shown. Cash figures in billions.

Apple simply generates so much operating cash flow that, despite its best efforts to return capital to shareholders, its cash position will likely continue to grow.

Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.