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5 Things You Need to Know When Buying a Refurbished iPhone

Today, people rely on using their smartphones in their everyday lives. It's difficult to imagine someone who doesn't have such a phone these days. In addition, smartphone users can be divided into two categories, Apple and Android users.

With that in mind, Apple has sold 217.72 million iPhones on a global scale. However, not everyone can afford a new Apple product, especially since they're known to be quite pricey. In that case, a refurbished phone is the next best thing.

Simply put, a refurbished iPhone is a device that was damaged in some way or it had a manufacturing fault, to begin with, but it was repaired and it's now functioning normally again. In other words, you can get your hands on a used iPhone for a lower price than retail. Still, if you decide to go for this option, there are things you should be aware of. That being said, here are a few things you need to know when buying a refurbished iPhone.

Check the seller

When you decide to buy a refurbished phone, you should first check the seller from whom you're buying the iPhone from in the first place. In most cases, Apple will sell iPhones they've repaired themselves. What's more, you can purchase a refurbished iPhone from a verified retail vendor. Last but not least, you can choose to buy a refurbished device from a third-party reseller.

However, the obvious choice would be to purchase a refurbished device from the manufacturer. But if you choose to buy a refurbished device from Apple, you may only save up to $50 compared to the original retail price. On the other hand, other options may come cheaper but they also come with more risks involved.

Check why the need for refurbishing

As mentioned before, refurbished iPhones either hand a manufacturing flaw or they've broken down for some reason shortly after the purchase. The reason why they required refurbishing should be on your agenda. The main reason is that you need to determine if the fault was serious or minor. Serious issues have the potential to cause even more problems as you keep using the device. Minor flaws, on the other hand, can easily be repaired and the device can be restored to near mint condition.

For example, an Apple iPhone 6s plus refurbished may be a good deal. Back in 2015, Apple announced that iPhones 6s manufactured between September and October had a battery fault that caused unexpected shutdowns. Many people returned their phones without waiting for a solution, which Apple provided in January 2017 with their iOS 10.2.1 update.

Check the warranty

One of the top factors you must check when buying a refurbished iPhone is the warranty. Apple, for instance, offers a one-year warranty for refurbished iPhones but as mentioned before, the price is almost like buying a brand new iPhone, to begin with. Resellers and retail merchants offer various warranties, ranging from one week to a few months.

However, retailers may include additional policies to their warranties so make sure you check those out as well in order to avoid any inconveniences. Based on the flaw your iPhone initially had, a short warranty may prove to be a major issue. The main reason is that if something breaks down again, you're basically left with a brick you paid for.

Check the phone itself

Another one of the first things you should check is if the iPhone is legit or not. There are many fakes on the market but you can easily spot those because they lack the serial and IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers. You can ask the reseller for the serial number and check it on Apple's website to confirm it. Also, check if the phone is stolen because if the activation lock is engaged you won't be able to use it as your own device.

Check if the phone is carrier locked

Refurbished iPhones may come as a locked and unlocked version. Locked means that the iPhone is compatible with only one carrier. You can check this by inserting different SIM cards to see if the device will respond equally to them.

What's more, you can check with the iPhone service provider to determine if the phone is compatible with your carrier or not. Another way to check is to leverage online tools that will do the checking for you. However, in any case, you must provide serial and IMEI numbers to determine the compatibility. If you don't know these numbers, you can easily check them on your device. For instance:

  • iPhone Model - Go to iOS Settings, click General, then About and finally, Model.
  • Serial Number - iOS Settings > General > About > Serial Number.
  • IMEI Number - iOS Settings > General > About > IMEI.


Buying a refurbished iPhone can be a great opportunity but there's always a risk when buying such a device. However, if you check everything before you decide to purchase it, you can drastically minimize those risks.

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