5 Things to Know Before Buying a Refurbished iPhone

Refurbished iPhones

If you’ve lost your cell phone or it stops working, a brand new replacement probably won’t be cheap. If you want to save money, buying a refurbished iPhone can be a great option.

But what exactly is a refurbished iPhone and what are the pros and cons of buying one? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about buying a refurbished iPhone, including how to protect yourself if you decide to buy one.

Let’s take a look at five things you need to know before you purchase a refurbished iPhone.

1. What is a Refurbished iPhone?

Many people think “refurbished” means old or second-hand, but that’s not always the case. 

A phone that has been refurbished could also have been returned to the retailer (or reseller) for one reason or another. In those instances, they typically come with warranties, but more on that later.

A refurbished iPhone typically has been reconditioned into working order and put on sale for a discounted price. It is common for many refurbished phones to be in perfect working condition but have superficial blemishes or knicks.

2. Should You Buy a Refurbished iPhone?

If you’re thinking about buying a refurbished Iphone, there are some things you need to consider. Here are a few:


Of course, one of the most important things to consider is price. Are refurbished phones cheaper than their brand-new counterparts? Yes, they are.

For example, the iPhone 11 debuted in 2019. On Apple’s website, a 64GB iPhone 11 costs $599.


When considering whether to buy a refurbished phone, you should expect some minor scratches or marks. Reputable online sellers will disclose such information in the product description.

If scuffs and other marks are something you’re not comfortable with, buying a refurbished phone is not for you.


A major factor in buying a refurbished iPhone is whether you’ll be able to find accessories you need that may not come with your refurbished phone. 

Some pre-owned devices are sold without a charger or other add-ons. That means you may have to spend additional funds to get these items. Before you purchase, you should make sure the accessories you need are available.

3. What Types of Refurbished iPhones Can You Find?

I have seen iPhone models going back to the iPhone 5 as refurbished. As of this writing, I don’t recommend going any older than an iPhone 8, as older models will not be able to run the most recent version of iOS, the software that runs iPhones. With older iPhones/older versions of iOS you risk less stability, less functionality, and way less security.

4. Where To Buy Refurbished Phones

Some people think only second-hand businesses sell refurbished phones. But that’s not true: Apple’s own refurbished program offers the same warrantee as brand new AND you can buy AppleCare+ as if it were new.

But there are other places to buy refurbished phones. Here’s a list of top refurbished phone retailers:

SellersSample ModelsDetails
AT&TiPhone XR, iPhone 11AT&T sells used phones under its “Certified Pre-Owned” label online and in stores
AmazoniPhone 8, XR, 11Amazon Renewed comes with at least a 90-day guarantee on its products.
VerizoniPhone 11Verizon’s “Certified Pre-owned” phones are guaranteed to be “100% functional”
Best BuyiPhone 8 PlusAll refurbished phones come certified by the Geek Squad, the retailer’s tech support staff
WalmartiPhone XRComes with original accessories and a 90-day warranty

Aside from those retailers, there are numerous sites online that sell reconditioned phones. Reputable dealers include:

5. How To Protect Yourself Before You Buy a Refurbished iPhone

Make Sure the Seller Takes Returns 

You don’t want to get stuck with a dud. Before you buy a mobile device you’ve found on Amazon or any other site, make sure you can return it.

Get a Warranty (Typically 90 Days)

What separates the good refurbished phones from the others is the warranty. No warranty, no deal.

Not only does a warranty protect you in case the phone is defective, but it allows you time to test the phone (more on that in a bit).

Buy Only From Reputable Sellers

If you choose to buy a refurbished phone from a reseller in a marketplace site like Amazon or eBay, make sure you only buy from vendors with a 98% or higher seller rating.

Make Sure Your Refurbished Phone Is Working Properly

Once you get your phone, there are some tests you’ll want to run to make sure it’s functioning properly. Phone tester apps will run diagnostics on your device. Here are some free ones:

For iPhone:

Some Final Thoughts

Now that you know that there are some pretty nice refurbished phones out there, do your due diligence to find one you like. 

And remember, a refurbished phone doesn’t mean it’s defective or even that it used to be. 

People may return phones because they don’t like the color or trade it in for new ones. (And, yes, sometimes they are sent back due to being defective).

The retailer or manufacturer will typically repair the phone and run diagnostics to make sure it works like it’s supposed to. While many refurbished phones aren’t shipped in the manufacturer’s original box or package, they sometimes come with the standard accessories as if they were new.

If you’re thinking about buying a refurbished phone, the more research you do on the front end, the more comfortable you’ll feel about the process and product.

Buying a refurbished phone is a great way to save money on a mobile device.

Wait – I Need Help!

Yes, that’s what we’re here for. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you with every aspect of getting a refurbished iPhone, including transferring all of your data to the new phone.

Portions of this article excerpted from a longer article from

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Helpful Links

MacUpdate – The place to find software updates for any Mac app.

Places to buy a used or refurbished Mac:

Apple Support – To check if your device is covered under AppleCare, check here.

For a comprehensive listing of Apple links, check here.

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