How to Buy a Used or Refurbished iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR
A brand new iPhone looks really good and, if you still don’t have it, you probably wanted to purchase it at one point. However, the hefty price that comes with it was a turnoff. Moreover, Apple’s most famous models rarely go on sale, so you could be left with only one option: to buy a used or refurbished iPhone.
Used iPhones are probably the products people rarely consider when looking to purchase a phone. Not only are they cheap, but often come in top condition.
Knowing where to look is essential to avoid getting disappointed. Be it a specialized website for used and refurbished phones or an all-in-one website like Amazon, you should go through our buying guide to find what you need without worrying about what you just bought.
In this guide, you will learn where to look for used or refurbished iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR, what to inspect on such phones and how much they cost.
Make sure to read on to find the perfect used iPhone.
Is Buying a Used or Refurbished iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR a Good Idea?
Buying used or refurbished phones is economical and practical if you know what you’re doing. iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR’s refurbished versions will cost you a fraction of the price of a brand new phone. Apart from saving money, there are three more reasons to buy a used iPhone.
#1 The phone’s durability
Apple’s iPhones stand out in the market due to their long-lasting hardware and software. In fact, the average lifespan of Apple devices between 2013 and 2018 is four years and three months. What’s more, iPhone’s native apps are among the best in the smartphone world and you can only get them on iPhones. Lastly, linking one Apple device to the other has never been easier.
Many people will opt to buy a refurbished phone after a couple of years searching for a new phone. However, knowing it will last for a longer period of time and doing thorough research puts you in a better start position.
#2 No need for a contract
The one annoying thing you’ll have to do when buying a new phone from an operator is having to sign a contract. After signing it, you’ll have to use the carrier’s services for two years, meaning you won’t be able to switch to a new phone. Being tied to a carrier also means you will pay a huge price for a repair in case of damage.
Purchasing a refurbished phone, on the other hand, means no contracts and less frustration in case you drop it.
#3 Plenty to choose from
Websites that sell used phones have a lot to offer. New models pushed by the company usually have a few additional features. So, if the previous model is enough for you, you will find it among hundreds of similar ones on the site.
You will have the freedom to choose from a variety of options for a really good price. On top of that, the prices slightly vary from website to website. If you’re clever and curious enough, you might find the iPhone you want for the best deal possible.
What’s Better: Used or Refurbished?
Beware the terms sellers use when you scroll for phones. There’s a slight difference between the used and refurbished phone.
A used phone is the phone the seller or some other person used and is selling it as is. In other words, you’re pretty much on your own while inspecting a used phone. You should always check the possible scratches, breaks or battery life when buying it.
A refurbished phone is the one that went through a process of testing to make sure it meets the standards of the brand, in this case, Apple. Apple replaces batteries, outer shells and accessorize and sells these phones directly on their site, but you could get them for a cheaper price on the websites that sell used or refurbished phones. Moreover, a refurbished phone comes with a warranty from the manufacturer.
How Much iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR Cost
iPhone prices are very different across websites. Sometimes the sellers inflate the price without an obvious reason. Knowing what each refurbished model’s price is will save you from suspicious sellers and let you negotiate the price.
Refurbished iPhone price changes with every new model out there, but models like iPhone X, XS and XS Max start at $530. XR, on the other hand, starts at $649.
Where to Buy a Used or Refurbished iPhone?
Online marketplaces offer excellent deals for refurbished phones. Still, make sure you know how and what to look before purchasing a phone. Here is a couple of sites worth visiting.
One of the best specialized websites that sells refurbished iPhones is Swappa. Swappa’s team knows what they’re selling and their customer support can help you with any model you’re interested in. Here you can rest assured you’re getting value for the money.
Swappa lets you search the phone by the provider. Some sites will often list the phones as “unlocked” and later on you’ll find out you bought a locked phone. Swappa saves you from the additional cost of having to unlock the phone so you can use it with your carrier.
If you need an iPhone in a refurbished version, look no further. Each of their devices gets checked before the upsell and you can choose from plenty of different models at fair prices.
Amazon is the biggest online marketplace where you can find almost anything, ranging from digital music to kitchen supplies. They also have a great number of refurbished phones. Currently, you can purchase an unlocked refurbished iPhone X from $799. The refurbished versions are not as cheap as iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR are the most recent models.
A refurbished XS model will cost you $999 and it’s coming directly from Apple. So, we advise you to wait for a little more time if you want to buy a refurbished version from Amazon. The prices will surely go down with time.
If you decide to buy from Amazon but are not happy with your purchase, remember that Amazon has a 30-day return policy. Nevertheless, be careful when it comes to deciding which phone you’re going to purchase.
Another useful website for buying second-hand devices is Craigslist. It is worth visiting in case you haven’t found the perfect phone on the previous sites. Craigslist is quite similar to eBay and has different sections for different types of goods.
However, you’ll have to be extra careful before purchasing from these sites. If the ad is too good to be true, it probably is. You simply can’t get a used or refurbished iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR for as little as $200.
If an ad says the phone costs $200, it is probably severely damaged, works poorly, or the ad is a scam. Moreover, if the person who sells the phone wants to get rid of it fast, your instinct should tell you to get away from them as the phone may be stolen.
The multinational giant behind the iPhone started selling refurbished phones on their website a few years back. The phones come with new batteries, screens, accessorize and a warranty. However, the price is not as cheap as you might expect.
If you decide to buy directly from Apple, your refurbished iPhone X starts at $769. So, even though you’ll get an excellent phone in pristine condition, you aren’t really saving money and instead of buying a refurbished phone from Apple, it’s better to just buy a new one.
Social Media Worth Visiting?
If there’s one type of website you should avoid at all cost while purchasing a refurbished phone, it’s the social media. For example, Facebook is not specialized to sell used phones, neither you’ll get any kind of protection if you opt to buy your next iPhone from a random guy on Facebook. Plus, the phone’s software might be damaged and you can’t see it in person.
To be on the safe side, avoid buying used phones on social media.
The Best Time to Buy Used iPhones
Apple releases new models around September each year. Naturally, that’s the time when many people want to get rid of their old phones to buy new ones. So, the best time to buy used iPhones is the period between August and October. That’s when you’ll find a lot of phones at a good price.
What to Inspect in Apple Refurbished iPhone
Before searching for a refurbished phone, you should consult with the seller. Ask them everything about the phone’s condition and how many times they took it to the repair shop. Nevertheless, the word of mouth isn’t enough and you should go beyond looking for possible scratches. Following are additional factors you should include in your search.
Ask for the IMEI code
The first thing you should do is ask for the IMEI code. It’s a special 15-digit number assigned to every phone that’s used in case of a theft. It can help to locate the phone. Also, if you have the IMEI number, you can unlock your phone.
IMEI code will let you choose the carrier you want. So, make sure you ask if the seller has the IMEI before you purchase the iPhone. If they refuse to give you the code or they claim they don’t have it, it’s best to avoid purchasing from them.
Look for unlocked phones only
Deciding to buy an iPhone that’s unlocked and refurbished will save you the nuisance of having to call a business that will do the unlocking and charge you. You can find out if the phone’s unlocked by asking the seller to show you the proof.
In case they don’t have the proof, ask for photos or videos where you can see that the phone works with different SIM cards. Purchasing a phone in person is the best way to make sure if the phone is unlocked, so remember to take your SIM card with you to your meeting with the seller.
If you don’t want to take chances, visit Swappa. You can scroll their list of refurbished phones without worrying if the phone’s unlocked or not.
Learn how to unlock the phone
Sometimes you won’t have another option but to buy an unlocked phone. In this case, you can learn online about how to unlock an iPhone. Surely, it will take some time, but it will be well worth it.
You can call the provider and ask if they can unlock your phone. Before contacting them, make sure you have your IMEI number. Without it, it will be impossible to unlock the phone. Providers won’t be able to unlock certain phones, so you might call a specialized business. If so, make sure they’re reliable.
Every business will charge differently, so make a little research before calling them. Once you call, ask how long the service will take, how much will they charge you and whom to call.
4. Learn how to unlock the activation lock
The activation lock is what stops anyone from entering your phone. The software called “Find My iPhone” will turn on in the event of unallowed phone reactivation.
When the activation lock is turned on after you bought the phone, there’s a big chance the phone was stolen. It can also mean the last owner forgot to turn it off. You will have to unlock the iCloud account. However, we strongly advise to only buy refurbished iPhones that are already unlocked to save yourself the hassle.
Purchasing a used or refurbished iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR will be a harder task than searching for older iPhone models. Some of the websites we mentioned aren’t selling certain newest models. Still, if you choose to buy one of these models, remember to follow our guide to avoid being disappointed with your new gadget.