Top 15 Things to Consider and Ask Before Purchasing Refurbished iPhones

Purchasing a refurbished iPhone presents a number of benefits. Nevertheless, you have to be careful and look out for certain factors to get the best deal. We’ve put together a checklist of the top 15 things to consider and ask, whether you’re buying a refurbished iPhone just for yourself or if you’re purchasing wholesale iPhones that are refurbished. Here they are: 

1. Understand the difference between used iPhone and refurbished iPhone 

In general, you can either purchase an iPhone that is brand new, used, or refurbished. Before you decide on purchasing a refurbished iPhone, the differences between the three options need to be clear. 

Brand new iPhones come directly from the factories and are sealed in boxes. New iPhones have the manufacturer’s full warranty and all included accessories. However, for obvious reasons, new iPhones cost more than used or refurbished ones. Additionally, because of the raw materials needed to manufacture new phones, your purchase of a new iPhone would have a bigger environmental impact. 

On the other end of the spectrum, used iPhones come from their previous owners. The quality of the used iPhone that you purchase can therefore vary. You might purchase with minor scratches or more serious damages, such as battery degradation or major screen cracks. While it depends on the condition of the used iPhone and the price that the seller has attached to it; used iPhones are usually the cheapest option. 

However, purchasing used iPhones can be risky, as they may come without any return policy or warranty. The seller may also not be entirely honest about the condition of the iPhone. 

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Refurbished iPhones give you the best of both worlds – great quality at a lower cost. Not only are refurbished iPhones tested to ensure they are in great working condition, most of them come graded and also come with a warranty. In fact, most refurbished iPhones’ defective parts would be replaced by the manufacturer or reseller. Thus, most refurbished iPhones are similar to brand new iPhones, but at a much more affordable cost. 

2. Ask about authenticity

It goes without saying that no one wants to end up spending good money on an inauthentic iPhone. Thus, you should ask your seller about the authenticity of the refurbished iPhone. You should also enquire about the repairs that have been done on the iPhone, and if they were made by an Apple-authorized service provider. If repairs are done at unauthorized centers, it could mean that certain parts of the iPhone are inauthentic or unofficial.  

3. Check for water damage

Did you know that water-damaged iPhones often produce muffled sounds? Not only that, water can corrode an iPhone and make it impossible for it to charge at all. While the newer models of iPhones tend to be water-resistant, the older models run the risk of water damage. Thus, you should ensure that the refurbished iPhone you’re looking to buy does not have any water damage, especially if you’re looking at buying an older model. 

To check for water damage, simply remove the SIM tray and observe if the liquid contact indicator has turned red. If it is red, the refurbished iPhone has water damage, and you should not purchase it. 

4. Consider the storage capacity you need

Similar to how you will look out for the storage capacity for a brand new iPhone, you should also consider the storage capacity of a refurbished one. While you can use iCloud for extra storage space, it is still important to get an iPhone with sufficient storage capacity, especially if you love taking pictures and videos for keepsakes. 

5. Make sure the phone can be turned on 

While it may seem obvious that you should only purchase refurbished iPhones that can be turned on, some still fall prey to sellers’ tactics and end up with phones that’ll never come on. Sellers may, for example, lie that the iPhone has a dead battery, and can’t be switched on at that moment. Make sure to do a charge test by bringing along a portable battery and lightning cable to charge the iPhone. Upon turning on the phone, you should see the “Hello” prompt or lock screen if it is a genuine iPhone that works fine.

6. Check if the iPhone is stolen

The last thing you want to buy is a stolen refurbished iPhone. It isn’t just unethical – you might not even be able to use it. With Apple’s Activation Lock feature, stolen iPhones will not respond to your SIM card, and you will not be able to activate it. The best way to check if an iPhone is stolen is to check the phone’s IMEI or MEID number (this depends on the carrier of the iPhone). 

Here’s how you can find the IMEI or MEID number. First, go to the Settings app. Next, tap on General, followed by About. Scroll down until you find the IMEI or MEID number for the refurbished iPhone. It is usually a 15-digit code. With the obtained IMEI or MEID number, enter it into the CTIA’s Stolen Phone Checker to ensure the phone was not reported as stolen or lost. 

7. Scrutinize the display

What’s the next thing to consider when purchasing a refurbished iPhone? Scrutinize the display of the phone. First, get rid of any screen protector so that you can properly assess the actual screen and display of the iPhone. Check for any scratches or serious cracks. 

After this, slant the refurbished iPhone towards a bright light to inspect for bezel shapes. The bezels of a legitimate iPhone are extremely fine and smooth. If the iPhone has an edge-lit LCD, you should examine if all the lights are in working condition. On the other hand, if the iPhone is newer with an OLED display, examine if there are burn-ins. 

8. Examine battery health

Changing an iPhone’s battery can be expensive and difficult. It is best to get a refurbished iPhone whose battery health is close to 100%. You can check the battery health in the Settings app of iPhones running iOS 11.3 and higher. Tap on Battery in the Settings app, followed by Battery Health. 

9. Inspect the iPhone’s software

Another crucial thing you need to consider when purchasing a refurbished phone is if it is running a genuine iOS operating system. The best way you can inspect the phone’s software is to plug it into a PC or Mac with iTunes installed. If it is a legitimate iPhone running on a genuine iOS operating system, the iTunes software will be able to immediately detect and display the full details of the iPhone. 

10. Test the speakers and mic

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Test the speaker of the iPhone and make sure the sounds are not muffled or distorted. You can make a phone call and ask the other party if they can hear you clearly. This will allow you to check if the microphone feature is in good condition. If you do not have a SIM card to make a call, you can still call to check the quality of the speaker and microphone. Simply connect to nearby Wi-Fi and use FaceTime. You can also look at the speaker mesh at the bottom of the iPhone. Check if there are any enlarged gaps or abnormalities. 

11. Do the buttons work?

There are a few buttons you need to check to ensure you are getting a good-quality refurbished iPhone. First, check for the volume buttons and mute switch on the left side of the iPhone. While it is possible that they get worn out over time, they should still produce clear ‘clicks’ and be responsive. On the contrary, a mushy button probably means you should not purchase this refurbished iPhone. Finally, ensure that the power button on the right side is responsive and works well. 

12. Touch and Face ID test

Depending on the model of the refurbished iPhone, check if the Touch ID or Face ID feature is working. If it is an iPhone with Face ID features, go to the Settings app, followed by Face ID & Passcode. Tap on Set Up an Alternate Appearance to ensure it is in good condition. 

If the iPhone is running on Touch ID features, you should also go to the Settings app, followed by Touch ID & Passcode. If it is in good condition, you should be able to enroll your fingerprint, and the iPhone should be able to recognize your newly registered fingerprint. 

13. Take some pictures

iPhones are known for their incredible cameras, so wouldn’t it be a shame if your refurbished iPhone came with a faulty camera? To make sure that your refurbished iPhone can take dazzling photos of your OOTD (outfit of the day), you need to test them out and inspect them carefully for any visible cracks or scratches on the camera lens. 

Simply open the Camera app and test the front-facing camera, and then test the lens at the back. Take a few pictures in various modes, and record a video as well. When you are taking the picture, ensure that the camera focuses on the particular spot that you tap on. You should also check that you can access live pictures in the Photos app by using the 3D or haptic touch. 

14. How does the iPhone perform?

The next thing you need to consider when purchasing a refurbished iPhone is its performance. After all, an iPhone with poor performance can be slow, and downright frustrating. Test the performance of the iPhone by browsing a few apps and websites, and try searching for a specific app with the Spotlight feature. An iPhone that performs decently should be able to do all of these tasks smoothly and without any lag. 

15. Does the phone work with your carrier?

Did you know that certain model numbers of iPhones do not work for specific carriers in the United States? Unfortunately, this is a lesser-known fact that can cause your refurbished iPhone to be carrier-locked. 

Thus, you need to ensure that the refurbished iPhone works with your carrier. Let’s just take iPhone X as an example. While the iPhone X A1865 works for any carrier, the iPhone X A1901 does not work for Sprint or Verizon carriers. It only works for T-Mobile and AT&T carriers. Ring up your local carrier or phone company and enquire if the refurbished iPhone is compatible with their services (by providing the iPhone’s IMEI or MEID number). 

Do your homework well

So, if you want to buy refurbished iPhones as a retailer, there are some cool online platforms to check out. A great platform that resellers can try out is Eze Wholesale. It’s a one-stop shop for wholesale electronics popular among many retailers of used phones. Known for its rigorous grading process, Eze has sold about 10 million devices in less than three years.

Remember, if you do your homework well, you can purchase a refurbished iPhone that doesn’t lose out on functionality or aesthetics when compared to a brand new one. Happy hunting!

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