- Mon - Fri 10:00 - 18:00 / Closed on Weekends
Buying a Refurbished or Pre-Owned iPhone | A Simple Guide
Reduce your monthly phone bill with a second-hand iPhone and help the planet
Choosing a second-hand iPhone means you can get a newer model for less money, reduce your phone bill and helps the environment but how do you ensure you don't end up with some battered piece of stolen junk? We've got you covered with this guide to buying a pre-owned or used iPhone.
Since the launch of the first iPhone all those years ago, there has been a standard annual rush every September to own the latest iPhone model, currently the iPhone 11 Pro. As technology has improved and more features have been added, the price has crept up to the headline grabbing £1000; which if you buy on a pay monthly plan, will cost you north of £50/£60 a month if you don't want to pay anything upfront.
That's all well and good if you love having the very latest iPhone model (lots of us here do too!) and make the most of all those new features, but what about those of us that don't want to splash out all that cash?
Fortunately, Apple over the last few years has had the foresight to keep the previous generation models still available to buy, normally with a nice price cut too - they also keep them up to date with the latest software - even the 5 year old iPhone 6s benefited from the most recent iOS 13 update that rolled out to the iPhone 11 Pro too.
In addition to that, as more people trade in their old iPhone, return it when they upgrade, or sell it on eBay, there are now plenty of pre-owned iPhones available to buy which means you can upgrade your current iPhone to a newer model for a whole lot less money.
To give you an example, a new iPhone 8 currently costs about £28 a month on EE. You can buy a refurbished iPhone 8 for £22 a month. That's a saving of £144 over the 2 year contract making it well worth a look.
Low prices are great, but it can be a minefield of different terms and explanations for what you're getting when buying a used iPhone - refurbished, grade A, grade B, 'Good' condition, certified pre-owned, pristine - what does it all mean!?
Here's what to look for when choosing a pre-owned phone. It's important to remember, that there is no real standard for all of these definitions but having seen just about every type of pre-owned iPhone, we've summarised what you should expect.
Refurbished iPhones are those that have as a minimum been tested to ensure they work, been factory reset and wiped of all personal data and cleaned. Some may have had parts replaced or the screen replaced to ensure it's free from cracks.
They may have some signs of wear and tear, like scuffs or light scratches on the outer casing but you may also find that the phone is actually in perfect condition, as a lot of refurbished iPhones are often just returns - where a customer has bought the phone new, not used it and decided to return it to the retailer.
They may or may not come with a warranty but this should be made clear in the listing by the retailer. They may or may not include accessories (headset, charger), but again the listing should make this clear and be reflected in the price.
The handy thing if you're an existing iPhone user means you've probably got a few chargers and headsets knocking around the home already so you can make the most of saving a bit more money.
Refurbished iPhones often represent the best balance between value for money and a good quality phone and these are what we sell at Chitter Chatter, you can find them here. They include a 12 month warranty.[caption id="attachment_3100" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Refurbished iPhone 8 stock at Chitter Chatter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3101" align="aligncenter" width="780"] Many that we receive are in nearly new condition.[/caption]
Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones
These are iPhones that have been returned to Apple and then go through a full Apple-approved refurbishment process. As well as testing, resetting and cleaning, the outer casing and screen is replaced with brand new parts so the phone actually looks like it was brand new.
They include a 12 month Apple warranty and accessories such a charger and headset. They will be boxed, but it won't be the original Apple iPhone box used on new models.
As they have the Apple seal of approval, expect to pay a bit more for these than you would for a Refurbished iPhone.
Pre-owned iPhones may well have been refurbished but they are often just sold as seen and will normally be listed with their condition such as 'Good', 'Excellent' or 'Like New' - or 'Grade A/B/C'. The data should have been wiped, but of course if you're buying from a private seller on eBay, there's no guarantee so make sure you're buying from someone reputable.
There is no official standard for the grading of pre-owned iPhones so read the retailer definition carefully and ask them to clarify anything you're unsure about.
Having seen a lot of grade A, B and C iPhones, we'd advise sticking to grade A and B as a rule when buy a pre-owned or used iPhone from eBay. C can often be pretty well used but if you're just after a cheap iPhone as a temporary replacement, they can be a good option.
If you're buying from a private seller on eBay, rather than a retailer, make sure you take a close look at the product photos and details in the listing.
Used iPhones are becoming increasingly popular, it's just a case of knowing what to look for and knowing exactly what you're buying. It also means fewer new phones need to be made, which is a good thing for the environment in a world where we're trying to reduce waste.
More from Chitter Chatter…
- Take a look at the latest pay monthly mobile phone deals
- EE upgrade deals – we’ve been upgrading customers for 25 years
- SIM Only deals – keep your phone, reduce your bill
- SIM Free phones – massive savings on the latest unlocked phones
- Trade in your old phones for cash
- Register for our Newsletter for exclusive offers, news and tips