Is it Better to Buy a Used or Refurbished iPhone?

Not everyone can afford to buy a new iPhone. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get an iPhone that’s not new but almost as good as new for as high as 25-50% off.

No, don’t expect these kinds of discounts of new items on sale. Our focus today is about used and refurbished iPhones.

You’ve probably started looking for a used iPhone on ebay and saw some things like “refurbished”, or you checked amazon and saw “renewed iPhone.” If these terms confused you or you’re just here to find out which is better, no worries, I’ve got you covered in this article.

Before we conclude on which is better, let’s see what both terms really mean.

What is a used iPhone?

A used iPhone is an iPhone that was previously owned by someone. For example, you buy an iPhone 12 mini today. It was new when you picked it up but immediately you start using it, it becomes a “used iPhone.”

What is a refurbished iPhone?

Now, this is a bit different from a used iPhone in certain ways.

Refurbished iPhones are created when a user who bought a new iPhone returns it to Apple due to some technical issues. Apple takes this faulty phone, inspects it, fixes it, then puts it up for sale as refurbished.


Let me break it down a little.

Apple replaces whatever faulty part there is, changes the outer case and the battery, then repackage it and put it on their refurbished section.

Another way refurbished iPhones are created is when a user returns an iPhone during the 14-day return policy probably due to some personal dislikes such as its color or performance. Apple takes the phone, checks for any faults, if non, they change the outer case and the battery and put it up for sale as refurbished.

What are the advantages of buying a used iPhone?

You get it really cheap. You can buy a used iPhone for half its price and sometimes even less.

It’s easier to get the color you desire when buying a used iPhone.

You don’t lose as much money if you want to resell compared to someone who bought it new.

You can get the latest iPhone as used. Sometimes people run into debts or just wanna sell their iPhones. If you are lucky to run into someone like this, you could be getting a recent iPhone at an amazing price.

Disadvantages of buying a used iPhone

You can easily get scammed. Yes, buying a used iPhone means you must take some safety measures to not get scammed like testing it thoroughly and meeting the person in a public place.

There’s no warranty on the iPhone. Let’s say you test it and everything is as described, you’re happy and you pay. A month later, you notice a problem that wasn’t there when you first got it, you can’t return or get a new one because there is no warranty.


It’s a more stressful process. You have to find the right seller, the right price, run series of tests, maybe request for a refund, etc. it’s really not a walk through and can get exhausting.

Battery life longevity might be a problem because its hard to find a used iPhone with more than 92% battery health.

Advantages of buying a refurbished iPhone

You can get up to 20% or 30% discount for an iPhone that basically new.

You get a one-year warranty from Apple when you buy a refurbished iPhone. This means you can return it if a fault that’s not caused by you arises.

It’s a faster and less stressful process.


You can’t get scammed. Since you’re buying from Apple or from respectable company, your chances of getting scammed are zero.

It’s the safest way to buy a pre-owned iPhone.

Battery health is always 100%

It comes with all the accessories like when you buy a new iPhone.

Disadvantages of buying a refurbished iPhone

It’s more expensive than buying a used one.

You might not be able to get the exact iPhone you want because Apple doesn’t release a refurbished version until a new model is out. For example, don’t expect any refurbished iPhone 12s until 13 has been released.


So, after this comparison, which should you buy?

If you want the best value for your money, I’ll suggest you buy a refurbished iPhone. It’s basically a new iPhone, with warranty at 30% off or more. You can sell used iPhone to us and use the cash toward new one.

However, if you’re on a tight budget and you are not in a hurry, then you should take your time to look for a used iPhone that suits you. Be sure to test it thoroughly either by yourself or asking a carrier service to help you test it.


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