Is it really a good idea to buy a refurbished iPhone?

If you’re currently weighing your options for buying a new iPhone, you won’t want to write off refurbished models. With the brand new lineup of iPhones starting at $699, purchasing a refurbished one can still result in a great phone at a fraction of that cost. So if you’re curious about this budget-friendly option, keep reading. This article covers the pros and cons of refurbished iPhones and what to watch out for when you’re shopping.

What is a refurbished iPhone?

A refurbished iPhone is one that isn’t brand new. It has been used in some way and repaired back to like-new condition.

Just because a particular iPhone was returned to Apple doesn’t mean it’s defective. It may have simply been traded in for a newer iPhone or returned for a minor repair, like a faulty volume button.

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Does refurbished mean secondhand?

Yes, as you read earlier, in most cases, refurbished means that a device has been previously used. But the tricky thing about it is that there are no predefined terms for what qualifies as refurbished. That particular iPhone could’ve been a display unit at one point, or someone might have returned it for a different color model.

What is the difference between original and refurbished iPhones?

If you’re buying a used original iPhone, it means you’re buying a phone directly from someone secondhand. It hasn’t had any testing or repairs to bring it back to a like-new state. On the other hand, refurbished iPhones have been inspected and tested, if not also repaired.

What is the difference between refurbished and certified refurbished?

When you buy an iPhone through a third-party store, you’re more than likely getting a refurbished iPhone. This means the store has examined the phone and determined what needed to be repaired in order to resell it. 

But if you buy a refurbished iPhone directly from Apple, you’re getting a certified refurbished model. That means that not only has it been repaired, but it’s passed a series of rigorous tests so that Apple can deem the device “like new.” It also comes with the same warranty and AppleCare options as a new iPhone.

When you buy a refurbished iPhone

The great thing about buying a refurbished iPhone is that it’s similar to buying a brand new iPhone, with the added bonus of saving some money. That said, there are plenty of stores that sell refurbished iPhones. In fact, almost all of the major retailers that sell new iPhones also sell refurbished ones too.

Can you buy a refurbished iPhone at the Apple Store?

While you can’t walk into an Apple Store and buy a refurbished iPhone, you can order one online. Since the inventory on these products is unique based on what’s available, it would be impractical for them to send refurbished devices to individual stores to keep them stocked up.

What’s the best place to buy a refurbished iPhone?

Hands down, the best place to buy a refurbished iPhone is through Apple’s website. They have the highest standards for what will pass for a “like-new” phone and will offer the same warranty coverage as a new iPhone.

But if you aren’t finding the iPhone you want from Apple’s online store, you can expand your search elsewhere. As mentioned earlier in this article, most major retailers that sell new iPhones also sell refurbished phones, so check out stores like Best Buy and Target to see if the iPhone model you want is available.

Do refurbished iPhones have new screens and batteries?

When you buy a refurbished iPhone through Apple, it is guaranteed to come with a new battery and outer casing. The only reason it would come with a new screen is if there was something wrong with the original one, such as dead pixels or a screen that stopped responding to touch.

Do refurbished iPhones come with accessories?

Again, if you buy the refurbished iPhone directly from Apple, it will come with all the same accessories as a new one. Even though it’s a small ask and most stores will likely offer accessories as well, there’s no guarantee. If this is something you’re concerned about, make sure you ask before you purchase the phone.

The pros and cons of buying an Apple-refurbished iPhone

Like most things, there are positive aspects, as well as some obvious drawbacks to purchasing an Apple-refurbished iPhone.


  • More budget-friendly
  • Rigorously tested and guaranteed to be “like new”
  • iPhone will have a new casing and a new battery
  • Comes with a standard one-year warranty with an option for AppleCare+
  • You are helping extend the product’s life-cycle, making it a greener, more environmentally friendly device


  • Devices are typically older, previous-generation models
  • Fewer options to have the exact specifications you want
  • Previously owned device

There are a lot of great reasons to buy a refurbished iPhone, and these reasons go beyond getting an iPhone at a fraction of the price of a brand new phone. As long as you know what you’re looking for and what options are available to you, you can make the best, most informed decision possible for you.

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