iPhones, in general, are quite durable. If the previous owner hasn’t abused it to the extent of the destruction, it should be fine for you to buy a used iPhone. Regardless of the fact, it shouldn’t stop you from keeping a checklist to ensure that you are getting the best refurbished product your money can buy. 

Here, we’ve gathered the 14 most critical things that you should do before buying used iPhones. Some of the items on the checklist may already be known to you, but we’ve included those for the sake of your convenience. 


1. Check the Model

Most iPhone models come with a 7-year software support for all their variants. Thus, you can still enjoy the latest applications and functionality even if the model is 4-5 years old. However, if you’re planning to use it for more than 2 years, you may miss out on the latest updates after a while. 

But, as you’ll be buying a refurbished phone, the discount alone should allow you to buy a newer model every other year. 

2. Check for Refurbished Certifications

Manufacturers and refurbished iPhone sellers offer several certifications to assure the customers about the condition of the devices. Whenever shopping for an older device—iPhones or not—check the certificates and the tests that were done on it.

Most used iPhone sellers offer a 6 or 12-month warranty on their devices. Depending on the condition of the iPhone, it may change, but it shouldn’t ever be without one. 

If your seller doesn’t provide certifications and a warranty, it may not be worth your hard-earned money. 

3. Check the Return Policy

Before paying the discounted price of refurbished iPhones, consider checking the return policy of the seller. If the seller doesn’t offer a 30, 10, or even a 7-day return policy, this whole checklist ceases to exist.

Moreover, you shouldn’t even buy from a seller who isn’t letting you do a physical inspection of their devices and return them if you aren’t satisfied.  

If they do, carry on with the inspection after getting the iPhone delivered. 

4. Check the Exterior

Cracks, dents, scratches, and abrasions are pretty common for metallic and glass devices. iPhones are no exception. Check the exterior of the device, especially the camera housing, corners, and the bottom.

An effective practice to find hairline scratches is to use a light source like LED flashlights. Move the light source around the device to check if any dents or scratches are present. If they do, assess the extent of it and determine if it’s acceptable or not. 

5. Check for Screen Scratches and Cracks

After the exterior, check the screen for scratches and cracks. If the previous owner has used it with a screen guard, you may not find one. But if they didn’t, hairline scratches or even corner cracks are pretty common. 

Set a bright wallpaper on the refurbished iPhone and thoroughly inspect the screen. If your device has a notch, try to use the same flashlight method to assess the situation. 

6. Check the Speakers

Speakers get damaged pretty easily. Liquid damages, loud cracks, and punctures are common issues with iPhone speakers. Play relatively loud music on the refurbished device to determine if the speaker is in working condition or not.

If you hear distortion or no sound, consider returning it; for a damaged speaker deteriorates over time.  

7. Check the Earpiece

As you’re buying an iPhone and not an iPad, call quality should be paramount. Make a call with your device and see if you can hear the other party loud and clear. Distortions, low sound, or no sound should be grounds for a return. 

However, consider using a calling device with a good mic to determine the earpiece quality. Some devices, especially cheaper Androids, don’t come equipped with the good mics for calls. 

8. Check the Mic

Use the same device that you used to check the earpiece to inspect the condition of the mics on your refurbished iPhone. Physically distant yourself from the second device and talk as you do—-or even use a lower voice. 

If the results are satisfactory, keep it. If not, you know what to do. 

9. Check the Sensors

Tons of sensors are included in every iPhone: the touchscreen, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, Face ID sensor, compass, and many more. Although they are quite durable and don’t break often, it’s best not to neglect them. 

Download Phone Doctor Plus on your iPhone and start the process. It will go through every sensor on your device including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular network. 

10. Check SIM and Charger Slots

SIM slots aren’t as prone to damage as the charger slots are. But they can lock themselves in due to oxidation. Check the SIM tray by taking it out and giving it a thorough visual inspection. 

Check the charging port for disconnections and physical damage. 

11. Check Screws and Gaps

You may not be able to pop the back of the newer iPhones without professional help. And you don’t need it even. If your back and screen are housed perfectly and no visible gaps are found, most probably it’s fine. 

Don’t try prying the screen or back with a tool, but you can try to put mild pressure on the joints and see if anything wiggles. 

12. Check Battery Health

Go to Settings > Battery. Tap on Battery Health.

You’ll be presented with detailed insight into the lifecycle, activity graph, and many other attributes related to the battery of the iPhone.  

13. Match Device IMEI With Box

This doesn’t happen often, but precaution is better than prevention. Check the IMEI of the iPhone by dialing *#06# and matching it with the number written on the box. This is to ensure that you got the same device that you ordered. 

14. Check the Accessories

Match the listed accessories with the accessories present in the box. If it matches, consider trying out each one of them before keeping your device. In most cases, if an accessory is somehow damaged, the seller replaces it before shipping it to you. 

The Bottom Line

Print this to-do list before receiving your delivery of refurbished iPhones. Check for certifications and warranty before placing the order. Make sure the exterior and screen are scratch free. And thoroughly inspect every other element that may limit the quality of your iPhone if it is absent. 


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