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8 Things You Need To Know When Buying A Pre-Owned Apple iPhone

  • By Smartphonesdirect Ireland

The global smartphone market is dominated by iPhones, but they aren't cheap, and they rarely go on sale. If you want to get one without paying full price, buying a used or refurbished iPhone is your best bet. While a used iPhone can be a good deal, there are a few things you should watch out for, whether you buy from a trusted company, or if you buy privately!

Every iPhone model starting with the iPhone 5 works on all phone company networks. However, it's important to know that AT&T's network uses an extra LTE signal that the others don't, which can mean faster service in some places. If you buy an iPhone that was designed for use with Verizon and take it to AT&T, you may not be able to access that LTE signal. Ask the seller for the iPhone's model number (it will be similar to A1633 or A1688) and check to make sure it's compatible with your carrier.

In Ireland, no network uses the LTE signal, so make sure that the iPhone you are buying is compatible with GSM networks!

Make Sure the Phone Isn't Stolen

When buying a used iPhone, you don't want to buy a stolen phone. Apple prevents stolen iPhones from being activated by new users with its Activation Lock tool. Apple used to offer a simple website for checking Activation Lock status, but the company removed it. However, you can still find out if the iPhone you are considering buying is stolen. You need the IMEI number from the iPhone. If you don't have the phone, you'll have to tell the seller where it is located. All phones sold by Smartphones Direct are purchased from trusted supplier, and are not stolen!

  1. Tap the Settings app on the iPhone.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap About.
  4. Scroll down and look next to IMEI (or MEID) for the number. It is usually a 15-digit number.
Three iOS screens showing General, About, and IMEI Settings
  1. Go to the CTIA Stolen Phone Checker website and enter the number into the field provided.
  2. Place a check next to I'm not a robot and click Submit.
  3. Stolen Phone Checker website
  4. The website returns a green Not reported lost or stolen or a red notice that the phone has been reported as lost or stolen.

Even if you have the right iPhone model, it's a good idea to call your phone company before you buy to confirm it can activate the phone. The majority of iPhone's sold in Ireland are network locked, meaning to use that iPhone you will most likely have to switch network, or pay to get it unlocked. All iPhone's sold by Smartphones Direct are fully network unlocked.

Check the Battery

Since users can't replace the iPhone's battery, you want to be sure that any used iPhone you buy has a strong battery. A lightly used iPhone should have decent battery life, but anything more than a year old should be checked. Ask the seller for as much detail about the battery life as possible or see if they’ll install a new battery before you buy. Apple installs new batteries in their iPhones for a reasonable price, so if you can't get reliable information on the condition of the battery, go to Apple.com for a price on replacing the battery before you commit to the purchase. All battery's in the iPhone's we sell are at least 80% of the original manufacturers specification.

Check for Other Hardware Damage

Every iPhone has normal wear and tear such as dings or scratches on the sides and back of the phone. However, major scratches on the screen, problems with the Touch ID or 3D Touch sensor, scratches on the camera lens, or other hardware damage can be big problems. Ask to inspect the phone in person if possible. Check the water damage sensor to see if the phone has ever gotten wet. Test the camera, buttons, and other hardware. If inspecting the phone isn't possible, buy from one of the reputable, established sellers who stand behind their products. All iPhone's sold by Smartphones Direct have passed our industry leading quality assurance programme.

Find the Right Storage Capacity

While the allure of a low price is strong, remember that used iPhones usually aren’t the latest models and have less storage space than current models. The current top-of-the-line iPhones offer up to 256GB of storage for your music, photos, apps, and other data. Some models that are available for low prices have as little as 16GB of space. That's a big difference. Size isn't as important as it used to be, particularly for people who use iCloud for photos and music, but you probably shouldn't get anything smaller than 16GB. 

Assess Features and Price

Be sure you know what features you're sacrificing when you buy a used iPhone. Most likely, you're buying at least one generation behind the current model. That's fine and is a smart way to save money. Just make sure you know the features the model you're considering doesn't have and that you're OK without them. A refurbished iPhone may be 100 euro cheaper, but it may not have the latest features. All iPhone's sold by Smartphones Direct are updated to the latest iOS.

If You Can, Get a Warranty

If you can get a refurbished iPhone with a warranty, do it. The most reputable sellers stand behind their products. A phone that's had a previous repair won't necessarily be trouble in the future, but it might, so a warranty is a smart move.Smartphones Direct offers a fully comprehensive warranty for one year and one day.

Where to Buy a Refurbished iPhone

Naturally, we can only recommend that you buy from us. Having been in the industry for years, we have heard many horror stories about purchasing pre owned iPhones, both from private sellers, and from other businesses that do not even stand over the battery on the device which they sell you! 

Smartphones Direct tick all the above boxes, and more, when it comes to buying a pre owned iPhone.

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