Refurbished iPhones: What are they and where to buy them in 2021?

Best places to buy refurbished iPhones

Due to their trusted performance backed by years of timely software updates, iPhones, both new and old, are always in demand. In fact, high resale value is one of the reasons to buy an iPhone rather than an Android. The great news is there are plenty of good places to buy used or refurbished iPhones that offer great value at an affordable price.

Before we get into the specifics of where to buy, let’s understand the difference between used and refurbished devices and what you need to know and consider before buying a refurbished iPhone to make an informed choice.

What does a refurbished iPhone mean?

A refurbished iPhone means an iPhone that has been restored to its full working potential after being previously owned by someone else. It’s a used device that Apple or a certified reseller has checked to ensure it’s working well. The only “defects” may be minor external marks like scuffs or scratches that come about during use.

Difference between used and refurbished iPhones

It’s worth reiterating that there’s a difference between “used” and “refurbished.” A used phone may come at an extremely low price. However, it may or may not have a guarantee or warranty. While it can save you a lot of money, it could be risky, especially if you don’t know what to look for. So, you’ve got to be street-smart when buying a used iOS device and never fail to check out all the essential aspects.

As for a refurbished iPhone, it’s repaired by a professional technician and usually comes with a reseller warranty, so you know you’re protected, and the device is worth the price you pay. Though it’s a bit more expensive than a used iPhone, it’s a much safer way to go.

Moreover, at times, you might land an open box deal that’s basically a brand new iPhone that was returned by the buyer in perfect condition and is resold at a lower price. However, such deals are pretty rare to come by, so keep an eye out and grab one when you see it!

Should you buy a refurbished iPhone?  

The word “refurbished” still causes some doubt and confusion because you may not know if you’re getting the real deal and if your iPhone will work as expected. The trick is to know what you’re buying. Here is what to check when buying a used iPhone:

  • Utility: How do you intend to use the refurbished iPhone? If it’s primarily for phone calls and texts, even a cheap older version will work fine. If you want it for its camera, try to get the latest one you can afford. Will it be your daily driver or a secondary device? Check out the battery health given by the seller to make sure it will hold up.
  • Warranty/guarantee: Most resellers offer some kind of warranty or guarantee on a refurbished iPhone. While the exterior might show some signs of wear, you can expect the refurbished device to perform like a new one of its generation. The one exception could be battery life.

    You can commonly expect to get a refurbished iPhone that can recharge 80% to 90% of its original maximum battery life. But if you buy Certified Refurbished iPhones from Apple, you get the added benefit of a new battery and a new outer shell. Pretty sweet deal!
  • Cost: Focus on what you’re willing to spend rather than how much you’ll save. You can find refurbished iPhones ranging from less than $200 to more than $1,000 depending on the model, generation, storage capacity, condition, etc.

    While the latest refurbished model might seem attractive, it’s not worth getting if your need is basic. Search around to find the deal that best matches your needs and budget.

With all that out of the way, go ahead and find your dream refurbished iPhone from the places listed below.

Best places where you can buy refurbished or used iPhones (2021)

  1. Apple Refurbished Store
  2. Best Buy
  3. Swappa
  4. Amazon Renewed
  5. Gazelle
  6. eBay
  7. Buy from respective carriers

1. Apple Refurbished Store

Apple Refurbished Store is best Place to buy used iPhone

While there is no shortage of places to buy a refurbished iPhone, none can match the assurance that Apple offers. Granted, the tech giant charges a tad higher than others. However, you get a fully calibrated device that runs smoothly. Moreover, it comes with a new battery and outer shell, so it’s literally as good as new.

Apple has compiled a solid collection of refurbished iPhones. So you shouldn’t have any problems choosing a reasonably good iOS device. At the time of this article, the company sells a refurbished iPhone 11 Pro 256GB (space gray/midnight green, unlocked) at $849. And the 256GB iPhone XS (silver/gold, unlocked) is available for $759.

Long story short, “Apple” is the best place to buy a refurbished iPhone as it offers a fully calibrated device that can work reliably.

Visit: Apple’s Website

2. Best Buy

Buy Refurbished iPhone at Best Buy

Simply put, Best Buy has always been one of the most trusted sellers of open-box, unlocked, and pre-owned iPhones. So, you should never fail to check it out, especially when you wish to buy a good smartphone at a whopping discount.

Not just iPhones, this noted seller offers devices from several other manufacturers. That’s not all. It also provides some warranty (limited 90 days) on products which make them quite reliable.

As of now, Best Buy is offering a pre-owned iPhone 8 with 64GB memory (unlocked, space gray) at $229.99 and iPhone X with 256GB memory (unlocked, space gray) at $439.99.

Visit: Best Buy

3. Swappa

Buy Used and Refurbished Apple Products at Swappa

Due mainly to the extensive collection of both used and refurbished devices, Swappa is one of the biggest players in the market. Aside from offering huge discounts on products, it also provides the needed protection to buyers. As each purchase is made via PayPal, you have the additional safeguard against fraud.

Right now, the starting price of an iPhone 11 is $430, while the iPhone XR comes for $269 on Swappa. Moreover, you can get the iPhone 12 at $640. It also has great deals on the iPhone 11 series, should you want to get them at great discounts.

Visit: Swappa

4. Amazon Renewed

Amazon is best place to purchase used and refurbished iPhones

You didn’t expect me to miss out on Amazon, did you? Amazon Renewed might be a slightly new player on the horizon, but it’s second to none for providing exclusive deals. Whether it’s open-box deals or refurbished items, Renewed is a great place to buy refurbished iPhones.

What’s more? They’re quite reliable and backed by Amazon’s trusted return policy.

As of now, you can get a fully unlocked iPhone 11 Pro Max with 64GB memory (midnight green) at $734 and the XS with 64GB storage (unlocked, space gray) at $357.95 on Amazon Renewed. Besides, it offers the iPhone 8 with 64GB storage (unlocked, space gray/silver) at $199.

Visit: Amazon Renewed

5. Gazelle

Best Place to Buy Certified Refurbished iPhone at Gazelle

For buying reasonably good used iPhones, Gazelle has long been a reputed name. They basically buy smartphones from individuals, repair them through experts, and put them on sale after thorough testing.

Moreover, they also sell the latest iPhones and other smartphones at massive discounts. In a nutshell, Gazelle should be your go-to platform for buying used iOS devices at an incredibly low price. But keep in mind, it only offers a return policy of 30 days.

Right now, Gazelle is offering iPhone 11 with 64GB storage (unlocked) at $404, and the iPhone XS Max with 256GB storage (unlocked) is priced at $509.

Visit: Gazelle

6. eBay

Purchase used and refurbished iPhones from eBay

When there’s a discussion to get an old iPhone at a fairly low price, how can you keep eBay out of it? The platform boasts a lot of noted sellers, so there’s a high chance that you may get a pretty impressive smartphone without burning a hole in your wallet.

Do note that eBay doesn’t offer any guarantee.

As of now, eBay is selling iPhone 12 (128GB) at $690. The deals (starting price around $200) on older iPhones like iPhone 7 and 8 are also quite good. Due mainly to the huge catalog and impressive discounts, eBay is one of the best places to buy used iPhones.

Visit: eBay

7. Buy from respective carriers

Many well-known carrier providers like SprintT-MobileVerizon, and AT&T sell certified pre-owned iPhones. And with pretty good discounts on the regular. So, if you’re willing to get one, don’t fail to inquire about it. It’s also worth noting that each carrier sells its own phones. Therefore you’d do well to take a close look at the “conditions” before hitting the add to cart button.

Side Note: Due to the high risk and various reports of scams, robbery, and stolen devices, we don’t recommend Craiglist and LetGo. These sellers offer used iPhones at incredibly low price points. However, you must be very cautious before going for those deals. So, never fail to check the IMEI to ensure the iPhone is not stolen or lost.

Bonus: refurb.me

refurbme refurbished Apple products comparator

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your iPhone, MacBook, AirPods, or any other Apple device, refurb.me has you covered. Use its sleek and simple UI to quickly navigate your way to the best deals on refurbished iPhones and Apple accessories.

refurb.me groups all reputable refurbishers together so you can effortlessly compare prices to make your purchasing decision; we’re confident refurb.me will stick out to you, even when compared with the best of the best.

If you had any doubt in your mind, refurb.me offers a warranty and return policy with every device listed. No risk, no worries!

Buy a refurbished iPhone with confidence

Now that you know the most trusted places to buy refurbished iPhones, finding the right device that can meet your demands shouldn’t be a big deal. As mentioned above, it’s always recommended to get them from well-known places so that you don’t end up with the stolen or lost devices.

One more thing worth keeping in mind, especially when getting a used iPhone, is making sure all the essential features like Touch/Face ID, Lightning port, camera, and battery are in good condition. Do you have any further questions about how and where to buy refurbished iPhones? Let me know in the comments below so I can help you out.

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