What is a refurbished iPhone?
Refurbished iPhones are those that have been either returned due to a fault or sold due to an upgrade / no longer needing it.
You may be thinking that this means the iPhone is ‘used’. That isn’t the case! There’s a big difference between a used or second hand phone and a refurbished phone. Refurbished iPhones have been fully refurbished, restored and will have gone through a range of testing to ensure they are fully working.
Even if the iPhone has not had a previous user, but has been used for trade shows, for example, it is still classed as refurbished. This is because the company selling the iPhone (in this case, Apple) cannot label the iPhone as ‘new’ as it has been opened.
You can buy refurbished iPhones from either the manufacturer or an independent retailer. We’ll explain later on in this guide how best to choose a retailer.
It’s important to remember that not all refurbished iPhones will be in the same condition. Some come with more accessories, while others have some cosmetic damage. Retailers generally provide a grading system to help you understand the condition the iPhone is being sold in.
Different retailers will have different naming conventions from their grading system but is typically the following;
Refurbished - Grade A (Pristine Condition)
“Will show, at worst, very light signs of wear on the housing and screen.”
Refurbished - Grade B (Excellent Condition)
“Will show light signs of wear which can include light scratches and scuffs on the housing and screen.”
Refurbished - Grade C (Good Condition)
“Will show light to medium signs of wear which can be noticeable scratches and dents on the housing and noticeable scratches on the screen.”
Refurbished - Grade D (Fair Condition)
“Will show heavy signs of wear which can be deep scratches and or chips on the housing and screen.”
The price you pay for your refurbished iPhone will vary depending on the grade you choose. For example, for a refurbished iPhone 11, in pristine condition, you could expect to pay £469.95 at WeSelltek.
Refurbished iPhone Grading
WeSellTek also has a grading system, from fair condition to pristine, to help you find the perfect iPhone that suits your needs and budget. You can read our guide to Phone grading criteria here, which details the quality of the condition of the phone to expect depending on the grade.
The latest version of the iPhone may not be available straight away.
If you’re after the newest addition of the iPhone, a refurbished handset may not be the way to go. This is because it’ll take a little while for refurbished versions to become available, and they may be at a more competitive price point than their older counterparts. Just bear in mind you may have to wait a little longer.
WeSellTek has an extensive range of refurbished iPhones available, with the latest editions available in a competitive timeframe.
Are refurbished iPhones good?
There are often false reports of people buying refurbished phones or iPhones and not being a reliable or reputable choice when it comes to buying a new phone. However, refurbished iPhones offer a more reliable, safe and dependable choice for your new iPhone in comparison to second-hand iPhones or used iPhones. The Apple refurbishment process means that your refurbished iPhone comes with certain guarantees that aren’t possible or attainable with a second hand iPhone directly from the buyer.
Don’t forget: It’s important to remember that ‘manufacturer refurbished’ or ‘factory refurbished phones’ are not the same as second-hand phones or used phones.
What does manufacturer refurbished mean?
If you are looking for a refurbished iPhone, and it is labelled as ‘manufacturer refurbished’, this means it has been refurbished by the manufacturer itself as opposed to the previous owner. Manufacturer refurbished iPhones undergo diagnostics and are thoroughly cleaned before being repacked for sale. The handsets are then sold directly from a manufacturer, retailer or seller.
Is it cheaper to buy a used iPhone?
Yes, it sometimes is. But it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Used iPhones that have not been refurbished won’t have gone through the testing that our refurbished iPhones go through. In most cases, you'll also be buying the used iPhone directly from the previous owner, meaning you won’t be covered by any form of warranty.
When you buy anything from a private seller, legally you often won’t have any rights if the item isn’t of the quality you want. As long as the seller has accurately described the item and has the right to sell it, then they aren’t obligated to give you a refund if you find you don’t like it.
Some handsets do come with transferable warranties from the manufacturer, so if you do decide to go with a used iPhone look out for this!
How much money can I save with a refurbished iPhone?
Exactly how much you save by going refurbished will depend on a few different things. You’ll save a different amount depending on the condition/grade of the phone you choose. It will also vary depending on the model of iPhone you use.
We have, however, calculated that the average saving by buying a refurbished iPhone over a contracted brand new one is £126.
To read more about this, check this out - Battle of the iPhones: how much could refurbished really save?
Where can you buy refurbished iPhones?
You will be able to find plenty of online retailers that sell refurbished iPhones at competitive prices.
It’s important to remember when buying any second-hand hardware or refurbished goods to check the credibility of the site and do your research.
WeSellTek refurbished mobiles come with a free 14-day return policy and 12-month warranty as standard; these kinds of features are important to ensure before you complete any purchase.
Which refurbished iPhone should you buy?
The model of iPhone you go for will depend on your needs and requirements from the phone itself. The main features to consider are:
The storage capacity
How much storage capacity will you need? Do you take a lot of photos or use a lot of apps? If you’re looking for an iPhone with a high storage capacity, then you’ll need to see what’s available.
Which colour iPhone would you like? Different iPhone models come with different colour options. It’s also important to remember that not all of those options will definitely be available from your chosen refurbished iPhone retailer.
If you want the cosmetic appearance to appear new, you’ll want to go for a higher grade iPhone. You’ll need to check the availability of the model that you decide to go for.
The accessories that come with it
Different retailers are going to offer different packages of accessories with varying models and grade levels.
The features of the model itself
We’ve provided a breakdown of these features for our most popular iPhone models. Check them out below!
Refurbished iPhone safety?
We find that a commonly asked question is ‘are refurbished iPhones safe?’. Our refurbished iPhones go through a series of in-depth testing to ensure all of our phones are safe. Due to incidents talked about in the news in the past, many people query the iPhone battery. We ensure all of our refurbished iPhones are long-lasting battery, that have been fully tested.
The iPhone refurbishment process itself is very in depth ensuing any safety issues would be picked up before the phone is ready to be sold. If you’d like to know more about how we refurbish our iPhones and the testing we do, have a read of our Refurbishment Process.
Refurbished iPhone or new?
There are pros and cons that come with both buying a new iPhone and buying a refurbished iPhone. To see a full run down and both, check out our Refurbished iPhone vs New Guide.
The main areas you’ll to consider are:
The quality of the iPhone
You’ll get the assurance that a new iPhone is in perfect condition.
The iPhone accessories
With a new iPhone, you’ll get all of the accessories included (charger, earphones etc.) However, some refurbished iPhone retailers do include this in their Grade A packages.
The iPhone cost
A refurbished iPhone is going to cost a considerable amount less than a new iPhone. This is a budget-friendly option and you can choose the condition your iPhone is in. You could get a pristine refurbished iPhone and still pay a lot less than you would if you bought it new.
Do refurbished phones come with a warranty?
One of the most important things to look out for when buying a refurbished iPhone is the warranty that comes with it.
This will provide you with protection and security if anything were to go wrong with the phone. Most reliable retailers will offer this with your refurbished iPhones.
The length of that warranty will however vary from retailer to retailer. It’s important to check this before you buy the iPhone. It’s also important to note that the length of the warranty could also vary depending on the grade of refurbishment you go for.
Your warranty will come from either the retailer (if they did the refurbishment) or the manufacturer.
What rights do I have when buying a refurbished iPhone?
If you’re buying from an official trader, you’ll have the same rights as though you were buying your iPhone from a shop. The product you’ve purchased will need to be of satisfactory quality and fit the description it was advertised as. If for example, there was a fault with the iPhone that had not been disclosed, you are within your rights to a refund. You also have the right to cancel your purchase within 14 days and a further 14 days to return the item if you’re not happy with it. This is thanks to the Consumer Contracts Regulations. It’s important to note this won’t apply if you bought the item from an independent seller or you’ve purchased from eBay in a bidding-style auction.
Refurbished iPhone Checklist
Step 1: Decide which model of iPhone you want
First, you need to look into the different models available and decide which one is going to suit your needs. If you’re looking for specific technology only available with newer models, you’ll need to check whether there are refurbished options available. If you are happy with an older model, you’re more likely to find refurbished options and the price will be lower.
Step 2: Look for a warranty
As discussed earlier in this guide, having a warranty with your refurbished iPhone is important. If anything were to go wrong, or you found a fault after buying it, the warranty you gave will help ensure you get your money back.
Step 3: Know what you are buying
It’s important that you understand the grading system unique to the retailer you’re buying from. Grade A/Pristine condition may not include/be the same as what another retailer is offering.
Step 4: Check for network locks
Many people forget about this. Some refurbished iPhones are locked to a specific network. So, if you’re planning to use a network/sim card you already have, you need to check if this is possible before you buy the refurbished iPhone.
Step 5: Look for the genuine accessories
Now that you’ve purchased your refurbished iPhone, you can start looking for accessories! It’s important when buying accessories to look for genuine products. By using fake/remakes of apple accessories/products it could affect the performance of your phone or even damage it. If you did this, you may be within breach of your warranty if anything were to go wrong.
Step 6: Enjoy your iPhone!
Enjoy your new purchase knowing you’ve got a great phone at a low price!