Question Of The Hour: Which Refurbished iPhone Should I Buy?

Which refurbished iPhone should I buy? Are refurbished iPhones worth it? Will I be running into some unforeseen problems?

Well, all of these questions will be answered in this article. Therefore, all you need to do is sit tight and relax.  

What Is A Refurbished Phone? 

Before we try to answer your question: “Which refurbished iphone should I buy?” You need to have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of a refurbished phone.  

The refurbished phone market is one of the fastest-growing tech niches. With the catapulting prices of technology and a fast fashion mentality, many people are opting to buy refurbished phones at lower price points. But what are refurbished phones? 

A refurbished phone is a pre-owned phone that was returned to the company, and then the brand restored the phone and re-released it to be sold.

Although the refurbished market is booming and is slated to grow even more in the upcoming years, people have a notion that refurbished phones are faulty phones that are restored.  

This aforementioned notion is partially true. Sometimes, it can be a change of heart or the issue of affordability.

Whatever may be the reason, refurbished phones go through several stringent checks. In fact, some of these checks are more stringent for refurbished phones than first-hand phones.  

Pros & Cons 

Refurbished phones go through some really stringent checks before they are passed. As a result, these phones come with specialized warranties.

Still, there are some pros and cons that you need to know in order to make the right decision for yourself: 

Pro: Refurbished phones offer similar benefits to new phones but at a lower price point. This is one of the biggest pros of buying a refurbished phone.  

Con: In some cases, refurbished phones do not come with the original accessory set. However, if you are buying a refurbished iPhone, you are not getting the accessory either way. Therefore, it might not be a big deal to many. 

Pro: Most refurbished product sellers sell their products with a standard 12-month warranty. As a result, you will have some sense of assurance. 

Con: Refurbished phones are sometimes fitted with third-party components. These components work on a hit-or-miss principle. They will either last you for a long time, or they will simply break down.  

Checklist Before Checkout 

Buying a refurbished phone is a double-edged sword. There are some very potent reasons that work for the practice, and then there are forces that work against it.

Hence, it is very important for potential buyers to know the different nuances of the whole practice. 

Since this is primarily focused on the practice of buying refurbished iPhones, this section will focus on iPhones. This is a small checklist of things that you need to check out before you checkout.  

Here are some of the most basic things that you need to check before buying a refurbished iPhone.  


Power is perhaps the most important aspect to check before you proceed to buy the all-new yet refurbished Iphone.

This is something that nobody has to tell you, but whenever you are buying a cellphone, you need to see if it is booting. 

Most retailers encourage people to thoroughly check the product before buying. However, some sellers try to push defective products in an effort to make a sale. Do not fall for this trick. Check if the phone is switching on or not.  


The next thing that you need to check is the activation lock. iPhones come with activation locks. However, at the time of buying refurbished phones from previous owners, retailers ask the user tio remove the lock. This is a standard practice that every legitimate refurbished good seller follows. 

However, if you do see a phone that has an activation lock intact, then the chances are that the phone is stolen. Even if the phone is not stolen, you cannot really do much with the phone. Hence, it is best to walk away.  


Most refurbished iPhones are pre-owned. Therefore, it is very natural for these phones to retain some data of the previous owner.

This is not a bad thing per se. However, it is very important that you erase the preloaded data before using it.  

If you are in a similar situation, ask your seller to factory reset the phone. This would remove all the preloaded data and give you a blank canvas to work on. Therefore, get the preloaded data removed for a more personalized experience.  

Wear & Tear 

It is very common for refurbished iPhones to come with wear and tear. Therefore, expect to see some blemishes on your refurbished iPhone. In most cases, sellers tend to keep a detailed record of all the visible wear and tear.  

However, we would suggest you double-check your device for wear and tear that is not recorded. This would help you to re-negotiate your price further.

In other words, you must use this disadvantage to your advantage in order to buy a refurbished iPhone like a pro.  


The battery is like uncharted water for many. This is primarily because batteries lose around 50% of their vitality in the very first year.

Therefore, if you are buying a refurbished phone, you need to understand that you might not be getting a healthy battery. 

Either way, since you are paying for something, you need to expect the best. See how the battery is performing by running heavy and battery monitoring applications. This would enable you to see how the battery holds up in the long run.  

Refurbished Parts 

It is highly likely that your refurbished iPhone might not be coming with authentic parts. Well, this is more common in older-generation iPhones that have been discontinued for a while now. This is a very important aspect to know about. 

Thoroughly check for repair history in order to assess the parts that have been replaced. Make a detailed note of this in order to use it for future reference. Just head to Settings > General > About and look at the serial number.  


Even though you are buying an old phone, it is not necessary that it would lag or perform poorly. See how your new yet refurbished iPhone performs under intensive testing. See the lag and freezing rates. This should tell you about the performance. 

Some of the most simple yet important tests can be found on Put your phone through these tests in order to understand how the phone might work under pressure. If the phone is lagging too much, you might want to get it checked or replaced.  


The display is an important element of an iPhone. There is no other way to interact with the phone apart from its screen. Hence, you must see that your phone’s screen is working effectively.  

iPhones generally feature edge-lit LCD for older models and Super Retina XDR display for newer models. Therefore, check for relevant signs of image burn-ins, the edge-lighting functionality, etc. This should be enough to tell you about the quality of the image that you should be expecting.  

Audio System 

Older iPhones are infamous for developing audio problems over time. As a result, it is super important for a potential buyer like you to assess the situation before making any decision.

The simplest way of testing the audio feature of the phone is to record something on two different phones and replay it. 

This should be enough to let you know about the audio system and its functionality. In fact, you can also try calling a friend and checking the call audio system. If the sound feels warbly, then this is a sure-shot sign of water damage.  


Even though buttons are becoming more and more obsolete, it is no excuse for having a faulty button setup. Therefore, you need to make sure that the buttons work fine and without any hassle.  

First, check the mute button. See if the button is effectively working or not. Next, check the volume buttons. Since these buttons are used extensively, they might become mushy.

In such cases, you might want to get the button replaced. Or ask the seller to replace the product with a more reliable product.  


The final thing that you need to check is the camera. Cameras usually do not get damaged over an extended period of usage.

However, accidents happen all the time. Therefore, if you are buying an iPhone, you must spend some extra minutes to check your phone’s camera. 

Check all the lenses. Start with the front lens and see if it is working effectively. Next, you should check the back camera cluster.

Click some pictures and videos and assess their quality. Unintentional grain or flares are a sign of poor camera quality.  

Which refurbished iphone should I buy? 

Now that you are up to speed on the fundamentals, you are ready for the final leg of the article, where we will answer your biggest question of the hour: “which refurbished iPhone should I buy?” 

In this section, we will thoroughly discuss and list some of the best-refurbished iPhones to buy. However, remember that this is more of an informative list and not a ranking list. Hence, approach the list accordingly.  

Refurbished iPhone 13 

iPhone 13 was released back in Mid-September of the year 2021. The phone was unveiled at an Apple event and went on to become a huge hit.

The phone came with some amazing specification numbers that made it one of the more popular phones of the 15th generation. It came with an A15 bionic chipset that made this phone an absolute beast.  

Refurbished iPhone 11 

iPhone 11 was a part of the 13th generation of iPhones. It was released in September of the year 2019. This was a well-received phone that came with some amazing features like an advanced A13 chipset. This helped the phone to push its boundaries to the brink.  

Refurbished iPhone 12 

iPhone 12 was released back in September 2020 and is part of the 14th Generation. Even though the world was locked due to COVID-19, the sales figures for the phone were very different.

This was a huge hit and is still revered as one of the best phones released by the brand. Therefore, it is surely one of the best choices for refurbishing.  

Refurbished iPhone 14 

The refurbished iPhone 14 is the paragon of good quality refurbished phones. In other words, you will get access to all the modern features that Apple is offering at half the price of a full-priced iPhone. Therefore, it is easily one of the best choices that you can make.  

Refurbished iPhone SE 

iPhone SE is the only phone from the brand that was released thrice. This should be a testament to the phone’s popularity. The latest model of the iPhone SE was released alongside the iPhone 15th generation.

Therefore, it is one of the weirdest phones in the industry that looks unlike any other iPhone of the current generation but features a powerful spec list.  

Refurbished iPhone 14 Pro Max 

iPhone 14 Pro Max was the flagship phone of the 16th generation. The phone features everything that you would expect from a flagship iPhone. Everything about this phone exudes exclusivity and class.

The aluminum mesh body, along with a bigger camera sensor, etc. Therefore, it is the perfect choice for people who want the maximum bang for their buck.  

Refurbished iPhone 13 Pro Max 

Finally, you must consider buying a refurbished iPhone 13 Pro Max, as it it will offer you some amazing features but at a much lower price point than a first-hand iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Therefore, the iPhone 13Pro max should be the answer if you are asking yourself, “which refurbished iPhone should I buy?” It will not disappoint you in any way.  

The Final Thought 

In the end, the answer to the question, “which refurbished iPhone should I buy?” is a subjective one that requires pondering and deep assessment.

However, we have tried our best to educate you about the basics of buying refurbished iPhones. Here is to hoping that you find the right phone for you.  

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