A guide to refurbished iPhones

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May 22, 2020
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Jemma

There is no denying it: Apple’s latest iPhones are ambassadors of quality, but in turn, they are expensive pieces of kit. Even earlier models such as the iPhone X incur a hefty price tag when purchased new. So how do you get that iOS device without breaking the bank?

Welcome to the refurbished iPhone market.


What are refurbished phones? 

Refurbished phones are handsets which are pre-loved, previously faulty or simply returned. Some have actually never been used, just turned on and sent back. If you purchase a ‘refurbished phone’ from the correct suppliers, these phones, even if they were previously damaged, will usually have been checked thoroughly by expert technicians and given a new lease of life to restore them back to their former glory. The sort of tests that will be carried out are by no means limited to, but will cover the likes of battery charge efficiency, retina display, checking the buttons and cameras work correctly, verification of audio quality, screen responsiveness and how well the phone connects to Wi-Fi and 3G/4G. This means you can have peace of mind in every way. 

Refurbished phones are usually categorised in terms of their condition. Every company will use their own differentiators but typically they will be Graded A, B or C with A being the best quality and C showing visible signs of wear and tear. The price you pay will vary depending upon the grade you select. 

The Data Protection Act also enforces all data to be wiped from the phone so when you start up your new refurbished phone it will be like starting from scratch.

Not only price considerations 

Going with a refurbished iPhone means you can have the benefits of iPhone features but at a far lower price. Whilst this helps to save you money, you can also feel good as you are purchasing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly product. 

The disposal of phones contributes to scary e-waste statistics and e-waste can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution. It is almost unbelievable that there is so much e-waste in the world every year that it would weigh more than 125,000 Boeing 747 jumbo jets . That is 44.7 million tonnes in total?

Yup, just let that sink in.  

We know, and you know, that there has got to be a more sensible solution. A lot of these devices could have been recycled and utilised in the refurbished cycle, and by purchasing a refurbished phone you are helping to reduce that staggering figure.  

How much can you actually save?

If you decide to go down the refurbished route you could save anything between £100 and £550 compared to buying a brand new device. For example a refurbished iPhone X could be around £300 cheaper than the brand new price with Apple Refurbished iPhones. Whether you are paying this in a lump sum or over a contracted period of time, the savings are evident. 


Refurbished phone warranty 

If you are contemplating buying a refurbished phone, you must take warranty into consideration. This is essential as it provides protection for the phone if a fault is detected. Whilst most sellers will provide this, the length and provider of the warranty can vary. The warranty will ensure that you have rights with the company who performed the refurbishment and the retailer who supplied the device. A lengthy warranty can be found by various providers that lasts beyond a year whilst others will only cover the 12 months. Be sure to check all of this out before clicking on the ‘buy now’ button. 

What else do I need to consider?

Crucial to having the best refurbished iPhone experience is ensuring the iPhone you select is unlocked and available to be used on any network. A major benefit of going refurbished is that you can choose a SIM only plan. The handset accompanied by a SIM plan of your choice can lead to incredible savings. If, however, you purchase a refurbished iPhone that is locked, you are limited to taking deals only with that specific network. The best SIM only deals can be with smaller MVNO networks. Without the flexibility to choose them, you could be stuck with a hefty monthly bill. Make sure you double double check it is an unlocked device. 

So where can I get a refurbished iPhone? 

Don’t panic, they are not hard to come by; from Carphone Warehouse to Amazon and Ebay, the well-known retailers provide refurbished iPhones a-plenty. The more specialist sites such as GiffGaff and Music Magpie have a huge focus on refurbished devices also. With the likes of Ebay, anyone can sell a refurbished device so do make sure you are covering yourself with a good warranty and a reliable, trustworthy seller. It is important to stick to ‘traders’ wherever you end up purchasing from; if you can see that the person or company is 'registered as a business seller' then you know you will receive a refurbished iPhone. This is relevant when looking on multi-seller channels such as Ebay.