These are the Top Tips to Buy a Used iPhone

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If you want to save money on your Apple smartphone, used iPhones are a great option. Before you give your money, you need to do some research.

How to Buy a Used iPhone

The majority of these tips are for buyers who have the opportunity to inspect the iPhone in person. This is possible when purchasing directly from someone through a resource such as Facebook Marketplace.

This is not possible for online sales so you will have to do your research online. Sellers who are trustworthy will take many photos of any damage or scratches, as well as detailed descriptions. Although feedback from sellers is an indicator of quality, not all who sell their old iPhones will have accumulated a lot.

PayPal provides buyer protection, so that you can ask for a refund if an item you bought isn’t what you expected. You shouldn’t buy items from local classified sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace unless you inspect them in person. There are many scams out there that could make you believe the item is genuine.

You should always consider your safety when purchasing an item in person. Consider taking someone along to meet you in public places like a café or shopping mall. Instead of carrying large amounts cash around, you can pay using a peer to peer service such as Venmo or Cash App. If the seller insists that you cash, inspect the item and then withdraw the money at an ATM.

Avoid meeting in the dark or at isolated locations like car parks. Before meeting the seller, agree on terms such as payment method and inspection of the item. This will deter potential scammers.

It’s possible that the seller is trying to scam you by offering a price too high. If the seller refuses to let you inspect the item before you buy it, then there may be something wrong or an empty box. Don’t be pressured by the seller to bring cash before you have even seen the item.

Genuine sellers will appreciate your insistence on being smart and safe. If they have nothing to hide they will be open to you inspecting the item. It is in their best interest to meet in public, well-lit places where they feel safe.

1. Is the iPhone able to turn on?

The most important thing you should check is whether the iPhone turns on. Although this seems obvious, some sellers might try to mislead you by claiming that an iPhone that doesn’t turn on is a dead battery. Do not fall for this. Make sure your iPhone boots to the lock screen, or the “Hello” prompt.

You might also insist that your iPhone comes with a wall adapter and a charger. A stolen iPhone with these items will be more likely to be stolen, though the seller might have kept them. If you can, make sure that your iPhone charges properly. Also, if possible, carry a Lightning cable and a portable battery.

2. Is Activation Lock Still Enabled?

After the iPhone boots, you will see a lock screen inviting the owner to enter their passcode. The iPhone may have been stolen if you receive a message asking for a password in order to activate it. Even if the iPhone has not been stolen, it is impossible to use it in this condition so it’s best to walk away.

Insist on the seller activating the iPhone with their password. You can remove the activation lock from an iPhone’s iPhone by uninstalling “Find My iPhone” in Settings > [Owner’s Name] > Find My.

3. If the iPhone has already been deleted

The iPhone might have been erased when you meet a seller and is ready to be sold. Although this is not necessarily a problem, it can prevent you from fully testing the device. If this is the case, you might see a “Hello” message or “Swipe To Begin” message.

To properly test your iPhone, ask the seller to sign into the device with their personal information. To activate the phone, they may need to insert their SIM card. Before you decide to buy the device, you can perform the following checks.

After you are satisfied with your iPhone, ask the seller to remove Activation Lock. You can also erase the iPhone by using “Erase all Content and Settings” in Settings > General > Transfer iPhone or Reset iPhone. To disable Activation Lock you will need to enter the Apple ID password of the seller. This ensures that you can use your phone after you have taken ownership.

4. Are there any visible signs of damage?

Even if the iPhone was kept in a case all their lives, most iPhones will have scratches and scuffs. To get a better view of the iPhone, remove any case that was given to you. You should inspect the device carefully for signs of damage such as scratches or cracks at the edges.

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A few more concerns are dents in the chassis, as this could indicate damage to internal components such as the battery. The chassis should be able to sit flat on a flat surface. This will show if there has been any force that caused it to bend. To check for scratches or damage to the lenses, inspect the assembly.

You shouldn’t be too concerned about the superficial damage. But, it is important to consider it when determining the item’s price. An iPhone in mint condition that has had a tough case and screen protector on it from the beginning will be more valuable than an iPhone with scratches. This can help you determine if the seller is asking for a fair price.

5. How is the Battery Health?

As lithium-ion batteries age, they will eventually lose their capacity. Any used iPhone will have a battery that doesn’t hold 100% of its original capacity. To check the maximum capacity and performance capabilities, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health.

The maximum capacity gives you an indication of the current battery’s charge. A minimum of 90% is acceptable, but the lower number will mean that you won’t be able to use your battery for as long as possible. The battery’s ability to perform is more important.

Battery Health for iPhone

The iPhone could slow down if its battery health is declining significantly. This is because it tries to balance longevity and performance. You should replace your battery if you notice anything less than “Peak performance capability”.

6. Are any parts replaced?

If your iPhone is a refurbished version, go to Settings > General > About. Look at the entry “Model Number”. If the number begins with an F, your iPhone has been refurbished by Apple. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, you might want to know. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to determine if the device has been refurbished by another party.

You can verify the authenticity of any Apple parts by checking the service history and parts if the seller claims that the battery was replaced recently. Go to Settings > General > About, and locate the appropriate section under the “Model Number” field.

If there is nothing listed, it means that the iPhone doesn’t have iOS 15.2 or has had its firmware updated. iPhones running iOS 15.2 and later will list any parts that were replaced as “Genuine Apple Parts” or “Unkown Parts” if they are replaced by someone other than Apple.

Genuine parts are usually considered to be of better quality than cheaper third-party parts. Although it is impossible to know for certain, a genuine replacement battery (for example), may offer more security than an unknown source.

7. What is the performance like?

Take the iPhone out for a test drive to see how it performs. Be aware of the age of your device. Older devices are more likely to be slow than younger ones. Look out for signs of slowdown, which could indicate that something is wrong with the internal component.

A few easy tests that you can do include browsing or searching for apps using Spotlight, opening and browsing the App Store, zooming in and scrolling through the Maps app, accessing Notification Center/Control Center, switching between widgets, app icons, and swipeing between them on your home screen.

8. What is the Display Condition?

Check that the iPhone’s traditional edge-lit LCD is working if it has one (like the iPhone XR SE and 11). You should also check for burn-in (permanent images retention) if the iPhone has an OLED screen (also known as Super Retina XDR, as seen in the iPhone XR, SE and 13). These will not affect the functionality of your device and may not be apparent under normal use, but it is important to know if you have a problem before buying.

These issues can be checked against a solid background using different color shades. You can check for issues by viewing a YouTube video such as this one in full screen. Pause on different shades and then go back to the main stream. On a slide that is solid white, it’s easier for you to see LCD backlighting issues. However, burn-in can only be seen on certain colors because of the way sub-pixels are worn with time.

9. Are the Microphones and Speakers Effective?

Recording something with Apple’s Voice Memos app can be used to test the microphone. Play back the recording and preview a ringtone in Settings > Sounds & Haptics to test the speaker.

It is also a good idea check the volume of the earpiece. The only way to do this is to make a call. If the speaker is damaged, it can make it difficult to use the iPhone. The person talking on the other end may be too loud or muffled. This can be done without a SIM card. Instead, connect to Wi-Fi and use FaceTime.

10. You can also check out the other buttons

Make sure that the mute button works properly. It is located on the left-hand side of your iPhone. Below this are volume rockers. These buttons can be used to turn up the volume on your iPhone and take photos.

You can use the side button to wake or sleep your iPhone. It also invokes Siri and force restarts. You should make sure that everything is working as it should and feels comfortable to press. You might be experiencing a “mushy” button.

11. Are All Cameras as Effective as Advertised?

Final, make sure to check all the lenses and cameras. Open the Camera app, switch to the front-facing cam, and then use the rest of the cameras (including the ultra-wide or telephoto ones if they are available).

The image should look sharp and clear in good lighting. The image should be updated smoothly, not like a slide-show. Tapping the screen should concentrate on one area.

There are other ways to save money on your iPhone

To save money, you don’t have to buy an old iPhone. There are many ways to save money while still getting a brand new or “as new” device. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to save money on your iPhone.

Are you thinking of purchasing a used Mac? This list contains Mac-specific items you should look at before buying.

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