iPhones are expensive. Especially if you don’t live in a country where you can get them subsidized. In some countries, new iPhones go for around a thousand dollars. Isn’t that just crazy?
If you’d like to be a bit more frugal while indulging in the Apple-verse, you need to take the road much traveled – a.k.a. the used route. Buying a used iPhone is a good idea. iPhones usually last longer than Android phones and they receive timely software updates every 2-3 years.
While buying an iPhone this way is enticing, even after you’ve agreed upon a reasonable price it’s not so easy. The used iPhone market is so big there’s bound to be some foul play. If you want to make sure what you’re getting is a genuine iPhone, not a stolen one and not a replaced/reported/insurance claim scam iPhone, take the following steps.
1. Verify the IMEI Number from Both the Body and Software
It’s possible that the iPhone you’re buying has a replaced body. That means you don’t know what it’s been through. It might have been submerged in water or it could have survived a bad fall.
Even though the exterior might look new and shiny, the internals could have a whole different story to tell.
On the back of the iPhone you’ll see the IMEI number. Compare it with the one in the OS. Go to Settings -> General -> About, swipe down to IMEI, and compare them yourself.
If the body is indeed changed, you might manage to get it at a cheaper rate.
2. Activation Lock (Make Sure it’s Not Stolen)
Ever since iOS 7 came along, Apple has taken strong measures on security – mostly to reduce the selling of stolen iPhones.
If the iPhone you’re buying has Find my iPhone turned on and still has the previous owner’s Apple ID linked, you won’t be able to do anything with it. It won’t allow you to set up your own ID or restore it without the old password.
It might just be that the last owner was sloppy or it could be a stolen iPhone. Either way, it’s useless to you now.
You can do two things to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
If you have the iPhone in working condition go to Settings -> iCloud and turn off Find my iPhone.
If you can’t access the device for some reason, go to Apple’s online Activation Lock tool and type in the device’s IMEI number. This will tell you if the device has enabled Find my iPhone or not.
3. Check if the IMEI is Blocked
Swappa has a free online tool to check your device’s IMEI number against the global blacklist. Go to the site, type in the IMEI number and wait a while for the results to show up.
4. Erase Data
Before buying the phone, it’s best to first unlink the current owner’s Apple ID from Settings -> iCloud.
Also, go to General -> Reset -> Erase All Content and Settings to remove everything from the iPhone.
5. Check Warranty
Go to this page and type in your device’s serial number. If you made it to the next page, it means the iPhone you’re buying is legit. It hasn’t been reported stolen and isn’t a replacement model. You can learn how to find the device’s serial number from here. You can get it from Settings -> General -> About on your iPhone or from the back of the device.
This page will tell you if the phone is still covered within the warranty period and will verify the purchase date.
Doing stuff with your new old iPhone: An iPhone is an awesome productivity/entertainment tool to have. Learn how to take great pictures with it and get more productive with iOS 8 extensions and widgets.
What Did You Get?
Which used iPhone did you buy? How much was it? Are you excited to join the iOS world? Share with us in the comments below.