Things to look out for when buying a used iPhone

Visakh Vijayan
4 min readJan 19, 2021

Apple is known for the quality of materials it produces. Even though there are multiple competitors, Apple has still managed to stay ahead of them somehow. And like they say — “Great people don’t do different things, they do things differently”. Apple puts a lot of thought and precision into their devices which is why even if you are buying a used iPhone, it still gives the performance of a new one.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of things you could look out for while buying a used one. Here are some of the points.

  1. Liquid Damage indicator: iPhones have an indicator inside the SIM card tray which tells you if the device had any liquid damage. The indicator will show Red color if it had any. This is important because even if the iPhone you are going to buy is under warranty, Apple doesn’t cover liquid damages.
  2. SN & IMEI check: There are multiple websites out there that tell you if the purchase date is the same as the one the seller mentions. All you need is the Serial Number of the phone. You can find this under Settings -> General -> About. This is important in cases where the seller is not giving a bill or is producing a fake one. You can cross-check the date if you have the bill. Dial *#06# to find the IMEI. This will give you a 15 digit number. Use that number on IMEI Check and verify if the specifications of the phone match the actual result.
  3. Battery percentage: This is a rather important one because iPhones have been known for battery issues. Under Settings -> Battery -> Battery Health you will find the Maximum Capacity of the battery. Anything below 85% is not a good one to go for.
  4. Bluetooth & WiFi: Check if the Bluetooth connects with your devices. If possible carry a Bluetooth speaker or maybe a smartwatch and check if it’s connecting easily. The same goes for WiFi.
  5. Mic, Earphones, and Loudspeakers: Insert your SIM and check if 3g, 4g receptions are okay. Don’t forget to check internet speeds as well. Compare it with your current phone and see if there is a huge difference. Call someone and check if the mic is working properly. You can also record your voice and check if the voice is coming out clearly. Play a video from youtube and check if the speakers are intact. Lastly do check the Internet speed and compare if there is a huge difference from your current phone.
  6. Display: This is the most important one. Check for dead spots. Long press the home button until the icons start dancing :D. Then drag an icon across the entire screen and check if it drops down anywhere automatically. If it does, it might mean there is a dead spot on the display. Check for scratches and other paint jobs to be done if any. Also, check for the auto-brightness and True-tone options under Settings -> Display & Brightness if the iPhone model supports it. Go stand under the sun and see if the phone adjusts to the extra light automatically or not.
  7. Passwords: Check if there are any passwords on the phone before delivery. Reset the phone from Settings -> General -> Reset and restart it. Ask the seller to deactivate his account from the iPhone if it still asks for a passcode.
  8. Warranty: Check if the device is under warranty. Even if the seller says, he doesn’t have one, insists on an online bill. Apple sends digital copies as well. This will confirm if the seller is selling a stolen phone or not. Also do confirm if that is a valid receipt :D
  9. Buttons & Sensors: Check if all the buttons work properly. The mute, volumes, and the touch. Add a fingerprint and check if it detects it quickly or not. Check the face-id in a similar manner. Also, check if the Raise to Wake function works.

Most of the people out there go for a second-hand iPhone because of the build quality and because the fresh one is ridiculously expensive. This is evident from the resale value. Apple maintains refurbished sale place with very little difference in prices. Even on Cashify, you will see old iPhones still give a really nice value on selling them. Compare them with Android phones and you will know the difference.

A word of advice, please be careful when buying from websites like Olx. There are a lot of fake products being sold and that too with multiple ads of the same device with different details.

Do write in comments about your experience or something else that can be added to the list.

Hope you find one soon!

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Visakh Vijayan

Techie from Kerala, India. Days are for coding, nights for weaving tales of tech, travel, and finance. Join me in exploring this multifaceted journey