Why Buy Used iPhones?

With the newest release of the iPhone 11 Pro starting at $1,099, you may have considered buying a refurbished device, and there are different reasons why you might or might not do so. 

+ Pros +

The first obvious reason to investigate buying a pre-used device is for the price. Prices drop drastically after the new iPhone is released. This means you can often find used iPhones for 30-50% of the price of a new iPhone. 

When purchasing a new iPhone, often you will need to sign a long term contract to get a good deal on that phone. When purchasing a pre-owned or refurbished phone you will not have to pay any hidden fees or sign into a long term contract.

If you purchase an iPhone directly after the release there are usually technical issues due to the software being new. Used iPhones have always been tested out and go through a long process to make sure they function properly.

When buying a used iPhone you will be purchasing exactly the model you want and have researched. You will not simply be picking the brand new phone because it is new, but you will have done your research and be getting the best phone for you.

– Cons –

The main disadvantage when buying a used iPhone is that there will be no warranty. New iPhones come with a warranty from Apple, so if you want to have a factory warranty, you will need to purchase Apple care additionally.

Since you won’t be purchasing the newest iPhone, you will be getting an older model. This can mean you will lose a few features such as the highest quality camera or the newest bionic chip.

The battery is also important to discuss when purchasing an older iPhone. Not only do the batteries get better with each release, but the battery of an iPhone depletes with age and use

Best Places to Buy Used iPhones 

Best Deals on Used iPhones 2020


Glyde offers a trade-in program where you receive money for your device and can use it to purchase a newer model of iPhone. All of their devices have gone through 30+ functional tests and a comprehensive cosmetic inspection

They even offer a 14-day money-back guarantee and a standard 2-month warranty that covers device malfunctions. The only negative aspect of Glyde is the fact that they only offer iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, but if you are looking for an iPhone you will find no issue with that. 

Apple Refurbished Store

Purchasing from Apple might seem like a great idea, and there is no doubt you will receive a good device in good condition. The main issue with purchasing a pre-used phone from Apple is that there will be a higher price tag. 

Amazon Renewed

Amazon has a renewed/refurbished section for electronics. They have a good variety, but there are a few problems as well. You are never exactly clear on what you’re going to get due to the fact that the products come from many different companies. These all follow different refurbishing processes, and therefore they are not all considered of equal quality. 


From eBay, you will get what you get. You are purchasing directly from customers and you will need to take their word for it whether or not the device is working or in good condition. Ebay does offer a money-back guarantee and buyer protection but there is a risk of high shipping costs.


Swappa works in a way that benefits the seller. As the buyer, you will need to pay a fee, and everything must be done through Paypal which means the transaction is secure. Swappa also does not inspect their devices, which leaves room to receive a bad device. With all this, the cost of shipping is included in the purchase, but there is no warranty or guarantee of accessories.  


Although Gazelle costs more than other companies, you do receive a bit more peace of mind. All of the phones come with a charger and are guaranteed to work. They also offer a 30-day money-back return policy.

Used iPhone Retailers: What to Look For

Best Deals 

Generally, iPhones will sell for 30-50% less within one year of release. For example, one year after the release of the iPhone X, it was selling for $250 less than the original $999 price tag.

It is best to look for the older model directly after the newest phone is released, as most people are selling their old devices in order to upgrade to the newest phone. 

Value-Added Services 

When purchasing an iPhone from a pre-owned or refurbished retailer you definitely want to make sure there have been tests and inspections done on the phones that they sell. 

Not only should the phone be cosmetically inspected, but functional tests should be performed as well to ensure the phone will work as well as it did when it was originally purchased. 

To make it simple, there is a system of grading used and refurbished iPhones: A, B, and C.

  • Grade A is offering the best quality from a refurbished phone as possible. Tests will have been done to ensure the device is working in essentially mint condition, with little to no cosmetic damage and signs of previous use. Grade A will yield the highest price tag of any refurbished device. Grade A is also known as “Excellent” in some markets.
  • Grade B devices should be tested thoroughly to be in great working order. There will be some light scuffing or scratches on the body of the device and it will have been gently used by the previous owner. These products are a bit more affordable than Grade A products, and if placed in a case you may not even know the difference. Grade B is known as “Good” in some markets.
  • Grade C is offering the lowest quality of a refurbished device. These devices are still in working order, but they will show signs of heavy or excessive usage by their previous owner. There will be very noticeable cosmetic issues with refurbished Grade C devices. This includes scratches and signs of wear which makes these a good choice as a second device or if you are majorly on a budget.  Grade C is often not placed on the refurbished market and parts will usually be replaced in order for it to present as Grade B or better. 

Buyer-Friendly Returns and Exchange

It is important to purchase a used iPhone from somewhere that offers a good return policy, or exchange rules. For example, Glyde offers a Buyback guarantee program. This is a program that allows you to purchase a phone on Glyde.com, and within one year, they will buy back the device for a guaranteed amount so that you can get a newer model. Another company, Gazelle, offers a 30-day money-back return policy. This is important if you decide you want a different device, or you find a problem with it.

Make sure to always read the fine print no matter where you purchase your device in case there are stipulations or a limited warranty on the exchange/return. If you aren’t quite sure you can always contact customer service.

Trade-In Your Used iPhone & Upgrade to Premium-Used 

When in doubt, do your research and go with a company that lets you not only maximize your money, but also receive the best device. In order to do this, when you trade-in your used iPhone, you should trade in your current device for a premium-used option. By doing this you will know that your technology has undergone tests and will be the best value you can get in a used iPhone for your hard-earned money. 

Best Used iPhones for Sale


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