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Refurbished iPhones 2024: How to buy a tried and tested secondhand iPhone

After extensive testing, these are our top tips for making sure you don’t get ripped off when purchasing a used iPhone

What do you do if you’re in the market for an iOS device, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on one of the very best iPhones? Take it from us as experienced smartphone experts who have tested hundreds of handsets over the course of the last decade, the best solution is to buy a refurbished iPhone.

Here at Expert Reviews, we’ve thoroughly tested 36 iPhones over the years, including each and every phone in Apple’s current lineup. We can personally confirm that many of Apple’s older models remain as relevant and competitive as they’ve ever been.

If you are willing to buy secondhand or refurbished you could save yourself some serious money. And if you spend a little time shopping around, you might be able to find a like-new iPhone for a fraction of the price. Below, we highlight the best places to buy refurbished and secondhand iPhones as well as running through a few key things to look out for, potentially saving you from getting stung with a secondhand paperweight.

DEAL OF THE WEEK: Get an INCREDIBLE iPhone 14 saving

Now that the iPhone 15 has hit shelves, there are some brilliant bargains to be had on the previous generation of Apple handsets. For instance, you can pick up an excellent-condition iPhone 14 with 128GB of storage for a head-turning £521 via Back Market. That’s in stark contrast to the £699 you’d have to fork out for a new handset from Apple or Amazon.

Best refurbished iPhones: At a glance

Best valueiPhone SE (2022) (~£162)Check price at Back Market
Best flagshipiPhone 13 Pro (~£445)Check price at Back Market
Best budgetiPhone 11 (~£154)Check price at Back Market
Best mid-rangeiPhone 12 (~£203)Check price at Back Market

Where are the best places to pick up a refurbished or secondhand iPhone?

1. Back Market

A relatively new contender, Back Market has already made something of a name for itself as a refurbished marketplace that sells a wide range of Apple products at competitive prices. We like how every listing is given a condition rating, with devices listed as being checked and refurbished by Back Market-approved experts. The site also offers free 30-day returns and you can check the customer rating and reputation of each reseller before purchase.

Check prices at Back Market

2. Amazon Renewed

It’s no surprise that Amazon is one of the best places to turn to if you’re searching for a renewed iPhone. Amazon’s renewed section is as trustworthy as they come, with promises that all items for sale have been tested and checked to high standards. However, it’s important to distinguish between the Renewed section and the Amazon Marketplace – the latter isn’t as well-regulated.

Check prices at Amazon Renewed

3. Music Magpie

Music Magpie is one of the UK’s most popular smartphone resellers. Music Magpie prides itself on the quality of its refurbishment and, as a bonus, you get free delivery and a free 12-month warranty on every single order. All in all, I’ve found this to be one of the most reliable places to secure a refurbished iPhone in 2024.

Check prices at Music Magpie

4. eBay

eBay is always a solid source for secondhand kit, but do be wary of that terminology. “Secondhand” does not mean “refurbished”. Often, secondhand products will not have been tested, checked or cleaned. If you want to be safe, check the eBay accounts of high-street stores such as Currys, read any feedback or message the seller directly.

Check prices at eBay

5. Apple Refurbished Store

Of course, Apple itself is another dependable source for refurbished iPhones (and other Apple equipment). You will inevitably have to pay more for products from the Apple Refurbished Store, but you pay for the quality of the refurbishment and the safety of the transaction. All products sold through the Apple Refurbished Store are tested, checked and cleaned. The list isn’t quite as comprehensive as some of the other refurb retailers, though, with only the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series available for purchase.

Otherwise, there are various other repair shops around the UK and online that sell refurbished or used iPhones. But, for tried-and-tested results, it’s best to stick to the ones that I’ve outlined above.

Check prices at Apple Refurbished Store

Top tips for buying a secondhand, refurbished or used iPhone

It’s important to know the dangers associated with buying a secondhand iPhone before taking the plunge. The most common scam is buying a stolen phone. Not only is it a crime to buy a stolen phone, but it could also lead to the phone being locked later down the line. There are several ways to ensure that you’re making a safe investment.

1. Ask for an original receipt or proof of purchase

Documentation is a good way to determine if the seller is genuine. Whether the seller bought the iPhone from Apple or a third-party seller, they should have the original receipt, even if it’s in an electronic format. Official documentation helps with warranty claims, but will also reassure you that the iPhone is genuine.

2. Check the IMEI number

An IMEI is a unique number that identifies any phone in the world. If it is stolen, the IMEI will be reported to the carrier, and be locked. This means that your SIM will not work with a locked phone, so I would recommend double-checking the IMEI with a service like to see if it has been reported as lost or stolen.

3. Check the seller’s return policy

Some sellers offer a return policy, which gives extra peace of mind. These sellers are often big resellers who have an established brand or shop. You’ll not find private sellers offering a return policy, as there are no laws surrounding the sale of secondhand purchases.

READ NEXT: Best iPhone

4. Check for an iCloud account, reset and set up the iPhone

If you’re buying the phone in person (such as meeting a seller from Gumtree), it’s worth turning the iPhone on and making sure that it works – I would suggest that you request the seller to charge the phone before bringing it to you.

If the phone currently has a SIM inside, it might be a good idea to text and call the phone to see if it can receive calls and texts. You’ll also want to ensure there is no iCloud account on the iPhone, as it’s a hassle to get it removed without a password, and if the seller flat-out refuses to remove it, it would indicate that it’s stolen.

5. Always meet in a safe public place

If the seller is honest and isn’t trying to scam you, they won’t feel uncomfortable to meet in a safe and secured location – take a friend along with you to be on the safe side, too. At a coffee shop, train station or even in front of an Apple store; these are all great places to meet a private seller.

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