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Buying a Second Hand iPhone – The Essential Checklist

Published: 23 Dec 2018

Smartphones have become an essential part of life for many of us, and one of the most popular phones of the last decade has been the Apple iPhone. In the UK alone, 38 million iPhones have been bought between 2011 and 2017 – that’s nearly one iPhone for every 2 people! As new models are released, many opt to upgrade, which leaves a surplus of working older models on the market. Buying a second hand iPhone is a great way to save money on the traditionally rather expensive cost of a brand new handset, but how do you avoid the many pitfalls?

Purchasing a used iPhone can come with risks: the phone could have been stolen, it may have been damaged internally and put into a newer casing, it may be locked to a previous owner or it could be a fake. Any product with the high selling rate and popularity of the iPhone is unfortunately subject to exploitation by criminals and nefarious sellers who are looking to make money with sub-par or damaged handsets. There are, of course, plenty of perfectly good second hand iPhones out there to be snapped up, but you’ll have to be a bit shopping savvy to get a good deal.

Here’s how to find a fully operational, genuine pre-owned iPhone that represents great value for money and still has plenty of life in it yet.

Find a reputable seller

Reputable Seller

The first thing you must do is find a seller you can trust. Buying a second hand iPhone online when you can’t see it first is not a good idea, as it doesn’t allow you perform basic checks on whether it works or not. If you want to buy an iPhone from a private seller, be sure you can trust them, as it leaves you unprotected should something be wrong with the handset.

Buying from a retailer who specialises in selling second hand iPhones and other electronics is a far safer bet. It allows you to see the phone and check its function before you buy. Here at H&T Pawnbrokers, we have experts in-house at every one of our 190+ UK locations who know how to spot a fake, reset the phone for a new owner, and check for any operational flaws. We will NEVER sell a phone which has been reported stolen, has been damaged internally or is not in good working order, so you can rest assured you’re getting an authentic, fully operational device.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

When viewing an iPhone in-store, don’t be afraid to ask questions about its functions and what tests have been done to ensure it works. A good second hand iPhone seller will be able to answer your queries confidently and will happily demonstrate any function of the phone for you. Just because an iPhone is second hand it does not reduce the importance of the purchase, and it’s completely acceptable for you to be vigilant.

Check for scratches on the case and screen

Broken iPhone

When looking at a second hand iPhone for the first time, check the body and screen closely for any scuffs or scratches. Pay close attention to the ports where the charger and headphones are plugged in. Bad wear around these areas may indicate damage to the ports themselves and could be a sign of previous overuse or carelessness.

Scratches or cracks on the screen could affect how it reacts to your touch and may pose a risk of problems further down the line. Screens can be replaced, but it’s always better to buy a complete and undamaged handset to ensure a longer lifespan.

Check all buttons

Turn the phone on and check all the buttons work as they should. This includes the home button, volume button and power button. Do they feel like they should when they are pressed? Does the phone react quickly? Buttons which don’t feel right or fail to click properly may indicate grit or debris inside the casing and could mean issues down the line.

Confirm that the phone is compatible with your network

Phone Network

It should be made clear whether the iPhone is locked to a particular network, or is unlocked for use by any operator. For example, if a phone is locked to Vodafone, then only Vodafone SIM cards will work within it. Make doubly sure that your SIM card will work in the phone, as changing networks takes time and you may not be able to keep your number. Bring your current SIM card with you to make sure that it will fit in the iPhone you have chosen.

Test the camera and microphones

When inspecting the phone, take a couple of pictures with the camera to check it’s working properly. Also take a short video and play it back – this will help you to see whether the camera is functioning properly in both modes, and will give you a good idea of whether the microphone and the speakers are working as they should.

Any reputable seller will be happy for you to check the phone over and check its functions – beware of any seller who is evasive of questions and doesn’t want you to look at it first. This could mean they have something to hide!

Where do H&T’s second hand iPhones come from?

Here at H&T we have a wide range of pre-owned iPhones available in our UK stores. We source our iPhones via our customers – some sell their iPhones to us direct through our buying department, and others opt to leave their iPhones with us as part of our electronic BuyBack scheme.

Electronic BuyBack allows you to take a fully flexible loan by using your electronic items (such as an iPhone) as collateral. We’ll give you cash in return for your item and store it safely for up to 31 days. You can buy your item back (plus a small fee) at any point during this time, or you can choose to keep the cash and leave it with us for resale. Your credit rating will not be affected. Find out more about BuyBack here, or visit any of our UK-wide stores for further information and a great range of second hand iPhones.