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 were purchased between 2011 and 2017 – that’s nearly one iPhone for every 2 people!
As new models are released, many people opt to upgrade which leaves a surplus of working older models. Buying a second hand iPhone therefore, is a great way to save money – particularly when the brand new handsets are so expensive when they are launched – but how do you avoid the many pitfalls?
Purchasing a used iPhone can come with risks: the phone could have been stolen, it could still 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 – bound to be exploited by nefarious sellers who are trying to make a quick buck. There are, of course, plenty of perfectly good second hand iPhones out there to be snapped up, but you’ll have to employ a bit of 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
The first thing you must do is find a seller that you can trust. Buying a second hand iPhone online is not a good idea unless you can view it in person before any money switches hands. You’ll want to do some basic checks to see whether it works or not. Be aware that unless you know and trust the seller, buying privately leaves you unprotected should something be amiss 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 every one of our 250+ UK locations who know how to spot a fake, reset the phone for a new owner, and check for any flaws in how it operates. We will NEVER sell a phone which has been reported stolen, has been damaged internally or which is not in good working order, so you can rest assured that you’re getting an authentic, fully operational iPhone.
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 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
When looking at a second hand iPhone for the first time, check the whole 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 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 that all the buttons work as they should. This includes the home button, the volume button and the 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
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 that 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!