While we always recommend getting a new or certified refurbished iPhone, you can definitely find great deals on Apple devices like iPhones on the used and secondary market. Sometimes, the deal may be worth it.
That being said, there are some steps you should take before buying any used device to ensure that you don’t get scammed. It’s easy for a seller to list a heavily used device as “brand new,” but it’s harder for them to circumvent these special steps. Here’s what to check before buying an iPhone from a private seller. Continue reading to learn 5 Ways to Tell If Your New iPhone Is Actually Used.
Check the Box and Phone
This may sound pretty obvious, but one of the quickest ways to determine if an iPhone is new or used is to check the physical condition of the box and the device itself. You should do this before proceeding to any other steps.
Check to see if the box is still sealed. Besides that, you’ll want to closely inspect the phone itself to make sure there aren’t any blemishes or marks. If you bought the phone from a secondary marketplace, boot it up so you can check to see if it’s a real iPhone or not.
Look up These Key Metrics
If the iPhone itself is in good shape, then you can move on to checking to see if it was used by the seller. While the physical condition of the iPhone and its packing are important, there are other metrics you can check on the device itself that can reveal whether it’s been used.
First off, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. A brand new iPhone should always have 100% battery health. If it doesn’t, it’s probably used or has a defective battery.
You can also go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down all the way. Check to see if there’s a number next to Lifetime under the Call Time subheading.
Verify the Refurbishment Status
There’s a chance that the iPhone was purchased new and just held onto. But there’s also a possibility that the device itself is Apple or third-party refurbished but sold as "new." Luckily, you can check that, too.
Just go to Settings > General > About and take note of the model number.
- If the number starts with the letter “M,” it’s a new device.
- A number starting with “N” denotes that it’s an Apple replacement device.
- “F” means that it’s a carrier refurbished iPhone.
Check the Warranty
It’s also smart to check the warranty status of your iPhone. That’s because even refurbished iPhones come with a warranty. If the warranty has expired, it pretty much indicates that the iPhone was bought more than a year ago. It’s always smart to buy a device with some warranty coverage remaining.
You can check the warranty by going to Settings > General > About. Grab the serial number of the device. Then, go to this Apple website and paste or type the number in. The website will give you the warranty status of the device — including whether or not it has expired.
Make Sure It’s Not Stolen
If everything else checks out, there’s still an additional step you definitely should take: you’ll want to make sure the device itself isn’t stolen. Even if the device is unsealed and in its box, there’s a chance that it could still be stolen.
For that, you can go to Settings > General > About and copy the IMEI (or MEID) number. Typically, it’s a 15-digit number attached to any smartphone. Once you have the IMEI number, you can paste or type it into the field into this CTIA Stolen Phone Checker website. (It may also be smart to see if the device is carrier-locked, which you can do with the IMEI number, too.)