Your iPhone Will Tell You If It’s Refurbished​ – Here’s How

Holding Using Iphone Xr Red In Hands Credit: Nemanja Zotovic / Shutterstock
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Most people don’t buy their iPhone directly from Apple. A survey from CIRP found that only 10 percent of all iPhones are actually purchased from an Apple Store. Many consumers will choose to go through their carrier, like Verizon or Sprint, to get a new iPhone model, while some consumers will visit a retail store like Best Buy.

Other consumers might go through a third-party site or buy from someone else directly if they’re looking for a better deal. But when they purchase these devices, oftentimes they’ll want to know if it’s a new iPhone or a refurbished model. So how can anyone easily find this out instead of just relying on someone’s word? Here’s how to quickly perform a self check.

How to Tell If Your iPhone Is New or Refurbished

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to “General” and tap “About”.
  3. Find the Model Number. You may need to “tap” the model number to reveal a secondary number.
  • If the number starts with an M, it’s a new phone model.
  • If the number starts with an N, it’s a replacement phone model (see below).
  • If the number starts with an F, it’s a carrier refurbished phone model.
  • If the number starts with a P, it’s a device with a personal engraving.

What’s the Difference Between a Replacement iPhone and a Refurbished iPhone?

The terms “refurbished” and “replacement” each carry their own stigmas. To help clarify, lets identify the difference between the two types:

  • Replacement: there was a problem with the original device (likely a service request) and this device is the replacement.
  • Refurbished: the original device was sent back due to any number of reasons (technical or otherwise). The phone then goes through a refurbishing process, which is different depending on whether the device is Apple refurbished or carrier refurbished. Then the device is checked before being repackaged for sale.

Refurbished devices are a great option if you are looking for a more affordable device. Apple lists its refurbished iPhones on their site along with the details of their extensive refurbishing process.

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