Do You Know If Your iPhone Is New or Refurbished?

Thinking about buying a used or refurbished phone? 

Can we gently suggest you think about it - it’s a big win for the planet and your pocket.

In fact, by buying one second-hand iPhone instead of buying a new one, you can save over 79KG of carbon emissions?

We know up til now, getting a used phone can seem shady and without any guarantee it will work, let alone keep up with all your TikToks or BeReals but that’s why reboxed is here. 

Our team at reboxed rehome fully TechChecked and guaranteed phones, giving you the confidence to choose preloved. Learn more about TechCheck.

Can I trust a refurbished iPhone?

Before we dive into how great our refurbished phones are and how we can help you get the most out of a used phone, let’s talk other sources.

Not all are created equal. 

Refurbished iPhones can either be…

  • Refurbished from a certified Apple source, and resold on Apple (complete with a hefty price tag)
  • Refurbished from a professional source, using approved quality parts — but you may see error messages saying “important display message ”
  • Refurbished using cheap parts — usually showing the same message but the quality of the phone is obviously poor

Is your refurbished iPhone certified by Apple?

The truth is, only some devices are genuinely refurbished by Apple.

We reckon that less than 10% of all devices in the secondary market are. 

The rest are either secondhand, or refurbished by a third party.

Here’s how you can tell the origin of your refurbished iPhone. 

You’ll need the model number of the device.

To find your device’s model number tap on Settings > General > About

Scroll down to the Model section. 

This setting will show you the nine-digit model number that you can use to determine the origin of your iPhone. The first letter tells you what you want to know.

  • M – your iPhone is new
  • F– your iPhone is refurbished (refurbished by Apple or a carrier)
  • N – your iPhone is an Apple replacement phone
  • P – your iPhone was personalized with engraving

On newer iPhones, like the iPhone 8 and newer, you can also see the model number in the SIM tray slot. 

Take out the SIM tray to look.

Apple-certified refurbished – Apple’s refurbishment process

What we love about purchasing refurbished iPhones (or any device) from Apple is that they all include the same one-year warranty just like new devices!

What does refurbished iPhone mean?

Confused on what refurbished actually means? We’ve written a handy guide here breaking it all down

The refurbishment process at Apple does the following before it is available for sale.

  • Full functionality testing and any defective modules identified in testing are replaced.
  • Sent to a thorough cleaning process and inspection.
  • Repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes).
  • Includes either the Operating System originally shipped with the unit or, in some cases, a more recent version.
  • Put into a Final QA inspection before being added to sellable refurbished stock.

When you purchase an Apple refurbished iPhone, you can also buy the AppleCare warranty with it. This extended warranty provides you with services for up to two years.

If you are on the hunt for a less expensive but awesome quality iPhone, you should check our our phones on reboxed which can typically be up to 58% cheaper than buying new.

Check out our comparison of a reboxed iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Apple refurbished iPhone 11 Pro Max.

When Apple provides you with a replacement iPhone, it can be either a new iPhone, model number starting with the letter ‘M’ or it can be a replacement iPhone with the model number starting with the letter ‘N’. Both products are quality products.

reboxed Refurbished iPhones

The Apple-certified refurbished iPhone is different from the network certified refurbished and our reboxed TechCheck® certified models.

It is easy to get confused. In the case of a network-refurbished model (the model number starting with ‘F’), the network deals with the refurbishment process.


What’s Different About Buying a Refurbished Device From Apple versus a network or reboxed?

One big difference between getting a refurbished iPhone from Apple, a network, or a third-party is that all Apple Refurbished products come with a new battery. When you're buying an iPhone that's a few years (or generations) old, this is usually more important.

The most recent generation phones that we sell at Reboxed may be 14-day returns, which means an iPhone that has been opened and returned to Apple or a retailer but cannot be resold as new. These phones are a fantastic value and don't require a new battery.

When Buying a Refurbished iPhone, don’t forget to check the original warranty

When you buy a used iPhone, you can also check to see what sort of warranty coverage if any is available for the iPhone.

To check the service coverage, you will need the serial number of the iPhone which can be found at Settings > General > About. Once you have the serial number, you can go to Check Coverage and enter the serial number.

Of course, if you buy one from reboxed you get a 12 month warranty from us directly — we shouldn’t tell you this, but a little hack is if it breaks within its period of original apple warranty, apple themselves may replace it!

People are now looking to buy used or certified pre-owned devices because the end of the year is a busy time.

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