6 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Used iPhone

It finally happened. You dropped your iPhone in the toilet or on the sidewalk one too many times. No matter how hard you press the “on” button, your phone isn’t coming back to life.

It’s resting in that big Apple store in the sky.

It’s time to get a new iPhone, and you know it won’t be cheap. The latest models will cost you anywhere from $550 to $650. Unless you have a nice chunk of disposable income lying around somewhere, your future as an iPhone user is looking grim.

iPhone 6

Here’s the good news: you can buy a used iPhone at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Of course, there’s a certain sense of security that consumers feel when they purchase a brand new product. They don’t have to worry about who last owned it, how they treated it or how soon it will break down.

These are legitimate concerns, but if you use your head and follow the advice in this guide, you’ll have an excellent chance at nabbing a used iPhone that functions just as well as your old one. Here are six things you need to know before buying a used iPhone.

1. Is the Used Phone Compatible With My Carrier?

While it is possible in some instances to switch an iPhone from one carrier to another, your best bet is to purchase a phone that’s most compatible with your current carrier.

Here’s a breakdown of iPhone/carrier compatibility:

AT & T, Verizon, T-Mobile -iPhone 6 Model A1549 / iPhone 6 Plus Model A1522

Sprint, Boost, C Spire – iPhone 6 Model A1586 / iPhone 6 Plus Model A1549

If the used phone is connected to a different carrier than the one you’re currently signed up with, you’ll need to unlock the phone before you can switch carriers.

2. Is the IMEI Number Consistent?

It’s possible for someone to swap out a badly damaged iPhone body for a new one to make the iPhone look like it’s in better condition than it really is. On the outside, everything will look fine, but you’ll have no way of knowing whether or not the iPhone suffered internal damage.

Every iPhone comes with an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. You should compare the IMEI number that’s displayed under “Settings” with the IMEI number that is on the back of the iPhone. Doing this will help you discover whether or not the body of the phone has been changed.

  • Go to “Settings.”
  • Go to “General.”
  • Go to “About.”
  • Scroll down until you see the IMEI number. Compare it to what’s written on the back of the phone.

Only the original iPhone and the iPhone 5 and later have the IMEI number on the back. For the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 4S, you’ll find the IMEI number on the SIM tray.

3. Is the Activation Lock Active?

With the advent of iOS 7, Apple began stepping up its security game in order to make it harder for people to sell stolen iPhones.

Check to see if the iPhone has the Find My iPhone app turned on and if the previous owner’s Apple ID is still linked to it. If that’s the case, either the previous owner was too lazy to unlink his or her Apple ID from the iPhone or you’re dealing with a stolen phone.

Unfortunately, as long as the Activation Lock is enabled, you won’t be able to use the iPhone.

4. Has the IMEI Number Been Blacklisted?

Swappa is a website that helps facilitate the sale of used smartphones. They have a free tool that allows you to see if your iPhone’s IMEI number has been added to the global blacklist. All you have to do is type the number in and wait for the results.

5. Has the iPhone’s Contents Been Erased?

Before you can turn a used iPhone into your iPhone, the previous owner’s information and data needs to be erased. This is something that the previous owner should have already done, but not everyone is a forward thinker. If you end up with an iPhone that still has old data on it, try the following:

  • First, unlink the previous owner’s Apple ID by going to “Settings” and then “iCloud.”
  • Next, go to “General,” then “Reset,” then “Erase All Content and Settings.”

6. Is the Used Phone Still Covered Under the Apple Warranty?

Visit this Apple site page and enter your iPhone’s serial number. If you’re able to access a page that displays the iPhone model and provides warranty information, you’re in good shape. No one has reported the iPhone as stolen. Here’s how you can find your iPhone’s serial number:

  • Go to “Settings.”
  • Go to “General.”
  • Go to “About.”
  • Scroll down, and you should eventually come across the serial number.

A new iPhone is released every year. As iPhone users ditch the old models for new ones, there will be plenty of opportunities to find reasonably priced used iPhones. If you use the above tips, you’ll increase your likelihood of securing a working iPhone, and you’ll save a good deal of money in the process.

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