Are Refurbished iPhones Good or Bad?

They may not always be as exciting or as updated as brand new models, but refurbished iPhones are an excellent way to get a premium device at a reduced cost.

I have years of experience using Apple products, both refurbished and new. That has provided me with a deep insight into, not just how the technology works, but the pros and cons of going with something renewed versus something out of the box.

The following sections cover a range of reasons a refurbished iPhone may (or may not) be for you. They do so by breaking down the device’s traits, looking at how they’re handled, and why they stand out compared to similar renewed products.

Key Takeaways

  • If you don’t mind getting something a little older or a device someone previously owned, refurbished iPhones are almost always worth the lower price tag.
  • Refurbished iPhones are a great way for users to save money and help the environment, even if they do lack the consistency or aspects of brand new models. 
  • Try to only get a refurbished product from Apple, and always do ample research before buying one from any other source.

Understanding Refurbished Apple Products

Refurbished products are devices that are returned for one reason or another and then restored to their (more or less) original state. In that way, they allow users to get premium items at a reduced cost without giving up any characteristics or features. 

That’s even more prevalent with Apple products. Not just because they are some of the most expensive and elusive products on the market, but also due to the fact that the company has an incredibly solid vetting process for their refurbished products.

All of the renewed devices are cleaned, repaired, and outfitted with new batteries. Once that process ends, they are almost indiscernible from out-of-the-box options. 

They are distinctly different from used products as well. Refurbished and used models have both been opened, but used ones don’t have the same warranty or protection as refurbished ones. If they’re damaged, there’s nothing Apple will do. That’s not true of refurbished iPhones.

Buying a Refurbished iPhone: The Pros

There are a few reasons to get a refurbished iPhone over one right out of the box, but nothing is more important than the reduced price point. As mentioned, Apple makes some of the most expensive devices on the market. Going the refurbished route cuts into that.

Though you will still pay a high price for a refurbished model, you will still save at least a few hundred dollars on the purchase. Of course, that depends on what model you want, as well as the type of extra features you want. Despite that, it’s still a great deal.

On top of that, as mentioned, Apple vets their refurbished products much more than other companies. They have a rigorous testing process that makes sure the devices are always up to speed. They even have a rock solid warranty just in case something goes wrong.

That provides an extra layer of protection and security on top of the product. You get almost everything you would get from a new phone without needing to shell out too much.

An added bonus is that getting a refurbished product is better for the environment. Making a sustainable choice while buying something you were already going to get is a good way to give back a little and feel better about the final purchase. 

Buying a Refurbished iPhone: The Cons

There are many reasons users choose a refurbished iPhone over a new one, but there are also some noticeable drawbacks. It’s critical to keep those in mind as well.

One of the biggest is availability. When getting a new iPhone you’re able to pick any model with any features that you may want. That’s not necessarily true when getting a renewed one. That’s because you can only get what Apple or similar stores are currently selling.

Sometimes you can find the exact model you want, but other times you might have to settle for an item that’s not quite to your specifications. That can then lead to you getting an older model or one that doesn’t come with all of the new upgrades.

Most of the time, refurbished items are a generation or so behind. You can still find the latest iPhone with cutting edge features, but that’s not the norm. When going this route, you should expect to get a slightly-dated item.

Consistency can be an issue too. Though Apple does a great job at ensuring products sold through them, or through any big box affiliates, are in as good of shape as possible, that assurance drops a bit when you venture off the beaten path.

As such, you have to do some extra research when getting a refurbished item. Even if ordering from Apple itself, it’s always a good idea to do a background check. 


Here I answer some of the biggest questions users have about refurbished iPhones.

Do Refurbished Products Have User Date on Them?

No. Apple wipes all of their refurbished products during the renewal process. There will be no traces of any of the previous owners photos, music, videos, or apps. It will be completely fresh.

Are Refurbished iPhones Slower than New Ones?

There may be a small drop in speed when using a refurbished model, but it’s almost inconsequential. Most users won’t ever notice it during their time with the device.

Do Refurbished Products Last a Long Time?

iPhones aren’t the most durable or longest lasting items. Still, you will likely get the same longevity out of a refurbished model than you would out of a new one. Expect yours to last anywhere between three and five years before seeing noticeable slowdowns.

Final Words

Refurbished items are not the norm in today’s society. Even so, they have plenty of advantages. That’s especially true with iPhones. Getting one tends to be a little more work, but if you get one from a trusted source you’ll have no issues with your product.

Have you used a refurbished iPhone? How did it compare to a brand new one? Let us know in the comments below!

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