Refurbished iPhone

What Does "Refurbished iPhone" Really Mean?

Updated Jun 14, 2022 - What is a refurbished iPhone? Learn what refurbished phone means, whether a refurb phone is worth it, and what to consider when buying refurbished iPhones.

What does refurbished mean?

Shopping for a refurbished phone can quickly get confusing. It’s hard to know exactly what a seller means by "refurbished," especially when buying a phone online. If you're just browsing for used iPhones, you're likely to see a wide variety of conditions. Also, keep in mind that a used phone basically comes as-is. There is no guarantee that any repair work has been done to the device.

On the other hand, refurbished has a different meaning. It's key to remember that there's a big difference between used vs. refurbished phones. Refurbished means the phone has been expertly restored to work like new. Read on to learn more about refurbished iPhones and what to look for before you buy.

Attention all students! If you want the best deal on a cheap iPhone, use this student discount code on our website. Make the deals on refurbished tech at Back Market even sweeter.

What is a refurbished iPhone?

A refurbished iPhone has been restored and tested to work as good as new. Professionals have made any necessary repairs and replaced any defective parts, for example installing a new battery. Refurbished devices are checked for functionality and should perform as well as a new device. 

Unfortunately, the word refurbished does not have a universal meaning. Sellers on some websites may simply list any used iPhone as refurbished in order to raise their asking price, even when the device hasn't been repaired and tested. Others may repair some issues and check some of the phone's functionality. However, many of these sellers have low quality standards and will leave you with an aged battery and an expensive iPhone that isn't up to par with an expertly renewed device.

Understandably, these concerns discourage many people from buying refurbished iPhones. If you're shopping for a second-hand iPhone, do your research to find out what the term "refurbished" means to each seller before you buy.

Refurbishing has actually been a bit of a gray area in the smartphone industry until recently. In the past, most people only used their devices for a couple of years before they were considered obsolete (and became unbearably slow). Lately, however, innovations have slowed drastically and updates between iPhone models are minor. This is great news for consumers because now iPhones hold their value better and last longer. It's easier than ever to find great iPhone deals.

Refurbishing is now known for providing benefits to the environment and consumers. When it comes to iPhones, many more people see the value of opting for a high-quality refurbished iPhone instead of new. However, the question of trust remains when shopping online. Who actually does refurbishing the right way?

Pro tip: if you move around often and change service carriers frequently, you're going to want an unlocked phone.

person holding refurbished iphone 12 pro pacific blue

What to consider when buying a refurbished iPhone

Quality is the biggest factor that determines whether you should buy a refurbished iPhone. If you want the best quality at a great price, a little research is key.

Timing is important, too. Keep in mind that buying an iPhone on Black Friday might not be the always be the best option. Many retailers take advantage of shoppers looking for a cheap iPhone during this sale, and their r