The Best Used iPhones to Buy in 2022

Which iPhone is the best value for your money?

Which of these iPhones is best for your individual needs?
Why used iPhones are the best iPhones

If you’re buying a new iPhone, you don’t really have too many options. There are only a handful of current models being offered, and probably only one that really fits your needs and budget. However, once you look at the used/refurbished market, you'll start to realize that you have many more choices. You’ll start to see iPhones with bigger screens, smaller screens, notched screens, no screens… Well ok, I don’t think Apple has made an iPhone without a screen yet, but I hear there’s one coming next year! (jk, I hope that never happens.)  

Anyways, we’ve all heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test, but where's the test for what iPhone model you should buy? That's why we decided to compile this list--to give you a better idea of what refurbished iPhone will suit you best :)

Fun Fact: Did you know that despite the iPhone 5S being released in 2013, it regularly received the newest updates until 2019 when iOS 13 was released? That’s a very long time for a device to be on the cutting edge! iPhones are updated for much longer than Android phones and thus hold their value better. Yay for refurbished iPhones!

1. The best used iPhone for young hustlers

Note: This was written before the release of the new iPhone SE 2020. The original iPhone SE that we feature in this section will be far cheaper, but consider getting the SE 2020 if you want a phone that will last you longer and feel a little more modern.

We all know that person who is always on the move, has a full schedule, and just generally needs a phone that is compact and functional. For this kind of archetype, we think one of the best used iPhones is the classic iPhone SE. Its biggest pros? You can type one-handed. You have a headphone jack. It’s virtually indestructible. It looks dope. Cons? It’s not the fastest iPhone anymore due to its age. There are iPhones with bigger batteries. And you might want a bigger screen if you watch a lot of videos.

Since this is a classic iPhone, it still has the home button as opposed to the new gesture-based navigation of newer iPhones. If you want to multi-task and switch between multiple applications, just press the home button twice in quick succession and you'll see all your recently used apps pop up. Also, if you do decide to get one of these, stay away from the 16GB model. For today's standards, this is a very small amount of storage. We would suggest going for a 64GB model if you plan to hold on to the phone for at least a year.

And, believe it or not, just because this isn't the newest Apple iPhone doesn't mean that it's skimpy in terms of accessing data from cell networks. Just like the newest iPhones, this iPhone has LTE antennas which mean you can watch videos or play games wherever and whenever. And yes, there are versions of this phone that work on both GSM and CDMA networks. And if you plan on traveling or swapping SIM cards often, consider buying an unlocked model.


  • Classic design (any vintage fans out there?)
  • Amazing ergonomics
  • Headphone jack (who doesn't love old-school wired headphones?)


  • Small screen
  • Aging internals (this iPhone is from 2016)

Looking for a new set of headphones? Back Market's selection of refurbished headphones is pretty amazing. Wait, did I just see a pair of Beats for $30?

iPhone SE pros and cons
2. The best used iPhone for light users

This category is for that person that only uses their phone when they really need to. They probably don’t use the browser too much, let alone watch videos or use any complex apps. They just want an iPhone that is simple, functional, and reliable. The refurbished iPhone 7 and 8 are both very similar and you’d probably be happy with either one if you fit into this category.

Even though these iPhones are older than many of the newer models out there right now, they still have the same awesome Retina display that has been prevalent on the iPhone range since the iPhone 4, which means that the screens have a nice pixel density of 326ppi. This number probably doesn't mean much to you, but just know that you can't see the pixels on this screen unless you look really, really close :)


  • Adequate screen
  • Comfortable form factor
  • Quick performance


  • No bells or whistles compared to higher-tier iPhones (like the X or XS Max)

Fun fact: The iPhone 7 has a metal back while the iPhone 8 has a glass one (for wireless charging). So if you want a more rugged iPhone, get the 7. If you want wireless charging, go for the 8!


used iPhone 8 pros and cons
3. A geek or gamer will love this used iPhone

If you fit this mold, you probably know some computer code and/or probably like tweaking your device—maybe you even jailbroke your last iPhone? You’re going to want an iPhone that’s powerful, has a big screen, and displays some really nice colors on that screen. I think the used & refurbished iPhone XS Max is the answer to your prayers. Also, I would suggest getting one with more memory (at least 128GB should be safe) so that you have space to install a ton of games and other apps.

Another awesome fact about the refurbished iPhone XS Max, it has really awesome cameras on the front and back if you think you're going to be using FaceTime a lot. And if you want to find out the secret to which iPhones have the best cameras, it's usually the ones that are the most recent and the most expensive :/ But don't be afraid to get an iPhone that's a couple years old, Apple is at the top of the game when it comes to photography and you won't be disappointed. You don't need to worry about researching megapixel numbers and specs like that as was the case in the old days, any recent iPhone will give you sharp, sharp, sharp photos and video. More recent models also have better low-light camera performance.


  • Fast processor
  • Biggg screen 
  • OLED screen technology for INTENSE colors (ohhh yeahhh)
  • A great hybrid between an iPhone and iPad


  • Pricier than other comparable iPhones with smaller screens
  • Yup, just the price really (this phone is super sick, dude)

You've got a big problem on your hands. You love iPhones, but not their prices. You want a cheap iPhone, but you don't want it to look like it just finished the Baja 1000. At Back Market, you can find a deal on all the best used & refurbished iPhones and you'll know the exact condition of the phone before buying.

iPhone XS Max pros and cons
4. The best iPhone to buy for a social media addict

Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. TikTok. These are at the forefront of your day—and who can blame you? You like staying connected, you love people, and you’re always on top of what’s going on around you. One of the best iPhones you can buy is the used & refurbished iPhone XR.

An important note, make sure you're a fan of Face ID before buying one of the full-screen iPhones like the XR, XS, 11, etc. These use the front-facing camera and other comeplex sensors located in the iconic notch to unlock the phone as opposed to Touch ID as was the case in older iPhones. So instead of using your fingerprint, you're now using your face to unlock the phone. Some people love it, others aren't the biggest fans. Because of this change, it's harder to unlock the phone when it's on a flat surface (since you need to lift it up so the phone can see your face) or if you're wearing a mask (in which case your face is partially concealed).


  • Big screen for viewing content
  • Amazing battery life


  • Hard to use with one hand
  • Surprisingly thick—especially if you put on a case

Psssstt!! I found this secret page that regularly compiles all the best refurbished electronics deals on Back Market and puts them in one place! I left you the link but don't tell anybody, it's a secret!

iPhone XR pros and cons
5. The best used iPhone for the eccentric musician

BOOM BOOM CLAP. That’s the sound of your day, and chances are, you were probably quite displeased when Apple decided to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone. You know that you can use a dongle to adapt that really nice pair of wired headphones you already own, but that’s lame, bro. You really just want an iPhone with a 3.5mm jack, is that really too much to ask?

Considering the iPhone 6S was the last iPhone that was released with a headphone jack, the refurbished iPhone 6S is probably one of the best used iPhones for you.


  • Headphone jack
  • Sturdy build
  • Runs iOS 14(!)
  • You can find it for around $100


  • Aging internals/processor (this iPhone is from 2015)

Hey man, since you're a cool musician you may also want an equally cool set of refurbished speakers?

iPhone 6s pros and cons
6. The best used iPhone for young professionals

So you have a ton of meetings to go to and things to do, and you need a phone that can keep up with your lifestyle. I would suggest the used & refurbished iPhone X because it’s sleek, quick, and still cutting edge. So whatever projects you’re working on, a refurbished iPhone can get the job done and does something good for the planet at the same time. So simply get your cheap deal at Back Market, no more need to wait for Black Friday deals!

At the time of writing, I found one for under $400, which is pretty ridiculous (in a good way) because this looks and feels like the iPhone 11 Pro which is currently being sold for over $1,000. Also, when this was released in 2017, it retailed for $1,000. Yo, I don't mean to sound churchy, but is Back Market a gift from heaven?


  • Notched full-screen display
  • OLED screen
  • Nice ergonomics for one-handed use


  • Somewhat fragile (please do not use without a case)

I can’t be serious enough about warning you to put a case on this phone. Not only is it relatively sensitive, but it costs over $500 to replace the back glass if it cracks! But aside from this, the iPhone X is a truly great phone.

iPhone X pros and cons
Why Back Market is the best place to buy a used & refurbished iPhone

We're trying to take the risk factor out of the refurbished electronics market. We enforce strict quality controls on our sellers, and include free 1-year warranties with everything you see on our website :) We want you to keep your peace of mind, that's the Back Market way.

Couldn't find an iPhone for you? Maybe you're an Android person? Not a problem, we have some fresh refurbished Android deals as well, and we even include a pound of shepherd's pie with every refurbished Android phone! No, I'm not being serious, but I am hungry.

Are you a student? Do you love good deals? Well, do I have a deal for you! Back Market gives 6% off all purchases for students! Raise your hands and scream if you love student discounts!

Other used iPhones that didn't make this list :'(

As much as we love all Apple iPhone models here at Back Market, there are a few models that we wouldn't suggest due to their age. The iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 6 are all still really cool, but we wouldn't suggest getting one of them to use as an everyday handset because they are no longer able to run the newest version of Apple's iOS operating-system. But if you do find a really good deal and decide to get one of these phones, they should still be able to work with carriers like Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T, but make sure to confirm with a sales rep at an official location first. Just keep in mind that not all of these phones will be able to receive 4G LTE data signals and therefore won't be able to load videos or web pages as quickly as the cheap iPhones we recommended. If you only plan to use Wi-Fi for web browsing though, keep calm and carry on :P

Are these really the best used iPhones?

Apple does feature small improvements in iPhones every year, so a newer iPhones will always be a little faster than an older device, but this difference may not always be noticeable. This is why we've made it a point to sell refurbished iPhones--why overspend on a new iPhone that just has a slight edge over these models? These are the best iPhones for you if you want the most for your money. So no matter which iPhone you choose, at Back Market you can find great deals for the iPhone on Black Friday and on every other day! 

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By Back Market, The leading marketplace for refurbished tech.

Our mission is to make renewed tech mainstream. Turning old into "new new", so to speak.

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