The best used iPhones to buy in 2023

Updated Jan 24, 2023 - Which used iPhone is the best value for your money? Here’s how to choose the best iPhone for your needs and lifestyle.

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’s a fairly small selection of new models available at any time, and probably only one that really fits your needs and budget. However, you’ll have a much bigger selection to choose from if you look at the used and refurbished iPhone market.


Buying a used iPhone gives you many more models to choose from. You’ll find every size, from an iPhone mini to a Pro Max. You can choose the iPhone that has features you actually want and need, whether it’s a headphone jack, home button, or wireless charging. With this wide selection though, it can be hard to decide which used iPhone to buy.

Maybe you’ve taken a test to find out your spirit animal, your personality type, or your love language—but where's the test for what iPhone you should buy? That's why we created this list to help you find the best cheap iPhone for your unique needs.

💫 Fun Fact: The iPhone 5S was released in 2013, and it continued to get the newest iOS updates until 2019. 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.

The best used iPhone for young hustlers

For those who are always on the go, a user-friendly, compact phone is key. If you want a used phone that can keep up with your jam-packed schedule, look no further than the ultra-affordable iPhone SE 2020


The 2020 iPhone SE is lightweight and compact, with a 4.7-inch display and classic home button. It’s easy to use with one hand and small enough to slip into a pocket, which is great for multi-taskers and people who are always on the move. You’ll also get convenient features like Touch ID and wireless charging support.


The iPhone SE has a classic design with a home button, instead of the gesture-based navigation of newer iPhones. If you like 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. The iPhone SE 2020 comes in three different storage options: 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB.

iPhone SE 2020

Believe it or not, just because this isn't the newest Apple iPhone doesn't mean that it skimps on performance. With Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, this phone can smoothly handle scrolling, browsing, apps, and all your daily tasks. It’s also equipped with a 12MP rear camera, 7MP front camera, and 4K video recording capability. It has a flash, but doesn’t have built-in Night Mode like some of the other iPhone models on the market. 


Just like the newest iPhones, the iPhone SE 2020 has LTE antennas which means you can watch videos or play games wherever and whenever. There’s also dual SIM support if you need the device to work with two different phone numbers (because the hustle never stops, amirite?). If you plan on traveling often, consider buying an unlocked iPhone.


The iPhone SE 2020 combines good looks and functionality, but it may not be right for everyone. If you watch a lot of videos, you might want a phone with a larger display (this model’s home button takes some real estate away from the screen). While the compact design is great for many reasons, it also means that the battery is smaller than other iPhones. According to Apple, the iPhone SE 2020’s battery lasts up to 13 hours of video playback, 8 hours of streaming video, or 40 hours of audio playback.

Care to pair your iPhone with a set of headphones? Check out Back Market's selection of refurbished AirPods. 🎧


iPhone SE 2020 Pros and Cons:

 Pros  Cons
  • Classic home button design
  • Compact and user-friendly
  • Affordable
  • Small screen
  • Battery life is just ok
  • No Night Mode


The best iPhone to buy for social media addicts

Instagram. Twitter. TikTok. Facebook. These are at the forefront of your day—and who can blame you? You like staying connected, you love people, and you’re always first to know what’s trending and the latest happenings in your network. If this sounds like you, a refurbished iPhone 11 is one of the best used iPhones you can buy.


The 6.1-inch display is the perfect size for viewing content, without being too bulky to carry around. Thanks to the iPhone 11’s long battery life, you can scroll to your heart’s content without worrying about running out of power. Enjoy up to 17 hours(!) of video playback, 10 hours of streaming video, or 65 hours of audio on a full charge.

used iPhone 11

Of course, you’ll want to capture amazing content of your own. Good thing the iPhone 11 has a top-notch camera system. While the iPhone 11 Pros take it a step further with a telephoto lens, built-in Night Mode is included on the standard model to help you shoot better images in low light environments, so you can party—and post—all night long.

Not sure whether the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro is best for you? Use our phone comparison tool to see the iPhone 11 vs 11 Pro go head-to-head!

The iPhone 11 also comes in plenty of fun colors (we stan the fresh mint green shade) for the ultimate expression of your personal taste.


iPhone 11 Pros and Cons:

 Pros  Cons
  • Long battery life
  • Dual camera with Night Mode
  • Powerful A13 processing chip
  • Less advanced LCD display
  • No telephoto lens
  • Not 5G compatible
A used iPhone any geek or gamer will love

If you fit this mold, you probably know some computer code or even prefer to customize 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 graphics and colors nicely. A used and refurbished iPhone XS Max is the answer to your prayers.

iPhone XS Max pros and cons

The iPhone XS Max has a large and immersive 6.5-inch display that feels almost like using a tablet. It’s available with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. You’ll pay a little more for the higher capacity, but we suggest getting one with at least 256GB of memory so that you have space to install plenty of games and other apps.

Love iPhones, but not their prices? At Back Market, we only work with vetted refurbishers to bring you expertly renewed tech at an affordable price. ✅

Along with an updated OLED display, the XS Max features FaceID (Apple’s facial recognition technology), wireless charging, and super fast processing times. The advanced camera system is another bonus of scooping up a refurbished iPhone XS Max. With excellent front and rear cameras, this phone is perfect for FaceTime calls and capturing high quality photos and video. 


iPhone XS Max Pros and Cons:

 Pros  Cons
  • Big OLED display
  • High quality camera
  • Fast processor
  • Less portable than smaller phones
  • Costs more than comparable devices
  • Average battery life
The best used iPhone for busy professionals

When your days are packed with meetings, long commutes, workouts, and all the other things on your to-do list, you need a reliable phone that can keep up with your busy lifestyle. We suggest buying a used and refurbished iPhone 12 because it’s sleek, fast, and still cutting edge. 


With the iPhone 12, you’ll be ready for the future. It comes equipped with 5G connectivity, a feature that will only add to this phone’s value over time as more cities get 5G coverage. The iPhone 12 also features MagSafe technology, which allows you to use a range of magnetic accessories (think chargers, wallets, cases, etc.) and enables faster wireless charging.

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 comes with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. This should be enough for most users, but it depends on how much data you need to keep on your phone. Those looking for a 512GB option will have to turn to the pricier iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max.

Want to stay on top of important notifications? Try pairing a refurbished Apple Watch with your iPhone. ⌚

The iPhone 12 has a high-end feel with its OLED display and a great camera system. It manages to balance design and durability, with a stronger front glass screen than earlier models. The Ceramic Shield adds even more protection; Apple claims it’s four times less likely  to break if dropped than iPhones without the Ceramic Shield.  


Whether you’re wrapping up a big project on a FaceTime call or squeezing in some self-care with your favorite meditation app, a refurbished iPhone 12 can get the job done. You’ll feel even better knowing that your purchase does something good for the planet, too. Buying a pre-owned phone helps keep e-waste out of landfills (and keeps more cash in your pocket, so you can save it for that hard-earned vacation).


iPhone 12 Pros and Cons:

 Pros  Cons
  • 5G connectivity
  • OLED display
  • Durable design
  • Average battery life
  • Lower refresh rate than comparable Android displays
  • Limited storage capacity
The best iPhone for light users or tight budgets

When we say light users, we mean the person who only uses their phone when they really need to. They probably don’t use the browser too much, they shun complicated apps, and they rarely watch videos on their phone. Basically, their priority is finding an iPhone that is simple, functional, and affordable. If you fall into this category, consider a used and refurbished iPhone 8.

iPhone 8 pros and cons

Since the iPhone 8 is an older phone, it doesn’t have the latest display technology. But it sports a Retina HD display and the 4.7-inch screen has a nice pixel density of 326ppi. There’s also a larger version, the iPhone 8 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch display for those who prefer a bigger screen size. For light users, there’s adequate storage on these phones too, with 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB options.


It may not come with the latest Apple chip, but the iPhone 8 is still capable of handling basic tasks and performs fast enough to keep users happy. While it handles nicely, it lacks newer features such as 5G and Face ID. The home button enables Touch ID for security, though. The iPhone 8 also has a glass back to support wireless charging. And did we mention it’s super cheap?


iPhone 8 Pros and Cons:

 Pros  Cons
  • Home button with Touch ID
  • Cheap
  • Wireless charging
  • Aging internal tech
  • No 5G connectivity
  • Not the most advanced display


The best used iPhone for serious photographers

If photos and videos are your jam, you probably know that with every new iPhone comes a few new camera upgrades. While these updates are often minor, they might be more important to you than other iPhone features. If you want a used iPhone with the best camera, check out the iPhone 13.

The iPhone 13 features dual 12MP rear cameras: Wide (ƒ/1.6 aperture) and Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), with a larger sensor in the main camera than previous models. According to Apple, it lets in 47% more light than the iPhone 12 for super sharp pictures. The 13 Pros have an additional telephoto lens, but the standard iPhone 13 models don’t. Like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini both have sensor shift optical image stabilization which helps keep your images sharp even if you accidentally move the camera.

iphone 13 photography

But wait, there’s more. With the release of iPhone 13, Apple added some interesting photo and video features. Photographic Styles offer several presets you can apply before you take a photo that further customize the look of your images. For videos, Cinematic Mode automatically shifts the focus from foreground to background for professional, movie-worthy results. 

Of course, you’ll need plenty of space to store all those high-quality photos and videos. The iPhone 13 comes with your choice of 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. For most users, that should be enough—but if you really want maximum storage space, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max add a 1TB option.

Can’t decide which iPhone 13 model is best for you? Phone comparison tool to the rescue! Here’s the iPhone 13 vs 13 Pro matchup.

Apple’s impressive A15 Bionic chip powers the iPhone 13 and delivers improved image processing. It also makes the iPhone 13 very efficient, resulting in a long battery life. Of course, the iPhone 13 comes with plenty of other perks like fast performance, 5G compatibility, and a beautifully bright OLED display.


iPhone 13 Pros and Cons:

 Pros  Cons
  • Excellent camera system
  • Long battery life
  • Fast performance and processing
  • Higher price than older iPhones
  • Only 13 Pros have 1TB storage
  • Only 13 Pros have additional telephoto lens
Where is the best place to buy a used iPhone?

If you’re shopping for a used iPhone, keep in mind that there’s a difference between used and refurbished phones. Both are pre-owned and more sustainable than buying a new iPhone, but a refurbished phone is professionally cleaned, repaired, and tested. A used phone simply means it’s pre-owned.


At Back Market, we're trying to reduce the risk of buying refurbished devices. We only work with vetted, trusted sellers to guarantee that every device is 100% functional. Plus, every purchase comes with at least a 12-month warranty and 30 days to change your mind. That’s why we think Back Market is the best place to buy a used and refurbished iPhone.

Are you a student? Save an extra 5% off every purchase on Back Market with our student discount! 🫰

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

As much as we love all the Apple iPhone models here at Back Market, there are a few models that we wouldn't suggest buying today, due to their age. The iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 6 are all wonderful, 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 iOS, Apple's iPhone operating system. 


If you do decide to get one of these phones, or still have one and want to keep using it, they should still be able to work with carriers like Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T—just make sure to confirm with your carrier first. Also 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 above. If you only plan to use Wi-Fi for web browsing though, keep calm and carry on. We love a vintage Apple moment.

Couldn't find an iPhone for you? If you prefer an Android phone, we have plenty of used and  refurbished Android phone deals too!

Are these really the best used iPhones?

Apple makes small improvements to their iPhones every year, so a newer iPhone might have a couple of additional features or slightly better processing capabilities—but this difference usually isn’t noticeable for most users. That’s part of why we think refurbished iPhones are so great! Why overspend on a new iPhone that’s basically the same as last year’s model? 


If you want to get the most value for your money, a used and refurbished iPhone is the best choice. No matter which iPhone you choose, you’ll find low prices and great deals on Back Market, not only during Black Friday but all year long.

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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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