Today I am going to show how to quickly identify any potential dangers before buying a used iPhone:
Find if the used iPhone has active & pre-existing problems that will prevent you from using it properly.
Find if the used iPhone will “get” unusable in the near future.
Learn how to fix a used iPhone, in case you already purchase it.
So, let’s dive right in.
Check our Cool Infographic which shows “How to buy a used iPhone online in only 4 steps“.
#1 – Places to buy a Used iPhone
I will not reinvent the wheel, there are other websites with more experience and more data about various online places for buying a used iPhone (Such as TomsGuide).
They made a great analysis, so I will simply list them below with one extra addition from me (Based on my experience):
- eBay (This is mine!)
It is very safe to make a purchase from the first three online companies since they check all iPhones before listing them for a sale.
However, in Amazon & eBay you might find better & cheaper deals, but the risk is higher!
Do not worry though, since it is very fast and easy to find a cheap & ready to use ‘used iPhone’ to those two other places!
#2 – Evaluating the seller (For Amazon & eBay)
The reason that I am only focusing on Amazon and eBay (Craigslist can be included too!), is because those are the online places that individual sellers can be found.
On Amazon you can only see the star rating of the seller.
You need to aim for a seller that has A LOT reviews and at least 4 out of 5 stars.
On eBay you can see the seller’s product rating and the seller’s feedback rating.
You need to aim to high ratings if you want to buy a used iPhone that works.
Avoid buying used iPhones from new sellers without any feedback or with only a few ones. Even if the offer is good, better be safe than sorry!
I have yet to meet a scammer on Amazon and eBay with high product/feedback ratings and reviews.
#3 – Identifying a “Ready to use” used iPhone
The process for buying a used iPhone is the same to both eBay and Amazon.
Let’s start with eBay, since I am very familiar with it (You can apply the same steps in Amazon too).
I bought over 150 iPhones from both platforms and I stayed satisfied every single time!
#3.1 – Search for the used iPhone
The first step is to search for the iPhone model you want to purchase.
#3.2 – Customize your search (OPTIONAL)
Then, you can play around with eBay’s iPhone filters on the left (I usually pick only the storage that I want).
The “looks” and the condition of the used iPhone is something that can be found either in the product’s photos AND in the description of the product.
You can click on the image to the right to see a part of eBay’s filters.
#3.3 – Choose the best iPhone seller (Price + Trust)
From the top right corner, sort the findings based on the Lowest Price (+shipping) and then review the product ratings.
Obviously pick 4 or 5 listings that have high product ratings and then check seller’s feedback.
If the seller updated the product description, a “View all revisions” link will appear.
By clicking it, you can review what the changes were. To this case, the chances are harmless (Just added more images and updated the quantity).
However, if you see changes to the description, take a few minutes to double check what those changes were.
Once you find the price you want and the high ratings/feedback, you are good to go.
Just a reminder here, there is a way to find a much cheaper deal for a “ready to use” iPhone which I will explain in the “How to identify the “lock” status of an used iPhone” chapter.
#4 – Risks and different locks of a used iPhone
Now let’s dive in the “dark” area of new and not trusted sellers of used iPhones.
As I stated above, you should not buy a used iPhone from a seller that has negative reviews.
Here I will list the dangers of buying a used iPhone from a seller that is new on eBay or Amazon and has only 2 to 5 positive reviews (This is where you can find those cool deals).
#4.1 – Not the same iPhone model
A common scam is for a seller to list an iPhone model (Let’s say iPhone XS) with very tempting price, but you end up with an iPhone 6 or with something else (Like a stone!) that has the same weight!
This image of the stone inside an iPhone box is 100% real. You can find many videos on Youtube with people that got scammed and received either a stone or some kind of metal!
#4.2 – Storage, Color, Features, Model number and Condition inconsistencies
An iPhone 8 with 256GB storage starts from around $400.
An iPhone 8 with 64GB storage start from around $300.
Some sellers will list their product as a 256GB with a price of $300, which is a great deal.
But the outcome, as you may have already guessed, is to end up with an iPhone 8 64GB storage.
#4.3 – Get a Locked, Blacklisted or Replaced used iPhone
A used iPhone in order to be fully operational, it must be Network Unlocked, CLEAN, iCloud Unlocked and not have its IMEI/Serial number replaced.
The value of an iPhone that is either Locked, Blacklisted or Replaced drops dramatically.
With that being said, many sellers list “bad” iPhones and sell them as fully functioning to make a profit (Scam unsuspected buyers).
#4.4 – Get a used iPhone that is Under Contract AND/OR Warranty
How’s that a bad thing?
Getting a used iPhone that is still under warranty is great! I can fix it anytime I want.
(I hear you shouting!)
Well, no! Buying a used iPhone that is under contract and warranty has 2 risks:
1 – If the owner stops paying the contract bills the iPhone will get blocked (Which means that you will not be able to use it with that network and it might also have other complications!)
2 – The owner of an iPhone that is still under warranty, can report it as Lost or Stolen AFTER selling it to you (After 1-2 months!) and receive a replacement from Apple. This means that the iPhone that you purchased will automatically get BLACKLISTED (Unusable!).
#5 – How to identify the “lock” status of a used iPhone
This is the best part, since you can easily identify all the above risks and dangers in a few seconds.
#5.1 – Getting the right IMEI number of the used iPhone
All you need to do is to request from the seller to send to you the IMEI number of the iPhone you want to purchase with 3 different methods.
I request a video (Continuous flow – No cuts!) from the seller which shows the IMEI number of the used iPhone with the following methods:
- By dialing *#06# (IMEI number appears on iPhone’s screen)
- Through iPhone’s Settings
- From the back of the iPhone (Back Case) or from the SIM-Tray of the iPhone
If all the IMEI numbers are the same, then I know that I have an accurate IMEI for the iPhone that I want to check.
#5.2 – Find in 10 seconds the “lock” status of that used iPhone
After you verify that the IMEI number from the above 3 methods is the same, you are ready to check it and identify if the used iPhone has the exact status of the seller’s product description.
Only with the IMEI number you can order an iPhone IMEI Unlock Check, which will deliver instantly ALL the available information of that iPhone to your email.
- Full details of iPhone model, color, storage, etc…
- Reveal if iPhone is SIM-Locked
- Find in which Mobile Network it is locked to
- Find if it is Blacklisted (Worldwide)
- Identify the Network that Blacklisted that IMEI number
- Learn the Blacklist reason (Lost, Stolen or Fraud/Replaced)
- Identify the Financial status (If the account associated with that IMEI has outstanding financial balance)
- Find if it is still Under Contract
- Find if a warranty is active
- Do a full IMEI/Serial Replacement check (If the IMEI/Serial numbers were replaced without authorization)
With this iPhone IMEI Unlock Check report, you will be 100% certain of that used iPhone’s status.
#6 – How to Fix the different kind of locks of a used iPhone
The iPhone IMEI Unlock Check service, will not only provide you a full status report of a used iPhone, but it will also suggest you working solutions based on the iPhone’s locks and issues.
It is ideal for people that already bought a used iPhone and are not able to operate it properly.
#6.1 – Fixing Network Lock issue of a used iPhone
If an iPhone is network locked, it means that it can only operate with that specific network.
By trying to use a different SIM-Card (Network), you will see the “SIM NOT SUPPORTED” error code to its screen.
You can read more on iPhone SIM Unlock tutorial and learn how to Unlock a used iPhone.
#6.2 – Fixing Blacklist & Outstanding Financial Balance of a used iPhone
This is a more complicated issue, so if you have the option to return the used iPhone, do it immediately.
If returning it is not an option, then you can read more from our tutorial on How to Clean/Unblacklist a used iPhone.
#6.3 – Fixing a used iPhone with an iCloud Lock
There are a few ways to remove the iCloud Lock from a used iPhone and the most popular one is to ByPass it.
We created a very detailed tutorial on How to Unlock iCloud in 2019, you should check it out!
#6.4 – Other issues, such as Contract, Warranty & iPhone specs
If an iPhone is Under Contract, or Under Warranty or it has different specs from the one that you wanted to purchase, then you are out of luck.
It is not possible to remove the contract or warranty status from a used iPhone.
The specs, they are what they are. No tool or service can magically change the color or the storage of an iPhone.
You should either return the used iPhone OR dispute the transaction through eBay (PayPal).
Conclusion for Risks of buying a used iPhone topic
Now that you know where to purchase a used iPhone, the risks of buying a used iPhone & how to fix them, I would really like to hear your stories or opinions.
Which is your favorite online store for used iPhones?
Were you able to find a “bad” product with the iPhone IMEI Unlock Check service?
Did you find a nice used iPhone deal after doing an iPhone IMEI Unlock Check?
Leave a comment below and share this post to warn your friends about the Risks of buying a used iPhone & how to protect themselves!