Beginners Guide: Buying an iPhone Online – Best Value for Money

This is a complete guide that will guarantee you buying an iPhone that will be ready to be used by your SIM-Card or any other Mobile Network you want.

  • beginners guide for buying online iPhoneFind Average Price of an iPhone model

  • Proper Way to Check its Physical Condition

  • Best & Quickest way to check if it will work with ANY Mobile Network

  • Calculate the price of fixing it (In case something is wrong)

  • Check if it worth fixing it (By buying an iPhone with a lower price)

This Beginners Guide of How to Buy an iPhone Online and get the best possible deal, does not require any skills, so anyone can read and understand it!


What are the average prices of all iPhone models?

In order to determine the best possible price first you need to decide if you want a Locked or an Unlocked iPhone (You can check the definitions below).

What is Locked iPhone:
What is Unlocked iPhone:

We highly recommend to purchase Unlocked iPhones, but there are cases that buying a Locked iPhone makes much more sense than buying an Unlocked iPhone. For instance, if you want to use your old AT&T USA SIM-Card, you are satisfied by what AT&T offers and you are not planning to make a trip outside USA, then it is more logical to purchase a locked AT&T USA iPhone, than an unlocked one, since it will be much more cheaper.

WARNING: The Table below is big!

(Prices are for Black Colored, lowest storage possible, perfect physical appearance and fully (Officially) Unlocked devices)

Average Prices of Unlocked iPhone models (->Click me to expand!<-):

How to evaluate an iPhone on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and other online stores

Online stores use different methods to evaluate and test the items they list, so let see what you should do for the three most popular online stores, and also learn about their evaluation system.

eBay evaluation system:

ebay Unlocked iPhone priceeBay does not filter their items, but they recommend the sellers to use “authentication and grading services”  that will boost the confidence of a buyer. Those are third party independent evaluators (Most likely cooperating with eBay) that will evaluate and test an item, and point out potential problems. Basically, you need to rely on eBay’s reputation and to the reputation of the seller. Always use sellers/users that have many and positive reviews. From my experience, those sellers are very legitimate and in case of a “bad” item, you will be fully refunded without any extra costs.

Amazon evaluation system:

Amazon Unlocked iPhone priceI believe that Amazon’s brand, talks by itself. They do not allow anyone to sell their items. They always check and test their items and they have the best return policy and procedure.

It is always safe to buy from Amazon, but the prices might be a bit higher (Not always though!).

There is a rumor that Amazon has many fake reviews, but if you already used Amazon for your purchases, you have experienced their great professionalism!

Craigslist evaluation system:

Craigslist Unlocked iPhone priceCraigslist has all kinds of items and services. Basically it is a bit messy, but weirdly it is an online “store” that many people use. From my experience all those years, most people that contacted me with problems with their iPhones, either they got it through a hand to hand transaction or through Craigslist.

I tried to find any filter or evaluation rules for Craigslist, but I could not. The only posts, articles and guides that I could find, were HOW NOT TO GET SCAMMED on Craigslist, which is something that you do not want to read, especially if you want to buy something from there.

You found the iPhone of your dreams – Now what?

So, it is time to get more specific and focus on how to find the iPhone of your dreams!

Assuming that you found an iPhone 6s, which its price is around the average, the seller has great ratings and its physical appearance is flawless.

The next thing you need to do, is to determine if this device will operate with the mobile network you want (Find out if your iPhone is Locked or Unlocked).

All the iPhones have a unique identification, which is the IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity), and can be easily found to your iPhone.

Blacklisted IMEI numberWith this number, Apple and ALL Mobile Networks are able to identify if an iPhone is allowed to work to one or ALL mobile networks. Also, having this IMEI number, they can also report this device as Lost, Stolen, Fraud, Unauthorized Device, Blacklist or other, which means that they can prevent it from being used with other mobile networks.

Those are information that you need to know BEFORE making an order, because buying an iPhone that might not have the capability to work with the network you want, can be a bit irritating (I ‘ve been there, sadly).

Get the IMEI number of the iPhone you want to purchase

As you read above, there are plenty of methods to find the IMEI number of an iPhone and you need to take advantage of as many as possible, to make sure that you will buy that specific iPhone.

How to ask the IMEI number from the seller

Ask him to create a video which will include the following:

  1. imei number videoThe video must be continuous (No weird cuts)
  2. It should show the iPhone from all sides, including its back (Some iPhone models also have the IMEI number in the back)
  3. Then, he should dial *#06# and capture the IMEI number from the iPhone’s screen
  4. Then, head to the iPhone’s Settings -> General -> About and zoom in to the IMEI number
  5. Then, also head to the iCloud settings and Activate/Deactivate the Find My iPhone (To make sure that this device is not activated with an iCloud account)
After you receive this video, make sure to check the iPhone’s physical state and then double check that the IMEI number is the same with all those 3 methods.

Then, you can thank the guy 😀

Got the IMEI number – Now?

Now, you need to analyse all the information that this IMEI number contains, and this can happen only with a full iPhone IMEI Check report. This service, is 100% accurate because it has access to Apple’s GSX database.

What is an iPhone IMEI Check report:
GSX Database? What's that now?

If you “read” this report correctly, you will be able to determine the exact status of this iPhone and also figure out if there are any dangers for the near or long future.

For instance, if an iPhone turns out to be Unlocked, CLEAN, no iCloud Locked and Under Warranty, it appears to be a very good choice, right? Not quite! 

If an iPhone is Under Warranty (Especially under a specific warranty), the seller (If he is the original owner) can report this device, after he sell it to you, as LOST/STOLEN, get your money, and also get a new device from either Apple or his Mobile Network.

Since, not everyone is an expert on reading iPhone IMEI Check reports, there are services out there, that not only will provide you a full IMEI Check report, but they will also “translate” the results to simple and understandable words. One of the many companies out there, is the, which I highly recommend!

I got the IMEI Check report & it passed all tests

Your iPhone is Unlocked

If you received a verification from (or other IMEI Check company that you trust), then you are good to go.

The iPhone that you choose, is an Unlocked, CLEAN device, that can be used with any mobile network you want.

Proceed with the order and enjoy your brand new iPhone (or used!).

The Check report found issues with my IMEI number

calm down bad imei check report

This is something that you need to pay attention, since if you do not take into account the issues of the IMEI Check report, you might end up buying an iPhone that cannot function properly.

If you made your iPhone IMEI Check order through, then you will also receive a recommendation/suggestion of how to fix those issues, their cost and their completion time (Cool eh? – Try them out).

There are 3 reasons of why a report raised red flags for an IMEI number:

  1. SIM-Lock is active for a specific Mobile Network
  2. This IMEI number is in a Blacklist
  3. This IMEI number is activated with an iCloud account

My recommendation is to reject this iPhone and find a new one to purchase.

Hint: You can buy in purpose iPhones with issues at a lower price and then fix them. I will show you below, how to calculate the fixes costs, and evaluate if a low-cost “damaged” iPhone, worths buying it and fixing it, instead of buying a flawless one.


How to Fix a “bad” iPhone

Fix a SIM-Locked iPhone:Fix a Blacklisted iPhone:Fix an iCloud Activated/Locked iPhone:
A SIM-Locked iPhone can only work with a specific Mobile Network. If you also want to use this network, then you will not have any issues.
If you want to Unlock this iPhone, to start using it any mobile network you want, there is a solution, and it is called Official iPhone IMEI Unlock method. What it does, is that it locates your IMEI number to Apple’s GSX databases, and changes its status from Locked to Unlocked.This is a permanent solution for your iPhone, and it is being used by thousands of people daily.
My recommendation is an iPhone Unlock provider which I personally tested and they support over 500+ Mobile Networks:

Unlock your iPhone’s Network with iPhoneUnlock.Zone

Blacklisted devices can also be unlocked, but after the unlock you will not be able to use them inside the country that they were blacklisted. But, if you leave in UK and you want to buy an iPhone which is blacklisted by a USA Network, then you will not be affected at all!

Unlock your Blacklisted iPhone with iPhoneUnlock.Zone

This is the most difficult case, because currently there is not a service available that can deactivate the iCloud account that was activated to an iPhone. This is something that only the original owner can do. However, most devices that are iCloud Locked and they are sold to eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, are not being sold by their original owner.

There is a service which is called iCloud Contact Information, that can provide you all available contact information of the original owner, so you can reach out to him/her and request either to remove the iCloud Lock or provide you the original purchase receipt of that iPhone (Having this receipt, will allow you to call Apple and ask them to remove the iCloud Lock!).

Find the Original owner of an iPhone

All the above cases, were analysed seperately, but there is always the chance to find an iPhone which has more than one of the above issues (Or all of them!).

Even though you can fix them all, the price will most likely overcome the price of a flawless new iPhone, so the logic dictates not to buy such an iPhone!

Buying a low-cost “bad” iPhone

To my example I will use a Blacklisted iPhone 6s 64Gb SpaceGray which I found on eBay.

I will analyse its cost, and how much it will cost us to fix all the above issues.

The price of that device is only $135, whereas a flawless iPhone 6s 64Gb costs $540.

This means that can spend on top of the $135, $405 more!

If the iPhone is only SIM-Locked (Not iCloud Locked):

SIM LockedSince this device is blacklisted, it will require a Premium Network Unlock service. The prices of a Premium Network Unlock service varies from $50 to $160, so by taking the average price, it will cost us $105. This will solve the Network Lock of our device, which means that if this is the only problem of that device, we can have a flawless Blacklisted iPhone 6s 64Gb only with $240, whereas we would spend $540 for an unblacklisted iPhone 6s 64Gb. This is a great deal, since you will save up to $300!

If the iPhone is only Blacklisted:

Then, you will only have to pay the $135, since the Blacklist status does not affect you (Assuming that you want to use it OUTSIDE from the country that it was blacklsited). So, this is the best deal ever, since you will save up to $405!

If the iPhone is iCloud Locked:

iCloud LockedThis means that you will have to get in touch with the original owner, explain him the situation, and ask him either to remove the iCloud Lock OR provide you with the original purchase receipt. The iCloud Contact Information service costs only $49,95. The only negative about this case, is that the original owner might not always be positive of removing the iCloud Lock of this device nor providing you the original purchase receipt. In this case, you will not be able to remove the iCloud Lock from your device, and you will have a loss of a total $184,95.

The most common combinations of the above issues are:

  1. Having a SIM-Locked and Blacklisted device

  2. Having an iCloud Locked & Blacklisted device

My recommendation is that if you encounter the second combination, just run away! It does not worth the risk, since the chances of not being able to remove the iCloud Lock, is around 30%-35% (Surprisingly, many original owners remove the iCloud Lock from their devices, but there is always a good chance, around 30%, that they will refuse).

The first combination can be easily dealt with, and if the price of the “bad” iPhone is right, you will be able to get a fully functioning iPhone and save LOST of money!

Hope that helped you to make the right iPhone choice.

I will wait for your comments and questions (or even suggestions & corrections)!

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