Buying a second-hand iPhone: 7 golden tips for the best deal

Those looking for a second-hand iPhone can browse auction sites such as Marktplaats, or purchase a refurbished one from a store. Whichever choice you make: pay attention to these 7 things.

Buying a second-hand iPhone: 7 tips

Unlike Android phones, iPhones are quite stable in value. This is especially useful when you are going to sell your device, but not when you are in the market for a new phone yourself. However, it is possible to save on a second-hand iPhone, as long as you know the tricks.

1. Choose the right time

Timing is important, even when it comes to buying a second-hand iPhone. Apple introduces new phones every year, usually in September. Now 2020 is a separate year for the world, including Apple. The company therefore recently announced that the new iPhones have been delayed “a few weeks”. We therefore expect the iPhone 12 to be in stores at the earliest second hand iphone

If you’re looking for a second-hand iPhone, you should be alert during the weeks before and just after the unveiling. Second-hand sellers want to sell their old iPhone, so that they can purchase the new model. Because the supply is higher than the demand, prices are depressed. We see this phenomenon recurring annually, so take advantage of it.

2. Compare second-hand iPhone prices

Never eat the first second-hand iPhone, but always look around first. There are plenty of Apple phone retailers out there, so check out all parties. For example, check the first 20 results on popular sites such as Marktplaats, eBay and Don’t forget the local Facebook groups, where people near you sell their second-hand iPhone.

Don’t forget refurbished iPhones

There are also plenty of stores that sell refurbished iPhones. These devices have been in use before, but have been completely checked for proper technical operation. Any defective parts have also been repaired and / or replaced. Refurbished iPhones always work as new, but may have some signs of use. These are subdivided into certain conditions.

Of course, you pay more than for a second-hand iPhone from a private person, but you do get more security there. You get a warranty with a refurbished device. We recommend that you only buy from web shops with the Refurbished Quality Mark. These shops meet the quality requirements, provide a guarantee and give at home in case of complaints. The video below explains briefly and concisely what exactly refurbished is.

You can compare all refurbished iPhones yourself via the button below. You can filter by model, storage capacity, condition and color options. It also indicates which shops carry the Refurbished Quality Mark.

3. Check the seller

If you’ve found a second-hand iPhone for a good price, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Make sure you know who you are talking to and do not just send the device. Preferably visit with a family member or friend (with knowledge) so that you can check the iPhone and avoid getting scammed.

The most used iPhones are by far on Marktplaats, although there are also new devices among them. Although the choice is greatest here, there is no rating system for sellers. That is annoying, because you always have to be extra careful that you do not buy a cat in a poke.

The offer on competing sales sites is often smaller, but sometimes more reliable. For example, on platforms like Tweakers, you can read experiences of other buyers with a particular seller.

Do you decide to have the second-hand iPhone shipped without seeing the device first? Then always pay via a buyer protection service, such as PayPal. If your Apple phone is not delivered, you will at least get your money back that way. Marktplaats has a similar function.

4. Check the condition of the iPhone

The tricky thing about second-hand sales websites is that you often cannot check the condition of an object, although the description (with photos) usually indicates what to expect. If you have the option to pick up the second-hand iPhone, that is of course no problem.

Our advice: take the time to check the device on a number of critical points and only complete the deal when you are sure that it is right. If you find out afterward that things are not right, it will probably be difficult to get your money back.

Make it easy for yourself and complete the checklist below:

  • Are all buttons working? Does anything happen when you press them? If they don’t work properly, don’t buy the iPhone.
  • Are the camera and flash functioning properly? Try them both. Are you buying a device with Face ID such as the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro? Check whether the selfie camera recognizes your face properly.
  • Are there no cracks on the front or back? Also look for smaller scratches and damage by shining your flashlight over the housing.
  • Does the touchscreen respond well to touch? Swipe through the interface for a while and play a game to make sure.
  • Are there no dead pixels in the screen? Tip: go to the website nland check if you see an abnormality in the screen.
  • Doesn’t the iPhone rattle when you shake it lightly?
  • Are all accessories (USB cable and charger) present? You probably don’t need used earplugs, but it is important that the original charger is included.
  • Does the seller still have the original packaging and purchase receipt?
  • Is the sound working properly? Check this by playing a movie.
  • Is the device simlock free? Check this by inserting your own SIM card into the iPhone.
  • Does the iPhone have water damage? This is the case when the liquid damage indicator is colored red. You will find this with the holder for your SIM card.

4. Make sure the iPhone has not been stolen

If you have found an apparently reliable seller, it is still wise to check the serial or IMEI number. You can find this number via ‘Settings> General> Info’ and can use it to check whether a device has been stolen or not. Go to, an official website of the Police, and enter the iPhone code. This method is not foolproof, but it can prevent a lot of trouble.

5. Ask for proof of purchase

Proof of purchase is important, even if you buy a second-hand iPhone. It offers a lot of security when the seller can show you where he/she bought the device. A proof of purchase is usually not necessary to make use of the (remaining) warranty, but its presence does give you as a buyer a lot of confidence.

6. Check the warranty

According to Apple, you are entitled to a one-year warranty, but that is in violation of European regulations. It states that you are entitled to a warranty period of two years. Apple itself does not report this, but when you contact customer service you ‘just’ get a two-year warranty.

This is useful to know, especially when you buy a second-hand iPhone that is less than two years old. By the way, you should first study the conditions before contacting Apple.

In general, manufacturing errors or other defects that are demonstrably not caused by your use will be compensated. Fall or water damage is therefore not covered. You can of course insure your iPhone for this.

7. Weigh carefully whether the savings are worth it

Second-hand iPhones are usually quite pricey. Therefore, weigh for yourself whether the savings are worth it compared to a new model. When it only saves a few tens, you might be wise to go for a new model, or to purchase a refurbished iPhone.

Do you have a relatively old iPhone in mind? Then a second-hand copy is particularly interesting. Apple does not often lower its suggested retail prices, while the device is getting older in the meantime.

On the other hand, it is often not very convenient to buy a relatively new iPhone second-hand. The difference between the new and second-hand prices is not that big.

Practical example

An example clarifies the matter. The iPhone XS, a device from 2018, currently has a suggested retail price of 699 euros. If you buy a refurbished iPhone XS, you will lose between 490 and 540 euros, depending on the external condition of the device.

The iPhone 11 from 2019 has a suggested retail price of 789 euros, but is already available for around 700 euros from some providers. It is not yet being sold refurbished: it is too new for that.

A quick look at Marktplaats shows us that most second-hand iPhone 11 copies should yield between 650 and 700 euros. Relatively speaking, this is a much smaller difference than the new/second-hand price ratio of the slightly older iPhone XS.

Buy your iPhone second-hand or new?

You should now have a good idea of ​​all the things you should consider when buying a second-hand iPhone. Is the savings compared to a new model less than you had hoped?

Then use our iPhone price comparison tool to find a model that suits your needs and budget. Of course, we also have a refurbished iPhone price comparator. These devices are priced just a bit sharper, but technically equivalent to new iPhones. Below we have highlighted some interesting and good, but affordable iPhones for you.

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