It’s risky to buy a used iPhone online. But if you check these things before making a payment, you can reduce your risk.
It’s not as straightforward as just reading the descriptions when it comes to second-hand electronics. Generally, electronics are expensive and require various checklists before purchase. When buying an iPhone second-hand online, those lists double.
If you are looking for a used iPhone online, it may seem like a game of Russian roulette. However, you can ensure that it is a quality item by asking several questions to the seller.
- A copy of the purchase receipt
The original receipt can tell you two important things: the previous owner and warranty status. Request a hard or soft copy from the seller. Once you have the iPhone receipt, make sure the seller’s name and ID match the recipient’s and the purchase date.
If the seller is not able to provide a receipt, decide if you are okay with not being able to trace device ownership if the seller wan’t the first owner and if the iPhone is still under warranty. After several owners, some phones may still be in good condition, but security risks and misuse risks are much higher.
- Identification number (IMEI)
If the device specs match the official receipt, ask the seller to go to Settings > General > About, where they will find the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number.
You can also use IMEI.info to check the network, country, warranty, system version, and other specifications of your phone. Once you have the IMEI number, you can compare it with the proof of purchase you received from the seller.
- Serial Number
You can check the iPhone serial number by going to Settings > General > About on your iPhone, along with the IMEI number.
You can use the serial number to find out information such as when and where the iPhone was manufactured. You can also verify the specs provided by the vendor and check Apple’s website for service and support.
- Part Authenticity
If the device has been repaired previously, ask the seller if it was done by an Apple-authorized service center. Repairs in unauthorized centers can mean the parts of the device are not authentic.
While it would be easier to check this in person, as an online buyer, you can still ask the seller questions about low-quality parts, such as LCDs, that affect the iPhone’s visual experience, battery life, speed, and backlights.
- Touch Test
On a live video, ask the seller to press each physical button while paying attention to the iPhone’s response. Later, ask the seller to demonstrate basic hand gestures for the iPhone, such as swiping, zooming, and tapping.
Older iPhones often have problems with their Home or Touch ID buttons, so if you’re shopping for a phone with one, ask the seller to demonstrate the buttons, paying attention to how responsive they are.
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- Test of The Camera
Besides checking for cracks on the iPhone’s camera, it’s also a good idea to confirm the camera functions properly. Since third-party repair centers sometimes replace authentic iPhone camera parts with unauthorized ones, it’s important to check.
The second-hand iPhone camera should be tested by asking the seller to take photos and show you the photos right afterward. Make sure to ask them to take photos with both the front and back cameras. To ensure that the iPhone camera is still working, make sure the image appears clear.
- Test Of Speaker’s Proficiency
This is one of the most important things to check before purchasing a second-hand iPhone. Faulty speakers are some of the most common indicators of a water-damaged iPhone.
Ask the online seller to turn up the iPhone volume to maximum, then send a quick outbound call or text to hear if there is no static. You may also ask them to play music while adjusting the volume.
If you want to know if your iPhone’s vibrate function works, ask them to put it on vibrate. Next, ask them to place it on a hard surface like a table, then listen to hear if it vibrates.
- Microphone Test
The microphone on a used iPhone should definitely be on your list when buying one. After all, it’s a critical feature used for making and receiving phone calls.
As with the speakers, it is impossible to tell if a microphone is damaged by its appearance alone. For this reason, you should ask the seller to demonstrate its usage.
This can either be accomplished by asking them to record a specific phrase using their microphone and play it back to you, or by calling the iPhone and testing the quality.
- Port Checks
Ask the seller to test the ports by charging with a chord or, if applicable, plugging in speakers through the headphone jack. iPhones can be damaged by water and dust because of their many open ports.
- Testing The Battery
It is common for electronic devices to have damaged batteries. Poor battery life can be caused by both normal use and poor charging practices. Ask the seller for a second-hand iPhone to open Settings > Battery > Battery Health and check the battery status.
There is a limited lifespan for all rechargeable batteries, which is why it’s important to manage your expectations about battery life when buying second-hand. Apple claims that after 500 full charge cycles, iPhone batteries should retain up to 80% of their capacity.
The performance of iPhones will decrease if the battery health is less than 80%, so an immediate replacement might be necessary. If the iPhone is still under warranty, the battery will be replaced for free. Out-of-warranty iPhones can also be repaired for a fee by Apple.
The Risks Of Buying Second-Hand iPhones
Due to the fact that iPhone metadata, such as the IMEI number, does not change with ownership, authorities may contact you if they suspect fraud or unlawful behavior on the device.
In addition, it is becoming increasingly common for people to find very authentic-looking fake electronic devices. Among the reasons for second-hand electronics being so cheap is that some of their parts may not be original anymore. It will not be possible for these “iPhones” to run optimally for their intended lifespan, despite initially working well.
There are some types of physical damage that are easy to assess, such as a broken screen, while there are others that aren’t as obvious. Check that the seller reviews are legitimate and click through the reviewer profiles to ensure that they are. Bad parts will stop your iPhone from running smoothly.
Here Are Some Alternatives To Buying Second-Hand Iphones Online
You need to be extra careful before purchasing a second-hand iPhone if you want to score a cheap deal. While Apple products usually last for years, many iPhone owners don’t treat their devices responsibly.
You should always opt to purchase second-hand devices that you’ve seen and tested in person. Not only will this increase your chances of avoiding a bait and switch, but it can also reduce shipping damage.
Rather than purchasing second-hand iPhones, you can also purchase refurbished iPhones directly from Apple at reduced prices. Not only will your new device be fully tested before it reaches you, but it will also have a warranty from Apple.
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