How To Buy a Cheap Used iPhone – Don’t Get Scammed

iPhone 6s PricesUpgrading your iPhone every year to the latest version is expensive.

If you haven’t upgraded your iPhone in a few years, but you want to now, however, you still don’t have a good budget – I will help you right there.

In this post, I will tell you how to buy a cheap used iPhone if you are on a budget but still, want to buy a new iPhone or you just want to save some money.

Tips I will write here are the best way to get yourself a great deal for a cheaper price, without the possibility of getting scammed or whatsoever.

You Have Three Options To Choose From

If you have decided to go on and buy a used iPhone, how do you do it?

First option

Maybe you know someone who is selling a used iPhone, such as your friend.

In this case, this is a great news for you. You will know from your own experience how did your friend handle the phone, did he have any problems with it, was anything repaired, you will be able to check everything yourself.It will benefit you in a great way.

It will benefit you in a great way.

Second option

However, if you don’t know any family member or a friend who is willing to sell their iPhone, you still have two options to choose from.

You can purchase a certified pre-owned iPhone from a reputable seller or you can bid on a pre-owned iPhone from an auction site such as eBay.

Third option

The last but not the least useful way to find and buy a used iPhone is to find a local seller on a site like Craigslist or online shopping like Amazon.com

No matter which option you choose, you will still need to follow some steps in order to purchase the best-used iPhone for the cheapest price possible.

However, one option may bring a cheaper deal for you rather than the second option, but at the same time, it could be a deal of a higher risk.

If you follow my advice and you pay attention to important things I will mention below, you will be fine and you will get yourself a great deal buying a used iPhone.

It’s nothing to be scared of if you know what you are doing.

Make Sure It’s Not Stolen or Locked

Just like the cars, every mobile phone on the Earth has the unique serial number.

With that number, you can identify the device.

Make sure you understand that the GSM carriers use IMEI number. And the CDMA providers use the MEID number to identify their devices.

Why is it important you might be wondering?

It’s very important to check the mobile phone’s serial number because the mobile phone could be carrier locked because of non-payments, or even worse – the mobile phone could be locked because it was stolen!

There is also a possibility that the iPhone you are looking to purchase might be repaired and opened, and in that process, its body was changed.

To avoid any problems, I highly recommend you to check the iPhone’s serial number.

To do that, you will simply want to ask the seller for the serial number, or you can find it out yourself if you are holding the iPhone in your hands.

To find a serial number follow these steps:

  1. On the iPhone go to Settings
  2. General
  3. About

Or you can simply dial *#06# and the serial number will be shown on the iPhone’s screen.

To verify the serial number which you have found, you can do it on the Apple’s site, simply click here to visit the site or if you need more information you can run the IMEI on another search here.

iPhone IMEI Verify

It will take only a few minutes, but it will save you a lot of trouble.

Make Sure You Check The iPhone’s Body

You are buying a used iPhone, but you don’t want to buy a damaged iPhone or the iPhone with poor body condition.

You can always ask the seller to rate the condition of their iPhone from 1 to 10, and you can always ask them how did they take care of it.
Was it in the protection case, did it have screen protectors installed etc.

iPhone 6S Body

Make sure you understand you are still paying for the phone, not matter if it’s a used one.

So make sure you are satisfied with the looks and the feel of the used iPhone because you don’t want to buy yourself a scratched and damaged iPhone.

However, if there are any minor scratches and if you don’t mind them, you can use that as an advantage to lower the price a little bit if you are still into purchasing the device.

Find Out If There Is Any Water Damage

Many sellers won’t probably tell you this, however, there is a way for you to find out if the iPhone has been water damaged before.

If the iPhone still works, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been exposed to water damage before.

All the iPhone models come with the Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI).

It’s a simple dot on the iPhone which will turn red if it has been exposed to water before, actually any liquid.

The LCI dot is usually white or silver color if it the iPhone hasn’t been water damaged before.

That is something you should aim for.

To find out if the iPhone has been water damaged, you first must know where to look for Liquid Contact Indicator dot.

On the older models of iPhone such as 4 and 4s, the LCI dot is located in the 3.5 earphone jack or inside the charger port. On the newer models of iPhone devices, LCI dot is located inside the sim card port.

iPhone Water Damage LCI Indicator

Simply take out the sim card and look out for the dot, which will be either white/silver or red.

If you find out that the iPhone has been water damaged before, but the seller claims that the red dot is due to humidity or temperature changes – don’t believe him.

Liquid Contact Indicator will never change its color to red if it wasn’t exposed to any liquid.

Check The Camera, WiFi, Bluetooth and the GPS

iPhone 6S Camera

Make sure you don’t just investigate the used iPhone from the outside.

Feel free to take a few photos, make a video, but also make sure that the WiFI, Bluetooth, and the GPS works as well.

If the previous owner took care of the iPhone, all of the features should be working perfectly.

However, better check it before the purchase, or it will be too late afterward.

Check The Battery

If you think it’s gonna be hard to test the battery, you are wrong.

The battery is an important part of the iPhone.
With a bad battery, you won’t get far.

A new iPhone battery usually gives a day and a half of battery life with normal usage.

To check if the used iPhone’s battery is in a good shape, simply set the screen brightness to maximum, use WiFI, Bluetooth, take photos and videos, even try to make a few minute call.

If the battery goes down very quickly in the meanwhile, or the battery gets very hot – most likely that the battery is not in a good shape.

Check The Ports And Buttons

As you can probably understand by now, it’s important to check everything about the used iPhone which might be yours soon.

Don’t hurry, and just test everything including even the charging port, earphone jack, volume buttons, home button and the lock button.

Check The Speaker And The Display

Feel free to play some music to check the speaker, but also make sure you make a test call as well.

Also check the display to see if everything’s alright, and make sure that there are no dead pixels.

Make Sure Nothing Is Missing

iPhone Box Package

The last but the least important thing to check is the box.

Make sure that everything is in there, and that you will get all the necessary accessories with the iPhone device.

Usually, the box should contain USB cable,  AC charging adaptor, ear pods, SIM ejects tool and users manual.

If the previous owner did a great job and took care of his iPhone and all the accessories, it should be all in there.

But make sure you check out the condition of the accessories such as USB cable which might be worn out or starting to break at some part etc.


You can get a used iPhone in a great shape for a cheaper deal than purchasing a brand new one.

If you are careful and you pay attention to details, you will do good and I am sure you will grab yourself a great deal.

Make sure you don’t hurry into the purchase. I know it can be exciting and you can’t wait to get a new iPhone, but save yourself some trouble and take it slowly and don’t buy the first one you test if it’s not the best one.

When testing the iPhone make sure you take your time, don’t feel like you are in a hurry and make sure you test everything.

Yes, everything. It’s important to understand and gather as much information as possible about the used iPhone which might become yours in the future.

You can’t always trust the seller, especially if you don’t know him.

So even if you have a feeling he is telling you the truth, spend some time and test everything I have mentioned earlier.

That way you won’t get scammed or buy something which will make you feel disappointed after using it a while.

Do you have any better tips or things to check before buying a used iPhone?

Let me know in the comments below.

Also if you found this useful, feel free to like it and share it on social media.

Dario Lemut

Technology addict and passionate Apple fan who shares his knowledge and opinion about Apple like a real rebel on iAppleRebel.com blog.

  • Tom says:

    Great Post Dario!
    Thanks for the great suggestions on how to purchase a used iPhone! What I really liked in the article was your discussion about the LCI. I knew there was some kind of indicator for this, but, I did not know where or how to read it! I am not personally an iPhone user, but, I will spread the word and reference your post here regarding the LCI and the other great information you have shared!

    Thanks again!

    • Hey, Tom.

      Thanks for sharing it, I totally agree. Not many people know about the LCI dot which is an easy to spot once you know where to look.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I am glad you enjoyed the post.

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