How to Identify a Refurbished iPhone Or Not

How to tell the difference between a new and refurbished iPhone?

There is one small snag in this question.

Let’s start with the latter.

How to know if your iPhone is new and not used?

The easiest and surest way is to use the Apple website:

  • We’ll need a serial number. over, if you are just going to buy a device, then it is not even necessary to activate it. you can always look at the box, or, more reliably, at the activation stage, click on the “i in a circle” icon. However, there are other ways to find out IMEI.
  • We go to the official Apple website in the section “checks eligibility for service and support”. here is the link.
  • Enter the serial number and look at the result.

There may be many options, but in order to make sure that the iPhone is new, we are only interested in two:

  • IPhone needs to be activated. it means the device is new and nobody has used it.
  • Estimated expiration date. It should end exactly one year after the first activation and inclusion. Here already look at the situation. if you are sold a phone under the guise of a new one, but the estimated service date ends in a couple of months. they lie to you and the iPhone is at least used.

Received any other messages that you do not understand? The decryption is in the article about the results of checking the eligibility for service and support.

How officially refurbished iPhones differ

We all know that Apple does refurbish and market certain iPhones like new.

How do you find out that you have a restored device in front of you? In fact, there are not so many ways:

  • The first and most important is the type of box (it will be different).
  • Lettering on the box. next to the serial number you will see RFB.
  • The price will be lower than the “regular” model.

There are no other differences. These are the same devices as the new ones. They have a full warranty and are verified in the same way on the Apple website. You don’t need to be afraid of them.

How to identify “artisanal” refurbished iPhones

In fact, these are the same second-hand devices that are assembled in some unknown place and it is not clear how. This means that you can also distinguish them. check by the serial number on the Apple website. If the warranty has passed, then the iPhone is not new.

And all would be fine, but many sellers, selling unofficially (read, in basement workshops) restored iPhones under the guise of new ones, go to all sorts of tricks and try to confuse the buyer:

  • Say, this is some kind of special phone (Eurotest, Chinese, American, special). so the check does not work. Remember, verification on the Apple website should always work!
  • The serial number on the box is forged. a random IMEI is indicated, which has not yet been activated. And the device, in fact, has a different number.

But the worst thing is that craftsmen can change the serial number directly in the phone. What to do and how to find out the truth?

  • Check IMEI by command # call button. By dialing it (like a regular call) you will see a serial number. compare it with the one indicated on the box and in the settings.
  • The most time consuming but most reliable is to restore iPhone firmware via iTunes. After this procedure, all interference with the operating system, if any, will disappear.

Well, then we act “according to the knurled pattern”. go to the Apple website, check and draw conclusions.

How to tell a new iPhone from a used or refurbished iPhone?

Reade set Go. Let’s go! 🙂

So what’s the bottom line?

  • The surest and surest way to know if an iPhone is new is to check it out on Apple’s website. Depending on the results of the check, it will already be possible to draw a conclusion whether this is a used device or not.
  • Sometimes the serial number can be spoofed to pass off an unofficially refurbished iPhone as a brand new device. Therefore, we look at the IMEI not only on the box, but also in the device settings (ideally, restore the firmware via iTunes. if the serial is changed in any way, then after this procedure the real numbers will “return”).
  • Officially refurbished iPhones are virtually indistinguishable from regular iPhones. The only difference will be in the picture and the inscription on the box, the price.

Perhaps these are the most important points from all of the above.

I hope that the information was useful. if it helps at least a few people (saves them from buying a “bad” gadget, reassures and assures that the iPhone they bought is really new), then it will be very good!

What is refubrished?

The option is valid only in the United States and there it is a fairly common phenomenon, since the standard of living is higher and a person can change the phone every year or two, buying a new model with a discount from putting the old one.

The device can be returned for any reason. From the fact that the phone is simply tired and the buyer wants a discount on the new model and therefore does not throw out the old one, but hands it over to serious breakdowns and factory defects. Most often these are problems with the camera or microphone, as well as a malfunctioning display. That is, both an almost new model with a couple of scratches and a phone with serious defects can be restored. There is a lottery.

  • Checking and identifying all bugs, malfunctions, microcircuits or parts that do not work as expected. This is done by specialists using the same equipment on which they test new iPhones before release for sale, so the chance that a bug or malfunction will be missed is not very high.
  • After that, the phone goes through a repair phase. In it, non-working parts are changed, bugs are eliminated and the phone is checked again.
  • Then the device goes for a “cosmetic repair”. the glass, the battery and the case are changed, making it visually as similar as possible to the new one. At this stage, a note is sewn into the phone that it has gone through the recovery process.
  • Then the iPhone is re-packaged, adding the entire package. The box also says “refubrished by Apple”.
  • Such a device is put up for sale at a price much cheaper than a new one. Depending on the model, malfunctions and some other indicators, the price may be lower by about

100-200. This attracts buyers who want an iPhone but can’t afford to spend too much on it.

We wrote about all the pros and cons of the restored phone in a separate article.

Such devices have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some ardently oppose the purchase, others call it a great way to save money when purchasing a quality model. Much depends on your priorities, so if you are thinking about buying such a device, we strongly recommend reading the article.

In addition, in the territory of the former USSR, it is not uncommon for people to try to sell a used phone under the guise of a refurbished or new device. Most often, a model for restoration is taken from buyers of stolen goods and then repaired independently in artisanal conditions, giving the phone only a beautiful appearance, but the filling in them can be terrible. with bugs and numerous breakdowns.

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You do not need such a model at all, even if they sell it at the lowest price and promise quality. Below we will consider the options when a refurbished or new one is trying to be replaced with such a used one and we will tell you in more detail what the consequences may be after buying such a device.

Checking device functions

After you have looked at the assembly of the phone, you can start testing the functions of the device. This is another way to recognize a refurbished iPhone or brand new model. Also, with the help of such a check, you can find out if the phone was in use.But in order to turn on the iPhone, you need a SIM card of the appropriate size (Nano SIM / Micro SIM / SIM). It depends on which phone model. In order to immediately check the phone at a meeting with the seller, you should see in advance what type of card will be needed for the device that you are going to buy.

How to Identify a Refurbished iPhone Or Not

Do you use an iPhone? Then our article on how to free up space on your device will be useful to you.

When installing a mobile operator card, you need to look at whether the moisture indicator is activated. If it is active, then the phone was soaked that it could affect the work. Don’t buy a phone with an active moisture indicator.

When you turn it on for the first time, a white screen and a welcome message will appear. Take a close look at the screen at this moment. Since it is white and at high brightness, you can see any defects and damage. Any dark areas at this point are a defect.

In order to check the quality of the sensor, you should try to drag the icon of any of the programs up, down, right, left. This will help you determine if the sensor is performing well in all parts of the screen. If the icon starts to jump in some place, as if it ran into an obstacle and cannot step on that part of the screen, there may be a breakdown.

In order to check the quality of the screen again, you need to install the darkest theme on the wallpaper (“Settings”. “Wallpaper”) and see if there are any white spots, light spots or other defects on the dark theme.

After that, you should separately check each of the main functions in order to make sure that the phone is working. It is worth doing this even if you are already convinced that the device is new. Since a small percentage of phones leave the factory that have defects, this is called a marriage. If you find yourself in a marriage, do not take this device and ask for another model. Here are some of the features worth checking out before purchasing a device:

  • Camera (front and back). To do this, you need to open the camera, point it at the object and click on the screen in the place where the focus should be. Focus on another subject to ensure the quality and speed of its work. Take a picture and check its clarity. In addition, you can record video with audio in order to verify that the microphone and speaker are working correctly. The sound should be clear with a minimum of noise.
  • Compass. To do this, you need to go into a special application and check how it works by shaking the phone from side to side.
  • Calls. It is worth checking the sound quality when calling. Dial any number and talk to the person for a few minutes to make sure they can be heard well. Also ask how well you can be heard.
  • Wi-Fi and mobile internet. You need to connect to the Internet and check it by google something.
  • TouchID (fingerprint unlock). It is not available on all models, but only starting from the 6th. In order to check the quality of this function, you need to try to customize finger unlock for yourself.

How to check if iPhone is refurbished or new

So how do you check a refurbished iPhone or not? After all, the device is changing the case and in appearance it will be difficult to distinguish it from the new factory model. There are several ways, because manufacturers clearly define the status of each phone and be sure to indicate in the settings of the model itself that it has gone through the recovery process. Knowing where to look can easily expose a dishonest reseller.

Be warned, though, that some retailers are well aware of how the company labels refurbished iPhones for users. Therefore, the reseller is trying with all his might to hide these marks by replacing the box or by flashing it inside the phone itself. However, he will not be able to remove everything, no matter how hard he tries. Therefore, before buying an iphone hand-held, we recommend that you check the model in all ways and in all parameters, which will be described below. Yes, it will take some time, but it can save you from an unjustified purchase.

Checking iPhone appearance

Before checking the functions and functionality of the phone, you need to check the build quality of the device and also see that the IMEI (it can be found on the back of the phone) matches the one indicated on the box. In addition, IMEI is still in the phone’s firmware, it can be viewed through the settings, but more on that below.

In order to check if the phone has a good build, you need to press all the buttons that you find on the side panel. This can be a sound control, a button for locking, as well as Home, if you do not have X or higher. Each button should be pressed smoothly, without clicking sound and feeling like the button is sinking.

After checking the buttons, you need to look at the frame. The inserts on the frame on the sides of the device should not protrude or, on the contrary, sink. Also press your finger on the frames of the device and also on the center of the screen. Nothing crunches or creaks in the original model.

If the device is new or refurbished at the factory, then the screws on it will be in order. no scratches or damage. If the phone was repaired at home and they are trying to pass it off as a new device, then small scratches and damage will be noticeable on the screws. This happens because the phone is disassembled for repair and assembled by non-professional screwdrivers that are used at the factory. Therefore, they slip and scratch the surface of the screw.

Checking the packaging

The very first thing to look out for is the packaging of the phone. Since this is the first thing we see when buying. With the help of packaging, the easiest way to answer for yourself the question of how to find out a refurbished iPhone or not.

The box in which the remanufactured models are packed is different from the new box. For clarity, pay attention to the figure below. This is what the packaging of a refurbished phone looks like.

However, replacing packaging is the simplest thing unscrupulous sellers can do. Therefore, if you see that the box is not from a restored model, you should take a closer look at it.

See how smooth and clean the cardboard is. There should be no additional inscriptions or dents on it. But pay special attention to the quality of the sticker that is placed on the back of the box. It is often faked, but the fake is rarely of high quality and can be seen. The lettering should be very clear, it should not look like it was printed on a printer.

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Checking iPhone Package

After you have unpacked the device, do not rush to immediately pick it up. You need to check the package contents. The accessories should be as follows:

  • Headphones (AirPods).
  • USB cable.
  • Device charging block.
  • Clip.
  • Instruction. iSerpka
  • Small cable (may not be available on older models).

This kit should be mandatory if the device is new or refurbished. If this is just a used phone that has not even been restored at the factory, then some of the components can be replaced by others (cheap Chinese counterparts that are easy to distinguish by fragile plastic and irregular block shapes) or not. Below are two configuration options.

Beware of buying a used iPhone. it can work very poorly as it hasn’t even been repaired at the factory. In addition, the phone can be stolen and this will entail unpleasant consequences for you.

To make sure that the original equipment is not replaced with a Chinese counterfeit in the hope of hiding the fact that the iPhone is not new or even factory refurbished.

EarPods, if included, should be in a square box. The Apple logo must be embossed on the box. You can see how it looks in the picture below.

After inspecting the box, you need to look at the headphones themselves and pay special attention to what kind of protective mesh the speaker has. In the original model, it is metal, if you bring it to the light and twist the earpiece, the mesh will overflow. In Chinese models, the mesh is clearly not metallic, it is made of thin fabric.

Also, look at the button gap. this is the gap between the front and back of the microphone. It should be small. about 2 millimeters. After that, you need to check what tactile sensations appear when you press the microphone activation button for headphones. This should be a very smooth press, no click felt.

Charger. the power supply itself, which is inserted into the outlet, must have the logo and the corporate inscription “Designed by Apple in California”.

Checking IMEI on iPhone

This is a very important point. The indicator must match on the box, case and in the phone’s firmware. Therefore, it is worth paying special attention to checking the IMEI. In order to find this indicator in the phone, you need to open “Settings”, then click on “Basic”, then select “About this device”. Here you need to check IMEI, Serial No. (Serial number) and Model with indicators on the back panel and on the packaging box.

If the device is refurbished, the model may not match the one indicated on the box.

Checking with services

After you have examined the box and found the IMEI and Serial No, you can immediately (if you have a phone or computer with an Internet connection at hand) check if the iPhone is refurbished or a new one, and whether it has been used before. There are several sites in which you need to enter your phone data and see all the information you are interested in. There are many, but we recommend using the following:

  • check_imei.php

They provide all the necessary information about the phone, with which you can determine which phone is in front of you.

The most important services through which you need to pass the phone for verification are the services that the company itself has developed for such cases. the first and last.

On the latest Apple Check Coverage service, you need to look at what dates are in the end of phone support column and what dates are under warranty. They should be green. this is a sign that the phone is new or refurbished, and not used, which may be stolen. If support and warranty have expired, you should immediately refuse to buy this device and leave. you never know what problems may arise with used phones.

Another way to understand a refurbished iPhone or not is the second service. will help you find out if the device is activated, if it has a warranty and if the function of finding a lost model is enabled for it. And there should also be a release date. A new or remanufactured model has everything relatively fresh.

If you see expired dates on the second or on the third link, then you ended up on a used phone or faced a situation when an unscrupulous seller replaced the box of a refurbished iPhone with a box from a new model. And then the data on the box will not match what is built into the phone’s firmware. However, we will pay attention to this later.

The rest of the services can tell you what status the phone has (new or refurbished).

How to check iPhone upon purchase

If your plans do not include taking a model that has already been used, then you should definitely check the phone when buying it hand-held. There are several ways, to be sure, you should use all of them when checking, or at least most of the ways.

Detailed video instruction. How to check if your iPhone is new (activated or not)?

You have been sold an iPhone in a sealed box and the seller assures that it is new. Before you can start using your new Apple smartphone, you need to activate it. The activation procedure involves connecting a smartphone with an inserted SIM card to Apple’s activation servers. To do this, you just need to connect to Wi-Fi or use cellular data.

And only after the iPhone owner receives confirmation of activation, he will be able to use his device.

Thus, if, when the smartphone is first turned on, the user immediately goes to the home screen, bypassing the welcome, activation and settings screens, then it has already been in use. At the same time, if after the first start-up of the iPhone, the welcome screen appeared, this does not mean that the gadget was not used. The fact is that a screen with the word “Hello” in different languages ​​of the world appears every time the iPhone is reset to factory settings or after the iOS restore procedure on the computer. In other words, even unpacking the sealed box and the appearance of the welcome screen when you turn on the purchased iPhone does not guarantee that the smartphone is new.

How to check if you bought a new iPhone?

Apple has a Service and Support Eligibility section on Apple’s website that lets you quickly and effortlessly verify that the iPhone you’re purchasing hasn’t actually been used before. All the user needs to know to work with the service is the serial number of the device. For activated gadgets, this number can be found in the “Settings”, in the “General” section, the menu item “About this device”. In the event that the smartphone meets the user with the start-up welcome screen, his serial code can be found by pressing the “i” button in the lower right corner.

In addition, the serial number of the iPhone can be found on a label located on the back of the original box.

So, to test your iPhone, follow these steps:

1. Go to the Check Service and Support Eligibility section of the Apple website.

2. Enter the serial number of the iPhone in the appropriate field (how to find the serial number), enter the code shown in the picture and click Continue.


IPhone serial number NEVER contains the letter “O” (uses the number “0” (zero).

3. If, when checking a supposedly new iPhone (or an officially restored (ref, refurbished) Apple), the message “Activate your device” appears, then this really confirms that the smartphone had no history and is really new.

After activation, the Right to Service and Support service will display (perhaps not immediately, but within 24 hours) the estimated expiration date of the Right to Service and Repair, which is determined by adding 365 days to the activation day. In other words, to find out the date of the first activation, subtract exactly 1 year from the calculated date.

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NOTE: The data on the Apple server may not change immediately, it usually happens in the interval from 1 minute to 12 hours.

If the activation date that you carried out differs from that specified in the service “Checking the eligibility for service and support”, then you can safely file a claim with the seller. the smartphone was activated earlier, ie unfortunately, you are not the first owner of this iPhone.

Let’s take a real life example. In the post-Soviet space, the sale of gray (illegally imported) activated iPhones under the guise of new ones is often used. How does this happen? New locked (tied to a mobile operator) iPhones are sold, for example, in the United States, at a fairly low price. They are bought by “businessmen” for the purpose of subsequent unlocking (decoupling from the operator) for a fee.

However, often in order to unlock such an iPhone, in most cases its box must be unpacked, software restored and repacked. By and large, this is a new phone (in fact, it was not used), identical to the one purchased from an official reseller, but the date of its first activation will not correspond to the date of activation by the buyer, since it has already been produced earlier. Naturally, the service and support period of such a phone will be less than a year.

IMEI number or serial number

IMEI number or serial number will help to check the device status and activation. The relevant information is indicated on the box, on the body of the smartphone or on the tray for installing the SIM card, as well as in the settings section “About this device”.

Knowing the serial number, just go to the manufacturer’s official website, enter the data and get information about the warranty. If the smartphone is not restored by the manufacturer and has been activated for a long time, technical support and service will not be provided. If the smartphone has not been activated, the website will display information about the need to activate the iPhone.

A purchase should be approached with caution if the seller refuses to provide a photo with a serial number, citing various reasons and possible consequences. It is better to avoid such sellers.

It is also easy to determine other useful information by IMEI, for example, color. If you are offered a model in gray, and when checking by IMEI, a model of gold or another color, then they are trying to sell you a Chinese restored device. The sale of such devices is widespread due to a pleasant discount, up to 50%. The quality of such phones is influenced by the capabilities of the Chinese seller. Therefore, we come across both sufficiently “high-quality” assembled devices, and with serious defects.


Smartphones new or refurbished by the manufacturer come with sealed accessories: EarPods, sync cable, AC power adapter, reference documentation, and a warranty card. over, in the iPhone 7 and subsequent versions, the manufacturer has abandoned the 3.5 mm headphone jack, so the headset in such models comes only with a Lightning plug. Therefore, the absence or differences of accessories should be taken with caution. You should also show caution if the accessories are unpacked or look used. the presence of scuffs, scratches, the presence of dust or dirt.


When buying, be sure to visually inspect the phone. Dust, scratches, fingerprints and other signs of use are not allowed. Carefully check the mounting bolts on the smartphone base. If the slightest traces of use / opening are revealed, the purchase of the phone should be excluded. Since it is easy to get an opened device under the guise of a new and not activated phone, some original components have been replaced with cheap counterparts.

Activation status

The smartphone is considered activated when first turned on, which cannot be hidden by resetting the settings. If the seller turned on the smartphone, then such a device can be considered used or restored. The status of the new phone is saved only until the first switch on. Even if the seller assures that no one has used the phone, the device was turned on once to test its functionality, or the phone is still under warranty, it is undesirable to buy such a phone. And if the seller is telling the truth, it is impossible to believe the accuracy of the words without detailed analysis in a couple of minutes of inspection.


New iPhone models are packaged in a light cardboard box with a picture of the corresponding phone. Models refurbished by the manufacturer are supplied in light boxes without the phone picture, but only with the model indication. Phones refurbished by third parties are usually put in the original box, which may have some wear and tear, or the usual light box.


The iPhones refurbished by the manufacturer contain the abbreviation RFB. Refurbished on the packaging. The corresponding mark is also available in the batch number on the package and in the model name in the system properties. By the way, the batch / model marking will explain in detail the origin of the phone.

The model / batch number begins with one of the four Latin letters. M, N, F, P, as well as the number 3:

  • M. New smartphone, example code MN942RU / A.
  • N. Phone issued for replacement under warranty, example code NTAH2LL / A.
  • F. Smartphone Factory Restore, example code FE43RK / A.
  • P. Personalized engraved smartphone.
  • 3. Exhibition sample.

To view the model number in the properties of the phone, do the following:

  • Open system preferences.
  • Then the item “Basic”.
  • Then the item “About this device”.
  • In the new window, look for the line with the name “Model Number”.

Warranty service

Brand new and refurbished smartphones are warranted for 12 months. The warranty service status is checked on the official website. If other terms are indicated during the sale or a guarantee is not provided, then you should refrain from buying.

Also, an officially purchased smartphone has an extended warranty of 2 years, in accordance with the laws “On consumer protection”.

What is a refurbished smartphone

The term “refurbished” refers to a variety of electronics that have been repaired or have undergone a specified defect. over, such electronics can be restored in a completely new state, when a defect is detected at the time of sale or before the start of sale, as well as after a certain time of use. For example, stripes appeared on the screen, the device does not turn on or has stopped charging. If the device cannot be repaired, the buyer receives a new device, and the defective one is removed for restoration.

Defective smartphones are usually repaired in the manufacturer’s specialized workshops on site or sent to the factory. After the defect is eliminated, the device is reflashed, packaged and put up for re-sale, but at a reduced price. Buying such a device is a lottery, since it is easy to buy a previously unused smartphone at a discount or a phone that has worked for a certain time before the recovery process.

How to know / distinguish a refurbished iPhone or not

It is Apple’s policy to completely replace the iPhone if it detects certain defects that cannot be repaired by a service center. In particular, if the breakdown is caused by a defect or the fault of the manufacturer. The defective phone is withdrawn, repaired, and then sold as “refurbished“. Phone refurbishment is often done by previous owners or unauthorized service centers and workshops. Therefore, this article will teach you how to identify previously used and refurbished iPhone smartphones.