After buying a used iPhone, you may wonder what the history is. Has Apple sold it for the first time as a brand new device or a device that has been refurbished before? Fortunately there is an easy way to tell. This is how.
Find the model number of your iPhone
Open the Settings app and go to General> About.
As soon as you tap About, you will see a list. of important information about the iPhone, including the name of the device, the software version and a model number.
Pay close attention to the model number, as it reveals the origin of the iPhone.
- If the model number starts with M it is purchased new from Apple.
- If the model number starts with F it has been refurbished by Apple or a carrier.
- If the model number starts with P it was sold as a personalized iPhone with an engraving.
- If the model number starts with N Apple supplied it as a replacement device for a defective iPhone.
If you notice that your phone has been refurbished, it is not necessarily an alarm. Apple is subjecting its certified refurbished products to a rigorous process that makes them as new. They thoroughly clean each unit, replace broken parts if necessary, and replace the battery and outer shell.
In general, Apple-certified refurbished products look and work like brand new iPhones, but for legal reasons, Apple cannot sell them as new. Apple usually offers these refurbished products with a substantial discount, so they can mean a lot.
Carriers such as AT&T and Verizon also renovate iPhones and sell them at a discount. Unlike Apple, they cannot replace the battery or give a new 1-year warranty on the phone. (You can check the warranty status on your iPhone by visiting the Apple warranty website and entering the device's serial number.)
Refurbished third-party devices
If your phone has previously been refurbished by an independent repair that is not Authorized by Apple, the model number would not necessarily reflect that. Few external suppliers have the strict standards for refurbishment that Apple does, so it is best to avoid refurbished third-party devices if possible.
Although knowing the Apple-based origins of your iPhone doesn't make much difference in how it works – that depends more on how previous owners have treated it – it's always good to be more informed and this quick tip does it.