Apple is Finally Selling Refurbished iPhones

Posted on November 9, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 9 Comments

Apple is Finally Selling Refurbished iPhones

Outraged by iPhone pricing? You can save a lot of money by buying refurbished, thanks to a new offering at Apple’s online store.

My advice? Buy one.

I’ve been buying Apple devices through its refurbished store for years, and have only paid full price under duress. The problem is, Apple has never offered its iPhones via the refurbished store (ignoring a small window in 2007 after the initial iPhone launch). But they are now.

The reason, I suspect—Apple hasn’t yet officially explained the sudden arrival of refurbished iPhones online—is last year’s introduction of the iPhone Upgrade Program. This program lets customers pay a reasonable monthly fee for a new iPhone, and then replace that phone once a year. So with the one-year anniversary of that program coming to a close recently, Apple recently came into possession of a ton of iPhone 6S and 6S Plus handsets that were upgraded by customers to iPhone 7 models.

So. How much can you save?

As noted, both iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus models are available. All of the devices are unlocked and will work virtually anywhere (including Verizon), and there are different storage and color options. And because Apple still sells these phones new, can make some quick comparisons.

For example, a refurbished iPhone 6S Plus in Space Gray with 64 GB of storage costs $589 at the refurbished store. That phone, new, costs $110 more, or $699.

The cheapest iPhones I see are the 16 GB versions, for $449. Those handsets are $80 cheaper than the new versions.

Like other Apple refurbished products, the iPhones are backed by a standard one-year limited warranty and are rigorously tested to ensure they are in like-new condition. You have the option of purchasing an AppleCare warranty extension, which you should consider for a device you’re purchasing outright.

I have a rather important post coming later today about the Pixel XL, but let me just say this here: Yes, Android will provide a more Windows-like experience than iPhone, though there are serious negatives to that as well. But no Android devices offer the performance, reliability, and consistency of the iPhone, and I feel that Apple’s smartphones are superior overall to any Android handset. And let’s just say that my experience with the Pixel has done nothing to change that assessment.

Regardless, you should seriously consider a refurbished iPhone if you’re going to go the Apple route. And check back from time to time because the stock availability fluctuates.


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  1. 1 | Reply
    mherges Alpha Member #589 - 2 months ago

    I guess I'm not very impressed by the prices I see.  I'm saving less than $100 on just about anything they are selling.  I realize it's Apple certified, but refurbished typically means something.  I'm still not spending $450 for a used/refurbished device.

  2. 1 | Reply
    JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 2 months ago

    well considering iPhone 7 and the new MacBook Pro's are worse then what they replace this is really good.

    Get an iPhone 6 and previous model MacBook Pro and you can stay in the Apple ecosystem if that is what you prefer, but stay almost dongle free, and for a much more reasonable price as well

  3. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 2 months ago

    Apple seems to be doing a lot of things they've never done before.  And, it seems like the things a company would do on falling sales figures.  Hopefully they'll learn their lesson and fix their mistakes on the next iterations of hardware.  (Not holding my breath though...)

  4. 0 | Reply
    joeaxberg Alpha Member #1896 - 2 months ago

    Great news.  I am primarily an Apple user for my mobile stuff.  I use and iPhone, iPad, and Macbook (build PC's for everything else).  I too have never paid full price for an Apple product except the iPhone.  So this is cool.   All my Apple gear has always been either a refurb from Apple, a Best Buy Open box return, or used.   The refurb store I've purchased have always been indistinguishable from new.

    1. Paul Thurrott
      1 | Reply
      Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 2 months ago
    2. 0 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 2 months ago
      In reply to joeaxberg:

      No reason not to operate this way when you can still get AppleCare. Unless you must have it day 1, save the cash and get refurb.

    3. 0 | Reply
      jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 2 months ago
      In reply to joeaxberg:

      I've been doing the exact same thing for about four years now.  I've gotten some great deals on open box items at Best Buy (one of the best was a Dell XPS 12 for nearly half of retail) and I'm extremely pleased with my Apple refurb purchases.  I took a chance and picked up my SP3 i7 from a refurb company on eBay.  I've been happy with that purchase as well.