Refurbished iPhones are phones that have been repackaged by Apple for sale after the product has been returned or exchanged after its initial purchase. Refurbished iPhones have usually been repaired by Apple technicians, and some of these phones may even contain replacement parts if they had been previously defective. Although refurbished phones are certified by Apple to be fully functional and operational, some iPhone vendors or sellers may not be able to determine if a particular iPhone is refurbished. In some cases, iPhone vendors may try to sell you an iPhone under the impression that the device is new and has never been used. To identify a refurbished iPhone, you can examine the iPhone's packaging and review the device's serial number to determine the manufacturing date.
1Look for an "Apple Certified" seal on the packaging. This seal indicates that the iPhone has undergone testing and the refurbishment process by Apple-certified technicians.
2Examine the iPhone's box and packaging. Refurbished iPhones will usually be sold in all-white boxes or packaging.If you buy an iPhone that does not have packaging at all, or is not in the iPhone-branded packaging, the iPhone may be refurbished.
3Locate the serial number of the iPhone. The serial number contains information that will determine whether or not the device is refurbished.If the iPhone is powered on, go to the Home screen and tap "Settings," then "General," then "About." You can then tap on "Serial Number" from the About screen to locate the iPhone's serial number.If the iPhone is turned off, access the phone's Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card tray to locate the serial number, which is printed directly on the SIM tray. If you are using an original iPhone model, the serial number will be printed on the back case of the phone.
4Examine the iPhone's serial number. The digits within a serial number will indicate when the iPhone was manufactured and produced.Determine if the first digit of the serial number is "5." If the device has been refurbished and is "Apple Certified," then Apple will modify the serial number to begin with the number "5."Locate the third digit of the serial number. The third digit indicates the last digit of the year in which the iPhone was manufactured. For example, if the third digit is an "8," the iPhone was made in the year 2008. If the third digit is a "0," then the iPhone was manufactured in 2010.Examine the fourth and fifth digits of the serial number. These digits will indicate the week of year in which the phone was manufactured. For example, if the fourth and fifth digits are "51," then the iPhone was made in late December of the year it was manufactured.Although the manufacturing dates within a serial number may not be recent, it is still possible that the iPhone has never been used and has been sitting in its original packaging since its release.