Buying a Refurbished iPhone - Watch Out For These Gotchas

If you’re thinking about buying refurbished, aside from the evidence of good product, testing and customer feedback, there are a few less obvious things to look out for when purchasing a refurbished iPhone. Here are some of the major ones:

Photo mute button: If you want to be able to mute the shutter sound when taking photos, make sure the phone you’re buying doesn’t come from Japan or Korea where the government has made it mandatory that the phone makes a shutter sound when taking photos. On these devices, it is impossible to mute the shutter sound. Ask your supplier where they get theirs from (if you’re wondering, we source from North America).

Touch ID works: If the home button has to be replaced on Touch ID enabled iPhones, 9 times out of 10 this will disable the Touch ID function. This is because the Touch ID function is tethered to the device’s computer system for security reasons, to ensure only one set of fingerprints can access the phone. In practice, this means many iPhones sold as refurbished will look like new, but the Touch ID will not work. These devices should always be clearly described by the supplier as such before you purchase the device.

iCloud unlocked: This is a pretty obvious one, but it is far too easy to reset an iPhone without turning off Find My iPhone or removing one’s iCloud account, or to sell the phone without having factory reset it first. We have seen many instances of people purchasing privately only to be locked out of their devices at a later date (when the phone wasn’t reset first), or not being able to activate the phone once received because it is iCloud locked. If you’re purchasing privately, always confirm with the seller that they have a) turned off Find My iPhone, and b) fully reset the device before they ship it to you. All good commercial retailers will do this by default.

Locally based: Again, seems like an obvious one; however there are a number of suppliers whose websites appear to be based in NZ, but the businesses actually operate from abroad. Buying from overseas can mean long wait times on both delivery, and the advertised price will usually not include GST, which you will have to pay when it comes through customs. Currently the GST limit is NZD $400 or greater, however the current government is reviewing overseas imported goods GST and this limit may come down in the future. Perhaps the greatest inconvenience will be if the phone needs a repair, sending it back offshore can be a major cost and hassle!

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