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Arthur Bronfman / June 2, 2022

While Apple’s flagship smartphones are coveted for their design and user-friendly interfaces, they can cost an arm and a leg. Even the older models are pricey when you buy them brand new. But if you want an iPhone that doesn’t break the bank, a refurbished iPhone could be the perfect option.  

This article covers the difference between used and refurbished iPhones, why they’re a wiser option than new phones, and essential factors to consider before purchasing. 

What Is a Refurbished iPhone?

Refurbished iPhones are used devices that undergo repair and quality testing to function like new phones. The device could’ve been used and returned for many reasons — factory defects, the owner switching models, or sending in the smartphone for recycling. 

These devices’ issues should be repaired, data cleared, software updated, customizations removed, and battery replaced (if it has depleted). 

While used iPhones are second-hand products passed down between individuals, refurbished devices are sold by certified retailers after being repaired. They’ll often have a one-year warranty. For a better understanding of this, check out the difference between refurbished and pre owned smartphones. Explore our range of refurbished iPhones.

Refurbished iPhones are more affordable than brand new models. Depending on the refurbished grades, you may find cosmetic defects, but the device will be in excellent working condition with no loss in functionality.

How Long Does a Refurbished iPhone Last?

The lifespan of a refurbished iPhone depends on the condition it was in when you bought it and how well you care for it. 

A new iPhone will last 4 to 7 years, compared to a new Android device, which generally lasts 3 to 6 years. Even if your refurbished iPhone is two years old, it should last you an additional 3 to 4 years before its performance drops significantly. 

Apple provides software updates for seven years after a product’s release, increasing the model’s lifespan while ensuring optimized performance, bug fixes, and security protection. The extended software support applies even to their most affordable models, like the iPhone SE.

To extend your iPhone’s longevity, limit the number of apps running on your phone, practice good charging habits, and protect your smartphone from physical damage and extreme temperatures. Read this guide to learn how long smartphones last and how to extend their lifespans. 

Why Choose a Refurbished iPhone?

Buying a refurbished iPhone is better for the environment than purchasing a new model. Manufacturers sell close to 1.5 billion mobile phones annually, resulting in the rapid extraction of non-renewable sources, like rare metals and minerals. 

While rare metal mining is terrible enough, old smartphones aren’t always disposed of properly. Only a tiny portion of electronic waste is recycled, while most of it’s burnt or left in landfills, where it releases toxic chemicals into the soil. 

Switching to a refurbished phone promotes environmental sustainability by reusing existing resources. This lowers your carbon footprint. Plus, it’s easy on the wallet — a refurbished model released two years ago will generally cost at least 30% less than a new one.  

Refurbished Samsung vs. Refurbished iPhone

Both Samsung and Apple batteries have 500 battery cycles, but since iPhones receive iOS updates for seven years, they can outlast a Samsung device. 

Samsung smartphones receive only two years of Android updates, but models manufactured after 2019 will receive three years of Android updates and four years of security updates.

The latest Samsung Galaxy will generally last 3 to 6 years. So, two-year-old refurbished Samsung phones will last another estimated 2 to 3 years.

Refurbished Google Pixel Phone vs. Refurbished iPhone

Google’s smartphones have 500 battery cycles too, but it offers three years of Android and security updates. Google announced that it’d roll out security updates for five years for its latest Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro models.  

A two-year-old refurbished Google Pixel’s capacity to hold a charge may have dropped majorly, but it’ll still last 2 to 3 years with reduced performance. In comparison, a refurbished iPhone of the same age will run smoothly for 3 to 4 years before its performance drops noticeably.

Where Can You Buy a Quality Refurbished iPhone?

A reliable place to buy refurbished iPhones is from Apple directly. The products are more expensive than in other stores, but you’ll receive a fully calibrated device and a one-year warranty with Apple’s Certified Refurbished program.

Following the exponential demand for refurbished devices, carrier providers like Verizon, T-mobile, and AT&T have jumped on the opportunity to sell refurbished phones. Even online retailers — Amazon, Best Buy, Swappa, eBay, and Gazelle — provide quality assurances, protection plans, and discounted prices.

At RecirQ, we bring wholesale refurbished iPhones to small businesses and large organizations alike, offering the finest refurbishing quality at a fraction of the cost. We thoroughly test our smartphones for quality, have an extensive stock, and offer same-day shipping.   

How to Choose a Refurbished iPhone

Once you’ve decided to purchase a refurbished phone, you’ll want to consider some key factors before finalizing the device. Let’s take a look:

1. Check the Refurbished Grade 

Manufacturers assign a refurbished grade to every reconditioned product. This is just to assess the cosmetic appearance. So, even if it has a low grade, the device may be in good condition internally. Here are some common grading standards: 

  • Grade A: These products are in near-mint condition with hardly any signs of previous use. They’re the most expensive of all the grades. 
  • Grade B: These models are more affordable than Grade A devices but may have light scratches or scuffs. 
  • Grade C: These devices show signs of heavy usage with noticeable scratches and dents. They’re the most affordable of all grades. 

Before purchasing a refurbished iPhone, read about how a seller defines their grading system. These standards could vary slightly from one seller to another. 

Besides the refurbishing grade, the product’s launch date also impacts the price. For example, an A-grade refurbished iPhone 12 (2020) is 2 to 3 times more expensive than the same-grade refurbished iPhone XR (2018).

2. Check the Product Launch Date

The likelihood of an iPhone performing well in the coming years largely hinges on its launch date. 

A refurbished phone launched three or more years ago will often have lower performance and battery life. To reap the benefits of fast processor speeds, go for a smartphone that’s only one or two years old. 

In 2022, it would be wise to pick up refurbished models like the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone XR. But avoid models older than 2018, like the Apple iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and iPhone 7 Plus. 

3. Get a Warranty-backed Product

All refurbished iPhones from Apple carry a one-year warranty against manufacturing and hardware defects. Customers also get 90 days of technical support. 

Since refurbished phones from Apple can be expensive, customers often opt for attractive deals with other online and local retailers. But note that Apple doesn’t offer a warranty on refurbished Apple devices sold by other retailers. Check with the retailer about their independent warranties and return windows. 

At RecirQ, we offer a 30-day return policy and a warranty. That way, you can feel confident that your smartphones will have consistent quality.

4. Be Sure of the Battery Condition

Besides conducting quality assurance inspections, Apple inserts a new battery and outer shell for every refurbished iPhone. But not every retailer will do this.

For starters, confirm whether the device has a new battery. If it’s an old battery, find out its battery cycle count. 

5. Ensure the iPhone Isn’t Stolen 

If reported as lost, a stolen iPhone is locked remotely so others can’t access it. 

To check whether you have a stolen iPhone, you need the device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). The IMEI number is found in the phone’s Settings area. Input the number on multiple IMEI checking websites to verify if the device is reported missing. 

If you’re purchasing from an online seller, you could ask them to send you the IMEI number. You could also ask for the original purchase receipt to be extra sure. 

Find a Refurbished iPhone for an Affordable, Sustainable Choice


Refurbished iPhones are used devices restored to good working condition, like new phones. Their brilliant battery life and timely software updates generally ensure they last 3 to 4 years or more. Switching to a refurbished iPhone is more affordable and environmentally sustainable than purchasing a new iPhone.  

When purchasing a refurbished iPhone, check the refurbished grade, model release date, warranty, and battery condition. And most importantly, verify the device’s IMEI number to ensure you aren’t purchasing a stolen phone.

Refurbished iPhones are cheap, but their performance is on par with new phones. For a top-quality refurbished iPhone at a discounted price, get in touch with us today. We’ll determine your needs and offer a relevant wholesale quote for affordable refurbished smartphones that your team will love.