How to Buy a Pre-Owned iPhone: Tips and Recommendations

Are you looking for a replacement iPhone, but not wanting to pay the high prices synonymous with a brand-new one? A pre-owned iPhone might be the perfect solution for you. In this blog, we’ll provide tips on buying a pre-owned iPhone, answer common questions, and discuss the benefits of purchasing a refurbished iPhone.

What is a Pre-Owned iPhone?

A pre-owned iPhone is a device that has been previously owned by someone else and is now being sold to a new owner. The quality of pre-owned iPhones can vary and ranges from ‘like-new,’ to ‘heavily used.’ These devices can be obtained from individuals, or companies who specialise in selling pre-owned electronics.

Are Certified Pre-Owned iPhones Good?

Certified pre-owned iPhones are typically the best option when purchasing a pre-owned device. These iPhones have been inspected and tested by the manufacturer, or the various independent suppliers involved in sales of pre-owned cellular phones, ensuring that they meet the same quality standards as new devices. Remember that phones which are sold ‘as-is’ or ‘voetstoots,’ have not been opened except for a battery change that would only have been performed or authorised by Apple. Additionally, certified pre-owned iPhones often come with a warranty, giving the buyer peace of mind that they are purchasing a reliable device. Always ask whether the phone has been inspected by the manufacturer, an independent supplier, or an authorised Apple distributor.


Wouldn’t it be good to know that your newly acquired second-hand phone has undergone a 40-point diagnostic check and comes complete with a comprehensive device and repair history.

Checklist points which are sometimes overlooked by the majority (but NOT by MTNdeals) include:

  1. Checking for scratches, wear, and dents to housing and screen (remember to wipe with a fibre cloth and to hold the phone under a bright lamp for yourself).
  2. Ensuring that the charging port is unobstructed by dirt and dust.
  3. Checking the camera (and selfie camera) for dust particles by inspecting the lens and by taking a photograph of an evenly-coloured surface (dust under the sensor presents as grey spots in a photo).
  4. Checking for dead pixels, and checking for colour deviations on the screen.
  5. Checking the technical condition of your device using a diagnostic software.

    All pre-owned iPhones supplied by have undergone a Phonecheck certification and 40-point diagnostic check which include the above and have a battery health of at least 80%.

How Much Do Pre-Owned iPhones Cost?

The cost of pre-owned iPhones can vary widely depending on the model sought, the phone’s condition and seller in question. Generally speaking, you can expect to save a significant amount of money by purchasing a pre-owned iPhone over a new one. For example, a brand-new iPhone 12 Pro can cost over R18 000, while a pre-owned iPhone may cost several thousand Rands less.  

Where Can I Buy Pre-Owned iPhones?

There are a number of different stockists of pre-owned iPhones in South Africa, but not all offer 40-point checks like the one MTNDeals does. Our online marketplace offers a simple process, which creates a pleasurable shopping experience from your sofa. Ordinarily, online shopping requires that the buyer actively reads reviews and researches the various online merchants, but at MTNDeals, you can rest assured that your second-hand cellular phone has been rigorously inspected, tested, and approved and that a valid warranty protects your purchase.

What Warranty Do Pre-Owned iPhones Have?

Depending on where you have purchased your second-hand or refurbished iPhone, warranties will differ in terms of conditions and duration, but as a consumer one normally has 14 days to return an item to the selling party. If you purchase a certified pre-owned iPhone from a retailer like MTN Deals, you will be eligible for a one-year warranty on your device and a 6-month warranty on the battery, but when purchasing from an individual seller, you may not be eligible for any warranty coverage whatsoever. This is why it is important to research the warranty options before making your purchase.

What Pre-Owned iPhone Models are available?

When it comes to pre-owned iPhone models, a wide variety is on offer to suit all needs and budgets. You can find older models like the iPhone 6 or 7 for as little as R3 999, or newer models like the iPhone XR or 11 for between R8 299 and R 11 999. The availability of specific models may vary depending on the retailer or seller you choose, but popular models like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are widely available. Keep in mind that older models may not be able to support the latest iOS updates or newer apps, so it’s important to research the specifications and make sure the device will meet your needs.

Tips for Buying a Pre-Owned iPhone

  • Research the seller: Before purchasing a pre-owned iPhone, be sure to research the seller to ensure that you’re buying from a reputable source.
  • Inspect the device: Thoroughly inspect the device before making your purchase, checking for any damage or signs of wear and tear, or ensure that that the seller has completed a legitimate phone check process.
  • Consider buying from a certified retailer such as MTNDeals: Purchasing from a certified retailer who sells refurbished iPhones can provide peace of mind and may offer a warranty on the device.
  • Check the battery health: Battery life is an important consideration when purchasing a pre-owned iPhone. All pre-owned iPhones bought from MTN deals have a battery health of 80% and above. If you are buying from another source, check the battery health to ensure that it is in good condition, or consider replacing the battery if necessary.
  • Consider purchasing a refurbished iPhone: Refurbished phones are pre-owned devices that have been repaired and restored to ‘like-new’ condition. These devices often come with a warranty and can be a great way to minimise your spend while still getting a quality device.


In conclusion, buying a pre-owned Apple iPhone can be a great way to cut costs while still getting a quality device. It’s important to do your research, inspect the device thoroughly, and consider purchasing from a reputable seller or certified retailer such as By following these tips, you can feel confident in your purchase and enjoy your pre-owned iPhone for years to come. Whether you’re looking to save money, replace a lost or broken device, or simply want to upgrade to a newer model, a pre-owned iPhone is a smart choice. With a little effort and diligence, you can find the perfect pre-owned iPhone to meet your needs and budget.

Have any questions?

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