What to Look for When Buying Second Hand iPhones
With the launch of the fifth-generation iPhone just around the corner, Apple continues to sell millions of its wildly-popular iPhone handsets each year with no sign of things slowing down. Although many users have gone as far as switching carriers to get their hands on a new iPhone, many users do not want to pay the high costs of canceling their contract or paying retail for a new iPhone handset. Thankfully, one doesn't have to look very far to find second hand Apple iPhones, which offer perfect performance at a fraction of the cost. Below we'll take a look at the four models of second hand Apple iPhones that are available on the market, as well as what to look for to ensure the iPhone is in good condition. Finally we'll share some tips on how to find the best deals for second hand iPhones on eBay, and how to get a great deal without running in to any issues.
First-Generation Apple iPhone 2G: These second hand iPhones will have the lowest price, but they are growing pretty long in the tooth. As the Apple iPhone 2G was first released four years ago, used handsets are prone to battery issues, and users can become frustrated with the fact that these handsets only offer EDGE data speeds, which are very slow. Even if it's a fire sale price and is in good condition, it's likely that you can find a better Apple iPhone model without paying too much more.
Apple iPhone 3G: This second-generation Apple iPhone is a great buy if you can find a second hand model in good condition. While the iPhone 3G won't run the latest and greatest Apple iOS operating system, it's still a solid handset that should perform well and can usually be found at a low price. Users that want to spruce up their second hand iPhone 3G can purchase a new battery at a local shop, which will ensure the iPhone operates for more than a couple of hours.
Apple iPhone 3GS: The iPhone 3GS is the most popular second hand iPhone on both Craigslist and eBay, and users can generally find a decent sale price on these 2010 model phones. The iPhone 3GS 16GB will likely be the lowest price model; the iPhone 3GS 32GB can command a bit more thanks to having double the storage space for music, movies and apps. The 3GS isn't as fast or as spiffy as the iPhone 4, but is an extremely capable handset and a great entry-level model for new iPhone users that want to pick up a second hand iPhone for a decent price.
Apple iPhone 4 (GSM / CDMA): The iPhone 4 is the Apple's current iPhone model until the next iPhone comes out in September or October 2011. Until then, second hand iPhone 4 handsets will command a premium price. Users in the United States that want a second hand iPhone for AT&T or T-Mobile should pick up a GSM iPhone 4 model; those who want to go with Verizon need a CDMA iPhone 4 which will probably be the highest priced second hand Apple iPhone. While a second hand iPhone 4 will be more expensive than earlier models, the battery should be in much better condition, and the improved features like the Retina Display make for great usability.
A Brief eBay Buying Guide for Second Hand iPhones
Buying second hand iPhones on eBay is no different than buying any other goods at a store or online. The first thing that should be in a shopper's mind is that “too good to be true” usually is; if you would be suspicious that someone offered to sell you're their iPhone 3GS for a crazy price in person, you should be just as suspicious when shopping on eBay.
When you've found a seller that has the model of second hand iPhone that you're looking for, or a deal that fits within your budget, the next step is to check the seller's eBay feedback. If the seller has a high amount of feedback, it's unlikely that they will try to scam or rip you off in any way. It's a solid piece of advice to just forget any seller that has a feedback rating below 25 or so, as second hand iPhones like the Apple iPhone 3GS are in good supply and there will be many high-feedback eBay users offering them.
Don't place a bid on the second hand iPhone until you've contacted the seller with any questions that you want answered. If the information isn't in the eBay listing, some of the key questions to ask about a second hand iPhone would be whether or not the iPhone is still under warranty, whether or not the screen or any part of the iPhone has been repaired, if the iPhone has suffered water damage, and whether or not the iPhone is unlocked. If you are buying a second hand iPhone for use on a network other than AT&T (or Verizon in the case of the CDMA iPhone 4), it will need to be unlocked for you to make use of it.
If there are no photos of the second hand Apple iPhone in the eBay listing with the display turned on, ask the seller to provide some. Most problems with used iPhones like the 3G or 3GS stem from the display, and it won't help you much if you buy a second hand iPhone that arrives with a cracked screen. Check the photos for other signs of hard use, such as scratches and cracks in the case.
eBay offers buyer protection for users that buy on the site, but if possible it's best to pay for your second hand Apple iPhone via PayPal. PayPal's buyer protection works well, and their dispute resolution service can help you get your money back if you paid for a second hand iPhone and ended up receiving something entirely different (or nothing at all).
Finally, use a bit of common sense to avoid getting scammed. Try to only purchase second hand iPhones from eBay sellers that are located in the same country as you are - don't go with overseas sellers as you will likely end up being disappointed. Remember that a price that seems too low is bound to be a scam, so look for used second hand iPhones that have reasonable prices.
Buy Second Hand iPhones to Save Big Money
Regardless of whether or not you are locked to a carrier like T-Mobile that does not currently offer the iPhone, you can save a good deal of money by purchasing a second hand iPhone instead of buying a new one. There are hundreds of listings on eBay for popular second hand iPhone models, including the iPhone 3GS 16GB, which can currently be found for as little as £100.
Before you head out to your local O2, Orange or Apple store, be sure to check the prices of second hand iPhones on places like eBay and Gumtree. By following the eBay buying guide above, you will avoid issues and come away with a great deal on a second hand iPhone. Good luck!
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