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When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. I bought a refurbished iPhone 11 Pro from Apple, and it’s in perfect condition and working order. The refurbished discounts aren’t epic, but they’re still cheaper than buying new. Older refurbished iPhone models are not recommended, as they pose very poor value. Read more about why you can trust our tech team to provide the best product recommendations.
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For some, the word “refurbished” means a used device that has been cleaned up and offered for a discount, and there’s sometimes a doubt about inheriting cosmetic or even functional damage.
We wanted to see if that was the case with the refurbished iPhones Apple sells in its refurbished store — the company’s best kept secret. Specifically, we’re checking the cosmetic condition of the iPhone, as well as functionality, like cameras and battery.
We bought a refurbished 256GB iPhone 11 Pro for $849 for this inspection rather than obtaining a unit via the usual press channels to ensure that our refurbished unit would represent what anyone else would get. Apple says that’s a $150 discount from the full $999 price of a 128GB iPhone 12 Pro.
The short of it is that the refurbished iPhone 11 Pro we received is completely, totally, and utterly flawless, and everything works perfectly well. That’s largely because Apple replaces almost everything, including the back glass, the screen, the metal frame, and the battery. In fact, the only pre-owned original part in refurbished iPhones is the logic board, which includes the processor and other hardware that makes the phone work, and the camera module.
Essentially, when you’re using a refurbished iPhone from Apple, everything you touch is merk new.
Just note that refurbished iPhones are popular and stock goes fast. At the time of writing, the refurbished Phone 11 Pros below are the best deals from the Apple refurbished store so far, especially because they’re the 64GB base storage models. But they might not be around for very long.
What does ‘refurbished iPhone’ mean?
A refurbished iPhone is an iPhone that was once owned by someone else and has been renovated, and repaired if needed, so it can be sold to a new owner, usually for a discounted price.
One of the biggest uncertainties with buying a refurbished product is the quality of the refurbishment or renovation. In Apple’s case with its refurbished iPhone store, Apple’s refurbishment quality is extremely high. Check out the cosmetic and functional condition of the refurbished iPhone 11 Pro we bought from Apple:The refurbished iPhone came in a nondescript cardboard package.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderOpening the package reveals a white iPhone box strapped in and secure in the shipping package. Unlike buying brand new, the iPhone box is all white and says “Apple Certified Pre-Owned” towards the bottom.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderThe iPhone 11 Pro is presented in the box identically as if it were new. The front and back are wrapped in plastic that you can easily peel off.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderEssentially, everything your hands and fingers touch on this refurbished iPhone is new and blemish free.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderHere’s the right side of the frame with the power button and no signs of wear. It doesn’t look or feel like this iPhone has been previously owned at all.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderRather, it simply feels like you bought an iPhone from Apple. Here’s the top edge of the refurbished iPhone.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderHere’s the left side with the volume buttons.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderAll the accessories are merk new, including the charger, charging cable, and wired EarPods.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderAnd look at that: you still get Apple stickers if you buy a refurbished iPhone.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderIt wouldn’t be the first time this iPhone has been turned on, as it’s pre-owned, but it’s ready to be freshly set up out of the box.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderAfter the usual set up, you have yourself a totally fresh and clean iPhone.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderThe battery is at 100% capacity, which confirms that it’s a new battery, as capacity would likely be lower if it had a used battery. Charging with the cable and wireless charging both work as expected.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderI can also confirm that all three cameras work perfectly fine. This photo was taken with the normal wide camera.
Antonio Villas-Boas/InsiderShould I buy a refurbished iPhone from Apple?
Yep. Refurbished iPhones from Apple come in perfect condition, and you really don’t get the sense that the iPhone was once someone else’s at any point while using it. Refurbished iPhones from Apple also come with the standard one-year warranty, and there’s a 14-day return period.