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Anisim Pestov
Anisim Pestov

How To Buy A Used Phone

Switching devices can often be an expensive habit, especially considering the best Android phones can cost upwards of $1,000. Mid-range options have got much more accessible these days, but another great way to score a good deal is by buying a used phone.

how to buy a used phone

Regardless, even if you give the process of buying a used phone or tablet due diligence, things can still go wrong. There are many steps you can take to lower the likelihood of a nasty incident, and a backup plan never hurts in the event you run into trouble. The tips below should help you through the process of getting a solid used smartphone, and while written primarily with phones in mind, most of these steps should also apply to anything else.

eBay can be a great place to buy a used handset, but you have to be a bit more careful. The popular marketplace is the wild west of shopping. Anyone can create an account and start listing items with little to no restrictions.

Certified preowned devices offer a little more reassurance to the buyer, in that they underwent some testing to verify that they are functioning properly. As a result, the device should come with some kind of limited warranty. Amazon (opens in new tab), Best Buy (opens in new tab) and Target (opens in new tab) are among the retailers that sell certified preowned phones.

From there, you should look for any dents or significant abrasions that indicate a device has been dropped repeatedly. That could start to cause separation in the body of the phone or damage to the internal components.

Battery health Batteries wear out faster than the rest of the phone, typically only maintaining up to 80% of their original capacity after 500 full-charge cycles, or about two years charging every night. Has it been replaced?

Network locks Check the phone works with the mobile phone provider of your choice as some smartphones are originally sold locked to certain providers and must be unlocked before being used on another.

Are there any features which you love that you know you want your next handset to have? Set your goals and stick with them. This phone may be second hand but it should last you a good year or two.

You have two options when it comes to buying a second hand phone. You can either take the direct seller route via sites like eBay, Amazon or Gumtree, or you can take the refurbished phone route from companies which fix up faulty phones.

Each refurbished phone will come with a different warranty, and usually depend on the grade of the phone. The warranty means that you have protection if the phone develops a fault. These phones may be more expensive, but could save you a lot of hassle.

That being said, if you do your research right, meet the seller and decide whether you trust them and can see the phone is in working order then you can still bag a good deal. You have more freedom to haggle on price.

To make your deal even sweeter, consider selling your old phone on once you have sorted the new one. You can get hundreds of dollars for old phones depending what model it is, and this could be enough to pay for the new one.

You can either take the private seller route by setting up a listing on a site like ebay, or you can try using a phone buyback program which could be an easier way to get cash.

But there are key things to keep in mind if you want the best phone for your money and you want to stay safe when you get it. Here are our top tips on how to safely buy a great used phone, whether you want an iPhone or an Android phone.

First, think about what you actually need from your phone, as this will dictate what sort of level (and budget) you need. If you just want something more basic to handle casual WhatsApp messages and play Spotify during your commute, you don't need flagship levels of performance. As a result, a lower-end phone with a smaller price tag will suit just fine.

If, however, you're really into phone photography then you may want to spend a bit more on something with a decent camera. In that case, something like an iPhone X or a Galaxy S10 may be preferable. You'll have to find that balance between the performance you need and the price you're happy to pay. Newer phones with more modern features and better performance will come with a higher price.

Not every phone seller has your best interests at heart, so it's important to be savvy when you're shopping. Some places to avoid should be obvious; don't buy from the guy selling phones on a street corner from a big box, for example. Others can be hit and miss.

eBay is a well-known source for buying used items, and there's a huge selection of phones to be had. Some of these are sold by refurbishing companies that trade solely in buying and selling used handsets. Others are regular people trying to offload their old devices when they upgrade. The result is that it can sometimes feel like panning for gold, looking for those nuggets you actually want. Check the next section for more tips on buying on eBay.

My best advice though is to go to trusted companies that buy old phones, refurbish them and sell them on. I've used MusicMagpie in the UK and had no problems. Its online catalog is vast, it clearly lists the condition of the phones, every handset is factory reset and you get a 12-month warranty with every purchase. Prices might be a tad higher than you'd find on eBay, but the peace of mind more than makes up for it. They also offer rental options if you can't quite stomach splashing the cash upfront. Gazelle offers a similar service in the US, although we haven't tested it ourselves and so can't vouch for the overall quality of the service.

Whether you're buying from eBay, Amazon Marketplace or anywhere else, it's important to pay close attention to what you're actually getting. Read the listing carefully, including any small print that might be hidden further down among other details. It may be that phrases like "nonfunctioning" or "battery faulty" are intentionally buried to trick people into buying a phone that no longer works. They'll also likely explain whether you're getting the original charging cable, packaging and what sort of nicks and scratches you can expect.

I'll make this as clear as possible: Do not buy a phone that no longer gets security updates from its manufacturer. Unsupported phones are open to all kinds of vulnerabilities that can give hackers easy access to every single piece of information on your handset -- or even control it completely. Those bank details, cute pics of your kids, sexy selfies you sent to your partner -- all could be accessed and stolen.

Most Android phone manufacturers tend to support their handsets for two to three years. Apple takes that further, however, supporting even 2015's iPhone 6S with the latest iOS 15.4 (as of June 2022). Google's 2018 Pixel 3 is no longer officially supported, however, and the Pixel 4 is only getting "guaranteed" security updates until October 2022, according to Google's support page.

It's frustrating that phones aren't supported for longer, as the hardware remains perfectly capable of handling most everyday tasks you're likely going to need. Some (like the Pixel 4) still pack great cameras that would take beautiful shots on your next vacation. But outdated software makes the phones vulnerable, and it's simply not advisable to continue using phones outside their support period.

Your best bet is to look at phones that came out within the last two years and are therefore likely still receiving security updates. When you find a phone that suits, search the model name and try and find out if it's still getting updates, and if there's an indication of how much longer it'll get them. Companies aren't forthcoming with info about when they're cutting a product loose, but by looking at what other models are being supported you should be able to make a fair estimate.

The Galaxy S10, for example, is still listed on Samsung's support page as getting quarterly security updates, while 2018's Galaxy A9 is only listed as receiving biannual updates. It's reasonably safe to assume that the A9 will be cut off from the support period sooner, so opting for a slightly newer handset like the S10 or even 2020's Galaxy S20 will typically mean you'll have longer with the phone before it becomes increasingly unsafe to use. It might cost a little more, but you'll have a longer usable time with it.

If you're keen to save some cash by buying used, make sure to check out our full article on the security advice you need to be aware of. If you're not keen on buying used but still don't want to spend all your savings, take a look at our roundup of the best phones under $200.

Many smartphone-savvy consumers might argue that the joy of purchasing a second hand phone is nothing compared to the excitement of unwrapping a brand new mobile device that packs in the latest technology & features and looks unbelievably irresistible with its scratch free and gleaming body smartly encased in a stylish box!

However, buying a new phone may not be a viable option every time, more so if you are a self-proclaimed gadget freak who is always on the lookout for the latest models that are creating waves in the mobile phone market.

Indeed, there are times when buying a second hand mobile or a pre-owned phone is far more economical than embracing a new one, particularly when you do not intend to splurge on high-end mobile phones. This could be either due to the fact that you are cash-strapped or because you realise that it is only a matter of time before you lay your hands on yet another hi-tech device that makes a splash in the market.

You should also know when it is time for an upgrade to a new smartphone. Whatever be your reasons to opt for a used smartphone, you must remember that purchasing a used or second hand device can be a tricky affair, what with the market flooded with plenty of faulty and fake cell phones. 041b061a72


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