Difference between a factory-new and refurbished iPhone

We’ve all been to the shady electronic store to buy our phones. This may be because they’re cheaper or you think you might get a good deal. There are, however, a lot of risks associated with this. A lot of smaller physical stores and shady websites might try to sell you something you weren’t trying to buy in the first place. This is often seen in the cases of iPhones. You end up paying full price for a used, fake or refurbished iPhone. No need to worry anymore, as we have a guide to teach you how to check your iPhone is refurbished or brand new!

Difference between Refurbished iPhone and a new iPhone: 

Before we get into the actual checking, it is important to know the difference between refurbished iPhones and a brand new iPhone. They can often be mistaken for the other, which is why it is easy to fool people. A refurbished iPhone has either been used, returned, or was a display model. The phones were then repaired as needed and are sold at a much lower price. This does not mean that there is a difference in performance between a refurbished iPhone and a new one.

Why is it important to check if your iPhone is refurbished?

If they work the same, then why is it important to check? There are three main reasons why: 

  1. To determine market value: A new iPhone is worth much more than a refurbished iPhone is, this was obvious. So if you’re going to sell your phone, later on, you won’t get the same price for it at the moment. Let’s take an example; if you’ve bought a refurbished iPhone and are looking to sell, you’re going to get a much lower valuation on your phone than a new iPhone. This is because a refurbished phone is worth much less on the market, and one that has been used is worth even less. 
  2. For future repairs: If your iPhone ever has any trouble or just needs to be serviced, an authorized Apple service centre may not consider your refurbished iPhone as it does not have an Apple warranty. 
  3. To avoid being scammed: You might have known about fake iPhones being sold as real ones, but this happens with refurbished iPhones as well. Some retailers might try to sell you a refurbished iPhone, which isn’t good because while they might work the same, they are priced very differently. Refurbished iPhones cannot be priced more than 75% of the cost of a new iPhone. This is a large price difference and a larger profit margin for the scam retailer. 

How to check if your iPhone is Refurbished: 

There are two methods to check if your iPhone is refurbished: 

Check the Model Number: 

Step 1: Open Settings

Step 2: Click General

Step 3: Go to About

Step 4: Look at the Model Number

There are four distinct letters you will see at the beginning of your model number that’ll allow you to identify a refurbished iPhone: 

‘M’ or ‘P’ are genuine new iPhones. These phones are brand new, the only difference being that ‘P’ indicates a personalised custom laser engraving. 

‘N’ indicates a replacement device. If you’ve ever had major hardware issues or software issues, Apple might provide you a replacement device. These devices are separately marked. 

‘F’ indicates refurbishment. In some countries, this can mean Apple authorised refurbishment; however, it can also be a third-party refurbishment.  

Check Serial Number: 

If you’re still not convinced about the status of your phone, you can use this method. 

Step 1: Settings

Step 2: General

Step 3: About 

Step 4: Serial Number. Copy this serial number or write it down

Step 5: Open Apple’s Check Coverage website: https://checkcoverage.apple.com/

Step 6: Enter the Serial Number and other details on the page and click ‘Continue.’ 

Step 7: Review your iPhone status. 

When you’re reviewing your iPhone’s status, a new iPhone will have a notice saying ‘this phone has not been activated yet’ or something similar. 


  1. The packaging of a phone might not always be the best indicator of refurbishment. A lot of unboxed phones come with the original packaging but are refurbished. If you’re being sold an iPhone and the retailer is claiming that it is real, make sure for yourself do not go by the packaging. 
  2. A lot of refurbished iPhones are labelled as such because of small tweaks made to the hardware after production. Even the smallest of repairs can result in the model being sold as refurbished. Refurbished iPhones work just as well as new iPhones if done by the right professional. 
  3. Make sure to review the sales policy of the retailer if you’re buying an iPhone online. Whether you’re buying a refurbished iPhone or a brand new one, make sure to know what you are buying. 

The stigma around refurbished iPhones or refurbished phones, in general, is something we need to get rid of. As mentioned above, there is no difference in the performance of a refurbished iPhone. They can often be better investments if you don’t have the resources to buy a brand new iPhone or simply don’t feel like they’re worth the price tag. If you are buying a new iPhone from a shady third-party source, we encourage you to check the phone thoroughly before paying the full price. Stay alert, and stay safe! 

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