Refurbished phones and devices aren’t necessarily bad, despite what many may believe.

However, when you pay for a brand new device, it’s more than a little frustrating to find out that you received a refurbished, repaired, or swapped out device instead.

You should always know, before receiving it, whether a device it refurbished or not. Short of that, a business is using some pretty shady tactics to get one over on you. It’s happened before, and it will likely happen again.

Companies and businesses will lie or deceive to get more money out of their customers. What a world we live in, right?

So, how do you go about checking whether or not your phone is truly brand new? Is there a way to tell if you’ve received a refurbished Android device?

What to Look for on Your Phone?

At a glance, it may be possible to see whether or not you’ve been given a used or refurbished phone. Look for the following:

  • Was everything in the box? Were there any accessories or manuals missing?
  • Was it in its original retail box or was it packaged in another way?
  • Look for scuffs, scratches, dents, and other physical marks that didn’t come from you, obviously
  • Use the serial number to check condition status on the manufacturer’s site (this works for Apple devices especially)
  • Cheap or loose casing around the back or edges of the device

Outside of the more obvious physical signs, there is a way to use your phone’s software to find out the condition status of the device.

How to Check the Condition Status of Phone (4.0 and below)

  1. Open the phone or dialer.  You’re going to enter a hidden menu.
  2. Use the keypad to dial ##786# (##RTN#). As soon as you complete the last entry the RTN menu should open up. If that doesn’t work enter #*#786#*#. You’ll see two options if it works, one labeled View and the other Reset. Tap on View.
  3. Scroll down until you see Reconditioned Status.
  4. If you see a NO, then your phone is brand new. If you see a YES then you have a refurbished device.

How to Check the Condition Status for Newer Phone (4.0 and above)

On most newer Android devices — and many Samsung models — the hidden RTN menu has either been disabled or is not available at all.

If that’s the case, you must download an app from the Google Play store that will provide the necessary information.

The app shown here is Phone INFO *Samsung* by vndnguyen. You can download any comparable app or tool if you prefer to use something else.

phone INFO

  1. Open the Phone INFO app. If this is your first time it will ask for a variety of permissions including access to phone calls and the device camera. These permissions are necessary to gather information about your phone.

Keep in mind that some of the tools within the app require root access, which you may or may not have.refurbishment check

  1. Tap the sidebar button and click Refurbishment Check. Not to be confused with the settings button in the top right (three dots). Give the app a minute to gather the necessary information.your phone is original
  2. You will receive a message telling you whether your phone is new (original) or refurbished.

Bottom Line

Checking the refurbishment status on your actual device is quite simple. You can either do it from a hidden menu on older Android devices or use a detailed hardware information app on newer devices like the Galaxy Note 9.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner.