How to Check if iPhone is Refurbished or New

unable to activate Touch ID on this iPhone

If you just bought a new iPhone or iPad and the seller claims it’s new, you’d want to check how new it was and whether the device was used.

Why you Should check if your iPhone is Refurbished

You should check the condition your iPhone or iPad is in because you can assess how good or worn down it’s going to be plus, you can assess how cautious you need to be when using it because you never know what condition it’s been in.

If you’ve just got a gift from a friend or family and you want to estimate how much they’ve spent on your new device, the tricks below are going to help you do just that. I’m going to show you the ultimate way to check it, then I’m going to give you some more tips to make sure.

Check if iPhone or iPad is New or refurbished

How to check if iPhone is new or refurbished The best and most trustworthy to check if your iPhone or iPad is new, refurbished or reused is by checking the model number and prefix. Breaking this number down can help you check what condition your device is in.

  1. Go to the Settings app
  2. Tap on General settings
  3. Go to About
  4. Look for the ‘Model’ number

Besides Model, you’re going to see a number that looks like this “ME306LL/A”. If you have a new device like the iPhone X, you’re going to see a number like A1533. You can tap this number to change it back to the example I used which was ‘ME306LL/A’.

If your iPhone or iPad is used or refurbished, the first character of your model number is going to let you know about this. Here’s a breakdown of what the first letter would mean:

  • M – The device is brand new and it was purchased without being used by anyone else
  • F – The iPhone or iPad is refurbished meaning that some broken parts having been replaced with better parts
  • P – The iPhone or iPad is personalised with engraving meaning it was customised when you bought it
  • N – The iPhone or iPad is a replacement device that you got from a carrier or phone store
  • 3 – The 3rd digit in the model number allows you to check the year that device was made. This example says 3, meaning it was made in 2013

There could be a chance that you bought your iPhone or iPad refurbished, and it still comes up with the prefix M. This would mean that the device hasn’t been refurbished much and it’s almost in a new condition.

How to Find Model Number if Device is in the Box?

If you’ve just got your iPhone or iPad and it’s still in the box, you can still check if the device is new, refurbished, replaced or personalised. To check the condition of the device, you can look on the side or on the back of the box. After you’ve found the model number, you can use the steps above to assess what condition the device is in.

If you managed to get your device form a trustworthy source such as a friend or the Apple store, you should have got your device in the original box. If the device didn’t come in the original box, you can go open the device and go into the settings app to check the model number.

If your device isn’t in the original box, this usually means that it’s been refurbished so this is a good way to tell. If there is no way you can use the device and if the iPhone or iPad didn’t come in the original box, you can use the tips below.

Check the Condition of the Accessories to Check the Condition of Device

If you were lucky enough to get your device with accessories, you can check the condition of those accessories. One good thing to look at is the cable. You can check If the cable has been used and scuffed in any way and if it has, this will let you know how new it really is. If you do find scuffs and the device looks relatively new, it’s likely to have been refurbished.

If you have the original Apple box for the device, you can check if the device is MFI certified. To assess whether the device is in good condition, you can look for the made for iPod, iPhone and iPad logo on the box to see if it meets Apple standards. If it does have this, the device is likely to be new or refurbished.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here