Buying a new used smartphone, preferably iPhone 6
September 10, 2017 9:55 AM   Subscribe

My iPhone 5 died recently, so it's time for a new (well, used/refurbished phone). My preference is for an iPhone 6 with 64 GB. Verizon is the only provider here, so it must be Verizon-compatible. I've already had some shopping adventures and am generally overwhelmed by all the options and vendors, plus many of them don't give enough info. More inside.

I like iPhones for a number of reasons, plus it would be easier to access/transfer my backup to another iPhone. I've considered another 5 or an SE, but I'm hoping to find a used/refurbished iPhone 6 that fits my specs and is a good value.

There are so many options for where to buy a used smartphone that it's really overwhelming. I'm also getting frustrated with how vague descriptions of phone conditions are--what does "moderate cosmetic damage" mean? On some sites, you can't directly contact the selle r to ask. I already bought an iPhone 6 from Glyde (who I'd had good luck with in the past). It didn't work right out of the box and their customer service was so bad it took forever to return it for a refund. I'd like to avoid something like that again. I know there's always risk involved, but are there sites or certain online sellers that can help minimize risk? (I know that buying local is an option, like craigslist, so I could try out the phone, but it's very rare to see iPhones on my local CL.)

Does anyone have shopping suggestions for me?
posted by mermaidcafe to Shopping (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you can wait just a few more days, you'll likely see a price drop. A new iphone is expected to be released next week. Even used units will probably see a decrease, and if you're looking for an iphone 6, you'll likely be able to pick up a new unit for a reasonable price from verizon direct.

Prices typically tank, and new units usually drop by at least $100 after the release is announced. There's no real reason to expect this release will act any differently, in terms of on the ground pricing.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:18 AM on September 10, 2017 [6 favorites]

And buying a refurb unit directly from apple is usually painless. It affords better protections than other 2nd hand companies, but does appear to be a bit more expensive. Not sure your budget or the price point you're trying to hit. Refurb prices will probably drop the day the announcement is made too.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I agree with buying an Apple refurb even if it costs more than other options.
posted by O9scar at 10:25 AM on September 10, 2017

Agree waiting a week or two. I should have just gotten my 5S fixed instead of buying the 7 last month. I was similarly overwhelmed by refurbished options so just bought a new one... Don't be me. Fix your 5 and wait a few weeks if possible.
posted by jbenben at 10:33 AM on September 10, 2017

I'd recommend an iPhone 6S. It came out a year later, which means you'll get another year of support. The 6, which came out in 2014, is down to 1-2 more years of support. I've had good luck on eBay from long-time sellers with very high ratings, who are generally selling their personal devices. If you buy anything from a phone/electronics vendor on eBay, the condition is pretty much always 1-2 grades worse than they describe it.

The bonus with the 6S is that it's the last iPhone with a headphone jack. Another advantage is that Verizon devices are only good on Verizon, so they tend to be lower priced than unlocked devices.

I haven't studied this, but I would be surprised to see price drops for older devices as soon as new ones launch. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy devices, my observation is that it takes a couple months, until people actually get the new devices in hand and get around to selling the older ones, for prices to drop.

Lastly - don't fix the iPhone 5. It's no longer supported, so may not be safe to use security-wise.
posted by cnc at 10:36 AM on September 10, 2017

Sorry about your bad experience with Glyde. Mine was different. I bought a used iPhone 5 from Glyde a couple of years ago. It was cheaper than buying a refurbished unit from Apple. Everything was fine, except for one glitch: The seller forgot to deactivate the phone with his carrier, but I was able to contact the seller -- and he took care of it quickly.
posted by alex1965 at 10:54 AM on September 10, 2017

What did it die of? If it was just the battery, those can be replaced.

I recently learned how to do this myself for an iPhone 5C. It was fiddly as hell - there are screws involved about the size of a grain of coarse sand, and the old battery is fixed in place with hell's own glue - but YouTube was as usual very helpful, and a replacement battery including all tools cost me about AU$10 on eBay.

Just don't get the gold-labelled ones claiming twice the capacity of the originals; those are a scam.
posted by flabdablet at 11:34 AM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Battery! Yes! They are designed for only X number of charges and must be replaced every 3 to 4 years.
posted by jbenben at 11:47 AM on September 10, 2017

I've had very good experiences with Swappa, both buying and selling used iPhones of varying vintage for family members.

(And will be using them again in a few weeks as the new models drive prices down...)
posted by scooterdog at 4:01 PM on September 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

happy iPhone 7 user and for me the fact that it's waterproof/resistant was a major thing. Also I love the jet black finish. Never missed the headphone jack. I would hold out for a reduced price ip7.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 6:29 PM on September 10, 2017

Just as a point of reference, all iPhone 6 models work on both CDMA and GSM networks. You do not need a Verizon-specific iPhone 6, you just need any iPhone 6.
posted by zebra at 8:03 PM on September 10, 2017

I bought a used iPhone 5 from a couple months ago and it worked very smoothly for me. They've been around for a while and seem to be large enough to trust.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:41 AM on September 11, 2017

I've used Swappa too, and it went perfectly. Be aware that iPhone 6's are prone to developing Touch Disease (screen failures), so I might hesitate to get a used one. 6+'s have even higher rates of this problem.
posted by daisyace at 4:51 AM on September 12, 2017

« Older Normal bathroom fan usage?   |   Music recommendations, African and S. American... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.