The iPhone is one of the most expensive smartphones available in the market. With the iPhone X, the price of a base model has touched $1000. To some, an iPhone is overpriced, throttled hardware. To others, it’s a reliable device which, if Apple doesn’t interfere with it, will last years. If you have an iPhone 4 or even an iPhone 3 sitting somewhere in your garage, chances are it will turn on and function perfectly even now. It will be slow but that’s to be expected since we’ve gotten used to faster devices now. Reliable hardware is a good reason to buy an iPhone but if you’re getting one that is comparatively cheap, it’s possible you’re getting a refurbished handset. Here’s how you can check if an iPhone is new or refurbished.

Your iPhone’s model number is what gives away whether the iPhone is new or refurbished. This is information that you can check on the box, as well in iOS.

Box Check

If you’ve just bought your iPhone and haven’t opened it yet, flip the box over and look at the bottom. You will see a whole host of information about your phone, including its IMEI number. What you need to look for is the model number. It should be right written right next to the iPhone model name.

iOS Check

If you’ve already opened your iPhone, or you no longer have the box it came in you can check if your iPhone is new or refurbished from iOS. Open the Settings app and go to GeneralAbout. Look for the model number here.


New vs Refurbished Model Number

A new iPhone’s model number starts with the letter M. A refurbished iPhone model number starts with the letter F. In rare cases, the model number might even start with the letter N which is for replacement devices.

You can get a refurbished phone either through third-party sellers, or directly from Apple. A refurbished phone costs less but if you buy it from Apple it will come with the same warranty as a brand new iPhone. If you paid the price for a new iPhone and got a refurbished one though, you should seek a refund or replacement. This is likely to happen only if you buy a device from untrustworthy sellers. Apple doesn’t really make mistakes like this but will rectify it should it occur.

Apple has been selling refurbished iPhones for quite a while now. Last year, it made it possible for users to order a refurbished iPhone online as well. It’s not uncommon to see them nor are they defective devices. They’re as reliable to use as any Apple product.