How To Know If An iPhone Is Refurbished, New, Or A Replacement

Timothy Iyekowa
Timothy Iyekowa - Writer & Editor
7 Min Read

How can you tell if an iPhone is refurbished? Well, it’s simple, if you bought a new iPhone, or are about to buy a used one, you can use the model number on the device to check if it is refurbished, new, a replacement by Apple, or personalize.

Refurbished iPhones are sold not only by Apple but other carriers, but the Apple refurbished device is more than worth its purchase.

You will get everything inside a new iPhone plus an optional purchase of AppleCare with a good deal.

A refurbished iPhone has been repaired, or it’s a replacement for an original iPhone after an issue was found on the device.

Difference between refurbished and new iPhone

The difference between a refurbished iPhone and a new one is the price, it’s discounted.

While the refurbished device is cheap it doesn’t limit what it does or has any hardware issues because it is already fixed.

The thing is refurbished iPhones from carriers like Verizon and AT&T don’t come with more than three-month of warranty, while a new one certainly comes with 1-year.

But if you purchase a refurbished iPhone or iPad on the Apple Refurbished Store you will get a 1-year warranty.

How do I know if my iPhone is new or refurbished?

To check if your iPhone or iPad is refurbished, or has been used before. Most times a refurbished iPhone doesn’t necessarily mean it’s used.

The device might be replaced, because of some hardware issues. When it gets fixed and they want to resell, it is market as refurbished and the price is discounted.

Use the iPhone or iPad model number

You can use your iPhone model number to find out if your device is refurbished or new by going to your iPhone or iPad Settings app > General > About.

On the About page, you’ll find information about the device, scroll down to the Model section.

On the right side of it, you’ll see the model number that you can use to determine the origin of your iPhone.

The first character will let you know if the iPhone or iPad is new, refurbished, personalized, or replace.

  • M: If the model number starts with “M,” it is a New iPhone that was purchased from Apple (original).
  • N: If the model number starts with “N,” it is a Replacement device because there was an issue with the originally bought device.
  • P: If the model number starts with “P,” it is a Personalized device with engraving, customized (original).
  • F: If the model number starts with “F,” it is a Refurbished device, which means it passes through the refurbishing process by Apple or a Carrier.

Once you see the first letter you can determine the category which the iPhone or iPad fall under. Whether it is refurbished, replace, personalized, or new.

Apple refurbished iPhone

Apple refurbished iPhone is packed with everything you can find in a new iPhone box, and it also comes with a 1-year warranty just like a new iPhone.

All refurbished Apple devices are maintained, the case changed, then look brand new if given to you (you won’t find out).

But these products can’t be sold as new, and as so, it is always says refurbished iPhone when in-store.

A refurbished iPhone can come at a great deal with a 1-year warranty.

And you can also purchase an additional AppleCare coverage for the refurbished iPhone which extends your warranty for up to 2-years. In the box, you’ll get the manuals, cables, and an updated iOS version.

All refurbished iPhone models come with a new battery, new outer shell and all issues are resolved.

When you buy an iPhone from the Apple Refurbished Store or when Apple provides a replacement for a damaged iPhone, the model number of the device will be starting with an “N,” and when you get a new iPhone the model number starts with “M.”

Carrier refurbished iPhone

Apple isn’t the only company refurbishing iPhone as other certified carriers do. A carrier such as Verizon and AT&T refurbish iPhone and sell them at a discounted price, but there isn’t a 1-year warranty included, and even if there is it is just 90 days, which start from the date of the purchase.

If you buy a refurbished iPhone from a carrier like AT&T or Verizon you will get a box that contains the cable charger, manuals, and a 90 days warranty, which starts when the phone is purchased. This is quite different from the Apple refurbished iPhone.

The carrier-certified refurbished is different from Apple-certified refurbished and you can easily differentiate them by looking at the model number.

Since the Apple refurbished iPhone model number starts with the letter “N,” the carrier refurbished iPhone starts with the letter “F.”

Third-party refurbished iPhone

If you have an iPhone that is not refurbished by one of the certified carriers like Verizon and AT&T, or Apple you won’t be able to know through the model number.

If the model number doesn’t start with “M,” “N,” “P,” and “F,” it means that the iPhone was refurbished by a third-party vendor.

Read Also: How to fix “Update Apple ID Settings”

Difference between refurbished iPhone from Apple and certified carrier

The difference between a refurbished iPhone from Apple and a carrier is that Apple refurbished iPhone comes with a 1-year warranty.

And the option to purchase AppleCare for additional support for up to 2 years, unlike the 90 days warranty from a certified carrier. And Apple also includes a new battery for its refurbished device.

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By Timothy Iyekowa Writer & Editor
As a seasoned content writer with 4+ years of experience in consumer technology, Timothy has been a dedicated author and editor at since its inception. Specializing in addressing user concerns, his articles offer effective solutions for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac-related issues. Timothy's expertise also extends to crafting content about social media and various applications. Through his daily articles, he consistently aids users in overcoming their technology challenges.
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