used iphone

The iPhone market in Africa is enormous. In countries like Nigeria, the use of the Apple mobile continues to shoot for new heights. However, while a dense population uses an iPhone in African countries like Nigeria, research shows that most of the users hardly buy them brand-new. This shows how well the used or second hand iPhone market is thriving. 

It’s not bad for you to decide to buy a used iPhone. The price of new ones for the average person in a clime like Nigeria can be pretty steep. However, in buying a second-hand iPhone, you need to be very careful. You don’t want to buy a defective, fake, stolen, modded, or propped iPhone. 

Therefore look out for the following things when buying a used iPhone.

Is the iPhone locked/factory unlocked/chip unlocked or worldwide unlocked 

If you’re not buying your iPhone from a friend or family that you can confirm bought theirs brand-new, you need to know the lock/unlocked status of the used iPhone you’re getting. 

The following are the locked/unlocked statuses you may encounter with a second-hand iPhone:

Network locked iPhone

When you’re buying a networked locked iPhone, this means the mobile is configured from Apple to work solely for a select network provider. If you buy such an iPhone unknowingly, you may not be able to immediately use your SIM card with it. For example, there are iPhones locked for the A & T network in the US. If you as a Nigerian buy such an iPhone and slots in an MTN, it most likely won’t work. 

Therefore,confirm from your seller if the iPhone is eligible to use your SIM type. 

Factory unlocked iPhone

A factory unlocked iPhone allows you to use any SIM card any time you like. You can switch to multiple network providers and have no issues.

Worldwide unlocked

Worldwide unlocked iPhones are also great because they allow you to use any network provider’s SIM on your iPhone. However, the issue with worldwide unlocked iPhones is that you must not run a factory reset on it. Once you do, the phone will need to be chip unlocked for you to use a SIM card with it again. And that will cost you a considerable amount of money.

Chip unlocked

For chip unlocked used iPhones you need to program a specific SIM card to align with that chip for you to skip the SIM lock placed on that iPhone by the original carriers (Verizon, T-mobile etc)

In a nutshell, ensure you ask your seller the lock/unlocked status of the iPhone you’re buying.

Power it off!

There have been cases of people buying iPhones only to get home, power it off then on to see an Android booting interface. While it sounds incredulous, it’s very possible. There are androids that have been modded to look exactly like the iPhone’s user interface and the body has also been reconstructed with iPhone case designs. Therefore, without powering it off and on, you’ll likely never figure at a glance that it’s an Android veiled as an iPhone.

So, switch it off then put it on to see the luxurious apple logo pop up. Alongside, you should check the imei. SIMply dial *#60# to confirm the IMEI, copy and paste it in an IMEI website to confirm the originality of the iPhone you’re buying. 

Check the battery health 

You can buy the best looking iPhone, with a great camera and it’s feeling sleek and fast. However, with a battery health lower than 50% you’re in for a very rocky use. You’ll hardly enjoy it because you’ll need to charge it every now and then.

Therefore, check the battery by going to Settings, click on Battery, then hit  Health and Charging. You should see the durability level of the battery of the second-hand iPhone you’re looking to buy.

Check the body well

If you’re buying a used iPhone in places like computer village in Nigeria, you need to be careful. Once they notice you’re willing to buy, they want to rush you into seeing only the good part of the phone and want to start packing it up for you. 

Some will start putting a screen guard on it immediately and inserting the phone into a pouch. Do not fall for this marketing trick. Collect the naked phone, and check the body and screen for possible scratches and cracks. 

For example, you may not quickly notice there are scratches on the screen of the phone because you’re inside a shop that’s well lit or poorly lit and the phone’s screen is on. And to conceal scratches, the sellers would usually bring a dark glass screen protector urging you to allow them to place it quickly for you. Sometimes, they’re just feigning care to actually conceal some scratches you may eventually notice and may make you rescind your purchase decision. Don’t fall for those theatrics. Check the body of the mobile.

Play music to test the speaker and insert a SIM to test the mouthpiece and earpiece.

This is a part that a lot of people may fail to check when buying a second-hand iPhone. It’s not enough to check the phone’s fluidity, originality, and other internal system stuff. You need to be very thorough to ensure you’re not buying a defective device.

Therefore, go to the music player and play music there. Or go to the ringing tone section and play a ringing tone. Check how it sounds. There have been cases where upon reaching home, used iPhone buyers test the speakers and discover it sounds broken, distorted, or doesn’t produce  sound at all. 

Also, insert a SIM card to test the earpiece of the phone alongside its mouthpiece. Call someone away from you. Call a friend or family and ensure you can hear them perfectly, and they can hear you too.

Check charging port, internet connection, and bluetooth

Even if the battery appears charged, please ask that a charger be inserted and ensure it boosts 1-2% before you leave the vendor’s shop. You don’t want a case whereby you get home and your device isn’t charging or it’s charging but not boosting. Check it well.

Please when buying a used iPhone, ensure the internet connection is working with both mobile data and Wi-Fi. There are some times when there’s an issue with an iPhone and the Wi-Fi won’t come on. There are times the mobile data trips off by itself incessantly. Know what you’re buying.

Lastly, inspect the bluetooth connectivity. Ensure it’s working properly.

Final thoughts on buying a used iPhone 

Buying a used iPhone is great, and if you can be cognizant of the things mentioned in this article, you’ll be on course to buying a good one. But apart from the workability of a second-hand iPhone, you need to be sure it wasn’t stolen. 

You don’t want the police tracking a lost or stolen phone to your door. Therefore, always ensure you get a form of receipt after purchase. And ensure the vendor is one you can easily return to in case of any disputes. 

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox