7 things you need to check before buying a used iPhone in India

iPhones in India don’t come cheap. And while you can buy an older model like the iPhone 6 for a relatively affordable price, if you’re keen on getting a more recently-released model, a second-hand iPhone is your best bet. Used iPhones predictably come with their share of trade-offs, especially in India where Apple-refurbished iPhones aren’t available. If you’re considering shelling out for a used iPhone, it’s a good idea to perform these checks before you buy.


Activation Lock

iPhones come with an Activation Lock, which is a theft protection system that prevents people from using or wiping your iPhone. When buying a used iPhone, it’s important to make sure that Activation Lock is disabled. Until last year, Apple offered an Activation Lock status tool on its website, where you could enter the IMEI number of an iPhone to check if it was locked to another user. The tool has now been removed, so you’ll need to check this manually on the iPhone. When setting up your device, you should see a screen that says ‘Set up your iPhone’. If not, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings and begin the setup process. If you’re asked for the previous owner’s Apple ID and password, it’s still linked to their account. In this situation, make sure you contact the seller immediately and ask them to erase and remove the device from their account from


There’s an easy way to check if the iPhone you’ve purchased is still under warranty. Head over to Apple’s website and enter your device’s serial number to check if your iPhone is still under warranty, and if you’re eligible to extend your AppleCare coverage.

Original receipt

To ensure that you’re purchasing an original device, ask the seller to provide a proof of purchase. This should be available whether the seller is an individual or if you’re buying from a third-party website. Apple also provides electronic receipts, so this will be sufficient as well. Having a valid receipt is important if you want to resell the iPhone, or extend the warranty.

Water damage

When buying a used iPhone, make sure there’s been no water damage to the device, as this is not covered by Apple’s warranty. Fortunately, Apple has built in Liquid Contact Indicators (LCI) on all iPhones, which makes it easy to check for liquid damage. For the iPhone 5 and above, this is located inside the SIM card slot. Remove the SIM card tray, and if you see a red spot or strip inside, this is indicative of water damage.

Battery health

With iOS 11.3, Apple has introduced a new feature that displays battery health. This is available on the iPhone 6 and above. On a new iPhone, the battery health indicator will be at maximum capacity, i.e. 100 percent. Over time, the capacity diminishes as the health of the battery degrades. If the battery health has been reduced significantly, you’ll see the following message “Your battery’s health is significantly degraded. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can replace the battery to restore full performance and capacity. “ While the battery can still be used when this message is displayed, it will have a very low capacity. In this case, it’s wise not to purchase the device, or alternatively, replace the battery before you use it.


A basic hardware check is a must-do before buying a used iPhone. You’ll want to check the body to make sure there isn’t any major damage like dents or cracks. The screen should be relatively scratch-free with no dead pixels, and 3D Touch should be working on the iPhone 6s and above. Open the camera app and check that both the front and rear cameras are working, along with the flash. Checking the ports is important – make sure the headphone jack (in older iPhone models) and the Lightning port are functional. Turn on the iPhone and check that the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS are working. It’s also advisable to make a call and test the call quality and loudspeaker. And don’t forget to check if you’re able to enrol new fingerprints and unlock the phone with Touch ID.

Retail box and accessories

When buying a new iPhone, ask for the original retail box along with all the accessories – power adapter and lightning cable, EarPods and Lightning to 3.5mm adapter (for the iPhone 7 and above).

These are the basic steps you need to follow when buying a used iPhone. Always make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller, and if possible, inspect the iPhone in person so you can do all of the above checks to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala

Ketaki has over 10 years experience writing on tech, having worked at the Hindu Business Line and 91mobiles earlier. When she's not editing copies or reviewing the latest gadgets, she spends her time binge-watching Netflix and reading fantasy fiction.