Tips for Buying A Used iPhone


What you should look for, what to ensure in order to get the right product in your hand?

 Hopefully these tips will save you trouble from getting scammed on buying a used iPhone.

Aside from the more obvious things to consider like the physical cosmetic condition of the iPhone in question there are three important software related things that are tied on every iPhone which are crucial to check out before acquiring any used iPhone.

Failing to check these could result on a useless bricked phone and a hurting loss of money.

1- Check The ESN

ESN stands for “Electronic Serial Number” and there is about three reason why an iPhone would have a bad ESN.

  • The original owner of the iPhone did not pay their bill.
  • The iPhone was reported lost
  • The iPhone was reported stolen

If either of these reasons show on the iPhone’s database you won’t’ be able to activate it. So how can you check the ESN of an iPhone easy and without having to go to a carrier store?

You can actually use a free service online but before doing this you will need to retrieve the IMEI of your iPhone because this is the number they will ask in order to check the ESN.

Think of the IMEI of the iPhone as ID or unique identifier of your phone and you can access it from the settings within your phone like this:

Go to the “Settings” > “General” > ” About” and scroll down about the middle portion and you should see the IMEI normally composed of 15 numbers.

Check ESN

Now that we have identified the IMEI then we need to go to google search and type “Check ESN” and you will be prompted with different websites that offer the service but keep in mind that some of them actually charge for this service.

In this example I am going to use swappa.com simply because it is free and I have use it several times in the past without any issues.

Once you are in swappa ESN checker all you need to do is type the IMEI and click on the “Check ESN” button. The system will start looking up for the required info and then throw the results for you to see.

2- Check iCloud Lock

This step is as easy as going into the iPhone settings and check if there is an iCloud account tied to it. If there is an account already there you want to definitely have the owner to sign out the old account and reset the iPhone to factory settings.

In the case that the iPhone was already restored and you want to check if there is an iCloud account you would need to through the set up process. If you get to an “Activation Lock” screen that asks you for an iCloud account and password in order to activate the iPhone then you would need to have the owner to sign out and if they cannot sign out then do not buy it.

3- Check The FingerPrint / Face ID On iPhone X Or Later

The last check might not be as important as the previous ones but still worth checking just in case as a safety precaution.

So you want to go into the “Settings” again > scroll down a bit and look for “FingerPrint / Face Id and Password” and tap on it.

It will then ask you to enter your password if any. Once you got this done you will be able to see what features are currently using the FingerPrint/Face ID for instance:

  • iPhone Unlock
  • iTunes & App Store
  • Apple Pay
  • Password AutoFill
  • Other Apps

Make sure all the above features are disabled for using the FingerPrint/Face ID and if they are not you can go ahead and disable them by taping on the green switch slider.

In addition, you will want to scroll down a bit until you see a Reset FingerPrint/Face ID option highlighted in red so this way you can set up your own right on the spot.

Thanks for reading and feel free to post any comments or questions below 🙂


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