I'm buying a used iPhone. What steps should I take immediately after I receive the iPhone, to make sure that everything is OK, that I got what I paid for, and that I'm not receiving a lemon?

For instance, it might be nice to check that it wasn't reported stolen / blacklisted. Also, I am buying a factory unlocked phone, so it'd be useful if there is an easy way to check to make sure I am receiving an unlocked iPhone. Also, if there is any hardware that is frequently broken / not working on used devices, it might be useful to have a checklist for checking that hardware.

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2 Answers 2


Once you get your hands on the iPhone, put your SIM card in it, do a full reset, and after it restarts go through the initial setup phase - until you get to the main screen with the apps on it.

Make sure you have a mobile phone signal (3G or 4G or whatever). That will tell you that the phone will work with your SIM.

It will also have activated the phone during that initial setup.

If the phone was previously assigned to another iCloud account, it may prompt you for the password for that account during that process. If the seller does not have the password, hand the phone back because it's a brick. And probably a stolen brick at that.

After that, you're pretty much OK.


Insert your SIM card (bring a paper clip to make it easy to pop out the SIM insertion tray), do a full reset, power it on, and go through the initial configuration process.

Check that you have a connection to your carrier. Make a test phone call, to make sure that you have connectivity.

Go to Settings > General > About, to check the phone model. Check the capacity to make sure it matches what you were expecting. For instance, if you were expecting a 16 GB iPhone, the capacity should say something like 13 GB. If you wish, note the model number on the back and the model number on the Settings > General > About screen; you can look them up on the Internet to make sure you got the right model of phone that you were expecting.

See also the steps that Apple recommends you take to check that you can use a device that you purchase from someone else; it's basically as above.

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