Buying a used iPhone 4S. What should i look for?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by slipper, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. slipper macrumors 68000


    Nov 19, 2003
    I am planning to buy a used iPhone 4S later today and i was curious what i should look for when inspecting the phone. He says its a FACTORY UNLOCKED iPhone 4S. Is there anything that distinguishes a factory unlocked iPhone over a factory locked iPhone? What else should i look out for? Thank you.
  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    I guess you could take a few SIMs with you and test em' out :)
  3. Bahroo macrumors 68000

    Jul 21, 2012
    Test the speakers, both eargrill and bottom speaker. Make a test call, check for loose buttons, screen leakage etc... Check if the cameras work all thatt
  4. travis64 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 18, 2008
    look for dents chips to see if it was drop
    all 4s still have applecare so your good
    check settings to see if its a 4s and has the right gb
  5. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    First of all you should make sure it even is a 4S, and not a 4. The 4S has four antenna breaks on the outside while the iPhone 4 only has two. Also, the 4S will have Siri.

    Then check button responsiveness, screen for dead pixels/sensitivity, sound quality, camera quality, whether phone calls and sms work, wifi, bluetooth, etc.

    In order to check if it's unlocked, bring a different sim with you such as a T-Mobile one to make sure it works.
  6. Nadasive macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    Henderson, Nevada
    I can't remember exactly but i think if you switch it from vibrate to loud (back and forth) there would be a circle around the bell or something to indicate if there was water damage.
    can someone correct me if im wrong?
  7. jent macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2010
    The iPhone 4 on Verizon and Sprint also have four antenna seams as well, but no micro-SIM tray. The iPhone 4S on any carrier has the four seams and a micro-SIM tray. Also, I believe that you meant to say the GSM iPhone 4 has three seams, not two.

    If you are able to inspect the phone in person look up the IMEI at (enter the IMEI without any spaces). After up to twenty seconds or so of looking up the IMEI (I believe the sites checks Apple's servers, but I really don't know), it will tell you if the phone is locked or unlocked. I've used this site to see when AT&T finally processes my unlock requests for locked phones that are now out of contract so as to avoid restoring the iPhone to factory settings and then restoring from backup (which is what you have to do once AT&T's unlock request is put through in order to complete the unlock process). I don't believe it will tell you if it is a factory unlock or carrier-sanctioned unlock, but it will tell you if it's unlocked.

    Now that I think about it, factory unlocked phones might have a different Apple part number, but you'd have to look into that further.
  8. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    Whoops, my bad. You are most definitely correct about that.
  9. jent macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2010
    If you play around at, you'll find that the locked and factory unlocked phones indeed have different part numbers.

    In the U.S. Apple Store Online, I added an on-contract (thus locked) 16GB black iPhone 4S on AT&T and in the web address it reveals the part number: MC918LL/A.
    I did the same thing with a factory unlocked 16GB black iPhone 4S for AT&T and the web address has the part number listed as: MD234LL/A.

    If I'm not mistaken, the part number is actually one of the few pieces of text printed on the back plate of the iPhone.

    If you're meeting the seller face-to-face, do the following (assuming you're in the U.S.):
    • Bring a non-AT&T micro-SIM card and put it in the phone. If it says "No Service" the whole time, that should mean it's locked. If it says "Searching" or actively shows the network name (such as "T-Mobile") then it's unlocked. Even a deactivated and/or foreign micro-SIM will work—it won't get signal but it will search instead of just saying there is no service.
    • Look at the part number on the back of the iPhone per my instructions above.
    • Look up the IMEI in Settings --> General --> About and plug it into

    I presume you already met with the seller. How'd it go?

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