How do you tell if your iPhone 5s is a refurbished unit?

Shaqq

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 17, 2014
197
1
I might need to get a replacement from apple store they told me but Is there a way to check on the iPhone itself if its refurbished or new? & is it true that refurbished is better ?
 

Bacong

macrumors 68020
Mar 7, 2009
2,153
374
Westland, Michigan
I'm assuming that any replacement they give you in the non descript white box is a refurbished unit.

As far as them being "better", they have been looked over more closely, I guess.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,923
14,541
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
The white boxes have a mix of new and refurb. It's really chance if you get one or the other.

Refurbs are stripped and given new shells. All components ate tested and if any fail they are replaced. Then the entire phone is run through the same battery of tests that new phones go through.

Refurbs may not be better, but they are just as good.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,102
2,094
Oregon
I might need to get a replacement from apple store they told me but Is there a way to check on the iPhone itself if its refurbished or new?
No way to tell, although if it's a white box replacement, there is a good chance it's refurbished.

& is it true that refurbished is better ?
Refurbished means it was returned, repaired and brought back to Apples refurbished specs. I don't know if that's better or worse. I tend to think that it doesn't matter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

aalu91

macrumors member
Aug 9, 2010
54
0
you guys, you definitely can tell. Look at the model number.

If it starts with an NE instead of ME it is a refurbished.
 
Comment

mtneer

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2012
2,859
1,990
you guys, you definitely can tell. Look at the model number.

If it starts with an NE instead of ME it is a refurbished.
Does that work for all iPhones or is this a convention used only on the 5S?
 
Comment

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,923
14,541
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
you guys, you definitely can tell. Look at the model number.

If it starts with an NE instead of ME it is a refurbished.
Mine starts with ND…

Regardless you have to open Settings>About to look that up. Just looking at the device you cannot tell, which is what is meant by this, not checking Settings. Unless you've found a way to tell without going into Settings?
 
Comment

AFDoc

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
2,757
504
Colorado Springs USA for now
Why does it matter? If the replacement works and looks good roll with it and enjoy.

As far as refurb being better..... some say yes. Any issues were fixed so that may make it better as a new phone has not had that luxury.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

Shaqq

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 17, 2014
197
1
Also when they exchange do they know that my iPhone is unlocked already or do I have to tell them? Because my iPhone is Att but unlocked using on Tmobile
 
Comment

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,102
2,094
Oregon
Also when they exchange do they know that my iPhone is unlocked already or do I have to tell them? Because my iPhone is Att but unlocked using on Tmobile
I purchased my AT&T iphone 5s outright and it was unlocked from day one. When I had to swap it out, I asked and they said that the locked/unlocked status transfers to the phone being swapped. I'm not 100% sure if this also applies to phones that the carrier unlocked. It'd be worth asking the folks at the Apple store.
 
Comment

barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,105
1,869
Manhattan
I know this is about a 5s, but I recently got my iPhone 5 replaced and the one they gave me was significantly better than the original retail packaged iPhone that I turned in.
 
Comment

EDH667

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
994
232
Northern California
Also when they exchange do they know that my iPhone is unlocked already or do I have to tell them? Because my iPhone is Att but unlocked using on Tmobile
I had mine replaced at the Apple store and the replacement was also unlocked. I always mention that it is unlocked to be sure, but it will be replaced with an unlocked iPhone.
 
Comment

aalu91

macrumors member
Aug 9, 2010
54
0
Mine starts with ND…

Regardless you have to open Settings>About to look that up. Just looking at the device you cannot tell, which is what is meant by this, not checking Settings. Unless you've found a way to tell without going into Settings?
well then starting with an N instead of an M would be the indication. So guessing you had your phone replaced from an MD model number to an ND model number.
 
Comment

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,923
14,541
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
well then starting with an N instead of an M would be the indication. So guessing you had your phone replaced from an MD model number to an ND model number.
Yeah it was replaced in November 2012. My launch day iPhone 5 had a bad mic.

What's funny is that the second one has been rock solid. I never had any of the issues that were reported with this phone.

Of course, it now has scuffing and some scratches, but it's less than six months since my contract is up and I use my phones with no plans to sell them so this does not bother me.
 
Comment

Mlrollin91

macrumors G5
Nov 20, 2008
13,527
9,078
Ventura County
One of my pet peeves is when people are worried about get a "refurbished" replacement. Not because of the curiosity, but because not a single iPhone/iPad/iPod that you get from Apple directly as a replacement is in fact refurbished. It is remanufactured.

"Remanufacturing is the most thorough and tightly regulated method of product restoration. Only the original manufacturer or an authorized representative can perform a remanufacture. During remanufacturing, the remanufacturing facility takes the product apart, makes any needed repairs, replaces any worn parts or parts expected to wear out soon, installs any enhancements and upgrades found on a new version of the product, and then reassembles the product. The remanufactured product must go through the same quality tests and checks a new product would go through prior to packaging.

Refurbishing is similar to remanufacturing. However, the big difference is that an unauthorized third party company performs the refurbishing. This limits the company’s access to technical data, newer proprietary upgrades and thorough manufacturer testing. However, most third party refurbishers do a very thorough job of bringing their products to operable, like new standards and are willing to back it up with some kind of warranty."

So in short, they are all remanufactured. Even if no upgrades are added, Apple is doing the process, so it is not being refurbished. When you purchase a refurbished phone from AT&T or Verizon, then yes, it is a refurbished phone and is directly coming from AT&T or Verizon as a cleaned up, returned phone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

Xenomorph

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2008
1,306
552
St. Louis
If you get a refurbished unit and everything seems to work and it looks fine, I wouldn't worry about it.

However, I've received two refurbished devices that just weren't "right".

My original iPhone 3GS had a hairline crack by the mute switch. I read online that it was a known-issue with the design, and to take it to the Apple store.

Apple took the phone, and gave me a different one.

It came out of plain, white box. This replacement iPhone 3GS had a sunken-in display. I don't know if that was an issue with the rubber gasket-thing, or something under the display pushing one side more than the other. It was obvious it was pulled apart and not put together correctly.

After a few weeks of being annoyed by the display, I took it back to Apple. They agreed that it wasn't "right", and took it.

The brought another iPhone 3GS out. Again in a plain, white box.

This iPhone 3GS had scuff marks on the bottom. Like it was dropped on concrete or something. Other than that it was in OK condition - except for the Home button. It was stiff and mushy. No "click" like the past two.

Apple said the button worked well-enough, and wouldn't get me a different one.

I should have just kept my original iPhone 3GS. It was purchased on release day. Besides working fine, it was in near-mint condition and had a nice, clicky Home button.
It was also an old-bootrom device, so could be upgraded/downgraded to any version of iOS the 3GS can run. I've since learned how to replace everything on the 3GS. Back panel, front display, logic board, battery, camera, etc. I could have completely rebuilt it. The only important part is the logic board.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

AndrewR23

macrumors 68040
Jun 24, 2010
3,893
1,162
all new iPhone models start with an "M" in the modern number. An apple replacement device, the model number will now start with an "N"
 
Comment

Shaqq

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 17, 2014
197
1
Yea I went today they gave me a new one it's refurbished tho. But at least the problems I had with the other one isn't happening with this one so I'm ok with it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,102
2,094
Oregon
So in short, they are all remanufactured. Even if no upgrades are added, Apple is doing the process, so it is not being refurbished.
Apple calls them refurbished products right on their website.

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

In the end, it really shouldn't matter. Why should a warranty replacement for a product that you have USED be new? I don't know where that mindset is coming from.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RuanArendt
Comment

Mlrollin91

macrumors G5
Nov 20, 2008
13,527
9,078
Ventura County
Apple calls them refurbished products right on their website.

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

In the end, it really shouldn't matter. Why should a warranty replacement for a product that you have USED be new? I don't know where that mindset is coming from.
I'm fully aware Apple calls them refurbished on their website. But those are also not the genius bar replacements. And Apple doesn't sell refurbished iPhones. The fact of the matter is the majority of people don't know the difference between remanufactured and refurbished. Apple calls it refurbished on their website because thats what the general public knows them as. But in reality it is a remanufactured device. Remanufacturing the device guarantees a new exterior shell, while refurbishing the device does not. If you get a refurbished iPhone from AT&T, there is a high probability it could have exterior blemishes because it was in fact a returned unit.

Asurion sends refurbished phones when claims are made. My friend received 2 iPhone 5 units from Asurion that had scratches on the exterior of the device because they were in fact refurbished returns. All they did was test it to make sure it worked properly and replace the battery, but the casing was not changed. Remanufacturing on the other hand, replaces the external casing plus whatever internal parts that are not up to spec.

So, when getting a replacement from Apple, you know it is remanufactured and held to a higher standard of quality than a refurbished unit. In addition, genius bar replacements do not come with a one year warranty, it is 90 days or whatever is left on the original warranty. Therefore, replacements must be held to that higher standard of the remanufactured process in order to ensure the product will be free from defects as long as possible.
 
Comment

Shaqq

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 17, 2014
197
1
How can you tell if it's unlocked without trying different sim?

I was wondering the same thing. Imma try my friends ATT SIM card in it whenever I can. I told the guy at apple it was unlocked so hopefully he gave me a unlocked one back.

----------

How can you tell if it's unlocked without trying different sim?

It is unlocked I checked on iphoneimei.info
Check that website to know.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.