Used iPhone buying precautions

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by tennisproha, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. tennisproha macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I've always bought new devices so I've never really had to deal with any used iPhone woes or cautions. I don't wanna get the iPhone 6 this time around so I'm thinking about getting the 5s instead. However I'm thinking maybe i should get a used one and save a couple hundred bucks.

    Since I've never bought a used iPhone before I'm wondering, besides carrier unlocks, do i need to watch out for anything else? Specifically, is there any possibility of any sort of malware on the used device?

    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. themyst macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    #2
    You need to make sure the person disables iCloud (findmyiphone) on the device, and if they have any unpaid balance on the phone if they financed the phone.

    T-Mobile phones are a rough gig because if the user sells the phone the day they decide they are no longer going to use it, it will take 60-90 days for T-Mobile to flag the phone or cancel the account for non-payment, beyond any dispute period you may have from PayPal/eBay. Sprint is also similar.

    Malware highly unlikely.

    Be real careful buying used iOS devices, especially carrier locked ones.

    ----------

    I personally use Swappa to buy/sell devices. They even have an ESN checker (which isn't 100% accurate, but should give you a very good idea).

    http://swappa.com/esn
     
  3. 617aircav Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #3
    Used iPhone buying precautions

    The best thing you can do is to make sure it's paid off. They can show you a receipt to prove this. Beyond that you are at the mercy of the sellers honesty. Tons of things could be wrong that you could never know. It's a risk you take to get the rewards. I buy tons of used phones every year, for resale. I've only been burned once in three years. I even buy on CL and then turn around and sell it on CL for a profit. A lot of people are in need of money and will sell at a very low price once you flash them the cash.
     
  4. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #4
    Like the others said all can be great for a while and the carrier could shut it down and you have no recourse!

    Maybe you can meet at the carrier and they would confirm the phone is paid off.
     
  5. themyst macrumors 6502

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    Jul 7, 2010
  6. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #6
    You can verify if the phone is being financed too by checking the IMEI on www.swappa.com

    If it's still being financed and not fully paid off yet then I would not buy it as you would be taking a risk of it later becoming blocked should the seller decide to stop paying his or her bill.
     
  7. 617aircav Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #7

    Swappa is unreliable. The only sure way is to go to a carrier store, or ask for a receipt.

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    Activation lock can be verified when actually buying the phone.
     
  8. tennisproha thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jun 24, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    Okay, so will carriers actually give you device info for a phone you don't actually own? Whats the best way to go about doing this correctly? Its gonna be real time consuming to verify every listing I'm watching on ebay… so i need the imei obviously from the seller. I guess does anyone have experience buying on ebay? Most of the listings just seem to be ppl upgrading to 6 and selling their 5s's.


    Most importantly for me, what are the chances of the device having malware, even after a 'reset content and settings' wipe? Any malware or mischievous software… and would an iTunes restore wipe any and all of it since it would re-install the iOS essentially?

    Thanks for the help guys:D
     
  9. tennisproha thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jun 24, 2011
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    Texas
    #9
    Is it pretty straight forward in your experience… do you ask for proof of purchase? Id imagine most ppl selling are just looking to upgrade their to iphone 6 and their carrier wont let them upgrade until they pay off their 5s right?
     
  10. MinEderPlayz macrumors 6502a

    MinEderPlayz

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    #10
    Apple now offers checking serial numbers for Find My iPhone Activation Lock. So if you want to buy an iPhone, obtain its serial number and enter it on the website BEFORE paying for it. ;)
     
  11. 617aircav Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #11

    Yes I would require a receipt that show the phone is paid off.

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    Activation lock is not the problem, future imei blocking is the real issue to watch out for. Activation lock can be verified checking that find my iPhone is disabled.
     
  12. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #12
    No need to worry about malware. "Erase all content and settings" does essentially the same thing as restoring through iTunes. But if restoring through iTunes makes you feel better about it, it wouldn't hurt.

    As for carrier, meet with the seller at the carrier store, and the store should release the account info to the seller, as he is the owner of the phone and phone account. The seller can then show you the info.
     
  13. tennisproha thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    okay, thanks. 'Erase Content' just un-indexes everything but is that enough? is it not possible for malware on iOS to get into system kernels or anything, like it is on a full OS?

    on a PC, a system wipe and fresh OS install certainly gets rid of everything. I know iOS is built differently but I just don't know how exactly. just want to be sure.
     
  14. GeniusJon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #14
    Advice coming from an experience Kijiji/Craigslist buyer/seller:

    1) Don't worry too much, nobody likes an obsessive buyer
    2) Always check if wi-fi works (i.e., set up the device and test Safari)
    3) Meet in a wi-fi enabled place so number 2 can be tested (Starbucks, etc.)
    4) Test your sim card. If you're coming from an older phone, make sure your SIM is the right size for whichever iPhone you are buying (iPhone 4S and older: micro, iPhone 5 and newer: nano)
    5) If purchasing an unlocked device, bring a friend along (that's using a different carrier) and have them put their SIM in
    6) make sure it has the correct GB as advertised (settings > general > about)

    That's really it, the rest is common sense... inspect the product, don't exchange cash unless you're happy... the usual
     
  15. Y2JDMBFAN macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    #15
    There are several conflicting stories on this. Some Verizon reps will tell you the phone won't be blacklisted if it isn't the active device on the person's account if they signed a 2-year agreement to get the phone at a discounted rate, other reps have said the opposite. I'm torn myself on whether to send back or keep an iPhone 6 Plus I got for a great deal on Swappa. Didn't realize it wasn't paid for in full, and the seller renewed a 2-year contract to get it at the discounted rate. He says he removed the phone as the active device and put his old phone IMEI back on the plan, but I'm not totally sure what could happen if he stopped paying his bill.
     
  16. tennisproha thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    #16
    thanks! how do you feel about buying on eBay? most sellers just seem to be selling their 5s after buying the 6…

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    that's a bit shady. I'm looking to buy a 5s so this is a bit different.
     
  17. GeniusJon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #17
    I'm not a big fan of eBay... you don't get to see the actual product and test it out. Even though there are buyer protection programs in place, it's still a lengthy process to get your money back if anything goes wrong.

    That being said, if the seller looks legit and price is reasonable then it eBay could be a good option.
     
  18. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #18
    In order to inject malware at such a deep level, the iPhone would need to be jailbroken. If an iPhone is jailbroken, then Erase Content won't work -- it'll put the phone into an infinite reboot loop, and you'll need to put it into DFU mode and restore through iTunes.

    In other words, if Erase Contents works, you don't have anything to worry about. If it doesn't work, I'd walk away.
     

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