You can save loads of money by opting to buy a refurbished iPad from Apple rather than splashing out on a brand new iPad. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of buying a refurbished iPad, so you can choose which option is best for you. Plus, it's a way to get older models of iPad that are no longer available to buy (such as the iPad 3 and iPad 4), directly from Apple.
What does refurbished mean?
Refurbished Apple products are technically pre-owned, but they undergo such a rigorous refurbishing process that it's unlikely you'll even notice.
What's the difference between a refurbished iPad and a brand new iPad?
If you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple, you'll get the same one-year warranty as a brand new iPad, all of the manuals and accessories that come with a brand new iPad, a brand new battery and outer shell and a new white box for it too.
The new box is not the same as the box you would get if you purchased a brand new iPad, and we guess that this is to prevent people from buying a refurbished iPad and attempting to sell it on as brand new.
Apple promises that all refurbished iPads it sells are in full working condition, and they have each been fully tested to ensure this. Any parts that were defective when the iPad was returned by its previous owner will have been replaced, and the entire iPad will have been cleaned and inspected to make sure it's in top-notch condition.
If you'd prefer to have a longer warranty than the one-year warranty you'll get included, you can buy an AppleCare Protection Plan for your refurbished iPad. This will extend your warranty to two years, but it will set you back £69.
What iPad models can I buy from Apple's Refurbished store?
In general, the products in the Refurbished store can change quite frequently, so you'll want to check back regularly if the particular Apple product you're after isn't available. (Note: Apple does not currently offer refurbished iPhones).
At time of writing, Apple has various models of iPad that include the iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4.
To give you an example of what you can save by buying a refurbished iPad, a fourth generation WiFi only model at 16GB is available for £309, which is £90 cheaper than the equivalent model of iPad Air. For bigger capacities or WiFi + Cellular options, savings can be up to £160.
Apple isn't currently offering the original iPad mini in its Refurbished Store, although we have seen it there previously. The iPad Air and iPad mini 2, of course, are not available as refurbished models yet either.
So, should I buy a refurbished iPad?
We think it is definitely worth considering buying a refurbished iPad from Apple's Refurbished store. It'll look good as new, so you won't notice the difference anywhere other than in your bank balance.
If you really want the box that comes with a brand new iPad and you're willing to pay the extra to get it, then a brand new iPad is a better choice for you. Plus, if you're buying the iPad as a gift, it's worth checking with the person you'll be giving the iPad to first, as the box will be a bit of a giveaway.
Here in the Macworld office, we've purchased Apple products from the Refurbished store and have been completely happy with them, so we can recommend the option first hand.
For more iPad buying advice, follow the links below.