If you're desperate for an iPhone but your budget doesn't quite stretch to Apple's newest models, buying an old, used or refurbished iPhone is a great way to pick up a bargain. Armed with our guide to buying an old iPhone, you'll be able to buy with confidence.
Apple makes prestigious products, but the latest Apple kit tends to command a premium price. It's true that if you visit an Apple Store (online or on your high street) to buy an iPhone, you'll get the support that comes with buying direct from the manufacturer, and you'll get good advice if you speak to anyone in store.
Now is a particularly great time to buy a refurbished iPhone, as Apple began selling its phones in its own Certified Refurbished Store in the UK in early 2019.
Certified refurbished iPhones have been available in the US for some time, but this is new for the UK market and a very popular way for customers to get their hands on an iPhone at a lower price.
You're not going to get any special discounts or deals on brand new iPhones from an Apple Store though, we're afraid. You can find deals on new iPhones from other retailers - check out our round-up of the best iPhone deals to get started - but even with a deal the handsets can be prohibitively expensive.
Because of this, many people on a budget consider switching to non-Apple kit, but that's not the only option. It's often possible to pick up an older model of Apple's iPhone with a big discount if you know where to look.
Buy direct from Apple
If you're not worried about getting the absolute latest kit, an older Apple iPhone is an option, and it doesn't have to be second-hand.
Of course, you'll miss out on some of the newer features offered in the latest iPhones, including the edge-to-edge screens, the wireless charging and improved cameras.
The iPhone 7 pricing kicks off at £449/$449 (although the price is lower if you have a phone to trade in), with the 7 Plus from £569/$569. Take a look at our iPhone buying guide for more information on the differences between the various handsets.
The Apple Refurbished Store
As mentioned, Apple now sells refurbished iPhones in both its UK and US stores. It's an excellent place to get a good deal on an iPhone with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that it's been thoroughly checked and fixed up by Apple employees, and comes with a warranty.
All refurbished iPhone models purchased via Apple come with a new battery, a new outer shell and all of the accessories, so you'll have trouble spotting the difference between one of these iPhones and a brand new one.
At time of writing, Apple is selling the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X via the Apple Refurbished Store, with savings of up to £220/$220.
You'll find older iPhone models in the online stores of various UK carriers, on much cheaper contracts than the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xr models. In the UK, these carriers include EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone.
Check out our rundown of the best network for iPhone for more advice.
Refurbished and pre-owned iPhones
One of the best ways to get an old iPhone at a bargain price, including models such as the iPhone 5s that are no longer available from Apple, is buying it second-hand or refurbished.
Here's a list of some places to check, followed by more details about some of them:
Envirofone is a UK-based retailer that sells refurbished iPhones (and smartphones from other brands too). You can even find newer iPhone models such as the iPhone XS and iPhone X with up to £100 off, and the iPhone 8 Plus with £100 off.
Envirofone also has monthly financing options if you wish to pay in installments. See all iPhone deals on Envirofone.
You'll find older iPhone models on Amazon including the iPhone 6s. Amazon calls the refurbished devices 'Renewed', which it claims "works and looks like new".
Renewed products are pre-owned and not Apple certified but they are inspected and tested by Amazon-qualified suppliers. They're fully tested and any defective parts are replaced, and they're also put through a thorough cleaning process.
Check out the renewed iPhones on Amazon here.
Then of course there's eBay, which has lots of unused iPhones on offer but is perhaps not the most reliable source.
We'd recommend checking seller's ratings before you buy, and make sure you read all of the small print in the listing. Ask the seller questions if you're concerned about anything at all before you buy.
CEX sells phones as old as the iPhone 5S for as little as £110, but you'll find plenty of other newer phones there too. They're usually graded to let you know what sort of quality to expect. Take a look here.
Sweden-based mResell offers Apple certified refurbished iPhone, iPad, MacBook and iMac devices. You can see its rates for iPhone using the tool below: