February 15, 2022

11 Things To Consider Before Buying A Used Phone

The price of new Android phones has been going up for the past few years. If you don’t have the money to buy a brand-new phone, you can always go for a secondhand one. Pre-used phones cost less than new ones, but they come with some risks. For example, a used phone may not have a healthy battery or it might have security issues, unlike a brand new one.

Nevertheless, not all secondhand phones are bad. All you need is to check some aspects of the phone to determine whether it’s the right one for you. If you’re looking forward to buying a used phone, here’s what to consider:

Original Receipt

Since there’s no sure way to know if the phone is stolen or not, you can reduce the chances of purchasing a stolen phone by requesting the original purchase receipt. Don’t buy the phone if the seller fails to produce the receipt.

If the seller convinces you that the phone isn’t stolen without giving you the receipt, ask for the original device box. Double-check the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number on it, and compare it with the phone’s IMEI. To check the phone’s IMEI, dial the USSD code *#06#, and the number will show on the device.

Unlock Your Used Phone

Buying a second-hand phone means purchasing a phone that once was someone else’s. Therefore, the phone might still be locked. If your device is locked to an existing carrier, then you can use a service like this to unlock your phone.

Is The Phone Refurbished Or Used?

There are two types of secondhand phones: refurbished and used.

Refurbished phones have undergone renewal by the manufacturers, making them appear and feel brand new, usually by replacing worn components (usually the battery and memory) and keeping the perfectly good ones. Refurbished Android comes with a warranty to cover the phone if anything goes wrong.

On the other hand, used phones come straight from an individual’s pocket. Such phones don’t come with a warranty, though they are often priced cheaper than refurbished ones because they may already have experienced some degree of wear and tear.

When purchasing a used phone, it’s important to know whether it’s used or refurbished since used phones have higher risks of malfunction.

Physical Condition Of The Phone

Smartphones are more prone to damage when they get accidentally dropped. It’s therefore essential to make sure that the one you want to buy hasn’t been accidentally dropped or damaged by its previous owner. Otherwise, you might be buying a phone that has a decreased lifespan.

This is why it’s highly recommended to meet the seller in person so that you can inspect the phone before paying for it. Before finalizing the purchase, make sure to check it for any signs of damage. Peel off all stickers on the front and behind the phone as they can be used to hide scratches and dents. You may also ask to have the screen protector removed to see if the screen is made of tempered glass.

Battery Percentage

An average Lithium-ion smartphone battery lasts for up to two years, depending on how the phone is used. If you’re buying a phone that’s over a year old, it’s crucial to check the battery longevity since there’s no battery health option in Android like in iPhones.

To understand more about the battery’s health, use the phone for about 15 minutes and check if the battery percentage decreases rapidly. If the battery has dropped more than 10% within that time, there’s a need to get the battery replaced. Try negotiating with the seller to cover up the battery cost. However, it’s not recommended to buy a phone with a faulty battery in the first place.

Ask For Original Accessories

Original accessories are far better than third-party ones. When purchasing a used phone, remember to inquire about the original data cable and power brick. If they’re unavailable, and you’re sure they were shipped together with the gadget, try negotiating the price to cover the cost of replacing these components.

If The Phone Has Been Under Repairs

Ask the seller if the phone has undergone any repairs and, if so, what repairs have already been done. If the seller says no, double-check the seam between the frame and the phone screen. If the phone has been repaired beforehand you should see a small gap or indent where the frame has been pried open. Be careful when purchasing a phone that has been repaired since it might not be long before more fixes have to be performed.

Do The Internal Components Work?

Before making the purchase, you have to make sure that all of its features are working fine. You’d want to test the following things in particular:

  • Front and rear camera
  • Charging port
  • Power and volume rockers
  • The gadget’s bottom speaker
  • Proximity and motion sensor
  • GPS and Bluetooth

How Old The Phone Is

Buying a used phone doesn’t mean you’re purchasing an old and outdated gadget. Hence, you should check the device’s release date.

The release date is crucial if you want to buy a phone that the manufacturer still supports. Unlike iPhones, Android devices aren’t supported for an extended period after the release date. Therefore, you should avoid purchasing gadgets that are more than two years old.

Paying for a used gadget a year or less old is beneficial since it will still be eligible for Android operational security (OS) and other security updates.

Return Policy

Used phones come with their fair share of risks. The device is prone to fail, and you might not know by just looking at it. In such an event, securing a return policy during the purchase is essential. Before paying for a used phone, ask about whether the device can be returned for a refund if it fails or malfunctions sooner than expected.

Unlike new phones, used devices have shorter or no return periods. But for safety, ensure that the phone you want to buy has a return policy of not less than two weeks.


The price of used phones depends on different factors. These factors include the device’s physical condition, release date, battery life longevity, among others. While there isn’t any guideline for the cost of used phones, you can research different platforms that sell used phones to get the rate idea.


Purchasing a secondhand phone can be stressful with all factors that you have to consider. Still, it’s possible to get a secondhand phone that works almost as good as a brand new one for a fraction of the price. All you have to do is to keep the things mentioned above in mind before finalizing the purchase.

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