The secondhand iPhone market
The pros and cons of getting an older iPhone
Apple produces premium products, but the latest kit tends to command a high 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. However, you’re not going to get any special discounts or deals on iPhones if you visit an Apple Store Genius.
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.
Direct from Apple or third-party retailers
If you’re not worried about getting the latest kit, an older iPhone is an option, and it doesn’t have to be second-hand. The 5s (pictured opposite) is no longer available to buy from Apple. It was replaced by the SE, which offers a cheaper way of getting the top specs in a smaller package. But if you still want to buy a 5s, there are ways to do so as we explain below.
You can still buy the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus from Apple brand new at a cheaper price than the latest iPhone models: the 6s and 6s Plus.
You’ll miss out on some features on the older models: They miss out on 3D Touch and the faster processor, but they’ll cost you less cash.
The iPhone 6 with a 4.7in screen starts at £459, while the 6 Plus with its 5.5in screen costs from £539. You’ll find the 5s, 6 and 6 Plus available from most carriers in the UK, on much cheaper contracts than the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. These carriers include EE, Three, O2, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile and Carphone Warehouse.
Where to buy an iPhone 5s
The iPhone 5s may no longer be on sale through Apple, but it’s widely available from thirdparties both on contract and SIM-free. There are hundreds of 5s deals available, but you’ll
want to get in quickly as Apple will no longer be manufacturing the phone. They’re bound to be completely out of stock soon.
Buying an iPhone 5 or earlier
The iPhone 4s and older are unlikely to be supported by Apple for much longer. You might not be able to update to the latest software when it arrives later this year, but you can update it to the current iOS 9 operating system. The same goes for the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 has a Lightning connector, though, while the iPhone 4s still has the old 30-pin connector which limits the accessories available.
The iPhone 4 and earlier, however, won’t run iOS 8 or 9, so they’re already unsupported by Apple, which is why we wouldn’t recommend buying an iPhone older than the iPhone 4s.
You’ll find models of the iPhone 5, iPhone 4s and older on Amazon, but there are also ways to buy the iPhone 5 brand new or refurbished from the likes of Tesco, Carphone Warehouse and more. Then, of course, there’s eBay, which has lots of unused iPhones on offer but is perhaps not the most reliable source.
Second-hand and reconditioned 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.
Good places to start include Amazon, eBay (but be sure to check the seller’s reviews), Argos, Tesco, O2, GAME and more.