How to Tell a Refurbished iPhone

Written by contributing writer
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With its sleek touchscreen and myriad features, the Apple iPhone is one of the most popular smart phones on the market. The safest place to pick up one of these devices is from your local Apple retailer. Purchasing an iPhone in this manner ensures that you are getting a brand new phone. However, if you bought your iPhone from a different retailer or from a private seller, you may not know whether or not you own a used model. Luckily, there are a few relatively simple and sure-fire ways to tell if your iPhone has been refurbished.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Access the main menu of your iPhone and select the "Settings" icon.

  2. 2

    Choose "General" from the list of options and then "About" from the following screen. This will bring up an information screen that details your iPhone's eleven-digit alphanumeric serial number and international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number.

  3. 3

    Check the first two digits on the serial number. Refurbished iPhones begin with "5K." The first two digits on new iPhones begin with either "8K," or "9K."

  4. 4

    Look at the third, fourth and fifth digits of the serial number to identify the year and week in which your iPhone was made. For example, if the first four digits on your iPhone read "8K-801", that means you have a non-refurbished iPhone that was made in the first week of 2008.

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