Andrew Hoyle/CNET

High telephones just like the iPhone 12 Professional Max or Galaxy S21 Extremely may include the most recent in cellular expertise with pro-standard cameras, 5G and hyper-fast processors. However additionally they include immense worth tags that places them out of attain of many people. Shopping for an older telephone, used, can prevent a bunch of cash, however nonetheless places some superior {hardware} in your pocket that’ll allow you to get pleasure from all of your on a regular basis necessities, plus issues like photograph enhancing, gaming and video streaming. Even higher, it saves a telephone from going to landfill, which we are able to all agree is an efficient factor.

However there are some key issues to bear in mind if you would like the most effective telephone to your cash and also you need to keep secure whenever you get it. Right here then, are our high tips about safely purchase an ideal used telephone, whether or not you need an iPhone ($600 at Greatest Purchase) or Android.

What options do you want?

First, take into consideration what you really want from a telephone, as this may dictate what kind of stage it’s essential to be aiming at. Should you simply need one thing to deal with some informal WhatsApp messages and play Spotify in your commute, you do not want flagship ranges of efficiency. One thing like 2018’s Samsung Galaxy A8 (which nonetheless will get quarterly safety updates, as of April 2021) will seemingly suit you effectively.


Take into consideration what options you really want in a telephone. Is having a button-free show actually price splashing the additional money on a extra trendy handset?

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If, nevertheless, you are actually into your pictures then it’s possible you’ll need to spend a bit extra on one thing that is bought an honest digicam on the again. In that case, one thing like an iPhone X ($900 at Enhance Cellular) may go well with, or a Galaxy S10. You may have to seek out that steadiness between the efficiency you want and the value you are comfortable to pay. Newer telephones with extra trendy options and higher efficiency will include the next worth. 

Purchase from a trusted supply

Not each telephone vendor has your greatest pursuits at coronary heart, so it is necessary to be savvy along with your purchasing. Some locations to keep away from ought to be apparent; do not buy from the man promoting telephones on a avenue nook, for instance, however others may be hit or miss.

eBay is a well known supply for purchasing something used and there is a big choice of telephones available. A few of these are bought by refurbishing firms that commerce solely in shopping for and promoting used handsets. Others are simply common folks attempting to dump their previous units once they improve. The result’s that it might generally really feel like panning for gold, on the lookout for these nuggets you really need. Examine the subsequent part for extra tips about shopping for on eBay.

My greatest recommendation although is to go to trusted firms that purchase previous telephones, refurbish them and promote them on. I’ve used MusicMagpie within the UK and had no issues. Its on-line catalogue is huge, it clearly lists the situation of the telephones, each handset is manufacturing unit reset and also you get a 12-month guarantee with each buy. Costs may be a tad larger than you’d discover on eBay however the peace of thoughts greater than makes up for it. Gazelle presents the same service within the US, though we have not examined it ourselves so cannot vouch for the general high quality of the service.

Learn extraGreatest mobile phone trade-in choices for iPhones and Android telephones


MusicMagpie’s product pages make it very straightforward to see the situation of the precise telephone you are shopping for.

MusicMagpie/Screenshot by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Examine the small print

Whether or not you are shopping for from eBay, Amazon Market or anyplace else, it is necessary to pay shut consideration to what you are really getting. Learn fastidiously what the itemizing says, together with any small print that may be hidden additional down, in amongst different particulars. It could be that phrases like “nonfunctioning” or “battery defective” are deliberately buried to trick folks into shopping for a telephone that not works. They will additionally seemingly clarify whether or not you are getting the unique charging cable, packaging and what kind of nicks and scratches you may anticipate to see.

Use your widespread sense right here — if a $1,000 iPhone is being bought for under $100, there’s most likely one thing fishy occurring. Do not be the man who purchased an image of an Xbox One for $735


Regardless of having the most recent software program put in, this Galaxy S6’s final safety replace was utilized in 2018. That signifies that there are two years of recent exploits that this telephone is vulnerable to.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Ensure it nonetheless will get safety updates

I will make this as clear as doable: Don’t purchase a telephone that not will get safety updates from its producer. Unsupported telephones are open to all types of vulnerabilities that can provide hackers quick access to each single piece of knowledge in your handset — and even management it fully. These financial institution particulars, these cute pics of your children, these horny selfies you despatched to your associate — all may very well be accessed and stolen.

Most Android telephone producers are likely to assist their handsets for 2 to a few years. Apple takes that additional, nevertheless, supporting even 2015’s iPhone 6S ($250 at Greatest Purchase) with the most recent iOS 14.4 (as of April 2021). 

It is irritating that telephones aren’t supported for longer, because the {hardware} stays completely succesful, however the outdated software program makes the telephones susceptible. I lately in contrast the 2017 Galaxy S8 to the brand-new Moto G Energy and whereas the S8 carried out beautifully, it is proper on the cusp of being minimize off from Samsung’s quarterly safety updates (as of April 2021), which means that it will not be lengthy earlier than it turns into regularly much less secure to make use of. 

Your greatest guess is to have a look at telephones that got here out inside the final two years and are subsequently seemingly nonetheless receiving safety updates. Whenever you discover a telephone that fits, google the mannequin title and try to discover out if it is nonetheless positively getting updates, and if there’s a sign of how for much longer it’s going to get them for. Firms aren’t forthcoming with data about once they’re chopping a product unfastened, however by what different fashions are nonetheless being supported you may make a good estimate.


The Galaxy S9, being a more recent mannequin than the S8, will seemingly proceed getting safety updates for longer.

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The Galaxy S8 ($230 at eBay), for instance, remains to be listed on Samsung’s assist web page as getting updates, nevertheless it seemingly will not be for for much longer. It is fairly secure to imagine subsequently that the S9 (launched a 12 months after the S8) could have no less than one other 12 months of secure use out of it. Shopping for a used S9 may cost a little a little bit greater than a used S8, nevertheless it’s an funding that’ll be safer for you in the long term.

Ensure when your telephone of alternative arrives that you simply totally manufacturing unit reset it your self, and ensure to verify for all accessible software program updates earlier than doing the rest.

Should you’re eager to avoid wasting money by shopping for used, be sure that to take a look at our full article on the safety recommendation you want to pay attention to. Additionally see how the previous S8 compares to the current Moto G Energy. Should you’re not eager on shopping for used however nonetheless do not need to spend all of your financial savings, check out our roundup of the most effective telephones below $200.

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