Want an iPad, but can’t justify the cost? Buying a used or refurbished iPad is a more affordable alternative to buying new. Here’s everything you need to know before buying a refurbished iPad.

The Difference Between a Used and Refurbished iPad

First of all, refurbished does NOT necessarily mean “formerly faulty”. Sometimes customers will return products for repair related reasons. However, most of the time refurbished models were used as demos at trade shows or floor models in Apple stores. But the key difference between a used and refurbished iPad is a refurbished iPad is certified to be in a like-new condition. The product has been checked and verified by Apple or an authorized partner.

A used iPad does not have any official verifications or certifications. It can be defective, stolen or not even really an iPad. Be extra careful before buying used.

Where to Buy A Refurbished iPad

Remember, to purchase a refurbished iPad from a reputed seller as they will provide you with a reasonable guarantee of the purchase. There are several websites from where you can purchase a refurbished iPad. Have a look at some of the popular places:

Apple: Several years ago, Apple announced a recycling and product reuse program. This enables customers to trade in their old iPads for store credit. As a result, you can now buy refurbished products directly from Apple. They offer free shipping and a 1 year warranty period. If you want more than a 1-year warranty, products like a refurbished iPad qualify for Apple Care.

  • They thoroughly test and verify their products
  • All the models that the Apple store provides have a new unscratched outer shell, brand new battery, and a new white product box.
  • Provides limited supply and availability is warranted once they get the complete payment.

Amazon: Use this link to search Amazon for refurbished iPads. It’s surprising to see how much inventory is available. Just read each listing carefully. Not every item is the same.

eBay: Another good place to purchase a refurbished iPad is eBay. But before purchasing, make sure you read the full description of the item. Sometimes people will sell broken iPads for parts. Also, pay attention to the seller’s rating, return policy and shipping fees. Many times a really good deal on eBay is only because there’s a high shipping fee. Similar to Amazon, eBay also provides a satisfaction warranty.

Things to Ask Before Buying A Used or Refurbished iPad

  • What’s The Packaging? – Ask the seller what kind of packaging the iPad will come with. Even if you purchase your refurbished iPad directly from an Apple, it may not come in the original packaging or manuals. Boxes are often discarded. If you need the manual, just search online.
  • Why Is The Seller Selling? – If you are buying used, pay attention to why the iPad is being sold. Stay away from caution phrases that might indicate trouble. Mentions of things like a divorce, roommate not paying the rent or the iPad belonging to an ex-boyfriend, means you should probably stay away. Sometimes people will try to sell an iPad that they do not legally own.
  • Is It Stolen? – If the price on the iPad seems almost too good to be true, then it probably is. Ask the seller for the device ID. The seller can find this info in the Settings app: Settings > General > About. Then go to stolenphonechecker.org and enter the IMEI, MEID or ESN of the device that you want to purchase. This site will tell you in another user has reported it stolen. If the seller won’t give you the device ID, then it’s probably stolen.
  • Is It Counterfeit? – Are you really buying an Apple iPad? I’ve seen Apple knock-offs before online. Pay attention to the screenshots in the product images. Make sure you see Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, in the images and not the Android OS.
  • Can I See It First? – If possible, see the device in person before purchasing. Or at least ask the seller to show you via a video conference service like Skype. Have the seller test the device on the camera to make sure it turns on, all buttons work and that it still charges.