Non-CPO Refurbished iPhone: An Account

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Official Shots
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Refurbished iPhones are neither new nor unsafe. Apple has long been known to sell refurbished products: broken products which were taken back to Apple, then restored to working conditions. Its cheaper price and one year warranty from Apple makes it more popular for budget-conscious customers. These official refurbished products are known as Apple Certified Pre-Owned (or CPO for short). Those products are obviously safe, but what if you decide to buy a non-CPO iPhone?

Call me crazy, but I just bought one. I've been using Android ever since the original Galaxy S, so you should know how entrenched I am in the Android world. I've also been using iPad since iPad2, and I like it. That's why I thought of trying out the phenomenal device. However, before going for the latest and greatest (it's less than 6 months until September, so buying the iPhone7 now isn't worth it), I thought of getting a discounted device first.

And so, I bought a refurbished iPhone 6. As the title said, it's not Apple's CPO product, but rather, some distributor repaired it and sold it back. Therefore, I'm pretty certain that the quality isn't as great as Apple's. In fact, some buyers claim that their non-CPO iPhones have fatal problems just a few weeks (or even days) after using them. You know, scary stuffs like leaking battery, dead screen, unresponsive camera, etc. Fortunately, nothing is wrong with my unit. However, there are... differences... that I would like to share with you all. Want to find out more? Head after the break.

Package and Accessories: Non-Genuine Stuffs

Okay, there's nothing wrong with the picture.
At first glance, there's nothing wrong with the phone. It came sealed, just like other new phones you buy from stores. The box said "Apple Certified Pre-Owned", but you should know that these boxes shouldn't be difficult to produce. Looking at the back, there's your usual stickers that explain about the phone and its information such as model number, capacity, serial number, and IMEI.

Phone information on the back.
The contents of the box are complete, too. There's the phone (of course...), Earpods, Lightning cable, charging adapter, SIM ejector, and a bunch of paperwork. Look closer, however, and you'll see that these accessories are not as genuine as it should've been.

Let's start from the Earpods. A few years back, I bought one, and I've passed it down to my sister a year later. Until now, she still uses it regularly and loves it. Its quality is discernible from the one I got from this refurbished phone's box. There's a clear and noticeable cut on one of the pods which seems like a manufacturing defect, something which you shouldn't see in genuine Earpods.

The clear, noticeable cut which shouldn't be present in genuine products.
The next evidence of questionable genuineness is the quality of the cable itself. It seems hollow and untidy. Even in one section, on top of the mic and controller, the cable seems to be folded. I thought it would break the internals, but the sound worked just fine. Since knowing this, I decided just to leave these Earpods in the retail box.

The Earpods cable feels hollow and vulnerable.
The next evidence is on the jack. Just like the Earpods, there's a noticeable plastic excess near the jack (look at the picture below). In my opinion, this is clearly a miss on the quality control side, something that Apple isn't known for. Since discovering this, I've significantly lowered my expectations on other included accessories.

Do you see the plastic excess around the jack?
The next is the Lightning cable. Nothing seems wrong on the USB-A side, but there's a thin fiber coming out from the Lightning side. The design is also a tiny-bit different from the original. This time, I have an original cable with me, for my iPad, so I can directly compare them side-to-side. From the second picture below this paragraph, you'll notice that the original cable is much smoother compared to the included cable.

Look closer, and you'll see a thin fiber coming out from the Lightning base.
Original Lightning cable (left) compared to the included Lightning cable (right)
That's for the Lightning cable. After looking at the quality of the first two accessories, I've become more afraid than ever to use the charging adapter. There's nothing physically wrong with it, but uh, well... I'd rather play it safe and use my genuine iPad charger instead. How do I know if my iPad charger is genuine? Well, I bought my iPad new directly from an Apple store, so its genuineness is of no doubt.

There's nothing wrong with the adapter, at least physically.
Well, the seller does mention that there's no warranty on the accessories. Moreover, a lot of reviews say that the accessories aren't genuine, so this should be within my expectations. My opinion? Using the Earpods should be fine, but I'd recommend buying a new, genuine set of charger. Using counterfeit chargers may lead to trouble.

The iPhone: Like New

While the accessories are hopeless, the iPhone itself
is flawless.
While things go south on the included accessories, the iPhone itself looks flawless. The physique is very much like new: no dent, no scratches. Some claimed to receive flawed phones with dents and scratches. Fortunately, I didn't.

As I said, just like new.
The LCD is bright, the buttons are solid, and the Touch ID works. Overall, I'm satisfied with the quality of the phone. Unfortunately, I could only inspect what I could see. There's no way for me to disassemble the phone and take a look at its internals because of lack of skills and tools. Let's just assume that if the phone works, the internals should at least be acceptable, regardless of genuineness and quality.

Using The Phone: Solid with Minor Problems

Do you know that there are replica iPhones out there? Some dub them as HDC (High Definition Copy), Supercopy, or King Copy. These phones, although look exactly like iPhones, actually run Android. The simplest way to find out whether your iPhone is real is to open the App Store. If it opens Google Play, well, your iPhone is a replica.

There's no skin for Google Play Store, right?
Another way is to input your serial number (you can find them in your phone's Settings -> General -> About) on From there, you'll know that your iPhone is genuine. As a bonus, you can also see your phone's warranty. For non-CPO iPhones of older models, chances are your warranty has expired.

Besides finding out whether your iPhone is genuine, you can also check its warranty
(Apple's warranty).
There. My iPhone is genuine. Next, moving on to performance. The overall performance is snappy, as expected of Apple's hardware, regardless of its age of almost 3 years. Wireless performance for Wi-Fi is fast, while cellular performance seems to be on the less side. Somehow, it receives less signal than other devices using the same operator. Well, as long as I can use it as my daily driver, I don't mind. Speakers and mic also work flawlessly.

Next, the battery. Sometimes, the battery seems to be stuck on charging at 98%. However, after unplugging and plugging it again, it immediately says 100%. This could either be software or hardware defect. Fortunately, this defect doesn't seem to affect the battery life: my iPhone lasts for a day with a full charge. I haven't used it yet for gaming, though, as I know that the battery won't last long. Seriously, after using Androids with 3,000mAh++ of battery, 1,810mAh battery feels... lacking.

9 hours for standby and 1 hour of usage and still 72% left.
Everything seems good.
Next, the camera. This is one aspect where I love iPhones. Despite its age, the iPhone 6 can still take great pictures. The samples below should be enough to say that my camera sensor isn't defective:

Cloudy day outside.
Better day.
Who wants some apples?
Meatbowl Lunch
Look at the focus.
The focus still works flawlessly, as well as the LED flash. One aspect that I fear the most of defect after the display and battery, is the camera. Fortunately, mine doesn't seem to have defect in any of those departments.

Unfortunately, after a few days, my home button started feeling wobbly. I've researched this issue and found that many people with new iPhones also experience this. The Touch ID still works, though, and pressing the button still feels solid. It just feels strange. Fortunately, everything else still works until today, which has been more than a month since purchase date. Hopefully, it will stay this way, at least until I got my hands on any iPhone that will be launched this year.

Tips for Buying Non-CPO Refurbished iPhone

While my experience is still within the "pleasing" parameters, I can't say the same for all of you after looking at abysmal reviews of these phones. So, here are some tips before you decide to "live dangerously":
  1. Make sure you buy from a trusted seller. Look at the reviews, and make sure the seller allows you to return defective products, or at least help you claim the warranty, as distributors warranty are very, very difficult and annoying to claim.
  2. Make sure the IMEI and Serial Numbers from the box match with the ones on the phone (both physically and in the software). This is to make sure that you get the right iPhone, and in case you want to sell your iPhone, this should make the process easier. Also, check the serial number at to make sure your iPhone is genuine.
  3. Lower your expectations. You bought a product with a price much lower than the actual price, so there should be cuts in some corners, right? Just don't expect your new phone to be as flawless as a brand new phone.
  4. Test everything (mic, wireless, camera, LCD, telephony, etc.) right after have the chance. Should you find any flaw, immediately ask the seller for a replacement. This is why the first tip is important.
Yes, it's much safer to get brand new phones from Apple's authorized sellers. However, if you're on a tight budget, want to try out iPhones, and willing to cut corners here and there, buying a non-CPO iPhone can be a choice. Just remember to lower your expectations, though.

Well, I guess that's all for now, Folks. I hope this article can give you some insights before buying a non-CPO iPhone. If you indeed decide to buy one, I hope you don't get a lemon, and best of luck for you. If you have any questions regarding this, sound them off in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them. Finally, thanks for reading and I'm looking forward to your next visit. :D


  1. Refurbished iPhone 6 is neither new nor dangerous. Apple has long been known to sell refurbished products, broken products which were taken back to Apple.

    1. Hi,

      Yes, I know that. However, in certain markets, there are refurbished products which are not certified by Apple (some distributors take broken phones, repair it, then sell them). These non-certified, refurbished products are usually prone to troubles like dead screen, etc.


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