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Here’s how Apple certified pre-owned iPhones are different from refurbished devices

Apple certified pre-owned phones have new IMEI numbers, not refurbished phones which are essentially repaired second hand phones.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi |
Updated: November 1, 2017 12:57:06 pm
iPhone, apple iPhone, refurbished iPhone Apple certified pre-owned iPhones are not available in India now.  (Source: Reuters)

In an application dated December 7, 2015, Apple has sought the government’s approval “to import and sell its certified pre-owned iPhones in India; manufacture and sell its certified pre-owned iPhones in India”. However, a lot of people seem to be confusing these certified pre-owned phones with refurbished products already available in the market.

Here we try to answer frequently asked questions about Apple certified pre-owned iPhones:

How is certified pre-owned different from refurbished?

Certified pre-owned are new phones, with new IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and serial numbers, “manufactured” using certain components from older iPhones. Refurbished devices are usually second-hand phones that have been repaired for new buyers by third-party companies. Even Apple sells refurbished Macs and iPads in the US and this includes repaired as well as returned products. However, the certified pre-owned iPhones that Apple wants to sell in India are manufactured afresh and have to pass through the same tests and processes, as a new phone and get all the mandatory government certifications. Plus, these phones have the same 1-year warranty as new iPhones. The certified pre-owned process is different as per the laws and regulations of each country.

Are certified pre-owned phones from Apple available in India?

No. Apple has just applied for the permission and these phones are not available in India. The refurbished iPhones in the market are refurbished by third-party companies like Greendust and not Apple. Once Apple gets the permission, the certified pre-owned phones will be sold directly by Apple, or its partners including service providers.

Are certified pre-owned phones common?

Yes, across the world all big brands sell certified pre-owned phones. For instance, the Verizon online store for the US sells certified pre-owned from brands like Samsung and LG along with iPhones. In the US, Samsung sells its certified pre-owned directly too as well as through other partners like Walmart.

How big is the refurbished market?

A recent Bloomberg report quotes a 2015 report from the UK-based Green Alliance, which puts the 2013 figure at 53 million handsets, expected to grow to 257 million by 2018. The report states that in 2014 Sprint refurbished more than 80 per cent of the 3 million phones it bought back from consumers. Certified pre-owned phones are popular in the US as they can be bought without contractual obligation to any service provider.

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