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Stolen iPhones: how to make sure you’re not ripped off

Apple devices are expensive, and if you don’t need the latest and greatest models a very good way to grab a decent iPhone or iPad is to look at the second-hand market. You can save a lot of money this way, but it’s important to ensure you’re not inadvertently buying a stolen device.

Several anti-theft features are built into iOS, including things like Find My iPhone that allow a device’s original owner to deactivate their iPhone remotely. You could also run into trouble when trying to reset a device or log into a new iCloud account if you don’t know the original owner’s password. There are lots of risks involved with stolen devices, but how can you be sure what you’re buying is legit?

iMore has released a detailed explainer on stolen iPhones, including how to tell if a device a stolen and what to do if you’ve bought one by accident. It’s worth a read for the finer details on how to “run the numbers” to check if an iPhone has been blacklisted before you commit to purchasing it.

There’s nothing wrong with buying second-hand goods if you take the necessary precautions. However, for an even easier time you might want to skip the potentially risky business of buying from a stranger and pick up a certified refurbished device from a trusted source instead. Both Apple and Amazon offer big discounts on used iPhones and iPads, and buying from one of these sellers instead of an individual means you’ll get customer support and (in some cases) a limited warranty.

With new iPhones due next month, we’re seeing older models at very reasonable rates. At the time of writing you can get a save around 10% on refurbished iPhones and around 15% on refurbished iPads if you go direct from Apple. Meanwhile, you can get an iPhone 6s for less than $210 from Amazon. (Readers in the UK can get similar deals on both iPhones and iPads.)

Worth a look if you’re in the market for a new device!