iPhones are always highly-coveted despite and perhaps because of their high prices. That does mean, however, that not all can afford one, especially more recent models. Rather than lose these customers to Android or have them clinging to their old, unsupported iPhones, Apple’s Refurbished program lets people buy more recent iPhones like the iPhone XS for a much lower price, as long as they’re OK with the caveats.
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max aren’t exactly new but they aren’t exactly old either. Launched in September 2018, these two acted as a sort of breather between two big design changes introduced by the iPhone X (first with a notch) and last year’s iPhone 11 (first with a square camera bump). That also means that they offer iPhone users an upgrade option in case they don’t want to move to the new iPhone 11 just yet.
The refurbished versions are $200 to $250 lower than the retail prices of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, at least compared to their launch prices back in 2018. A refurbished 64 GB iPhone XS, for example, only costs $699 as the cheapest among the bunch. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the 512GB iPhone XS Max at $1,099, $250 cheaper than its $1,349 2018 price.
Refurbished items do carry a sort of stigma but Apple has always been proud of the quality of its refurbished iPhones. Each one is thoroughly cleaned and tested and even gets a new battery. For all intents and purposes, it’s pretty difficult to tell a refurbished and a new iPhone XS apart at first glance.
Apple is so confident about its refurbished iPhones that it slaps a one-year warranty on these devices, which can be extended with an AppleCare+. It appears that all the standard colors of Silver, Space Gray, and Gold are available. All iPhones are, of course, sold unlocked.