I don’t want a bigger iPhone. Since Apple stopped selling the 13 mini new and never has any refurbs in stock, what’s a good alternate source (in the U.S.) for a refurbished model?
I want the smallest capacity (128GB), I like the Midnight color but am fine with anything if it’s cheaper, and don’t want to gamble with worse condition ones not having flaws that would bug me (scratches on the screen or lens, trouble with buttons or Lightning port, replacement parts that screw up the secure enclave or other features). If the battery has been well used, that’s okay because I know I can get it replaced when it needs it.
Verizon still sells the 13 mini new for $600 but a “great condition” refurb is only $40 less.
The only reason I’d try Amazon for something like this is that IME they have been excellent with returns. No fuss, no questions, simple drop-off at a regular neighborhood store (Whole Foods), refund credited immediately.
Thanks, Amazon was one of the places I was looking at, I figured I’d ask here in case there was a non-obvious choice; I remember there being discussion of trade-ins.
I had looked at Amazon’s “Renewed” phones but hadn’t noticed “Renewed Premium” ones, which have 1 year to return/replace instead of 90 days and are in better condition. I just ordered one in Midnight for $500; I like that this one both ships from and is sold by Amazon instead of a 3rd party. It says it’ll take a few weeks to ship but I’m not in a hurry, it’s replacing my 12 mini which will go to my wife to replace her 7.
While I’ve never used Backmarket for an iPhone, I’ve purchased some Macs through them and been pleased. I see they have iPhone 13 minis in their “Verified Refurbished” program, so they may be worth a try. (Scroll down the page to get to their offers.)
I’m very surprised by the variability. SellYourMac.com is offering $150 for my mini, while BackMarket.com says $240. That’s quite a span, especially considering the latter is selling them for about that much, while the former starts at over twice their buy offer.
I’m not in the US, but a bit of advice. I just bought a refurbished 12SE from my local ISP, MAGENTA, because I wanted the smallest they had. It’s fine, but I have the impression that the battery life isn’t great, probably not as good as new. So maybe if you have a choice between plain refurbished and premium refurbished the latter may have a new or at least younger battery. Best to ask about that aspect.
If I was facing this decision myself, I probably would go with the new phone from the carrier because “refurb” means many different things, depending on the seller. With Apple, for example, the refurbishment is extensive enough for each unit to be eligible for AppleCare but other vendors may just buff the screen and throw in a used no-name charger.
In addition, I’ve had bad luck with Amazon Warehouse items, both tech and non-tech, so for Apple products I stick with official Apple refurbs.
I will say though that the one thing refurb iPhone buyers have going fopr them is that the battery, which is likely one of the most critical components in terms of longevity and TCO, actually offers user-accessible diagnostics. I also have high regard for Apple’s refurbs, but if I couldn’t get it from them, I’d make sure to get an iPhone from somebody with a solid returns rep. If you get your refurb iPhone and the battery doesn’t report great health (or you discover anything wrong with screen, cameras, or speakers), you want to be able to just send it back without any questions and get your refund asap with zero shenanigans.
If you’re feeling good about those conditions being met by a certain supplier, I think you can definitely try your luck. If not, I would stay with Apple. Obviously, in terms of the 13 mini that is — very unfortunately — no longer possible.