Refurbished iPhone 12: How to Get the Cheapest iPhone 12 in Refurbished Condition

Looking for the best deal on a refurbished iPhone 12? Buy it as cheap as possible with our roundup of new and refurbished iPhone 12’s for sale.

Jump to: Refurbished Deals | Carrier Deals | Specs & Reviews | Common Problems | Daily Depreciation | Is the iPhone 12 a Good Buy?

Refurbished iPhone 12 places to buy compared

Compare how much you can expect to pay if you buy a refurbished iPhone 12 in “good” condition.

StoreiPhone 12 64GBiPhone 12 128GBiPhone 12 256GB
Swappa (mint)$271$312$353
* Retrieved 02/27/2024. iPhone 12’s for sale on the Verizon network/unlocked in “good” condition. Swappa average recently sold in “mint” condition. eBay averages. Amazon “renewed” devices.

Check refurbished iPhone 12 inventory

Want an iPhone 12 Pro, Pro Max or Mini instead? Here’s how much they’re currently going for.

StoreiPhone 12 Mini 64GBiPhone 12 Pro 128GBiPhone 12 Pro Max 128GB
Swappa (mint)$241$356$430
* Retrieved 02/27/2024. iPhone 12’s for sale on the Verizon network/unlocked in “good” condition. Swappa average recently sold in “mint” condition. eBay averages. Amazon “renewed” devices.

iPhone 12 carrier deals

Prefer to buy a new iPhone 12 from your carrier? Here are the cheapest iPhone 12 deals from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Verizon iPhone 12 deals

  • Save up to $1,200 on any iPhone 12 model w/trade-in when you switch ($700 trade-in value + $500 prepaid Mastercard) (see deal)
  • Up to $700 off iPhone 12 models with trade-in & new line (see deal)

AT&T iPhone 12 deals

T-Mobile iPhone 12 deals

  • Free iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Mini w/trade-in & Magenta Max plan (see deal)
  • BOGO: Up to $800 off any iPhone 12 model w/new line activation (see deal)
Considering a different iPhone model? Check out all current iPhone deals

iPhone 12 specs, key differences & reviews

Is the iPhone 12 right for you? Which model should you buy? The following specs, key differences and reviews can help you decide.

iPhone 12 specs (all models)

  • Capacity: 64GB, 128GB or 256GB
  • Processor: A14 bionic chip
  • Network: 5G/4G LTE
  • Water resistance: IP68

Key differences


Both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro feature 6.1-in. OLED displays with 2532×1170 (460 ppi) resolution. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 6.7-in. OLED display with 2278×1284 (458 ppi) resolution, while the iPhone 12 Mini has a 5.4-in. OLED display with 2340×1080 (476 ppi) resolution.

  • iPhone 12: 6.1”
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1”
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7”
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 5.4”


The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Mini have dual 12MP camera systems with both ultra-wide and wide cameras. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max likewise have dual 12MP cameras, but add a third telephoto camera that’s capable of 2.0X and 2.5X optical zoom, respectively.

All four models feature night mode, but the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max include a LiDAR scanner that helps capture crisp photos in low light and offers advanced augmented reality capabilities.

  • iPhone 12: Dual 12MP camera system (ultra-wide & wide)
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Triple camera system (ultra-wide, wide, telephoto + LiDAR scanner)
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: Triple camera system (ultra-wide, wide, telephoto + LiDAR scanner)
  • iPhone 12 Mini: Dual 12MP camera system (ultra-wide & wide)


The iPhone 12 has a 2815 mAh battery that Apple says powers up to 15 hours of video playback and up to 50 hours of audio playback. The iPhone 12 Mini’s 2227 mAh battery offers up to 17 hours of video and 65 hours of audio playback.

The iPhone 12 Pro has a 2815 mAh battery that likewise plays up to 17 hours of video and 65 hours of audio between charges, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 3687 mAh battery capable of up to 20 hours of video and 80 hours of audio playback.

  • iPhone 12: Up to 15 hours video/50 hours audio playback
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Up to 17 hours video/65 hours audio playback
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: Up to 20 hours video/80 hours audio playback
  • iPhone 12 Mini: Up to 17 hours video/65 hours audio playback

Did you know? Many phones are worth $100+. Find the value of your phone.


iPhone 12 reviews

“One of our highest-rated phones of all time.”Cnet

“… a gorgeous new design, full 5G support, great cameras and even better performance. However, the lack of a charger in box and limited base storage are drawbacks.”Tom’s Guide

“Get the iPhone 12 if you’re long overdue for a fast phone with a great camera and you prefer iOS and living in Apple’s ecosystem. But don’t get the iPhone 12 solely for 5G.”Wired

“… the iPhone 12 seems to be the best all-round iPhone option currently available…”Mac Rumors

“The iPhone 12 series brings top-notch design, world-class connectivity, and an improved Night-mode camera to the nation’s most popular phone.”PC Mag

“… the iPhone 12 will become more useful the longer you own it.”TechRadar

“The iPhone 12 is the first iPhone in several years that really does feel like something new. But I can’t point to any specific single feature that makes it feel that way.”The Verge

Common iPhone 12 problems

Sound issues and green display tint are two of the most reported iPhone 12 problems.

Sound issues

Call audio can stop working due to a failed receiver module component. Apple has offered to fix the issue for free if it occurs within two years of the iPhone 12’s original retail sale. See Apple’s service page for details.

Is Apple’s iPhone upgrade program worth it? Probably not. Here’s why

Green tint

Some users have reported a non-removable green tint on the iPhone 12’s display. Apple released an iOS 14 update to fix the problem, but a hardware issue might cause the tint to persist (Forbes).

These issues could come into play if want to buy a refurbished iPhone 12 or if you find a pre-owned iPhone 12 for sale on a peer-to-peer platform like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Be sure to ask questions and thoroughly inspect any iPhone 12 before you buy it.

iPhone 12 daily depreciation

iPhones typically depreciate by around 40% over one year and up to 75% over three years. Released in 2020, that means the iPhone 12 is currently depreciating by around 0.04% per day.

Note that depreciation applies to refurbished iPhone 12’s. New iPhone 12’s are still being sold at or near $799, which is what the phone cost on its release date.

What depreciates faster, a phone or a car? Find out

Which is a better buy? iPhone 12 VS iPhone 11 VS Samsung Galaxy S21

A refurbished iPhone 12 currently goes for approximately 23% more than a refurbished iPhone 11, which was released in 2019, and 7% less than a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S21, released in 2021.

Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 base models have 6.1-in. displays, dual camera systems, IP68 water resistance ratings and up to 17 hours of video playback, though the iPhone 12 offers 5G compatibility and a faster processor.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 also has 5G plus a slightly larger display at 6.2-in., triple camera system, 128GB and 256GB capacity options and a 4000 mAh battery that, according to some reports, outlasts the iPhone 12’s.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide which phone is a better buy, but it might be worth noting that Samsung phones tend to depreciate at higher rates than iPhones – a key consideration if you plan to resell your phone later.

How to avoid refurbished iPhone 12 scams

Though buying a refurbished iPhone 12 can be a cheap way to get a great phone, you need to watch out for phone scams.

If you buy from an individual on marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, for example, be sure to check the IMEI to make sure the phone hasn’t been reported lost or stolen.

Don’t get scammed! Here’s how to avoid scams when buying a used phone

It’s also a good idea to ask for proof that the phone is paid off. If it’s not, it’s considered finance locked, which means you can’t transfer it to a new carrier until it’s paid off. Make sure any activation locks (like iCloud activation lock and Find My iPhone) are disabled as well.

Other scams to watch out for include counterfeit iPhones, defective iPhones and sellers that have swapped OEM parts for aftermarket parts.

You can protect yourself by buying a refurbished iPhone 12 from a trusted company that has solid reviews and by using a payment method that offers buyer protection.

What to expect when you buy a refurbished iPhone 12

A refurbished iPhone 12 is one that has been inspected and, if necessary, repaired. However, it’s important to note that the term “refurbished” is not a legal designation (PC Mag). Here’s how to help ensure you’re getting an iPhone 12 that meets your expectations.

Ask what “refurbished” means – and who is doing the refurbishing

Some stores, like Gazelle and Decluttr, have technicians who complete multi-point inspections, make necessary repairs and fully test refurbished phones.

On marketplaces like Facebook and eBay, you might find reputable stores that likewise employ trained techs; or, you might find random individuals who claim to refurbish phones themselves.

Make sure you understand what they mean when they say “refurbished” and who is doing the work before you buy a refurbished iPhone 12.

Ask if they offer returns or a warranty

It’s easier to trust stores that offer returns or warranties on refurbished iPhones. Gazelle, for example, has a 30-day money-back return policy.

Decluttr offers free money-back returns within 14 days plus a limited 12-month warranty when you buy a refurbished iPhone 12. eBay and Amazon both have buyer protection policies.

Ask what condition it’s in

Keep in mind that refurbished iPhone 12’s are pre-owned, which means many have wear and tear from normal usage. Expect the phone to be fully functional with some light scuffs and scratches. In some cases, a brand new iPhone 12 might have been repaired in near-perfect cosmetic condition.

Either way, be sure to ask what condition the phone is in before you agree to buy it. Both Decluttr and Gazelle have tiered grading systems to help you understand exactly what you’re getting.

Ask if it comes with accessories

Refurbished iPhone 12’s do not typically include accessories like chargers and earbuds, but it never hurts to ask.

Ready to buy an iPhone 12? You can offset part of the cost by selling your old phone to a buyback store. Our free service instantly finds the best deal for your old phone – with zero risk and fast payment – guaranteed. Compare offers now.

Related Help

> Verizon Trade-In Program Review

> AT&T Trade-In Program Review

> T-Mobile Trade-In Program Review

> ecoATM Trade-In Review

> Is Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program Worth It?