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Refurbished iPhone XS Max: How to Get the Cheapest iPhone XS Max in Like New Condition

Looking for the best deal on a refurbished iPhone XS Max? Buy it as cheap as possible with our roundup of new and refurbished iPhone XS Max phones for sale.

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

iPhone XS Max (Refurbished) where to buy compared

StoreiPhone XS Max 64GBiPhone XS Max 256GBiPhone XS Max 512GB
Gazelle$354$399$479
Amazon$425$479$565
eBay$413$446$480
Decluttr$430$460$490
Swappa (mint)$425$435$500
* Retrieved 11/04/2021. iPhone XS Max’s for sale on the Verizon network/unlocked in “good” condition. Swappa average recently sold in “mint” condition. eBay averages. Amazon “renewed” devices.

iPhone XS Max carrier deals

Rather buy a reconditioned or new iPhone XS Max from your carrier? Here are the cheapest iPhone XS Max deals from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

  • Verizon: Free certified pre-owned iPhone XS Max w/new line (see deal)
  • Verizon: Certified pre-owned iPhone XS Max for $289 to $339 (depending on condition) (see deal)
  • AT&T: New iPhone XS Max 256GB for $1,149 ($31.95/mo.) (see deal)
Considering a different iPhone model? Check out all current iPhone deals

iPhone XS Max specs & reviews

Is the iPhone XS Max the right phone for you? The following specs and reviews can help you decide.

iPhone XS Max specs

  • Capacity: 64GB, 256GB or 512GB
  • Processor: A12 Bionic chip
  • Network: 4G LTE
  • Water resistance: IP68 (up to 30 minutes at 2 meters depth)
  • Display: 6.5-in. Super Retina HD OLED, 2688×1242 resolution (458 ppi)
  • Camera: Dual 12MP wide-angle & telephoto cameras (2x optical, 10x digital zoom), 7MP selfie camera
  • Battery: 3,174 mAh, up to 15 hours video playback & 64 hours audio playback

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

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iPhone XS Max reviews

“… the iPhone XS Max delivers an immersive 6.5-inch display, blazing performance and excellent cameras in an elegant design.”Tom’s Guide

“If price weren’t a factor, the XS Max is the most top-notch iPhone of the year. But at its price and size, you really have to ask yourself why you aren’t buying something cheaper.”Cnet

“… if you can get past the price (which many won’t be able to) the XS Max offers up a super, supersized experience.”TechRadar

“Its screen is outlandishly large, seemingly fit for the mitts of a giant rather than regular, human hands… It will make you look very, very fancy.”Business Insider

“You buy a big iPhone for a big screen, and the XS Max gives you much more screen than previous models, without adding to the size of the phone.”PC Mag

“… aside from one of the phones having a giant display, the iPhone XS and the larger iPhone XS Max don’t feel much different from last year’s iPhone X.”Wired

“Its primary selling point is that enormous, gorgeous screen, which is really only useful for watching video or viewing photos.” The Guardian

“… the iPhone XS Max sets the bar for iPhone and Android smartphones.”Zdnet

“I found the jumbo-screen XS Max particularly beneficial in several instances. While driving, it was easier to read maps… the display was also nice for reading recipes in the kitchen.”The New York Times

“The iPhone XS Max is likely not for everyone, but you’ll find it hard to stop gazing into its beautiful, 6.5-inch screen.”Digital Trends

Common iPhone XS Max problems

Charging issues, slow connectivity, screen burns and overaggressive photo smoothing top the list of commonly-reported iPhone XS Max problems.

Charging issues

After the iPhone XS Max was released, many users reported the device wouldn’t charge if the display was off and it was plugged in to the lightning cable (wireless charging still worked). The solution is to update iOS to the latest version.

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

Connectivity problems

Slow WiFi/data speeds and limited LTE and Bluetooth connectivity prompted some iPhone XS Max users to seek support. Recommended solutions include:

  • Toggling Bluetooth off and back on
  • Toggling LTE and/or Cell Data off and back on
  • Resetting network settings and re-entering WiFi information
  • Factory resetting the device

Screen burn

Like all OLED screens, app icons and other images can permanently burn into the iPhone XS Max display if it’s left on too long. Be sure to check for screen burn if you’re buying a refurbished or pre-owned iPhone.

The solution is prevention: set a short auto lock time in user settings, and keep screen brightness to a minimum to avoid getting a screen burn.

Overaggressive photo smoothing

Many users have stated the phone’s skin-smoothing selfie technology is too aggressive, resulting in unrealistic highlights and shadows. Apple purportedly fixed the issue with an iOS update.

Find additional information and detailed solutions to common iPhone XS Max issues on sites like Digital Trends, iPhone Hacks, Mac Rumors and Tom’s Guide.

These issues could factor in if you want to buy a refurbished iPhone XS Max or if you find a pre-owned iPhone XS Max for sale on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or another peer-to-peer platform. Always ask questions and thoroughly inspect any iPhone before you buy it.

iPhone XS Max daily depreciation

iPhones typically depreciate by around 40% over one year and up to 75% over three years. Released in September 2018 at a price point of $1,099, the iPhone XS Max is currently depreciating by about 0.06% per day.

Note that depreciation applies to refurbished iPhone XS Max’s. The phone has been discontinued, but you can still find new models selling for between $500 and $1,000 at online retailers like Best Buy and Target.

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

Which is a better buy? iPhone XS Max VS iPhone X VS Samsung Galaxy S9+

A refurbished iPhone XS Max currently goes for approximately 24% more than an iPhone X, which was released in 2017, and around 50% more than a Samsung Galaxy S9+, released in 2018.

The iPhone XS Max has the next-generation A12 Bionic chip compared to the A11 Bionic chip found in the iPhone X, and it has greater water resistance with an IP68 rating versus IP67. However, the biggest difference between these devices is the screen size: the iPhone XS Max features a massive 6.5-in. screen that dwarfs the iPhone X’s 5.8-in. display.

Otherwise, both phones have dual 12MP wide-angle/telephoto and 7MP selfie cameras. They also have similar battery life: the iPhone X boasts 13 hours of video playback (2 less than the XS Max) and 60 hours of audio playback (4 hours less than the XS Max).

Wondering how the iPhone 11 stacks up? Check out our refurbished iPhone 11 article

The Galaxy S9+ likewise offers dual 12MP wide-angle/telephoto cameras and an 8MP selfie camera, which is 1MP more than the iPhone XS Max. Its 6.2-in. Super AMOLED display is right between the X and the XS Max, and it offers a similar water resistance rating at IP68.

With a 3,500 mAh battery, Samsung claims the Galaxy S9+ is capable of up to 18 hours of video playback and up to 54 hours of audio playback. Interestingly, that means it offers up to 3 more hours of video playback but 10 fewer hours of audio playback than the iPhone XS Max.

Some reviewers say the iPhone XS Max is like a larger version of the iPhone X. Otherwise, specs are similar, so if you’re considering these three phones your decision might come down to screen size, price and whether you prefer the iOS or Android ecosystem.

Thinking about an iPhone 12 instead? See where to get a refurbished iPhone 12

Of course, it’s up to you decide which phone is best. Keep in mind that Samsung phones tend to depreciate at higher rates than iPhones – an important consideration if you plan to resell your phone later.

How to avoid refurbished iPhone XS Max scams

Buying a refurbished iPhone XS Max can be a cheap way to get a great phone, but you need to keep an eye out for scams.

If you buy from Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or another peer-to-peer platform, check the phone’s IMEI to make sure it hasn’t been reported or stolen.

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

You should also ask for proof the phone is paid off. Finance locked phones can’t be transferred to a new carrier. Always make sure any activation locks like iCloud and Find My iPhone are disabled.

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

You can protect yourself from scams by buying from a trusted company that has good reviews and by using a payment method that includes buyer protection.

What to expect when you buy a refurbished iPhone XS Max

A refurbished iPhone XS Max is one that has been inspected and repaired, if necessary. However, the term “refurbished” is not a legal designation (PC Mag). Here’s how to get an iPhone XS Max that meets your expectations.

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

Stores like Decluttr and Gazelle conduct multi-point inspections, make repairs and test refurbished phones before they sell them.

Think you can get a better deal with an iPhone SE 2? Find out in our refurbished iPhone SE 2 article

It’s possible to find reputable stores that have trained techs on marketplaces like Facebook and eBay; however, you might also find random sellers who claim to refurbish phones themselves.

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

Ask if they offer returns or a warranty

It’s easier to trust sellers who offer returns and warranties on refurbished iPhones. For example, Gazelle 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 XS Max. Both eBay and Amazon have buyer protection policies.

Ask what condition it’s in

Refurbished iPhones are pre-owned, which means they likely have wear and tear from normal use. Expect to receive a fully functional phone with some light scuffs and scratches. Occasionally, a brand-new iPhone XS Max might have been repaired in near perfect cosmetic condition, then sold as refurbished.

Regardless, always 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 phones do not typically include accessories like earbuds and chargers, but it never hurts to ask.

Ready to buy an iPhone XS Max? 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.

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