Refurbished iPhone XS: How to Get the Cheapest iPhone XS in Like New Condition
Looking for the best deal on a refurbished iPhone XS? Buy it as cheap as possible with our roundup of new and refurbished iPhone XS phones for sale.
iPhone XS (Refurbished) where to buy compared
|Store||iPhone XS 64GB||iPhone XS 256GB||iPhone XS 512GB|
iPhone XS carrier deals
Prefer to buy a reconditioned or new iPhone XS from your carrier? Here are the cheapest iPhone XS deals from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
- Verizon: Free certified pre-owned iPhone XS 64GB with new line (see deal)
- Verizon: Certified pre-owned iPhone XS 64GB for $295 – $345 (depending on condition) (see deal)
- AT&T: New iPhone XS 512GB for $1,250 (see deal)
|Considering a different iPhone model? Check out all current iPhone deals|
iPhone XS specs and reviews
Is the iPhone XS right for you? The following specs and reviews can help you decide.
iPhone XS specs
- Capacity: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
- Processor: A12 Bionic chip
- Network: 4G LTE
- Water resistance: IP68 (up to 30 minutes at 2 meters depth)
- Display: 5.8-in. Super Retina HD OLED, 2436×1125 resolution (458 ppi)
- Camera: Dual 12MP wide-angle & telephoto cameras (2x optical, 10x digital zoom), 7MP selfie camera
- Battery: 2,658 mAh, up to 14 hours video playback & 60 hours audio playback
Did you know? Many phones are worth $100+. Find the value of your phone.
iPhone XS reviews
“The iPhone XS at launch was easily the best iPhone Apple had ever made… [but] it’s not much of an upgrade at all over the iPhone X…” – TechRadar
“While we’d still recommend the iPhone XR first, the XS has some extras worth noting.” – Cnet
“I definitely prefer the Pixel 2’s camera, but the iPhone XS isn’t that far behind, and it’s still a significant improvement over previous iPhones.” – The Verge
“The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are among the best phones you can buy, and if you’ve been holding off on upgrading your iPhone 7 or iPhone 6s, either one of these handsets will feel like a huge leap forward.” – Tom’s Guide
“The iPhone XS is a good phone, but I’m not awarding it our Editors’ Choice.” – PC Mag
“A12 Bionic processor sets a new standard for performance… Lacks that one killer feature that would force an upgrade.” – Wired
“Don’t let the bigger iPhones woo you away: The XS is still a masterpiece.” – Digital Trends
Common iPhone XS problems
Like the iPhone XS Max, the most reported iPhone XS problems include charging and connectivity issues as well as overaggressive photo smoothing.
Many users initially reported that the iPhone XS wouldn’t charge if it was plugged in to the lightning cable and the display was off (though wireless charging still worked). Apple resolved the issue with an iOS update, so if you experience this issue, the solution is to update the operating system.
|Is Apple’s iPhone upgrade program worth it? Probably not. Here’s why|
Others said they experienced problems with slow WiFi and data speeds as well as limited LTE and Bluetooth connectivity. Suggested solutions include:
- Toggling LTE and/or Cell Data off and on
- Toggling Bluetooth off and on
- Resetting network settings and re-entering WiFi details
- Factory resetting the phone
Overaggressive photo smoothing
The iPhone XS’s skin-smoothing selfie technology originally resulted in unrealistic highlights and shadows, but Apple fixed the issue with an iOS update.
These issues could factor in if you want to buy a refurbished iPhone XS or if you find a pre-owned iPhone XS 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 daily deprecation
iPhones typically depreciate by around 40% over one year and up to 75% over three years. Released in September 2018 at a price of $999, the iPhone XS is currently depreciating by about 0.06% per day.
Note that depreciation applies to refurbished iPhone XS’s. The device has been discontinued, but you can still find new models selling for between $600 and $1,250 at online retailers like AT&T, Best Buy and Target.
|What depreciates faster, a phone or a car? Find out|
Which is a better buy? iPhone XS VS iPhone X VS Samsung Galaxy S9
A refurbished iPhone XS currently goes for approximately 6% more than an iPhone X, which was released in 2017, and around 57% more than a Samsung Galaxy S9, released in 2018.
The iPhone XS’s A12 Bionic chip is an upgrade over the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic chip, and it has an improved water resistance rating (IP68 versus IP67).
Otherwise, both phones have a 5.8-in screen, similar video/audio playback times and identical camera systems: dual 12MP wide/telephoto cameras and a 7MP selfie camera.
|Wondering how the iPhone 11 stacks up? Check out our refurbished iPhone 11 article|
The Galaxy S9 has a single 12MP rear camera instead of dual 12MP cameras, though its front camera is comparable at 8MP vs. 7MP.
Both the Galaxy S9 and iPhone XS have 5.8-in. displays and boast IP68 water resistance ratings. However, the Galaxy S9 might have better battery life: Samsung says it’s capable of 16 hours of video playback (vs. 14) and 80 hours of audio playback (vs. 60).
Other than battery life, water resistance rating and rear cameras, specs are similar for these three devices, so your decision might come down to price and whether you prefer the iOS or Android ecosystem.
|Thinking about an iPhone 12 instead? See where to get a refurbished iPhone 12|
One thing to note is 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 scams
Buying a refurbished iPhone XS can be a low-cost way to get a great phone, but you need to be aware of potential scams.
If you buy from Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or another peer-to-peer marketplace, check the phone’s IMEI to make sure it 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 best to ask for proof the phone is paid off. If it’s not, it’s finance locked, and it can’t be transferred to a new carrier. Activation locks like iCloud and Find My iPhone should be disabled as well.
Other scams to watch out for include counterfeit iPhones, defective iPhones and sellers who swapped OEM parts for aftermarket parts.
One way to protect against scams is to buy from a trusted company that has good reviews and to use a payment method that offers buyer protection.
What to expect when you buy a refurbished iPhone XS
A refurbished iPhone XS has been inspected and, if necessary, repaired. However, the term “refurbished is not a legal designation (PC Mag). Here’s how to get an iPhone XS that meets your expectations.
Ask what “refurbished” means – and who is doing the refurbishing
Gazelle, Decluttr and other stores conduct multi-point inspections, make repairs and test refurbished phones before they sell them.
|Think you can get a better deal with an iPhone XS Max? Find out|
It’s possible to find reputable stores that employ trained technicians on marketplaces like Facebook and eBay, but it’s also possible to 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 agree to buy.
Ask if they offer returns or a warranty
It’s easier to trust sellers who offer warranties and returns 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. Both eBay and Amazon have buyer protection policies.
Ask what condition it’s in
Refurbished iPhones are usually pre-owned, which means they normally have wear from normal use. Expect to receive a fully functional phone with light scuffs and scratches. Sometimes, a brand-new iPhone XS might get repaired in near perfect cosmetic condition, then sold as refurbished.
Make sure you understand what condition the phone is in before you buy it. Both Decluttr and Gazelle have tiered grading systems, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Ask if it comes with accessories
Refurbished phones do not usually include accessories like chargers and earbuds, but it never hurts to ask.
Ready to buy an iPhone XS? 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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