Picture this! You are planning on buying a new iPhone and you don’t want to end up with a refurbished phone or a replacement and this is because you have to rely on a third party to sell you the new iPhone.
Most people who encounter this uncertainty are mostly in countries where Apple doesn’t have a physical store and shipping from the Apple online store is a nightmare. Everything about a refurbished and replaced iPhone seems to be plausible and is hard to distinguish.
Third parties will simply buy a refurbished iPhone, make a replica of the original box and papers, and sell it as brand new because nobody will tell the difference. However, Apple does have a way to tell if a phone is refurbished, new or replaced.
Here’s how you can decode a device model prefix to determine the original status of an iPhone;
- Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone
- Go to “General” and then go to “About”
- Look for “Model” and then read the model identifier next to that text, it will look something like “MN572LL/A” (if you tap it as well, you’ll see the batch number), the first character will let you know if the device is new, refurbished, replacement, or personalized:
M – Brand new device, meaning the device was purchased new
F – Refurbished device, meaning the device has been through refurbishing process
N – Replacement device, meaning the originally bought device was replaced by this model likely due to a service request
P – Personalized device with engraving, meaning the device was customized with an engraving on purchase.