Buying Refurbished Phones: How Old Is Too Old?

New phones like the iPhone 6 offer a wide range of useful features, but if you’re looking for good performance at a lower price, consider buying a used or refurbished phone to get the most value for your money. But is there a point at which buying refurbished phones that are out of date outweighs the potential cost benefit? Here are some ideas to help keep you aware when buying a smartphone.

Operating System

One of the first issues you’ll run into when you have an obsolete phone is an out-of-date operating system. There comes a point at which updates are no longer pushed out for older devices. You might not care about some of the bells and whistles that come with the latest OS, but buying a phone with an outdated operating system limits its shelf life. If you’re hoping to use your phone for an average of two years, which Business Insider reports is the typical upgrade cycle in the United States, you may run into trouble using your phone in the coming months and years as app developers stop supporting the older OS. However, if you’re buying for a child, it may be the perfect solution.

Check the Available Features

The first thing potential phone buyers should evaluate is whether the out-of-date phone they are thinking of purchasing has all the features they need. For instance, because the iPhone 4 is unable to upgrade to iOS 8, features such as Family Sharing, iCloud syncing and enhanced messaging cannot be used on this handset. However, iPhone 4 owners can still use its basic features and download some apps. Though buying refurbished phones is a great way to save some money, it is important not to simply choose the oldest and cheapest phone. A little research can help you choose an affordable, effective device.

Check out other helpful tips for buying a used smartphone, and share your experience with us below.

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