Craigslist Checklist When Buying a Used, locked or unlocked iPhone

Online purchasing of a “previously owned” iPhone comes with its own challenges, prompting you to ask yourself: “The price looks great, but why did the seller choose to use a stock image?” or, “I wonder what shape the dock connector is in?” or, “Do the speakers rattle when playing sound?”

We can go on and on about many items that can only be verified if you’re actually holding the iPhone in your eager hands.

Some of you may prefer going the good old fashion route when making your purchases: doing so in person. You find what you’re looking for by using the online classified ads, like Craigslist for example. You make the phone call, meet the seller and make the exchange.

Important safety reminder: When making any face-to-face transaction with an unknown buyer or seller, it’s a good idea to make the meeting place a very public one – and bring someone along with you.

You can arrange to meet in front of the local police station, for example. If the seller makes excuses or doesn’t agree, then you’re better off passing on the deal.

O.K., so what are some things to check out when making that face-to-face exchange? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of items that we’ve come up with. There may be some things that we didn’t include, simply because we can’t think of everything!

Here it goes:

  1. Don’t forget: A pen, some paper, a paper clip (if you don’t have a SIM extraction tool), a magnifying glass (if you find it difficult to read the IMEI on the SIM tray), an activated SIM card (for the same network or any local network, if the iPhone is already SIM unlocked)
  2. Request that the seller fully charge the battery ahead of time
  3. Check the IMEI# of the iPhone (dial *#060# and write it down)
  4. Eject the SIM Tray, view the IMEI# printed on the side of the SIM tray. Compare the IMEI on the SIM tray with the one displayed on the iPhone above. They should match. If not, ask why. Is it possible that repairs were performed on this iPhone?
  5. Make a phone call to the iPhone. This will allow you to check the mic and the speakers. The call will also verify whether or not the iPhone is blocked on the carrier’s network.
  6. Adjust the volume control up and down while listening either through the earpiece or the speakers.
  7. If free WiFi is available, access a web page just to make sure that WiFi works
  8. If you’re curious, check out the iOS version: Settings > General > About > Version
  9. Confirm the iPhone’s Capacity: Settings > General > About > Capacity
  10. Check the action of the “Home” button: double-click it to check its responsiveness and related changes to the the iPhone’s screen
  11. Activate the front/rear camera: take a picture or video and review it
  12. If the iPhone has an LED flash, make sure that it works
  13. Test the “On/Off – Sleep/Wake” button on the top right
  14. Toggle the “Ring/Silent” switch on the left side back and forth. Is it very loose or wobbly? How does the vibration mode feel when activated?
  15. Inspect the bottom dock connector: Is it chipped, crooked, or gummed up (not clean)?

Feel free to add to or subtract from what you see above. We think that this might provide you with an initial starting point, avoiding major surprises after the seller disappears into the sunset.

Be informed and be safe!

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