Apple iPads are not the cheapest tablets on the market. Take the current iPad Pro 10.5, for example, which at launch cost a hefty £619; more than some half-decent laptops.
Of course, if you want the best then you’ll have to pay for it, but maybe there’s a better way. Maybe you could opt for the road less travelled and buy yourself a second hand, refurbished iPad. You get an iPad that’s been repaired, checked and polished up, but at a much lower cost than a brand new tablet. You save money, and while you’re getting your iPad for less, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting a lower-quality product – if you get it from the right place, that is.
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In this article we’ll outline the process of buying a refurbished iPad from a trusted retailer, directing you to the most reliable sites with the best track record and fairest prices. We’ll also take a look at the other iPad buying option, which is to buy a second-hand, non-refurbished iPad from a website or a private seller. The latter can often the best way to save money, but is not always reliable. In fact, there are some serious pitfalls, which we’ll aim to steer you clear of and out the other side, right into a tasty tablet deal.
And if you’re at a loss for which refurbished or second-hand iPad model to actually buy, we’ll throw in some advice for that as well. First off, though, we need to show you where you can buy your refurb iPad from.
Where are the best places to buy a refurbished iPad?
1. Apple Refurbished Store
Predictably, Apple is your best bet for a second hand iPad that’s as good as new – or better, given that you’ll be saving money too. Apple’s process for refurbishment is exhaustive, and they guarantee that all iPads sold through the Refurbished store on their website are fully operational as if factory fresh. Which they are, really, given how intensely they replace or repair whatever needs fixing before putting it back on sale.
It would be hard to tell the difference between a new iPad and an iPad refurbished by Apple – they’ll look and operate just the same. Some models have have only been used once or given to a journalist (like one of us at Expert Reviews) for testing and then sent straight back. The only giveaway is the box it comes inside, which is not the same as the one that comes with the brand new iPad, presumably to prevent sellers passing on refurbished tablets as brand new unopened products. Each iPad purchased through the Apple Refurbished store will also come with a one year warranty; the same as a brand new tablet.
2. Amazon UK
This might be an appealing option for many, as we all have an Amazon account these days and it can save a lot of time and hassle to just order from a site which you already use. What’s more, you could have your (sort of) new iPad the next day if you’re a Prime subscriber.
Amazon has a ‘Certified Refurbished’ stamp, which is what you should look for when buying your refurbished iPad. However, you should be wary of shady sellers that slip through the cracks. Unless it’s from a major seller that you recognise and trust, take a good look at the number of ratings, the average raging, and the customer feedback comments before you pull the trigger.
eBay is never short of stock when it comes to second-hand tech, but as many of the sellers are individuals you’re bound to find plenty more used, non-refurbished iPads. You have to be careful when shopping, as you’ll also find your share of scams and fakes. Look at when a seller’s account was made and how many reviews they have to see if they are an established and trusted retailer, and always read customer feedback.
There are plenty of ‘virtual shops’ on eBay, where companies with a physical tech store also sell online. Some have very good refurbished product programmes and their wares tend to be more reliable than someone selling a one-off iPad which they claim to be in ‘perfect’ order, despite the photo showing a cracked screen. Read the descriptions carefully and check the photos, then take a good look at the feedback to see if the company’s description matches what their customers actually get.
4. Other options
As well as the more popular sites listed above, there are a few more reliable places online from where you can source the second-hand tablet of your desire. Take Music Magpie, for example.
Music Magpie allows you to filter specifically for used iPads, and will tell you to what standard they have been refurbished. The better the condition of the iPad, the higher the cost
There’s also RefurbiPhones, which has branched out to repair and refurbish a variety of Apple products, the iPad included. The selection is not as wide as some of the sites mentioned previously, but RefurbiPhones has a solid reputation, offers decent prices on whatever refurbished iPads it has in stock, and provides extended warranties too.
You can never rule out Tesco, either, who in addition to Granny Smiths and Red Delicious also sell a small range of refurbished Apple iPads on which you could get next day delivery. Tesco Direct is due to close down on July 9th, however, so this may not be an option for purchasing a refurb for much longer.
What about buying second hand, non-refurbished iPads?
You might be so used to shopping online by now that you’ve forgotten an excellent resource: you own friends and family. It’s worth chucking out a group message or Facebook post into the ether to find out if anybody who you know (and, importantly, trust) is willing to sell you an old iPad which they no longer use. You could save a lot of money and skip the hassle of paying a stranger over the internet. Many people are too busy (or too lazy) to bother putting up their old iPad for sale online, so they might be more than happy to sell it to someone they know, like you, for much less than you’d find it elsewhere.
What about websites, though? Again, eBay is a great option – you just have to be careful who you buy from. If you don’t much care for the bidding system, Gumtree is another website with a perpetual supply of second hand Apple merch. As many of Gumtree’s sellers require you to meet in person, and since many of the products sold are of questionable origin, there are some basic consumer tips you should know, which we will expand on below.
Are there any tips when buying a second hand iPad?
You don’t want to pay all that money for an iPad only to get it home and find it doesn’t work, rendering it useful only for recreating the monolith scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, just on a much smaller scale. Before buying from private second-hand sellers, there are a few things you should think about in order to A) not get ripped off and B) not break the law by purchasing stolen goods. Here are some tips to ensure you make a legitimate purchase:
Ask for an original receipt or proof of purchase
This is a pretty foolproof way to ensure that the seller hasn’t stolen the iPad they are selling you. Buying stolen goods is a crime, and there are ways in which the iPad can be traced to you. Whether it’s a physical copy or a digital receipt, it will reassure you that this is a real Apple product and not an imitation. It will also help with warranty claims, provided the warranty is still valid.
Check for a returns policy
You won’t find a private seller offering a returns policy, but some of the larger, more established shops on sites like eBay may well offer some kind of policy allowing you time to send back your iPad and receive a full refund within a certain time window. This will give you that extra peace of mind when making such a large investment. But, again, have a read of the customer feedback to ensure that the seller actually honours their own policy!
Make sure the iCloud and user data has been removed
Don’t buy an iPad which is still tied to another person’s Apple iCloud account. You won’t be able to login, as you won’t know the password, and the iPad will lock after several unsuccessful login attempts. If the seller refuses to login to the iPad, wipe the data, and disconnect it from their personal iCloud account, then in all likelihood it’s probably because they don’t own it. In other words, it’s stolen.
Meet in an open, public space
If meeting up with a seller in person, ideally have somebody to come and back you up for added safety. Somewhere like a coffee shop or busy train station would be best. Lots of people, lots of CCTV, and broad daylight – those are your ideal conditions. If they suggest meeting underneath a bridge on a canal path after dark…then you probably don’t want to go.
If dealing with a private seller, then you should always try to pay via a secure method such a PayPal. This ensures that your money is going through a third party and that there is a record of the payment. Try to avoid cash-in-hand sales if you can.
Test it works
Finally, and we’re sorry if this is a pretty obvious one, if you are meeting up with a private seller then you should always test the iPad to make sure it works before handing over payment.
Which iPad should I buy, whether second hand or refurbished?
You might struggle to find the latest iPads on Apple’s Refurbished iPad store, but you can usually track down some fairly recent models. For instance, while there aren’t any 2018 iPads, you can pick up the 2017 edition, which for most will be just as good; unless you’re desperate to use the Apple Pencil, this year’s overhauls were pretty incremental. For £399 you can get a 128GB 2017 iPad with Wi-Fi and Cellular. LINK
Also up for sale are the iPad Air 2 and iPad 9.7, both of which are great value tablets and well worth considering. There’s also the slightly larger iPad Pro 10.5, which when combined with a keyboard is a functional replacement for a laptop, and also a wonderful device on which to stream high quality video from the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
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