If you have considered purchasing a refurbished Apple product then you may have heard the term “Apple Certified Refurbished.” The term is attached to refurbished Apple products including refurbished iPhones, refurbished Macs, refurbished Apple Watches, refurbished iPads, and even refurbished Apple accessories such as the Apple Pencil.

But what exactly does the term Apple Certified Refurbished mean? And should it matter to you, as someone who is looking to buy a refurbished piece of technology? Read on to find the answers.

What Does Apple Certified Refurbished Mean?


The definition of Apple Certified Refurbished is a refurbished Apple product that has gone through Apple’s in-house refurbishment testing process. A product with the Apple Certified stamp has been tested and certified by Apple itself.

Products that have gone through the Apple Certified Refurbished process include a one-year warranty, allowing you to return the product in order to receive repairs (when applicable) or so that you can receive a free replacement if the product is faulty or you are unsatisfied with the quality that you’ve paid for.

Certified Refurbished products will also arrive in a plain white box with the Apple Certified Refurbished logo on the front and the packaging will include the relevant documentation. Like all refurbished products, supply is limited, though Apple guarantees availability once it has received your full payment.

Apple Certified Refurbished products are only sold by Apple itself, such as its online store or in an Apple retail store. Price comparison websites such as RefurbMe are permitted to list Apple Certified Refurbished products, but only Apple is permitted to actually sell them.

Does Apple Certified Refurbished Matter?


As mentioned, only Apple itself is able to sell Apple Certified Refurbished products that are sold with that specific label. It ensures that Apple itself has tested the product to its own standards.

Other, third-party retailers will have their own certified refurbished processes, however. For example, many of the third-party refurbished retailers that RefurbMe works with also put their products through rigorous testing. Gazelle, Mac of All Trades, and GameStop are some of the leading retailers that we have partnered with and they pride themselves on the steps that they take in testing their refurbished products.

Third-party refurbished retailers also offer their own warranty and returns policies, e.g. Gazelle’s products come with easy, 30-day returns.

For many purchasers of refurbished products, the distinction between Apple Certified Refurbished and garden-variety certified refurbished is very important. Many shoppers want to be confident that the original creator of the product (Apple) has had a hand in the testing process. The long warranty and the technical support offered by Apple are also two major benefits of buying Apple Certified Refurbished.

But refurbished products that have gone through Apple’s testing are often more expensive than those sold by third-party retailers of refurbished goods. For example, a refurbished iPhone 7 Plus 32GB costs just $489 on RefurbMe (via Gazelle) in comparison to the same phone which costs $599 through the Apple Certified Refurbished program.

Additionally, not all Apple products are available through the Apple Certified Refurbished brand. Refurbished versions of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are currently only available through third-party retailers, meaning that going to the Apple Store is not always the best way to get a refurbished version of the latest technology.

Buying Refurbished Apple Products is Safer Than Ever

There are trade-offs and benefits to buying each sort of certified refurbished Apple product. One comes with Apple’s assurances, while handsets sold by third-parties are much more affordable.

Either way, it shows that buying a refurbished Apple product is safer than ever. When you’re buying refurbished goods, you can be confident that retailers are doing their bit to ensure that you are purchasing quality technology that has been thoroughly tested.