How to Check if iPhone is New, Refurbished, or Replacement

Jan 27, 2018 - 52 Comments

How to Check if iPhone is new or refurbished

If you’re buying a used iPhone or repairing an iPhone, you may wonder if you can find out if the iPhone was bought as new, is a refurbished model, or is a replacement device provided by Apple via a service request.

Wonder no more, you can use an interesting device model identifier trick to discover if an iPhone is new, refurbished, a replacement, or even personalized by engraving. This can be helpful information for buyers of used devices, if you’ve received a device as a gift or hand-me-down, if you’re troubleshooting or repairing an iPhone, and more.

How to Determine if iPhone is New, Refurbished, Replacement, or Personalized

You can decipher the device model prefix to determine the original status of an iPhone (and probably an iPad too) device, here’s how:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone
  2. Go to “General” and then go to “About”
  3. Look for “Model” and then read the model identifier next to that text, it will look something like “MN572LL/A”, 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

    How to check if iPhone is new or refurbished

That’s all there is to it, now you know how to determine if an iPhone is new, referred, replaced, or other. It’s possible there are some other identifier prefixes for iPhone devices that aren’t listed here, if you know of any do share them in the comments.

I have tested this with a handful of my own iPhone devices that I know are either new, refurbished, or replacements, and it has held up. I haven’t personally seen the “P” identifier however.

By the way, it’s important to note the model identifier shown here (like MN572LL/A) is different from the general model (like iPhone X) and model number of the iOS device (like A1822) – admittedly a bit confusing since they all have similar labels, but they are indeed entirely different things.

You can use similar tricks to sort out some details about iPhone devices by retrieving the iOS device serial number and then reading it too.

Thanks to a helpful post on the Apple Discussion forums for this neat little trick.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

52 Comments

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  1. Ahm atik says:

    Just click model again and it will show another code which would include M/N etc

  2. Dinedh says:

    Lot of confused I want to know more details

  3. Tony says:

    If it starts with M its a new phone

  4. Amit singh says:

    I want to purchase a 2nd hand iphone 6 whose model no is A1587. Is it a original phone or clone of it.

  5. Suhail TK says:

    I have I phone 7+
    That start with model number MN
    And The retailers they agreed its refurbished
    So how it’s possible

  6. Noone says:

    Wanted to buy an iPhone
    But kindaa confused how to check that
    . Is it in original condition? or not. Guide the major things should check before buying.
    Thankyouh.

  7. Abdul Raheem rotimi says:

    The model of my iPhone 5s start with ME. So I don’t whether my iPhone is refurbished.

  8. Scammed says:

    I purchased a supposedly new XS Max on May 25, 2019. The salesperson came out of the back with the top of the box under her arm and phone and bottom box in her hand as if she was opening it. She wanted to be helpful and set it up. Looking at the settings, the last reset date was May 23, 2019, two days before I bought it. I think she sold me a used phone. I still have not reset the phone to have proof.

  9. Godwin says:

    My iPhone shows a model shows M at the beginning but my phone got spoilt today… I went to a repairer just to find out my iPhone has been replaced with a different screen and even the bored has been worked on… I have changed my screen again and it’s not iCloud screen but but still I have this same model number with M beginning

    • Jerry says:

      The only way the M can be changed is for the Apple iPhone Factory to FLASH the new info to the motherboard and over write the old info. Only Apple can do a factory refurbish.

      If Joe’s Phone Repair shop changes out anything on the iPhone nothing will change in the iPhones internal information and Joe did not do a factory refurbish.

      If an Apple repair shop changes out anything on the iPhone nothing will change in the internal information, still not an Apple Factory refurbish.

  10. Vinoth says:

    Hi, above explanation is device specific? Or all iPhone models ?

    Coz I bought my 5S from Amazon few years ago and recently gone through your post and checked my 5S and found “MF35H..” parallely I check with one of my friends 6S plus which was purchased in Saudi and that has a model number MK54….in this case how we can identify ?

  11. Cd says:

    My brand new when bought iPhone starts w a DX. That’s not even mentioned. This article is incomplete.

  12. Mohammed A.F says:

    I purchased iPhone 7 and the model number on the box was MN922KH/A but I do not know if it is refurbished, replacement or brand new.
    I also checked on ” Check Coverage.Apple.com website ” using the serial No. shown on box and the message (This phone has not been activated ) doesn’t appear !!! but these 3 sentences appeared : (Valid Purchase Date) , (Telephone Technical Support: Expired) & (Repairs and Service Coverage: Consumer Law Doesn’t Apply )
    Please help out. Thanks

    • RTFM says:

      Why didn’t you read the article? It tells you exactly how to find out if your iPhone is new, refurbished, or a replacement.

      Read the article, it has the information you seek. Your iPhone is new, as signified by model number starting with M. It says that in the article.

  13. Joshua says:

    What if when booting my iPhone 6splus shows white screen at first before showing apple logo, what does it mean?

    • Alexander says:

      White boot screens are used on iPhones with a white front, black boot screens are used on iPhones with a black front.

      If your iPhone is black but has a white boot screen, it means that the device (or logic board) was originally a white iPhone.

  14. Kathleen says:

    If I got a replacement device, how do I know if it is new or refurbished.

  15. gamit says:

    No one has answered if a replacement unit is a new or reburish unit?

  16. murali says:

    If my mobile starts with F means confirmly is it Refurbished?

  17. linda petersen says:

    just checked the “new” phone purchased at wireless zone last week, 8plus….model is A1864…thoughts?? also daughters same, purchased at the same time, says its called “roy’s iphone”. is that possible on a new phone???!!! thanks in advance

  18. Imran says:

    Thank you..

  19. Ochuba Uchechi Francisca says:

    I purchased iPhone 6 and the model number is NG4W2LL/A but I do not know if is refurbished, replacement or brand new. Please help out. Thanks

  20. Haroon Hamdard says:

    I purchased Iphone 6plus and there model number is (NGAC2ZP/A) = A1524 but i do not know that it is new’ referbashed or replaced. Plz tell me. Your comments and feedback will be greatly appreciated.

  21. MrMojo says:

    F for refurbished can also mean 2 things:

    1. Used
    – Device was used, internal workings checked and cleaned up with new battery, new casing and OS reset AND the Cellular LIFETIME call time is RESET to ZERO!

    2. Refurbished
    – Device was ‘more’ used, internal workings checked and cleaned up with new battery, new casing and OS reset BUT the Cellular LIFETIME call time was NOT RESET so LIFETIME call time remains from past owner.

    You won’t know which one you’ll get if you buy the Refurbished version even if it’s bought directly from Apple.com.

    Obviously, the ‘better’ version is (1) when it’s ‘used’ than completely refurbished.

    Found that out when I bought my iPhone 6S Plus from Apple.com!

    Refurb models can be sold directly at Apple.com or by resellers, the latter of which you need to be very cautious as you don’t know if the devices were tampered with by the resellers.

    Good news is that you can still buy the iPhone Applecare for Refurbed iPhones.

  22. cocopots says:

    rubbish. anyone can refurbish an iphone and the letters wont change..

    • Fools says:

      cocopots you aren’t really familiar with any technical topics and that is clear, so here’s an explainer since you didn’t read the article or understand what any of this means: factory refurbishing is handled by Apple, it involves refurbishing an iphone returned to them for any reason, perhaps even changing components. That is different from some ‘anyone’ rubbing an iPhone with a damp rag and then erasing it to sell it to you on ebay or craigslist. Grok that? Probably not.

  23. Azmu says:

    If the phone model starts with 3DLLA is that refurbished or not ?

  24. azam says:

    my iphone storage is 64gb but when i check its original specs was 16gb. how this can happened?

  25. Sajad Hassan says:

    Is this serial number system the same for the airpods?

  26. Rachel Martin says:

    If you want to buy refurbished phone, you should check

  27. abegail says:

    How about ME336J/A? is that original or fake or what?

  28. Rainer says:

    I have the same question Francisco was asking. I got an replacement ioad pro directly from Apple with Modelnumber NPL… Is it a new device that came with a different packaging or is it a used and refurbished one? Thanks in advance!

  29. Francisco says:

    Ive got a few questions: If I get a replacement with the N it means it was refurbished then? Or there is some difference between N and F devices?

  30. Haizat says:

    How to know if u bought it second hand n the guy got change the spare part inside? The first character will change?

  31. Samuel Creel says:

    Not true. Got a replacement today. It has an M for new.

    • RTFM says:

      Samuel, it is true that M is a new device.

      In fact, the article specifically says the following, that M is a new device:

      “M – Brand new device, meaning the device was purchased new”

      Here is the article that you can read to learn about the refurbished, new, replacement devices:

      http://osxdaily.com/2018/01/27/determine-iphone-new-refurbished-replaced/

      As for your replacement, you were given a new device. OK. Great job. That means someone at the Apple store gave you a new iPhone as the replacement rather than go through the standard replacement process due to service request, maybe as even refurb or repaired.

  32. James says:

    Seems questionable.

    How does the iPhone’s firmware know to update itself if someone replaces a cracked screen?

    How does the phone’s firmware know to update itself if someone sells their iPhone.

    I may be that the person in an Apple store performs a tweak on the iPhone appropriately, but if I were to sell my iPhone to someone else, how would that be recorded?

  33. Sebastian says:

    Rubbish. I’ve looked on my old iphone which was purchased ‘’almost new’’ from Vodafone and has the initial M like brand new. It wasn’t brand new for sure because of the faults it had. At least I’ve paid the right price for it.

    • RMR says:

      I would suggest any phone sent back to apple for any reason is going to have the appropriate code. If the phone was a simple return to Vodaphone, and never sent to Apple, they are going to flip it and thus no M.

  34. Bev in TX says:

    Is there a way to tell whether a replacement is new or refurbished?

  35. yes way says:

    That wasn’t informative. (Said in no way’s Whitney pitch)

    It was actually very informative, never knew this about iDevices. More great intel from OSX Daily. The last site for actual MacOS and iOS knowledge without all the fluff. Thanks for a great website.

  36. Peter says:

    I have the same comment as Pat. My iPad is engraved, but is marked M.

  37. be says:

    If your Part Number starts with 3A it was a Demo Unit from a Store

  38. Pat says:

    My iPad has ingraving which is termed personalized, but had the model identifier “M”. According to the article it should be “P” instead of M.

  39. Jane Carter says:

    You can also check if a phone you find is stolen or not. https://stolenphonechecker.org/spc/consumer

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