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.
The article points out that there are four different letter codes that indicate which type of device you have:
- 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
Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing if an N – a replacement device – was new or refurbished. Apple replaced my iPhone SE late last year, and it is an N, but I was curious if it was a truly new device or a refurb.
This said, a couple of people who posted comments to the article say that they have engraved devices but that their identifier is M, so this isn’t perfect. Perhaps there’s something about the engraving process that means that some devices don’t get the correct model number.