By screenremedy / Blog / 0 Comments

What to check for when buying a used phone.

What to check for when buying a used phone.

Buying a used phone is a great way to save money but sometimes people aren’t so honest online so might end up dealing with issues if you’re not careful. If buying from eBay or Amazon, always buy from a reputable seller and don’t always go for phones that are extremely cheap. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. When buying from craigslist, OfferUp or 5 miles, make sure to test that everything works, take your time to do this.

Things to have when you’re testing:

  • Charger
  • Phone-to-device cord (i.e., USB)
  • SD card (if applicable)
  • Laptop
  • Be in a place that offers WiFi!

You should test that the phone:

  1. Is unlocked and paid off (provide the phone’s IMEI number to the original owner’s carrier or an online IMEI lookup service like or
  2. Can place/ receive calls (test juggling multiple calls at once, i.e., answering one while you’re on another so that the first is on hold, or merging to a conference call)
  3. Can place/ receive SMS (text messaging)
  4. Has a battery that can be charged (your first few days with the phone, test how long the charge cycle lasts so you can know if you need a new battery or portable charger)
  5. Can browse the Internet, upload/ download data on your carrier’s mobile network
    > I needed to change the Access Point Name to T-Mobile (ask your carrier to do this); note, sometimes changing APN will not fix the issue, fortunately for me it did
  6. Can browse the Internet, upload/ download data on WiFi (turn off your carrier’s mobile network first)
  7. Can call an automated number & successfully hit numbers to be transferred (e.g., “press 1 for English”)
    > I needed to change call settings DTMF to “long”
  8. Can take photos/ video
  9. Can record audio (note: I use an app for this)
  10. Can check voicemail
    > dialing voicemail routes to Verizon which obviously won’t work, so I had to call T-Mobile to get a separate number for my voicemail
  11. Can send/ receive MMS photos/ video
    > I needed to change the Access Point Name as above. And as aforementioned, sometimes that doesn’t fix the issue; in my case, Googling on forums told me to change APN type from what T-Mobile said (default, mms, supl) to default,mms,supl,hipri,admin,mobile. Doing this allowed me to receive MMS, but alas, sending is dead)
  12. Can share data with your laptop via tethering or via a mobile hotspot
    > this I knew would be impossible with the Verizon/T-Mobile set-up so I downloaded the app FoxFi to do this
  13. Can successfully transfer files via USB
  14. Can successfully upload files to the SD card
  15. Can use data (i.e., browse the web) while on a call