Where I live, you cannot get 5G. I also want to save some money. But I do want a new iPhone. This is why a

refurbished iPhone 11 Pro Max is my next phone, not Apple’s iPhone 13

Apple’s iPhone 13 was a fairly impressive update, unlike the iPhone 14. Both phones started from $799.99 in the US for the base models and topped out well above $1000 for the 1TB or 512GB Pro and Pro Max models. 

They’re expensive, to get to the point. Those looking for value for money, people like me, for instance, often turn to the refurbished market, where you can grab an iPhone for 40% less

The next question, of course, is which model do you go for? How old is too old, when it comes to iPhones? The iPhone X is now officially off the menu, following news that it will no longer receive iOS updates. Ditto the iPhone 8 and anything older than that. 

Is The iPhone 11 Worth A Buy In 2023? Let’s Investigate…

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For maximum bang for your buck, and because the iPhone 12’s battery life is terrible, most users tend to gravitate towards the iPhone 11 range. The phones are a few years old now, so the prices are very attractive.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max, for instance, is still a very popular choice with consumers that want access to Apple’s flagship features – things like LiDAR and advanced camera modes – just without the massive price tag (here’s how much it costs right now). But there are caveats. 

None of Apple’s iPhone 11 models come with 5G and, for many in 2023, this will be something of a deal-breaker. Where I live you cannot get 5G, so not having it isn’t exactly a big deal. If you’re in a major city, where 5G is everywhere, you might feel differently. 

The iPhone 12 DOES come with 5G but its battery life is terrible, so if you want or need 5G on your next iPhone, your best bet would be a

refurbished iPhone 13 – although, because it is newer, it’s obviously going to be more expensive. 

So, To Recap…

  • The iPhone 11 – all the models – are still worth buying in 2023, providing you can live with 5G. They have decent cameras, exceptional cameras on the Pro/Pro Max models, plenty of performance, loads of storage, and OLED displays (again, only on the Pro models).
  • The iPhone 12 range is an OK option, the Pro models are definitely better, both with respect to performance and battery life,  but the battery life is significantly worse than it is on the iPhone 11. 
  • The iPhone 13 is great but it’ll cost quite a bit more, even more so if you go with a Pro or Pro Max model. For power and performance and overall longevity, the iPhone 13 is a brilliant option in 2023. 

➡️ Check current prices for all these models.

Why Buy A Refurbished iPhone 11?

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is incredibly powerful, it looks great (especially in Midnight Green), and it has a brilliant camera and excellent battery life. That’s basically all I need from a phone.

Is The iPhone 11 Pro Max DiscontinuedPin
The iPhone 11 Pro Max | Killer Performance + Advanced Camera – Now Less Than $650

I also know, when I buy the iPhone 11 Pro Max, that it will last me for several years or more, get consistent iOS updates, and, generally speaking, not cause me any headaches. This is just how iPhones work.

Case in point: I have an OG iPhone SE that still works just fine. The only problem I have with it is that it is too small and the battery life sucks. Other than that, it performs great and is as snappy as ever.

Why Not Get The iPhone 12 Pro Max?

As soon as the iPhone 13 range drops, Apple will discount the entire iPhone 12 range, including the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Mini is already heavily discounted – it’s now $499.99.

But as I said in the beginning: I cannot get 5G where I live. I live in the countryside and I don’t expect 5G to be arriving here anytime soon. For this reason, I’m stuck with LTE – although it’s HSPA+ most of the time.

I have a 5G phone now, several actually, and none of them have ever had so much of a sniff of 5G. This could change in 2022, but I am not hopeful – not with COVID delaying everything.

I also really like iPhones. I like that they last for years at a time, I like the software. I also love my Apple Watch. But I do not like paying top dollar for a new iPhone, so a refurbished iPhone makes a lot of sense – they’re cheaper and they look and function just like new.

Are Refurbished iPhone 11 Models Even Available?

You can now pick up all of Apple’s iPhone 11 range refurbished. In fact, if you want the iPhone 11 Pro Max, as I do, it is your only option – Apple discontinued the iPhone 11 Pro Max when the iPhone 12 launched.

And once the iPhone 13 lands later this year, the prices will plummet once again because the iPhone 11 range will go from being one cycle old, to two, so I’d expect a pretty meaty drop in their value – perhaps by as much as 10-15%.

How To Use App Library on iPhone & iPadPin

You can already get some pretty great deals on refurbished iPhones 11 models, particularly the iPhone 11. If you want the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you’ll pay just over $400 for the phone right now.

After the release of the iPhone 13, this price could – and likely will – come down to around $600, possibly less if you go with a carrier-locked model or one with lower storage. Either way, that’s about half the price of a new iPhone 12 Pro Max or the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

This also applies to older iPad models as well, so if you’re after a cheaper way of buying an iPad, going refurbished is the best way of doing this – it is way better than buying “used” because refurbished means the product has been vetted and tested before being resold.

How Much is An iPhone 11 Pro Max In 2023?

Using Gazelle’s pricing as a reference, if we crunch the numbers by comparing all of the models (so, unlocked, carrier locked, and different storage models) the average price of a 256GB unlocked iPhone 11 Pro Max in 2023 is $397.49. Not bad for a phone that retailed for well over $1000.

This Isn’t My First Refurbished iPhone

Back in 2018, I bought my first iPhone, an iPhone XS Max. I paid $450 for it and used it for almost two solid years. I then switched back to Android when the Pixel 5 came out.

This was my first experience with refurbished iPhones. I was extremely wary beforehand. But after I’d unboxed the phone and switched it on my worries were quickly displaced – the phone was in great condition and worked perfectly.

My First Refurb iPhone – An iPhone XS Max (View Latest Deals For This Model)

I did a blog post about my experience with my refurbished iPhone XS Max which details everything from unboxing it, to using it, and the packaging it comes in – spoiler: you do not get an official Apple box.

Not that this is a deal-breaker, Apple doesn’t give you anything in the box anymore. No earbuds, not even a charging cable. At least with a

refurbished iPhone, you get a charging cable!

Things To Keep In Mind…

If you do decide to go the refurbished route with your next iPhone, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. The first and most important is that refurbished phones come in different conditions.

The better the condition, the higher the price. If you want an immaculate-looking iPhone, it’ll cost more than one with a few cosmetic scuffs and scratches.

Similarly, if you want to save even more cash, go with a

refurbished iPhone that is in OK/Average condition and you’ll get a sizeable discount on top of the money you already saved by going refurbished.


When choosing a model, the newer it is the more expensive it will be. A refurbished iPhone 8 Plus will ALWAYS be cheaper than an iPhone XS Max or iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro Max.

This means you can, if you don’t mind running older hardware, pick up an iPhone for less than $300. You will have to go with the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus. But like the iPhone X and iPhone XR, none of these older phones are supported by Apple anymore, so we cannot recommend them.

As always, when choosing a

refurbished iPhone, you have to figure out 1) what you want from the phone, 2) how much you’re willing to spend, and 3) whether you need things like FACE ID or advanced, dual or triple-lens camera modules.

Once you know this, you’re then in a better place to pull the trigger on a specific model. Me? I want a good camera, FACE ID, and an OLED display. I am willing to pay for these things. And that means either the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max.

And if you’re looking at the iPhone 11 Pro, you might as well spend a little extra and get the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It has the best camera and the best battery life. And for less than $400 as of right now, I think that phone now represents excellent value for money.