Is it worth buying a refurbished iPhone 8 Plus in 2021? In this guide, we’ll look at all the PROS and CONS of buying refurbished iPhone 8 Plus models. And detail the best places to get them from…
Is The iPhone 8 Plus Still Any Good?
The iPhone 8 Plus got its initial release on September 22, 2017. That means, as of September 2021, the phone will be four years old.
The iPhone 8 Plus is also now very cheap to buy, less than $300 in some cases. And because it still gets iOS updates, this likely explains why the phone is still very popular in 2021.
Still, four years is still pretty old. But this is an iPhone we’re talking about here, and iPhones are not like Android phones – they get software support for years at a time.
Case in point: my OG iPhone SE got iOS 14 and while it will not get iOS 15, it still got six years’ worth of iOS updates from Apple.
Using the iPhone SE as an example, this means the iPhone 8 Plus – at the very least – will be getting iOS updates until 2023.
That means if you buy the iPhone 8 Plus today, you’ll be able to run it until at least 2023. You will not have things like 5G, you’ll need an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 for that, but it will still work fine.
Unlike every iPhone released after the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 Plus has a home button and TouchID. The phone uses a 5.5in LCD screen and, to my eyes at least, it still looks remarkably smart given its age.
You also have multiple color options for the iPhone 8 Plus: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Product Red.
Inside, you have a massive battery that delivers exceptional battery life and Apple’s still-very-powerful A11 CPU. For 99.9% of users, the iPhone 8 Plus will still have all the performance you need.
This means that if you’re looking for a massive bargain on your next iPhone, the iPhone 8 Plus could be well worth a look – you can pick them up for next to nothing these days (under $250).
Where To Buy iPhone 8 Plus
Regular readers of KYM will know that I am a huge fan of buying refurbished iPhones. It’s better for the environment, it saves you money, and it means – more or often than not – you can buy the phone outright.
But as the saying goes: there’s more than one way to skin a cat – and when it comes to buying a refurbished iPhone 8 Plus, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it by the book and ONLY using trusted places.
In order to help you navigate all the potential pitfalls of doing this, I’ve put together this handy DOS and DONTS post for those interested in buying a refurbished iPhone 8 Plus handset in 2021 and beyond.
Once you’re done reading, you’ll know (A) where to shop, (B) what to look for, and (C) what type of handset to get (meaning locked or unlocked).
But first, is the iPhone 8 Plus still worth buying in 2021?
As always it depends on what you want; if you want the latest design and the most powerful processor, the answer is no.
But, if you’re just after a great phone that has a home button, a dual-lens camera, and still packs in enough performance for even the heaviest of users, then, yes, the iPhone 8 Plus is still a great option.
The price of an iPhone 8 Plus is now extremely low, meaning you can pick one up outright and run it for a solid few years.
It will get iOS updates well into the late-2020s, and, as far as I’m concerned, it still performs great.
For this reason, I highly recommend the iPhone 8 Plus to anyone that wants to pick up a cost-effective, ex-flagship iPhone.
Anything else you need to know? Yep, read on for more information about where to buy one and what to look for…
Right, let’s do this!
Buying Refurbished iPhone 8 Plus – DOS
DO Get It From A Reputable Company
This is the #1 most important thing to do. You ONLY want to buy your refurbished iPhone 8 Plus from a reputable, trusted retailer.
If you’re in the USA, we always recommend Gazelle – it does a 30-day money-back guarantee and all of its phones go through a 30-point test before being sold onto you, the customer.
This means they look and function as good as new and you get the best possible handset for the best possible price. Gazelle is also around 40% cheaper than buying directly from Apple and it also has excellent customer service.
DO Make Sure The Refurbished iPhone 8 Plus is Unlocked
When you buy a refurbished iPhone, another thing you will definitely want to do is make sure the phone is 100% unlocked – this means it will run on any network or carrier. Do not buy one that is carrier/network locked as it will limit you when looking for a good SIM-only plan for the handset.
Plus, if you get an unlocked model, you can just insert your current SIM card and start using the phone right away. Some people do by carrier-locked refurbished phones, but I don’t think it’s worth it – not when you can get unlocked models for the same price. Why limit yourself to one network/carrier when you can take your pick from all of them?
DO Get Plenty of Storage
Older iPhones come with smaller amounts of storage. Modern iPhones like the iPhone 11 Pro come with more, topping out at 512GB. Obviously, most people DO NOT need this much storage but you will want to ensure you get a minimum of 64GB. Anything less than this and you’ll run out of storage at some point.
Your best option is 128GB. This will ensure you have more than enough storage on your phone, and it should last you a good couple of years, providing your regularly backing the phone up and removing stuff you don’t need from the phone’s storage (duplicated pictures, old videos, emails you don’t need).
Make Sure You DO Get A Case For It Too
Once you’ve decided on the model iPhone 8 Plus you want, you’ll want to invest in a decent case for it. A good-quality case doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but it will ensure that your phone remains scuff and bump-free for the duration of your usage, and this means, when the time comes to sell it on, you’ll get more money for the handset. Nobody likes scratched iPhones, after all.
And Here’s The DO NOTS
DON’T Buy Via eBay or Craigslist
Whenever you’re looking to pick up a cheap iPhone, be it an iPhone 8 Plus or an iPhone X, many will automatically gravitate towards sites like eBay and Craigslist, thinking they’ll get a better deal. But this is wrong.
When you buy via one of these sites, you’re getting a USED iPhone, and there is a distinct difference between a used iPhone and a refurbished iPhone; used ones are basically used and have been put through the wringer by a user, meaning scuffs, scratches, and a degraded battery. You do not want this.
A refurbished iPhone, on the other hand, has been tested and certified for resale. This means it has been reconditioned by specialists, checked thoroughly in order to make sure it works optimally, and is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, something you don’t get with Craigslist or eBay.
For this reason, ALWAYS use reputable retailers like the ones listed in the table above.
DON’T Get A Low Storage Model
Whenever you’re shopping with price in mind, it’s tempting to go for the lowest possible price option. And with iPhones, this means you’ll end up with a low storage model (the 32GB model in this case). But this is a huge mistake because once an iPhone runs out of storage it effectively becomes useless. You can run apps, take pictures, or receive email.
For this reason, it pays to spend a little more and get plenty of storage – 64GB at a minimum. Ideally, you’ll want to get 128GB if possible. Basically, when it comes to storage on iPhones, more is ALWAYS better.
Apple doesn’t do expandable storage, so you need to make sure you got enough to begin with – images and videos take up a lot of room, so don’t low-ball yourself into a corner in order to save a few bucks.
DO NOT Buy A Carrier Locked Model (Even If It’s Your Carrier)
You might be with AT&T and see a great deal for a refurbished iPhone 8 Plus. You might think it’s worth getting as you’ve been with AT&T forever. But you’d be wrong. Buying a refurbished iPhone gives you one massive advantage over people that buy their phones on contract – you can buy the phone outright.
And buying a phone outright means carriers and networks have ZERO leverage over you . You can go where you want, shopping around for the best possible deal on data and minutes. If you buy a locked iPhone, you’re basically limiting yourself to one network. And what would the point of that be?
Networks and carriers have far too much control over how we use and consume our phones as it is. Buying refurbished lets you buy outright and this, in turn, gives you more control over your monthly bills. You could save as much as 50% a month by doing this. Case in point: I bought an iPhone X refurbished and then got myself Three’s Unlimited Data Plan (currently just £11 a month), saving myself over 60% on my previous contract which was almost £60 a month!
Put in that context, it’s easy to see why plenty of folks ONLY ever buy refurbished iPhones.
Things To Keep In Mind…
If you want 5G connectivity, you’re basically stuck with the expensive iPhone 12 – or the incoming iPhone 13, once that phone launches.
How long will iPhone 7 Plus get iOS updates for? This question is harder to answer; the iPhone 8 Plus launched in 2017 and is now four years old. Apple’s iPhones tend to get around six to seven years of iOS updates.
However, the iPhone 8 Plus could get longer as it has strong internal components. This is not a given, though, so it is something to definitely keep in mind. Conservatively, the iPhone 8 Plus could get both iOS 15, iOS 16, and iOS 17 – however, iOS 17 would almost certainly be its last.
If you’re just after a phone to last you the next 24 months, and you can live without 5G, the iPhone 8 Plus is a great option. It is now relatively cheap, so you can pick one up without a carrier subsidy, and this means you can then shop around for the best possible data plan.
My advice? Get an unlocked iPhone 8 Plus and use an MVNO like Mint – they have some really killer deals for data plans.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.