Fancy an iPhone 13 for less? Before you go scouring the online auctions and second-hand sites, it's worth taking a look at Apple's refurbished shop. It's taken a while but customers in Europe, including in the UK, can now buy refurbished iPhone 13 models directly from Apple (opens in new tab). We'd expect the same kind of deals to appear in the US store imminently.
The price you'll pay depends on the model of phone. The cheapest one at the time of writing is the iPhone 13 mini 128GB in Midnight, which is £549 instead of £649; there are several Pros with £160 to £220 off the sticker price and an iPhone 13 Pro Max 1TB in Graphite for £1,319. That's a saving of £230.
Are refurbished iPhones good buys?
Yes. I've owned several, from Apple and from third parties, and I think Apple's ones are the best; they cost a little more than third party ones but offer better peace of mind. That's because official Apple refurbs come with a new battery, a new outer shell and have a one-year warranty. They're also repackaged in a new box with all the standard accessories and cabling as the original.
That takes a bit of the fear out of refurbs, which are phones that have been returned from the original customer: some have been returned because they changed their mind, and others because there was some kind of minor fault that Apple has fixed, using official Apple components as required.
As someone who's been buying Apple refurbs since the snow iBook of the early 2000s without encountering a single issue, I think refurbs are an excellent way to get Apple kit for less cash. The only real downside is that Apple's stock changes from day to day, so you can't alway get what you want. But if you try a few more times, you might find you get what you need.