Is the Latest iPhone Worth It, or Are Older Models Just as Good?

The release of the iPhone 15 saw Apple make some major changes. After 11 years, the brand finally replaced the Lightning charging port with USB-C. Among Apple users, this widely celebrated change had been a long time coming. Of course, that was far from the only selling point of the iPhone 15 range, which came out in Australia in September 2023. The iPhone 15 blurred the lines between the standard edition and its premium models with features like the pro-quality A16 Bionic Chip and Dynamic Island in place of the notch.

The release of a new iPhone has been at least a yearly event for over a decade now, and buying a second-hand iPhone is easy. You have abundant options, and iPhones hold onto their value extremely well. The better the condition they’re in, the more value they fetch. So is it worth spending big on the latest refurbished iPhone or are older models just as worth your while?

While the quality of the iPhone 15 range is undisputable, second-hand iPhones can continue to meet all your smartphone needs years after the latest model hits the shelves. So, should you hit the department store or go bargain-hunting on the refurbished market instead? Here’s OzMobiles' guide to finding the best second-hand iPhone.  

Important Features to Look Out For

Camera quality

From aspiring social media influencers to those who just want to capture and keep precious memories intact, just about everyone cares about their smartphone’s camera quality. The iPhone 15 certainly delivers on that front, with some reviewers saying it has the best camera in class, but photographic performance has always been one of Apple’s priorities. The iPhone gets an upgrade every year with bigger and better photography features, but older models like the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max can still provide you with a satisfying camera experience for less.

iOS updates

iPhones are long-lasting devices, and the question of a phone getting “too old” has more to do with how long it receives security updates than with any decline in its abilities. On average, a new iPhone gets seven years of support from the date of its release. When Apple releases security updates for iOS, it often doesn’t release them for every version of iOS, meaning older phones miss out. While Apple tends to support their older devices for quite some time, it’s worth double-checking whether the model you have your eye on will still be protected in a year or two.

Battery life

Everybody wants a phone that’s going to last a long time when they’re streaming media, gaming, scrolling through social media or just going about their day. Nobody wants to have to stop and go looking around for a charger. Repeated charging and discharging causes battery life to degrade over time, and buying a second-hand iPhone can be a gamble in terms of how long your battery will last. That’s why it’s a smart bet to buy from a professional refurbisher dedicated to the longevity of your battery life.  

The return policy

When you’re buying an older iPhone second-hand, how well do you really know your seller? If something goes wrong, can you get your money back? When you buy your second-hand smartphone through a decent refurbished retailer, it comes with a warranty that gives you the security of a store-bought one.   

Refurbished iPhone 15 Vs Older Models

Two iPhones, one beige and one blue, face down on top of a laptop keyboard.

So how does the iPhone 15 stack up against older models, and which one is the best second-hand iPhone for you?

iPhone 14

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 have a number of similar specs, including the same battery sizes, battery life and 12MP ultra-wide cameras. The iPhone 15 still features some substantial upgrades, though, like the 48-megapixel camera, Dynamic Island and the long-awaited USB port. If these features aren’t important to you, the iPhone 14 range should be able to do everything you need.

iPhone SE

Smaller and cheaper than the iPhone 15, the iPhone SE (3rd generation) feels as fast as the 15 and is poised to keep receiving iOS updates for many more years. However, the smaller battery doesn’t last as long during power-intensive activities, and the iPhone SE lacks many of the 15’s camera features, like Night Mode and a second telephoto lens. Overall, Apple’s least expensive iPhone is already a bargain when new and becomes an even better deal as a refurbished unit.

iPhone 13

If you need a good, budget-friendly all-rounder phone and don’t mind using the Lightning port, the iPhone 13 is a great deal. It’s super-affordable, 5G-friendly and offers MagSafe support so that you can attach a range of accessories.  

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 was released in 2020 when the A14 Bionic processor was the cutting edge of smartphone processors. As you might expect, Apple’s tech and specs have upgraded since then and the iPhone 15 has the far superior A16 Bionic. However, despite a number of years under its belt, the iPhone 12 still holds its own with features like a beautiful OLED display and long battery life.   

iPhone X

A boundary-pusher when it was first released in 2017, the iPhone X is now one of the most affordable refurbished iPhones you can find on the market. While it obviously can’t touch the iPhone 15 in terms of specs or sheer quality, it does have a few advantages. It weighs 27 grams less and with a 6.9 mm narrower body, it’s easier to grip onto. If you’re on an ultra-tight budget and still want a phone with a fast GPU, wireless charging and a good battery life, the iPhone X is a decent choice when buying a second-hand iPhone.

Ultimately, the best second-hand iPhone to buy is a choice only you can make based on your needs, your budget and your preferences. If you’d still prefer the latest iPhone more than anything else, it’s possible to buy the iPhone 15 refurbished.  

Is a Refurbished iPhone 15 Worth It?

A hand holding a blue iPhone 15 with the screen facing towards their palm.

A refurbished iPhone is more than a regular second-hand phone. In fact, some refurbished iPhones, known as ex-demo iPhones, have only been removed from their boxes to be displayed in retail stores. As long as you choose a reputable retailer, a refurbished iPhone 15 will have been extensively tested and repaired to make sure it meets high Australian standards. Not to mention, just in case anything goes wrong, you’ll receive a warranty with your purchase.

Refurbished iPhone 15s are fully functional and provide an alternative to the high prices of new iPhones. If you fancy the latest iPhone but not the high price tag that comes with it, buying a second-hand iPhone 15 that has been refurbished is a great way to have the best of both worlds.  

Buy Refurbished iPhones at OzMobiles

If you’re looking for the best second-hand iPhone, old or new, OzMobiles is the place to start. We have a selection of locally sourced refurbished iPhones, both old and new, including the iPhone 15 series. Every refurbished iPhone 15 we sell comes with a full warranty, and all of our other refurbished phones have 12-month warranties and 30-day money-back guarantees. 

For help finding the perfect iPhone or for any questions you may have, contact the OzMobiles team


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