What is iPhone replacement? – A Real brand new iPhone

Nowadays, more and more people prefer buying used iPhone instead of purchasing a full price brand new one. Among many kinds of used iPhone on the used iPhone market, there has a kind of iPhone that are very popular and has super value. Almost all used iPhone buyer want to buy it. That is iPhone replacement.

In the second hand iPhone market, the price of replaced iPhone is higher than the normal used iPhone and there has a lot of seller selling other kinds of used iPhone but claim that they are selling iPhone replacement. In this way, seller could earn more profit than ever.

So how could we know what we are really buying? What exactly an iPhone replacement really is? In order not to be fooled by seller, we need to know more about replaced iPhone. Here are answers.

What is iPhone replacement? – A Real brand new iPhone

This kind of iPhone is also known as swapped iPhone on the used iPhone market. Apple will issue the swapped iPhone directly to the end user and collect their old iPhone. Apple will not sell this kind of iPhone and so distributors and retailers. So, ONLY END USER will sell their swapped iPhone. End user may sell their swapped iPhone directly to another user or sell it to some iPhone reseller.

A swapped iPhone is neither a repaired iPhone nor a refurbished iPhone. It is really a Brand New one. It comes directly from the iPhone factory. Although it is from the iPhone factory, it is not the retail version.

Where can we know that? The Model number (Part Number) will tell us its identification—the swapped iPhone will always start with the letter “N”, the retailed version will always start with the letter “M”. Here is example for this: the model number (Part number) for a red 128G GSM unlocked iPhone 7 should be “MPRN2LL/A”, but if this phone has some issue and swapped by Apple, the new swapped iPhone model (Part Number) will be changed to “NPRN2LL/A”(See picture for detail) The factory will produce a lot of brand new iPhone not for resell but for swap repair.

Differences between iPhone replacement and Apple repaired iPhone

But there has another kind of iPhone which is similar to the swapped iPhone—Apple repaired iPhone. Sometimes, Apple made some repair with a brand new logic board installed. In this situation, Apple will issue a brand new serial number to that repaired phone. As result, the repaired iPhone’s model (Part Number) will come with the letter “N” which is as same as the swapped iPhone. (If apple only replace the screen or battery and not replace the logic broad, the serious number will remain the same and model/part number will not change.) What’s more, both iPhone replacement and repaired iPhone (with brand new logic board installed) will come with factory film on it.

So, many people will ask, what’s the difference between swapped iPhone and repaired iPhone? How could we know an iPhone is a real swapped one or repaired one? Here is your answer.

Normally, we can identify an iPhone by our eyes. All we need to do is check carefully.

1. Swapped iPhone is a brand new iPhone so there is definitely no sign of use. Repaired iPhone may show some sign of use on the iPhone housing. (Although Apple might replace brand new logic board, battery and screen on it, they normally remain to use the old phone housing)

2. Swapped iPhone has never been used, so charging port,silence key and headphone jack is very clean. Repaired iPhone will not replace the headphone jack or charging port so there will show sign of use.

But if you want to know the exact information from Apple, You probably need to check Apple GSX report.

GSX (Global service exchange) is Apple customer service database. Apple will update all service and repair records towards any device on this database. So, GSX report is the 100% accurate information directly from Apple.

But Apple GSX database is not open to public. If we want to get GSX report for a specific iPhone, we need to buy one. There has a lot GSX report sold on E-bay. All you need to have is just the IMEI of the phone and GSX report will show you the service history on that specific iPhone. If there shows replacement detail, that means it is a real Swapped iPhone. If there shows iPhone repair history, not replacement detail, that means it is a repaired iPhone.

Swapped/repaired iPhone is better than normal used iPhone

Swapped or repaired iPhone (with brand new logic board installed) is better than normal used iPhone. Why? Here are some reasons.

1. There has a lot brand new parts and components (such as battery, screen etc.) installed on the swapped/repaired iPhone. The performance of whole phone is definitely than normal used iPhone, and definitely better than refurbished iPhone.

2. All swapped/repaired iPhone will have a brand new IMEI/ESN as a result of logic board replacement. All these IMEIs are clean IMEI/ESN and will be treated as paid off IMEI by any carriers. That means carriers will not block this IMEI/ESN due to the outstanding balance or financed iPhone status. It is much safer for used iPhone buyers buying a swapped/repaired iPhone than buying a normal used iPhone. I know that there have lots of buyers have the bad experience when buying a cheap used iPhone from E-bay. They just use that iPhone for only very short time then the carrier blocked their iPhone because of the bad ESN/bad IMEI. If they could purchase a swapped/repaired one, there is no way for carrier to block the new IMEI/ESN.

3. For AT&T user, there has a bonus if they purchase a swapped/repaired iPhone–Unlock their iPhone for FREE. As the brand new IMEI/ESN will never tie to another’s account and never financed thou AT&T, and all you need to do is submit unlock request to AT&T and waiting your iPhone to be unlocked. After the unlocking process approved, that iPhone could use any GSM carrier around the world. The most important thing is that IT IS TOTALLY FREE.

How can I get a swapped iPhone?

We already know that swapped/repaired iPhone is better than a normal used iPhone, how can we get a swapped iPhone? As Apple does not sell swapped iPhone or repaired iPhone directly, there has no way to buy them directly from Apple. We can only buy them on the second-hand iPhone market. If you really want to buy a swapped iPhone, you have to ask seller before purchase and do the detailed check after you receive it.

Some people say there has iPhone swap service on E-Bay and the service provider could swap out brand new iPhone as long as your iPhone is under warranty. We really not recommend this way

There are not that many iPhone replacement devices on the market.

IPhone swap is really the best value iPhone for any iPhone generation. It is in fact a brand new iPhone but is only sold at used iPhone price. Almost every used iPhone buyer wants to buy one. But there are not that many swapped iPhone on the market. Some seller sells refurbished iPhone as swapped iPhone to earn more. I was cheated by a seller and spend a lot of money to buy a refurbished iPhone several years ago. I highly recommend all buyers to check carefully and also check the GSX report for verify. It is only cost couple bucks to check GSX full report, but it will help the buyer preventing wasting of up to several hundred bucks and preventing the bad quality refurbished iPhone



  1. Thanks for this informative post. I’ve actually had a replacement for my iPhone 7 last year after using my old one for about a year. Apparently, my battery had some problem and they couldn’t fix it. So they offered me a replacement. I was so happy to get a new iPhone 7 LOL.

    • Yes, Apple will replace the whole phone if they can not fix or hard to fix. It is really a brand new iPhone. By issuing the iPhone replacement, Apple provides best customer experience which always beyond customers’ expect.

  2. Thanks for posting this. My main concern was whether or not a replacement phone was going to be as good as a repaired one. Thank you for clarifying! I needed this!

    • Yes, replacement iPhone is actually a brand new one. Repaired one also use a lot of brand new parts. They are all in very good quality and better than refurbished one.

  3. Wow, this was completely unknown to me. I had no idea there was a thing called a swapped iphone even. This was extremely helpful and informative Peter. Thanks so much for this.

  4. Hi Peter, and thanks for explaining this so well. I had no idea about swapped phones. Now I know what to look for.

  5. Thanks for this informative post. Both my daughters have iPhones and I have found your post really helpful for any future issues.

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