What to Look for When Buying a Used iPad

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re in the market for a used iPad. Here’s what to look for when buying one.

Buying an iPad brand new just isn’t an option for many frugal buyers, and in order to save some money, they seek out a used model that’s priced less than what a brand-new iPad would cost. This can be a great way to go, but you have to look out for certain things when shopping on the used market, as it’s definitely not as quick and easy as buying one from the store.

Namely, used iPad units could show some damage from use. Most used models will show a little wear and tear, and this is normal, but you’ll want to make sure to look for any significant damage. Plus, a used iPad that you’ve been eyeing on Craigslist could even be stolen, at which point you’ll want to stay away from such transactions, as a stolen iPad is useless to a user who isn’t the rightful owner.

In any case, if you’re looking to buy a used iPad, here are some things to consider and look out for when shopping for one.

iPad Condition

This might be something obvious, but it’s always a good idea to take note of any wear and tear or damage on a used iPad.


Examine it for any dings on the corners, which is usually an indicator that it was dropped at some point. That alone isn’t a huge deal if the device still works, but you’ll also want to look for any cracks in the screen that might appear.

When you do that, be sure to look very closely. In low-light conditions, scratches are really hard to see, but once you get it out in broad daylight, the scratches can stick out like a sore thumb, so be sure to get it under a lamp or a bright light and thoroughly give the screen a good look-over before you hand over your money.

iPad Price

When buying a used iPad, the prices aren’t going to be as constant from seller to seller as it would be if you were buying one brand new. Instead, some sellers will be asking for less than what other sellers might be asking for.


Because of this, it’s always a good idea to shop around on different used marketplaces and look at several listings from each one. eBay, Craigslist, and Swappa are all places where you can buy a used iPad, and prices will fluctuate rapidly from seller to seller, so be sure to do your research and figure out a fair price that you’re willing to pay for a used iPad.

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that if any seller is selling a used iPad for way less than the average selling price, there’s a good chance that it’s either stolen or there’s some significant damage to the device. The seller may or may not be hiding these facts, so be sure to ask questions and take a good look at the device before making the purchase.

iCloud Account Activation

Perhaps one of the most important steps to take when buying a used iPad is to actually find out if it’s a stolen unit or not. Luckily, it’s really easy to find out.

Apple introduced a feature called Activation Lock with iOS 7, which prevents iPhones and iPads from being stolen, or at least deters thieves from doing much else with an iOS device after it has been stolen. When Find My iPhone is enabled on a user’s device, it essentially locks it to that user’s Apple ID account. What this means is that even when the iPad is wiped, the device will still require the original Apple ID and password before someone else can use it as their own.


Apple’s new Activation Lock lookup tool aims to help in this sense, and allows buyers to see if an iPad they’re about to buy still has Activation Lock enabled or not. If it does, then it’s safe to say that it was stolen.

You can access Apple’s new Activation Lock lookup tool by heading to icloud.com/activationlock, and you don’t have to sign into your iCloud account to access it. You’ll be prompted to enter in the iPad’s serial number, which can both be located in the Settings app by navigating to General > About. You’ll also need to enter in the CAPTCHA code below that.

Instantly, Apple will tell you whether or not that iPad still has Activation Lock enabled. Now, if Activation Lock is still on, that doesn’t quite necessarily mean that the device was stolen. The user could’ve easily just forgot to turn it off, and if you ask them to do it and they can’t, it’s safe to say that the device is truly stolen.