The cheapest iPhone is a refurbished phone, rather than building one yourself, says Scotty, the DIY iPhone Guy

; Date: November 3, 2017

Tags: Computer Hardware »»»» Apple iPhone Hardware »»»» iPhone »»»» Strange Parts

A couple months ago an amazing video popped up on YouTube, a guy had built his own iPhone from spare parts. He followed that up with another video about hacking an iPhone 7 to have a headphone jack. As a result, Scotty (his name) has been getting lots of questions about whether building your own iPhone is the cheapest way to get a new iPhone. His answer, "No", falls in line with my observation on the cheapest way to get an iPhone X, Apple's newest iPhone that goes on sale today for over $1000 apiece.

Apple is playing a game on us all. They've learned how to make us lust after the latest gizmo, and how to make us think a 2-3 year old phone is worthless. Apple has one of the largest Market Cap's in history by playing that game. However, we can play that game a different way and save ourselves a ton of money.

Getting back to Scotty for a second. In the video below he points out that the iPhone he built from spare parts is essentially a refurbished iPhone. The logic board itself was refurbished, while the case and some other parts were new.

Therefore the cheapest way to buy an iPhone is to find a 2-3 year old refurbished phone. So long as you buy from a reputable dealer, the phone itself will work fine and look great. Sure it won't have the latest is gee-wow-gizmo's. If you really truly must have those latest things, understand that Apple will make you pay through the nose. If you simply need a mobile computing device (smart phone) with a telephony application that's fairly up-to-date, the phones from a generation or two back are perfectly fine.

For example - my girlfriends iPhone 4S became unreliable enough that we needed to find her a new phone. She'd bought the thing brand new 6 years ago for full price, which was about $300 at the time. Since she barely uses her cell phone it didn't make sense to spend lots of money for the latest iPhone GeeWow model.

After some searching I found a refurbished unlocked iPhone 5S with 32GB of storage on eBay for $140. After $40 for a high quality glass screen protector, and another $14 for a good quality case, total cost is less than $200. The iPhone X is over $1000 for the phone itself.

The iPhone 5S form factor is so popular that Apple still sells it -- the iPhone SE. The 5S has a decent camera, a decent size, the thumbprint sensor, the Lightning jack, and so forth. It's a fine phone and should work for my girlfriend for several years.

In other words - Apple has made people think the iPhone 5S is worthless. That's made the iPhone 5S price very low. An iPhone 4S is even cheaper, at about $80.

It means that WE the Consumers can leverage this to our advantage. Why not buy an older phone and save lots of money?

While looking for this iPhone 5S I found an upgrade possibility for myself -- The current price (on eBay) for an iPhone 6S is $360, while the current price for the iPhone 6 (what I have) is $330. I might have the exact prices wrong, but the point is that for a cost differential of $30 I could switch up to an iPhone 6S. As I recall, brand new my iPhone 6 cost about $700.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.