The Apple iPod Touch offers on-the-go entertainment in a compact package that resembles an iPhone, minus the calling capabilities. To cut the cost of putting an iPod Touch in your pocket, you can look for reduced prices on refurbished units. Not all refurbs offer equal value, as you’ll quickly discover if you opt solely for the lowest price you can find rather than the best overall value — which typically comes from Apple itself.
When you purchase a refurbished iPod directly from Apple, you receive a tested product that carries the same one-year warranty the company applies to all its gear. Your iPod also qualifies for AppleCare, the optional extended-warranty plan that adds two years to the coverage period. If you buy a refurbished unit from a reseller, a company that buys and sells used gear and advertises recertified units, or an individual who claims to know all the ins and outs of requalifying these small, component-dense units, you may get a brief warranty promise that the seller won’t fulfill or no warranty at all.
Not all refurbs represent products that buyers returned because of defects. Some gear comes back to the manufacturer because the purchaser changed his mind about the product after receiving it. Apple’s refurbished iPods include a new battery even in units that came back with full battery life. Third-party refurbishers may install used batteries or units that don’t match the iPod Touch’s factory specifications. The result may be disappointing performance and a need for a battery replacement soon after your purchase.
Scratches or dents may not reflect the operating potential of a unit that a customer returned, but Apple inspects every aspect of the iPod Touch models it refurbishes and cleans all parts that it doesn’t replace. Casework qualifies for replacement even if the unit still looks new. Small-scale refurbishers may lack access to a sufficient supply of new parts, or may rely on used and recycled parts. The result may be a used-looking iPod with — at most — a replacement battery.
Operating System Version
Apple’s refurbishment workflow includes restoration of the OS version that the unit included as a new product. This step not only eliminates any problematic patches or installations that an original purchaser applied, but also erases any data associated with a prior owner. Third parties may not have access to the tools and OS images that Apple uses to flash iPod Touch units with clean installations. When you buy a refurbished unit from an aftermarket refurbisher, you may receive a unit that contains user files or a damaged operating system.
Original Shipping Configuration
Some Apple-refurbished products ship in boxes that differentiate them from new units. Nonetheless, all refurbished iPod Touches receive fresh packaging, and include all the accessories and documentation that accompanied the units when they sold initially. They also carry new serial numbers. Refurbished units from other sellers may lack ear buds or manuals, or may ship in whatever boxes the merchant has available. The result may be a unit that lacks integral accessories or arrives in a box that lacks the correct protective inserts to cushion the product in transit.