Between being a great music player, web browser, and video game machine (thanks to the App Store), gadget lovers who want an iPod touch, but can’t necessarily afford Apple’s prices, have two choices: buy an MP3 player from another company or go without.
There’s also a third choice: buy a used iPod touch.
Used iPods can help you save, but are they worth it? If you’re considering buying a used iPod, here are some things to consider and some suggestions for finding a bargain iPod.
What to Look For with a Used iPod Touch
While a used iPod touch can be a good deal, keep an eye on some details to make sure you aren’t a penny wise but a pound foolish.
Battery - Users can’t replace the batteries on the iPod touch. This usually isn’t a problem, but if the battery dies, replacing it is going to cost you. A lightly used iPod touch should be OK, but regard anything that’s more than a year or so old cautiously. See if the seller is willing to certify or replace the battery with a fresh one (something repair shops can do) before you buy. Otherwise, you may end up with a touch that only works when plugged into a power supply—and that's no fun.
Features - From one generation to the next, the features of the iPod touch can be pretty different. When shopping for a used iPod touch, make sure that you understand what features a new model has that the one you’re considering doesn’t. It may not be worth it to save a few dollars if you lose cool, new features. Buy the newest touch you can afford. You'll get the most features and be the happiest.
Capacity - Lower prices are appealing, but since used iPods aren’t the latest models, they’ve got less storage. The difference in capacity between the first and second generation iPod touch isn’t huge, but as more models are introduced, the gap will become bigger. Weigh the savings against getting more for your dollar. Always buy the most storage capacity you can afford.
Screen - If an iPod touch hasn’t been kept in a case, its screen may be scratched. Those scratches can interfere with watching a lot of video, playing games, or browsing the web. Get a look at the screen of the used iPod touch you’re considering if you can, even if it’s just a photo.
Warranty - If you can get a used model with a warranty—even an extended warranty you pay for—do it. You can’t get this from an individual selling their old iPod, but if you’re buying it from an established reseller, you may be able to get one. Consider spending the extra money (I think AppleCare extended warranties are the thing to do with new models, too).
Where to Buy a Used iPod touch
If a used iPod touch is right for you, your options of where to buy it from range from Apple to a neighbor. But choose wisely.
Apple - Apple sells refurbished iPods at the online Apple Store. Expect to save a few bucks and have the experts updating the iPod. Not a bad combo.
Used iPod Retailers - Companies like NextWorth and Gazelle both buy and sell used iPods and iPhones; the prices they pay and sell at are appealing. Check out my comparison of these companies and reader reviews of them.
iPod resellers - Some companies that sell new iPods also sell used iPods. These are mostly mail-order or online stores and they offer prices similar to Apple’s.
eBay/Craigslist - eBay and Craigslist are great places to find bargains online, but beware. Unless you’re buying from an established company with a good reputation, a scammer may get stick you with a broken iPod or one that doesn’t have the specs you thought you were getting.
When it comes to buying a used iPod touch, you can save money and get a good music player at the same time. Be smart and careful about how and where you buy and you’ll be well on your way to doing that. Happy shopping!