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Should you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple?

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Which is the best option: a new iPad, a second-hand iPad, or a refurbished iPad? what's the difference between these different ways of buying an iPad?
What does refurbished mean? Refurbished Apple products are second-hand, really, but the fact they've been refurbished by Apple means you can be a little more confident in the quality and reliability of what you're getting.

Refurbished Apple products are technically pre-owned, but they undergo such a rigorous refurbishing process that it's unlikely you'll even notice. In fact pre-owned may mean only used once, perhaps it's a unit that was loaned to a journalist, or it was returned by a customer who decided they wanted a different Mac, or maybe there was a fault with it - a fault that Apple will have rectified as part of its refurbishment when it got it ready for sale. Read on for more information about the differences between the new iPad and a refurbished iPad, and what you can expect if you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple.
 
If you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple, you'll get the same one-year warranty as if you bought a brand-new iPad, all of the manuals and accessories that come with a new iPad, a brand new battery and outer shell and a new white box for it too.
The new box is not the same as the box you would get if you purchased a new iPad, and we assume that this is to prevent people from buying a refurbished iPad and attempting to sell it on as new. However, we think you'll struggle to spot anything about the contents of that box that indicates that it is not a new iPad.
Apple promises that all refurbished iPads it sells are in full working condition, and they have each been fully tested to ensure this. Any parts that were defective when the iPad was returned by its previous owner will have been replaced, and the entire iPad will have been cleaned and inspected to make sure it's in top-notch condition.
If you'd prefer to have a longer warranty than the one-year warranty you'll get included, you can buy an AppleCare Protection Plan for your refurbished iPad.

Should I buy a refurbished iPad?
We think it is absolutely worth considering buying a refurbished iPad from Apple's Refurbished store before purchasing a brand-new one. It'll look as good as new, so you won't notice the difference anywhere.
If you're looking for one of Apple's latest iPads has no choice but to buy brand-new from Apple or a third-party reseller, but if you'd be happy with an older generation of iPad you may find you can get a bigger capacity model or a WiFi + Cellular model for less money than it would cost you for a new model with less impressive specs.
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