As yen tumbles, gadget-loving Japan goes for secondhand iPhones

By Miho Uranaka

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An iPhone is good for at least five years. The iPhone 7 from 2014 still receives updates until 2023.

I had already decided to keep hold of my iPhone 12 for three to four years. Usually, I upgrade every two years.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

I had iPhone once in my life but it wasn't good option as there are so many much better smartphones out there.

8 ( +22 / -14 )

Japan is going back to the stone age because of a handful of families collecting all the wealth, taxes killing the middleclass. The shrinking population and inflation are the final blows.

Other contributing factors are extremely poor educational standards, decreasing English ability, ridiculous administrative and bureaucratic rules. The house renting maffia.

my leaving Japan costs the jobs indirectly of hundreds of Japanese people but the xenophobia and plain racism makes impossible to stay.

-13 ( +21 / -34 )

Stick with the Galapagos phones, guys.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I’m still using my wife’s old work iPhone 6. Still works, make calls, email, line, internet. Not obviously going to pay to get a phone that does the same.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I'm still using a Sony Xperia I bought in 2015. Maybe time to buy a used iPhone?

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

I have an old phone that has what I need.

I can never waste my hard earned money every two years on something that will be out in another two years.Plain stupid.

I went to a recycke shop recently and found lot of Japanese people scavenging for everything from used clothes to household stuff.They pretend not to be shopping when they see gaijin but truth be told,many gaijin live way better lives than Japanese.But because this is Japanese country,the locals have a easier access to eg cheap housing,family and friends connection,jobs and no problem with documentation and language.Life here is low quality and very difficult to save.South East Asians who used to value Japan are no longer interested in coming here and the ones already here are looking for exit.

-14 ( +12 / -26 )

Google Pixel much better quality than an iPhone !!!

6 ( +15 / -9 )

The US$ hasn't surged via-a-vis the ruble. Quite the opposite.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Banana republic in the making...thank the LDP.

-15 ( +12 / -27 )

So the iphone is made in China (and some now in India), because of the petrodollar we have to face high prices. The soon the Petrodollar is retiried, the better.

It's always been ridiculous.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Don't tell me the "digital island" is not a feature people need?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Imagine telling a Japanese person in 1989 that in 30 years time they'd be buying second hand American designed phones that were made in China for ¥100,000.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

I have an iPhone 8 and it does everything I need it to do.

I don’t think it’s so much that people are being thrifty. I think more that people don’t want to get scammed by SoftBank and like being locked into a never ending contract with fees for nothing that is driving people to look at used phones and prepaid deals.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It really is a dire situation when people that work so much are being thrown onto the trash heap

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

The iphones definitely have the best cameras from my experience. Many of the iphone pictures I have seen, rival some photos I have taken with powerful mirrorless cameras.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

My iPhone 12 and iPad are essential tools for my business.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

reality is that some people cant afford to buy new iphone,kind of hidden poverty...and this is just beginning guys.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

wallace: "An iPhone is good for at least five years. The iPhone 7 from 2014 still receives updates until 2023."

Yes and no. The handset might be, but the battery is certainly not. Average batter functions fully for 1 - 2 years before going down to about 86% max capacity, at which point it'll go from being full or near full to suddenly asking you to turn on low power mode and then just shutting down. Still far better than Apple's counterparts, though.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

..[iphone's]... battery is certainly not. Average batter functions fully for 1 - 2 years before going down to about 86% max capacity....

No. What? Friend is STILL using his Huawei p30 which I dropped into the bath and then baked for 5 hours at 50oC to dry it out. Never a problem and even the blood moon he sent astounded me. Meanwhile I am rocking a 2 year old Sony Xperia IIi t (always buy used) that crushes the iphone in a lot of photo situations. Has Sony Pro camera shooting mode (full manual control). And the batter? All day no problems (unless doing photo shoots all day) And I am a heavy user. And in rakuten mobile all you can eat. Not perfect but man it's unlimited 3,000 or so a month. Never understand people that get locked into contracts.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I never understood de Japanese obsession with the iPhones. There are way better phones out there, and I don't mean the crappy local offers witch indeed, are garbage compared to iPhone.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Here in the UK, the basic iPhone 14 starts at ¥141,420.

I share others views that there are a lot of really good phones out there made by other maufacturers and operate on a more User-friendly platform. I used to have an iPhone but moved away to Samsung and will never return to the often very arrogant Apple company.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If you have Applecare, Apple will freely replace the battery when it reaches 80% capacity. My iPhone 12 is two years old. The battery capacity is 89% and I use it a lot.

Better to buy a new battery than a new phone.

I rarely reach low power mode. My iPhone has never shut down from the battery.

No one is required to buy any Apple device. I do because they are great value. My iPhone 12 is still worth ¥50,000 in a trade-in.

1 ( +5 / -4 )


in Japan, iPhone 12 is ¥93,000. In the UK it is £650. (converted to yen @160 would be ¥104,000).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good. There is absolutely no need to change electronic goods every couple of years and produce mountains of e-waste and lost resources. If battery life is an issue, design them to have easily replaceable batteries, in fact my nephew who doesn’t give a monkeys for manufacturers warranties always replaces the battery and keeps his phones running for years.

The major problem lies with the manufacturers who design them to fail and cut short their life and support so as to force people in to squandering their hard earned money on unnecessary new phones. They and society need to adopt the circular economy allowing a massive reduction in resource use/waste and still allowing companies to make a reasonable return while providing a better service to the customer.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The problem is that people upgrade and pay 100000 yen every year. I am willing to pay for that, as I only upgrade every 6 years. Better value.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Got an SE during a 50% off sale….3.5 man. Should do me for at least 5 years….my old phone got 7 years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's funny too because people list their used products at an outlandish price on Mercari. An iPhone 11 that isn't even refurbished will be 60,000 yen. Why bother buying a used beat up iPhone when you can get a new smartphone that's better for that price?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I don't get it why would you buy an iPhone? it;s just an overpriced piece of crap. Even the older pixel 6 is better than the iPhone 14 and it's only 60,000 yen.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I had all the apple gadgets until they force me to buy another due to ending the upgrade and making impossible to keep the same iphone. I just stop buying apple products. Changed to Samsung and i am very happy with it. The only new phone i want is the flip z4 but at 2k usd i just have to earn more. I hate buying second hand anything.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If Sony and Kyocera were smart, they'd exploit this opportunity to "buy Japanese" and go on an advertising blitz to hawk brand new Japanese phones for less than the cost of a 2nd hand used iPhone.

I still feel that the Sony Xperia is a great phone. Just doesn't have the marketing clout ( or the accessories like attractive phone covers/pouches) as the fruit phone.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan has one of the best second-hand markets in the world, a good option..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I see iPhone's are cheaper in Japan compared to the UK, however our VAT (purchase tax is 20%. Also I hadn't realised that mobile phone tariffs were so expensive in Japan, in the UK on Smarty carrier I pay equivalent of Y1160 a month for unlimited calls, unlimited texts and 12 GB data on a monthly rolling 5G contract.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a sign of a poor country in the making.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

A 'nudge unit' story to promote behavioural changes - purchasing second hand goods rather than new ones. You'll see an increasing number of them as 'news'.

Be wary of buying second hand mobile tech, particularly if the battery cannot easily be removed and replaced. Whilst the electronics will work fine in most cases for a number of years, the battery will degrade progressively from day 1 and may be difficult, expensive or impossible to replace.

If you buy second hand computing gear (and most of mine has been over the years), it is often a good deal, especially ex-corporate laptops. Before you use it, install reliable virus and malware checkers and do thorough scans, to make sure that you didn't get any free 'extras'. If you get a second hand laptop, consider getting a new battery and maxing out the memory. With mobile tech, keep your content on a removable memory card. If the device expires, you can remove/port across your data easily. If it doesn't have a memory card slot, buy a different one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rather than be hostage to Apple, ditch the iPhone and get a Android phone as they ae better and a lot more selections. Plus cheaper in many cases.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'll stick with my old one not gonna spend that bigger amount

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In an extremely over -populated country, Japanese are very wasteful consumer's, not just mobile phones.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good luck with buying aged Apple products, it's well known, that they have deployed software that slows these devices down as times goes on, or even depletes battery life to an insanely almost zero life-span.

Apple products are designed to be replaced after x number of years, if you have bought a product older than x, then you have paid more than it's actual worth ... which is zero.

iPhone 6, as an example... should be zero.

Apples also does not let you revert back to an older iOS which may have been more performant than at present. Instead if you want that restored performance, you have to jail-break your device... that pretty much sums it up. "Jail Break" out of Apple's clutches...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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