If the iPhone is called gray when selling, then in most cases it is not about the color of the case, but the degree of legality of the import of this device into the country. How to determine a “gray” smartphone and what consequences the purchase of such a gadget can entail – we understand the material below.
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A few years ago, for the majority of domestic users, the difference between a “gray” and a “white” (official) iPhone was determined solely by the cost, and the purchase of a smartphone from unofficial resellers (among the common people of “dealers” or “hucksters”) was considered by the average Russian or a resident of the near abroad savings. In fact, the use of an illegally sold device can be justified from an economic point of view, however, it is gray hatred, and it is better to buy an iPhone based on the recommendations presented below.
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What is a “gray” iPhone
To officially sell the iPhone in Russia or any other country in the world, you must conclude a contract with Apple, pay customs duty, undergo certification and obtain all permits. Naturally, official dealers who have spent time and money on going through these mandatory procedures take into account their own and state interests when calculating the price (for example, the value of VAT, which is 20% of the cost in Russia). This is the “white” iPhone, and you can find it only at authorized dealers (which are usually large retail chains, for example, Svyaznoy, M.video, etc.), as well as on the official Apple website. You can get a list of “white” resellers for your locality by following this link.
However, not every batch of smartphones is worth going through all the circles of bureaucratic hell and paying customs duties. It is not difficult for many people who want to earn money to carry several (or several dozen) iPhones across the border from nearby European or Asian countries, and the final price of such a device for the buyer is usually 20% (plus or minus) below the market price.
It is important to understand that we are talking about completely new original smartphones from Apple. We talked in detail about how to identify a Chinese counterfeit here, and about used iPhones sold under the guise of refurbished ones – here. Also in this article there will be no mention of scammers selling through ads iPhone 5s under the guise of iPhone SE, jailbroken devices in sealed packaging, etc.
In other words,
“Gray” iPhone is an ordinary new original an Apple smartphone that has not been certified for the country into which it was imported after sale. Usually “gray” iPhones are imported and sold in violation of tax laws (smuggled). In addition, when using the iPhone in a non-native region (not the country for which it was released), there may be some restrictions as described below.
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Does Apple Warranty Cover Gray iPhones
It is not possible to oblige Apple to legally repair warranty smartphones imported from abroad – the company does not undertake the repair of devices for objective reasons due to technical restrictions in different countries. For example, China uses different communication standards from European standards. At the same time, it is hardly possible to prove that the LTE frequency has nothing to do with screen breakage or battery defects
However, Apple’s internal policies do not override consumer protection laws. If you bought a “white” or “gray” iPhone from a legal entity (online store) in Russia, then you have the right to make claims to it within two years from the date of purchase. Naturally, if you have a sales receipt.
It should be noted that starting from 2019 on some “Gray” iPhones covered by one year (1 year) Apple warranty in Russia… If you have any problems, you will need to contact an official Apple reseller. At the same time, the warranty period for the “white” (official) iPhone is 2 years.
Here is a list of current iPhone versions for Russia subject to free warranty service in 2020:
iPhone 7: A1778
iPhone 7 Plus: A1784
iPhone 8: A1905, A1863
iPhone 8 Plus: A1897, A1864
iPhone X: A1901, A1865
iPhone XS: A2097
iPhone XS Max: A2101
iPhone XR: A2105
iPhone 11: A2221
iPhone 11 Pro: A2215
iPhone 11 Pro Max: A2218
It is important to understand that in this case we are talking about a worldwide warranty, the duration of which is one year, while the device purchased from an authorized dealer can be serviced free of charge for two years.
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Benefits of a Gray iPhone
The main and often decisive advantage of the gray iPhone in comparison with the legally imported one for the buyer is the cost. The price difference can reach about 25%, while the majority of users do not see any other differences between smuggled and purchased from an official reseller, but they are still there.
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Problems with a gray iPhone during operation
In most cases, the use of a “gray” iPhone does not cause any problems, but this is only due to the fact that most of the devices come to us from neighboring countries. If you buy a Taiwanese or, for example, a Brazilian gadget, you may encounter poor connection quality and even a lack of LTE connection. This happens due to the use of different frequencies in Europe, Asia, South America, etc. By the way, the Russian authorities have repeatedly threatened to block all smartphones that entered the country illegally. This is a very difficult, but technically feasible task.
Perhaps the most significant problems can be caused by buying “gray “operator iPhone (aka: “locked”, “locked”, contract, tied to the operator, SIM-lock, etc.). Such a smartphone works only with a SIM card of a certain operator in the country where the purchase was made.
In addition to the cases described above, the “gray” iPhone can provide less serious trouble for its owner. For example, the plug for connecting the charger adapter to the mains differs in many countries. This means that it is not possible to connect a British or, for example, an American iPhone to a domestic outlet using standard charging without a special adapter
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A less important nuance is that Apple complies with the laws of the countries to which it sends its gadgets, which entails some consequences. For example, an iPhone purchased in the Emirates until 2020 did not support FaceTime video calls, a Japanese smartphone will not allow turning off the camera sound, and a European will limit the maximum volume in headphones (for Russia, Apple has no restrictions yet).
The best “gray” iPhone for the Russian user is the iPhone, brought from the European Union or the USA… The device is practically no different from the official Apple smartphone made for Russia, except for the absence of a two-year warranty.
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How to distinguish “gray” iPhone from “white”
Naturally, the store won’t let you unpack your iPhone, but the box itself will help you easily distinguish the “white” iPhone from the one imported from abroad. The description of the smartphone (on the bottom of the package) on it must be in Russian, at the end of the model identifier there must be a mark “RR”, “RS” or “RU”.
For example, an iPhone model identifier that was produced for the US market will end with the letters LL (or LL / A), “British” – B (B / A), Apple smartphone from Poland – PM (PM / A), from Hong Kong – etc.
Photo of “white” iPhone settings:
Screenshot of gray iPhone settings from Poland:
Faking all these insignia or using packaging from another smartphone is quite difficult and not very profitable in terms of potential profit, so these signs can be considered sufficient to determine the “whiteness” of the iPhone.
If you agree to purchase an iPhone hand-held, but do not want to purchase a “gray” gadget, then also start checking it by matching the information on the box and on the smartphone itself.
Serial number, IMEI and model must be identical in the device settings (Settings → The main → About this device) and on the box.
We described in detail how to find out the serial number, IMEI on a new, unactivated iPhone in this manual.
We talked in more detail about checking iPhone online in this article.
If you need a uniquely “white” iPhone, then buy only in large retail chains and official reseller stores: Svyaznoy, M.video, re: Store, on the Apple website, etc. This iPhone has the characters “RR”, “RS” or “RU” at the end of the Model ID, which can be found in the iOS settings or on the back of the package.
Gray iPhone really helps save money in the case of a deal with a respectable sellerthat does not hide the origin of the device, does not activate it and does not replace accessories, packaging, sales receipt. Otherwise, 10-25% savings can result in undesirable consequences, loss of time, nerves and money.