Are iPhones from Greenhills stolen?

It is possible that some iPhones sold at Greenhills Shopping Center in the Philippines may be stolen. However, it is also possible that the iPhones are legitimate and obtained through legal means. After visiting GreenHills and having some conversations with some of the sellers there, here is what we learnt.

Why do people buy iPhones in Greenhills

Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan is the most popular spot of cheap gadgets in Metro Manila. It’s the place to score bargains on smartphones if you know where to look and what to watch out for. For one, iPhones in Greenhills are priced much lower than those in official stores. The reason why phones in general are cheaper there is that they have lower operational costs in comparison to an air-conditioned store with a full staff and security guards, maintaining a glass cage display in a Greenhills tiange is significantly less expensive.

Additionally, according to the vendors themselves, sellers speak with their international suppliers directly. Because of this, the majority of iPhones and Samsung flagships in Greenhills are made in Hong Kong (HK variant iPhones are also dual SIM). This explains why tiangge vendors can offer the Galaxy Note and iPhone before authorised retailers.

Where do Phones in Greenhills come from?

The origin of the phones sold at Greenhills Shopping Center is likely to be diverse, it can come from different sources such as local distributors, parallel importers, grey market, and even from some sellers are from other countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and so on. Some of these products may be imported legally, while others may be brought in by local sellers looking forward to get rid of their phones or simple upgrade to newer ones.

For iPhones, it is likely that sellers obtain the gadgets through legal means considering that Apple makes it almost impossible for a different person to get rid of the owners iCloud information on the device and reset the Phone. One of the sellers claimed that they some of the iPhones they sell are obtained from people who also go to Greenhills to sell their phones and part of the transaction processes requires an ID just to verify if the person selling the iPhone is the legitimate owner.

Even though this is somehow encouraging, and giving a bit of assurance that the phones are obtained legally, it is also worth noting that by-passing iCloud verification and reseting iPhones has become so common and easy with makes their verification process less bulletproof. Moreover, in the same mall, you can find sellers who provide resetting services to bypass an iPhones iCloud security and clear the device to be brand new. With that in mind, the issue remains a curveball.

How to see if an iPhone is stolen

Here are a few steps you can take to determine if a second-hand iPhone is stolen:

  1. Check the IMEI number: The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a unique identifier for each iPhone. You can check the IMEI number by dialing *#06# on the phone or by checking the back of the device. Once you have the IMEI number, you can enter it into the official IMEI database to see if it has been reported as stolen.
  2. Check the iCloud status: If the iPhone is currently linked to an iCloud account, you can check the iCloud status by following the instructions in this Apple support article. If the device is iCloud locked or has Find My iPhone enabled, it may be a sign that the device is stolen.
  3. Ask for the purchase receipt: A legitimate seller should be able to provide a purchase receipt or some sort of proof of purchase. If the seller cannot provide this, it may be a sign that the device is stolen.
  4. Check the condition of the phone: If the phone is in excellent condition with no signs of wear and tear, it could be an indication that the phone is stolen, because most of the time, stolen phones are either new or in very good condition.
  5. Try to sign into your iCloud: Before you conclude your transaction and leave the seller’s store, make sure you manage to sign into your own iCloud account without any problem. If you experience any issues at all in doing so, then that is a red flag.

It’s important to note that these methods are not foolproof, and there’s no way to be 100% sure that a used iPhone is not stolen. It’s always best to buy from reputable and authorized sellers to ensure the authenticity of the product.


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