The Best Time to Buy An iPhone

by | May 13, 2020 | Personal Finance, Shopping

The decision to buy your first iPhone is not one that you’ll regret. Androids are good, but iPhone technology is among the best and most secure in the world. Apple just does things differently. If you’re switching from an Android platform, you may be disappointed in the beginning because some of your old apps aren’t available, but you’ll adapt quickly.

When is the best time to buy an iPhone? That depends on what you’re looking for. Apple releases a new generation every year, but older iPhones are viable with today’s operating systems and storage requirements. If you’re using the iPhone 6, maybe it’s time to upgrade to a newer model. Going from an iPhone XS to an iPhone 11 won’t be that much of a change. 

Before buying a new iPhone, you should check with your carrier. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint regularly run promotions that will make your purchase more cost-effective. Check the calendar too. Retail stores have big electronics sales periodically throughout the year. Black Friday at Best Buy and Cyber Monday at Amazon are good examples of this.    

Time to Buy an iPhone

The Early History Of The iPhone

To understand the timing on when best to buy an iPhone, let’s take a look back at the history of the brand. The first iPhone was released on June 28, 2007. The price was $499 for 4GB and $599 for the 8GB model. Only credit card sales were allowed, and you had to use AT&T as your phone service provider. There were lines of people waiting outside every Apple store. 

By September 2007, just three months later, the 4GB model had been dropped from production and the 8GB was selling for $399. Take note of this. Never buy the new model on its release date. Like most electronics, if you wait a while, the price will go down. You’ll get the best price on older generations in the months after a new model is released. 

By July 2008, when Apple launched the iPhone 3G, AT&T had started subsidizing iPhone purchases. They asked for a two-year commitment and added a small amount to each monthly bill. The idea turned out to be a winner. Verizon, Sprint, Cricket Wireless, and Virgin Mobile joined the party when the iPhone 4S came out in October 2011.

The iPhone 6

The Best Months To Buy An iPhone

The best month to buy the newest iPhone is January. The holiday rush is over, and prices start to come down. Think of this in terms of a one-year cycle. The new models are released in the fall. By January, all the kinks have been worked out, but you’re still nine months away from the next generation being released. With post-holiday sales, it’s a great time to get a good deal.

If you’re looking for an older model, buy it in October. Apple has launched sixteen iPhone generations since 2007. The nine most recent versions have all come out in September. When new product hits the shelves, older models go on sale. That’s the time to buy. The six previous generations that are still available for sale in stores are:

  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE (if you can find it)
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Max

The worst months to purchase a new iPhone are July and August. You may get a decent price because it’s close to the end of the annual sales cycle, but it’s only a month or two before a new generation is due to come out. If you’re looking for the current version available in the summer, wait until fall and you’ll pay a whole lot less for it.  

iPhone Lit Up

Best Time To Buy An iPhone? When Carriers Run Promotions

I did a quick Google search this morning for carrier promotions on the iPhone. Sprint is offering the iPhone 11 for $15 per month. AT&T will give you $700 off the same model, along with a $150 Reward Card. T-Mobile says they’ll give you the iPhone 11 for free if you switch to their service. These are all offers you want to explore before making a final decision.

The decision by AT&T in 2011 to subsidize iPhone purchases opened up the door for creative marketing and pricing by all carriers. Before you sign up with anyone, make sure you read the fine print. Each promotion is tied to a contract commitment. $15 a month is a great deal, but how long do you have to pay that lease fee? Will you own the phone when it’s done?

The Best Deals On Used iPhones

I saw a used iPhone 11 on sale for $475 at Swappa this morning. Apple still has that model listed on their site for $699. That’s a pretty significant savings and they’re not the only ones offering those kinds of prices. You can buy a used iPhone on eBay, Amazon, Decluttr, Gazelle, and dozens of other sites. You can even buy one direct from Apple.

If you go this route, it’s important to understand the difference between “used” and “refurbished.” A used iPhone is exactly what it sounds like. Someone else has used it and they’re now selling it as is. A refurbished phone has gone through diagnostics and usually comes with a warranty of some kind. Be careful. You generally get what you pay for.  

Buy a Used iPhone on eBay

Do You Need A New iPhone After An iOS Upgrade?

Apple usually comes out with an updated version of iOS every year. It is not to force you into buying a new phone. Granted, you can’t run iOS 13 on an iPhone 4. The older devices simply don’t have the memory capacity to hold all that data. You can, however, go back several generations and not have a problem.

iPhone Hello

The iPhone 7 was offered with 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. The iPhone 11 comes with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB. If you bought either of the top two options on the seven, you have the exact same capacity as the eleven does. The iPhone 11 Pro comes with up to 512GB, but you don’t need anywhere near that to run iOS 13. 

iPhone users express concern when their device stops working after updating their iOS. The fix is easy. If your phone freezes, hold down the power and home buttons at the same time until you see the Apple logo. Release both buttons and your phone will be fine. You can still go out and buy a new iPhone after that, but it won’t be because the old one doesn’t work.  

Final Thoughts: Best Time To Buy An iPhone

Now you know the best times to buy an iPhone. Make sure to pay attention to timing when purchasing your new phone, it can save you a lot. Plus, when you get a new iPhone you can then download apps that pay you money or reward apps! Turn your new iPhone purchase into a money maker.

<span style="font-size:12px;font-weight:500">Author</span><br><a href="" target="_self">Kevin</a>


Kevin is an ambitious entrepreneur that is obsessed with all things related to finance. From a young age, Kevin has always been involved with side hustles ranging from online selling to freelance work. Over the years, Kevin graduated from side hustles and started launching multiple online and offline businesses. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting new businesses and exploring all things related to business and finance. He is constantly looking for new ways to save money, invest money, and create income streams.

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