Budgeting

The Best Time to Buy An iPhone


Are you interested in buying a new iPhone? Whether you are getting your first iPhone or upgrading your existing iPhone, the timing of your purchase can impact your cost.

When is the best time to buy an iPhone? That depends on what you’re looking for. We are going to share a few tips on how to get the best deal on a new or used iPhone. Keep reading to learn more.

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

Nowadays, iPhones are a lot more expensive than they used to be. That said, you can still find deals that make the purchases worthwhile.

Should You Buy a New or Used iPhone?

Apple releases a new iPhone every year, but that doesn’t mean you need the latest iPhone. Older model iPhones are still working very well.

Before timing your iPhone purchase, decide if you want to buy a new or used phone. If you want the newest model iPhone, you will have to buy a new phone. If you are okay with an older model, you can choose to buy it used or new.

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 previous-generation iPhone models that are still available for sale in stores are:

  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Max

You can also find used versions of these models and others.

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

Take Advantage of Carrier Deals

Brand new iPhones are expensive. The best way to get a good deal on a brand new iPhone is by looking for a carrier deal. Carriers will often run promotions to attract new customers or to keep existing customers happy.

These deals change throughout the year and there is no guarantee that there will be a good deal at the time you need to buy a new phone. While you can generally find year-round deals when switching carriers, it can be difficult to find a deal to upgrade your phone with your current provider (and switching providers can be a hassle).

If you are looking for carrier deals, check your carrier’s website or stop into the store.

These deals can be used to subsidize an expensive phone. It’s not uncommon for carriers to give 60-80% off the phone’s list price when you sign up for a new contract or extend your current contract.

The Best Deals On Used iPhones

You can always buy a used iPhone at a better price. As long as you buy your phone from a reputable provider or marketplace, you should be good to go.

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 discount 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 a refurbished iPhone 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.  

In order for the savings to be worth it, you need to make sure you are buying a functional phone that will stand the test of time.

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. Contrary to internet myth, 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.

Kevin Flynn

Kevin D. Flynn is a former financial professional with over ten years of experience in the financial industry. He has consulted for financial advisors, online sales reps, and fintech startups. Kevin holds a degree in accounting and finance and continues to expand his knowledge by attending classes and seminars. He commits several hours a day to market research so he can stay on top of the latest news and trends in the financial industry. Kevin's experience in the industry has fueled his successful writing career, which he now focuses on full-time. He currently resides in Leominster, Massachusetts with his wife Evelyn, two cats, and nine wonderful grandchildren.

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