Buying new devices

What do most people do when getting new phones? Specify in comments what you do and how often.

  • Buy completely new devices without a plan
  • Buy new devices through phone company
  • Use Apple’s trade-in program
  • Other (please specify)

0 voters

I signed up for the Apple Upgrade Program about 2-3 years ago. Since then I’ve updated the phone every year. My wife has an older phone and doesn’t really care about updating often (she was using an SE until I finally got her an XR).

I like being able to spread out the payments and having AppleCare included. Plus when the new phone comes out I can basically just trade in my current phone for the new phone at the same monthly price.

I realize it’s not the most economical choice, but truthfully I don’t want to have to deal with trying to sell a 2 year old phone to help pay for my new phone, so it’s worth it for me.


Buy them without a plan of any sort. I enjoy the freedom of buying when I want to. I also tend to to have very long upgrade cycles. I expect my phones to last 4 to 5 years and only upgrade when they become very sluggish or are not supported anymore.


Last December I bought an unlocked XS Max outright, with the more expensive version of AppleCare+ that covers loss. (I generally prefer to pay for things I can afford instead of putting things on a payment plan.) But when it comes time to buy my next iPhone, possibly next year, I’ll probably switch to the Apple Upgrade Plan, and take advantage of new phones every year.


I usually get the iPhone on a two year plan with monthly installments that add up to the exact cost of the phone. I also am not locked into the carrier, but will naturally be required to cash out the balance for the phone if I decide to switch. I see it as a interest free loan.


So by a rather huge majority people buy new phones without any plan or trade-in option. What about when getting new iPads? What do you guys do?

Why do you get AppleCare+?

How does the Apple Upgrade Plan actually work? What’s the cost?

How much is the cost of the Apple Upgrade program and how’s it working for you?

I get a great deal through my Alma mater, it’s a 10 month government-type service contract $75 unlimited, that has great discounts on all hardware and services ($10 a month for hotspot and $5 monthly for cellular service for my watch). It’s an absolute STEAL compared to going through Verizon alone. Makes it very, very easy to get new devices and upgrades on iPhone and a watch yearly.

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I certainly can’t speak for @tjluoma, but I can provide information and my own take.

The cost of the program is the full cost of the device, plus the full cost of Apple Care+, plus tax.

Except for the tax, that cost is split into 24 equal installments. You pay the tax and the first installment up front. So it’s essentially a 24-month loan at 0% interest.

After 12 installment payments, you’re eligible for an upgrade. If you upgrade, turning in the current phone cancels the current loan, and you start a new one on the same terms. But you don’t have to upgrade. If you like, you can keep making the payments, and after 24 payments, you own the phone outright and can do whatever you like with it.

I personally like the program for a number of reasons.

  1. It allows me to upgrade every year if I want to (always a temptation for me).
  2. It keeps the cost of the phone manageable for me. At worst it matches my carrier’s plan. My carrier’s upgrade program requires a down payment on the phone, so if I only keep it for a year I save a good bit of money buying directly from Apple.
  3. Because the phone is unlocked and because I don’t owe my carrier anything for it, I’m free to change carriers whenever I wish. (I actually like my carrier quite well and have no plans to leave, but options are good.)
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How much is it a month?

As someone said, it’s the total cost of the phone + AppleCare+, divided by 24 months.

Apple has lots of localized info on it for everyone ‘s regions in which it is offered

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It depends on the phone. The base model (64 gb) 11 Pro is $49.91. The 11 Pro Max would be more, the 11 less.

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My mom is waiting for another iOS update before joining the Upgrade Program with a 128Gb iPhone 11. In the US the base model is $35.xx/month, the upgrade to 128Gb is $2.xx/month, but the Apple trade-in value of her iPhone 7 effectively pays for the storage upgrade. She was briefly interested in the iPhone 11 Pro until she saw it would cost her around $16/month more.

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This year is the first time I used the trade-in program. Did it exist before?

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My last purchase was through Swappa. I’m staying with the SE for as long as possible, or until they make another small-sized model.

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I’m with you on that. My only reason for not upgrading is the size. I love the size of my iPhone 7. It’s slightly slow, and I have to charge it several times a day to make it last a whole day.

Then when I want to charge it, it usually doesn’t anymore as something happened to the lightning port… and it will cost me €450 to get it fixed, which is ridiculous.

But I’m staying with the iPhone 7. I don’t like the bigger sized iPhones. I even considered “upgrading” to an iPhone 8 just for the form factor.

That’s too much. Is that just a battery replacement?

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In our house (UK) we have very low requirements for data (especially with so much free wi-fi in the UK) so have a VERY low monthly SIM cost (£7) and then we sit 2-4 cycles behind the latest iPhone and purchase from CEX (second-hand store) when we need/want to. With a brilliant two year guarantee and the chance to examine the condition of the phone before purchase along with a decent trade-in value for old phone as well. As a result I would say our annual phone costs are around 40% (at the most) of somebody with a new iPhone and SIM combination.

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