How to find the best iPhone deal by careful research, not being tempted to necessarily switch to the latest model, timing your purchase and considering used phones.

Shop around and check options to save on Apple’s popular smartphone

The iPhone is a hugely popular smartphone; in the UK its market share has passed the 40% mark which is a remarkable feat for a device using an operating system (iOS) not offered by any other manufacturer. This compares favourably with Google’s Android platform; while it usually takes more of the market than Apple, it’s not by a huge margin and it has to be remembered several smartphone manufacturers feature the Android platform.

The iPhone is desirable but certainly costs; the lowest price 7 with 32GB of storage is just shy of £600 while the larger screened iPhone Plus kicks off at £719 for the 32Gb variant. Contract prices for new iPhones aren’t exactly cheap either; at launch it’s often difficult to find a fully subsidised iPhone at much less than £50 per month from any network – and that’s usually on a two year contract so making for a lengthy commitment.

How to save on an iPhone

A classic way of saving is not to switch to the latest model iPhone at launch but to wait at least a few months. In that time contract prices begin to drop a little and there may even be some offers from certain networks, mobile phone retailer chains or mail order specialists.

Another good way to save is to switch to the model recently replaced by the newest iPhone. Apple usually continue making the model superseded by the latest release and sell it for less than the new one from their retail shops and online Apple Store, and individual network providers often offer attractive tariffs.  

Check online with your network provider (or their competitors if you’d be open to the idea of switching) and don’t mind the possibility of not using the very latest iPhone model. You could sell or, more conveniently, trade in your iPhone with a specialist online buyer; Apple’s smartphone retains its value quite well, so you’d likely have a decent sum of money to put towards your new one.

The used option

Another good way of saving money and not committing to a new phone contract is to buy a used iPhone. Sometimes network providers or mobile phone retailers offer deals on refurbished iPhones in the form of either a cheaper handset or lower tariff (or maybe both).

There are also specialist stores both on and offline who sell used smartphones complete with a warranty. Depending on timing and obviously stock levels, you may even pick up the latest iPhone release at a favourable price compared to buying new, and you’ll often find the previous model available at a significant saving.

Is the new model always the best option?

Apart from the perceived kudos in using the very latest iPhone, it’s worth checking if the new release is really worth investing in. While the iPhone has settled into a yearly change cycle with the new release usually appearing around September each year, sometimes the new model offers only modest changes over its predecessor.

A case in point is the iPhone 7 which is considered more of an incremental upgrade over the 6S, while that model, by contrast, provided significant upgrades over its predecessor the iPhone 6. Therefore, if you’re looking to upgrade from an iPhone 5S, then switching to the 6S rather than the 7 would likely be a better value for money option.

You’d save compared to upgrading to the very latest model and wouldn’t lose out significantly in terms of specification and features on the phone itself. Bear in mind also that the 7 will almost certainly be replaced come September with what’s predicted to be a major change in the iPhone 8.

The canny buyer

Being aware of when Apple make changes and timing your upgrade move is the basic way to save; don’t be tempted to be one of the first users of the latest model.

Check specifications and reviews carefully to see if you might be better off moving to the model ‘one behind’ the very latest iPhone, and don’t rule out the used option – many people who must have the latest model leave behind many good condition and still relatively new iPhones you can snap up.

Check additions and add-ons to the iPhone range, too. Sometimes a new variant may be added during the yearly model cycle that existing users may be tempted with. For example, in spring 2017, Apple have added a ‘Red’ version to the iPhone 7 range; as its name suggests it’s an all-red special edition variant – maybe some users may be switching to it and so some nearly new iPhone 7’s may hit the market?