If you really want to buy any of the new 5G iPhone 12 handsets when they go on sale, it won’t be cheap. But it can be less expensive.
You probably either love or hate Apple, but if you love Apple you probably waited excitedly to see what the new iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro handsets would be like when announced at the Steve Jobs Theatre in California.
I watched the (very long) event so you didn’t have to, and shared below what the new handsets will cost and how you can make them slightly less expensive (though not necessarily affordable!).
Here’s what you need to know and a few tricks to help you save money on the latest Apple mobile phones.
The new iPhone 12 range
These handsets are the first Apple models to be 5G compatible, which will really push the take-up of contracts offering access to this faster network.
You can order the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini handsets from Friday 16th October, and they’ll be available to collect from the 23rd October.
The Pro models can be pre-ordered on 6th November, and will be available on the 13th November 2020.
The first phone announced was the iPhone 12. It’s an all-new design, and comes in five colours. It’s the same screen size as an iPhone 11, but the phone itself is thinner and smaller. It has an OLED display and double the pixels of the 11. Apparently the screen is four times tougher too.
There are also improvements to the chip, camera and charging.
This “standard” iPhone 12 will start at £799 for 64GB, then £849 for 128GB and £949 for 256GB.
The iPhone 12 mini
Next up was the iPhone 12 mini. This has a larger display than previous small handsets but is smaller overall! Other than the size Apple says it’s identical to the standard iPhone 12.
The basic model of this version begins at £699 for the 64GB size. The 128GB is £749 and the 256GB is £849.
The iPhone 12 Pro & Pro Max
There’s also a brand new iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, which is the highest-end iPhone yet. The screen sizes increase again, but the actual handsets remain roughly the same as the equivalent iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.
As with last year, the big difference to the other iPhone 12 handsets is with the cameras, which are all improved. But it’s also faster and comes in some shiny metallic styles.
As ever, you’ll really pay to get these Pro models. The iPhone 12 Pro starts at £999 for the 128GB model (less than last year) and goes up to £1,299 for the 512GB version.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max beings at £1,099 for the same size and hits a massive £1,399 for the 512GB model – also cheaper than last year.
Other iPhones still available
Each time there’s a new release, Apple also removes a group from sale in its official range.
You can still get the iPhone 11, iPhone SE and the budget XR, all of which will fall in price. The 128GB iPhone 11 for example is now £130 less at £649.
Older models which are now gone from the official Apple range could means other retailers will possibly reduce them further to clear stock.
Should you get one of the new iPhones?
It’s tempting right? But you need to ask if you’re buying it because you like shiny new things (understandable), or because it’s actually going to be significantly different to your current handset.
Yes there are improvements to previous models, but can you justify hundreds of pounds of expenditure to get them? I’d say it’s unlikely if you last got a new model a year or two ago.
I used to upgrade my phone every couple of years, but now I tend to wait another year or two. And you know what? My phone still worked fine and did everything I need it to for those extra years.
So if your current phone is absolutely fine then keeping it is going to be the best value for money.
There’s an argument that you’ll get more money by selling your current phone now rather than in a year – which is true. Even so I still think waiting is the best bet.
But if you’re adamant you want (or need) to upgrade your phone when the new iPhones are available, here’s how to save some cash.
How to get a new iPhone for less
Avoid upgrading or buying on a contract
One of the most expensive ways to buy any new phone, not just the iPhone, is to buy it through your mobile network.
Instead you should try to buy it upfront, and get a separate SIM-only contract. This is almost always cheaper. More on this further down the article.
I’m not even going to bother comparing contract prices at the different networks as there are far cheaper ways to get your hands on the new phones.
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.
Why mobile contracts are bad for your pocket
Lots of people get a new phone as part of an upgrade with their network. That’s usually as part of a 24-month contract. This actually costs you more money! By doing this you’ll essentially be taking out a loan on the handset and paying interest each month. The extra they charge can easily be hundreds of pounds.
If your monthly charge is a combination of handset and tariff then it’s also easy to get caught in the trap of continuing to pay for the handset after the contract ends. Again, quickly adding up if you don’t switch straight away.
Buy the handset outright
Don’t be tempted to get a higher specification that you actually need. Most people won’t use 128GB storage, let alone 512GB. Realistically, last year’s XR will probably be fast enough for most people, so it might be hard to justify paying more for any of the 11 series.
If you struggle to find the new iPhones in stock, then this iStock website is fantastic. It has near real-time updates on all the different models available in official Apple shops. You can also try Currys or John Lewis,
Even so, you’re probably thinking, how the hell can I afford a £699+ phone?!
Here are a few ways to make it more affordable:
Use your savings
If you’ve got savings, and they aren’t earmarked for something else, I’d normally suggest using these.
BUT this year is a little different. We don’t know what’s on the horizon and you might need to access that cash. There’s no point having to borrow money in a few months because you’ve spanked it all on a phone.
Pay with a 0% interest offer
It’s better perhaps to spread the cost out with a 0% interest deal.
Apple often has 0% finance on new handsets so do check out its website to see if the phone you want has this option. Do this and you’ll spread the cost of the phone out over 24 months without any extra charges.
Or you could look at a 0% purchase credit card. As long as you make the minimum repayment each month and know you can afford to pay the card off before the 0% period ends, you can again spread the cost out.
Of course make sure with both of these that your credit report is up to date and your score reasonable. A rejection for the credit could hurt your score.
Watch out for “upfront” that costs more
If you buy the handset outright from Apple or another store like John Lewis, you’ll pay the real price.
However some networks, including O2, have the cheek to charge you even more when you do – even if it’s not part of a contract.
Get cashback on a contract
Buy it abroad
This one won’t be possible for everyone, and it’s harder this year than any other year, but it’s a goodie if you can.
Though exchange rates aren’t as favourable as they have been, you can still save on an iPhone if you buy it in the States. And this year the price in pounds and dollars is the same (so if a model is $899 it’s £899). Normally there’s an adjustment (eg $899 could have been £849).
Of course, to save money you need to be going to the States anyway. But if you do have a holiday planned, wait until then and you’ll make a decent saving. I did this last year when buying an iPhone 11, saving me around £120.
When you see the prices listed by Apple in dollars you have to add tax on top, which varies depending on the state you visit, to work out the actual price. Even so, you can easily save £100 or more, depending on the model phone you go for.
If you are going to do this, make sure you pay with a specialist travel card, and if it’s on a credit card, pay it off in full ASAP to avoid interest charges.
Buy last year’s model
The iPhone 11 price has already dropped by more than £100 – and it’s only a year old. So you’ll get an improved handset but at a lower price.
Sell your old phone to fund the new one
If you really do want the new phone, then try to offset it through selling your old phone. From my experience you’ll get the most money from eBay.
However as soon as a new phone is announced prices for older handsets fall in value, so don’t leave it too long.
If you do buy the handset outright then you’ll need to get your network contract as SIM-only offer.
You can choose between a 30-day or 12-month SIM and most people should be able to get by paying less than £10 a month for your minutes, texts and at least 8GB of data. Here’s more on how it works.
Pick of the SIM-only deals
- Three offer 8GB and unlimited minutes for £8 a month, and that includes 5G coverage
- Plusnet’s 30-day rolling contract is just £8 for 7GB of data (uses the EE network)
- GiffGaff offers unlimited minutes and 9GB of data for £10 a month (uses the O2 network)
Don’t forget to go via a cashback site to save even more money, and there are new member deals too.