If you really want to buy the new iPhone 11, top-end iPhone 11 Pro or larger Max versions of these handsets when they go on sale, it won’t be cheap. But it can be less expensive. I’ve a few tricks to help you save money on the latest Apple mobile phones.
You probably either love or hate Apple, but if you love Apple you probably waited excitedly to see what the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro handsets would be like when announced at the Steve Jobs Theatre in California.
I’ll write elsewhere about the arrival date of Apple’s streaming service, and focus here on phone details.
The new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro
The first phone announced was the iPhone 11. Most of the features seem to be about cameras – there are now two front-facing ones, and there’s a slow-mo selfie feature too. The battery is also improved and the chip is apparently faste.
Next up was the also brand new iPhone 11 Pro, which is the highest-end iPhone yet. It’s frankly ridiculous. Again it’s all about cameras, with this handset hosting three front-facing lenses. This version also comes in a Max version with a bigger screen (and heftier price tag). The standard version of the 11 Pro will apparently last four hours longer than the iPhone XS from last year.
None of these handsets seem to be 5G compatible, with this feature likely to be available on phones released in a year’s time.
As ever, you’ll pay to get the latest model, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at £1,149 for the 64GB model and hits a massive £1,499 for the 512GB model – the most expensive iPhone yet. The smaller 11 Pro is £100 less, while the “standard” 11 will start at £729.
You can order these handsets from Friday, and they’ll be available to collect from the 20th September.
You can still get the iPhone 8 and the budget XR, both of which will fall in price. The XS, X, and & models are now all gone from the official Apple range – and that means other retailers will possibly reduce them further to clear stock.
Should you get one of the new iPhones?
I used to upgrade every couple of years, but now I tend to wait every couple of years. And you know what? My phone still works fine. It’s done everything I need it to. I traded in my 6 for a 7 two years ago (when it was already an older model), and I’ll probably wait another year before moving up a level or two.
And if your current phone is absolutely fine then that’s probably 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, but I still think waiting is best.
It’s also worth noting that I don’t think these phones are 5G ready. If you’re going to keep your handset for two or three years, that could mean it’s quickly outdated.
But if you’re adamant you want (or need) to upgrade your phone when the new iPhones are available, well here’s how to save some cash.
Avoid upgrading or buying on a contract – go SIM-only instead
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. 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.
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.
The cheaper alternative
Your cheapest option is to buy the handset outright (more tips on doing this below) then get a 30-day or 12-month SIM with a network like GiffGaff or Three. Most people should be able to get by paying less than £10 a month for your minutes, texts and at least 4GB of data.
Pick of the SIM-only deals
- Three offer 4GB and unlimited minutes for £12 a month, and that includes the Feel at Home feature so you can use it outside Europe – though there are often deals with double the data for less.
- Plusnet’s 30-day rolling contract is just £8 for 3GB of data (uses the EE network)
- GiffGaff offers unlimited minutes and 6GB of data for £10 a month (uses the O2 network)
Bring down the cost of the handset
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 £750+ 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, then you’re better off using them on the the handset than taking out a contract. BUT only do this if you can afford it. 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 spending 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 with a specialist 0% purchase credit card.
Apple has also offered 0% finance on new handsets so do check out it’s website to see if the phone you want has this option.
Watch out for “upfront” that costs more
If you buy the handset only from Apple or another store, you’ll pay the real price. However some networks, including O2, have the cheek to charge you even more when you do this alongside a contract.
Get cashback on a contract
Buy it abroad
This one won’t be possible for everyone, but it’s a goody 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.
Of course, you need to be going there 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 7+, saving me around £100.
You’ve got to add tax on top, which varies depending on the state you visit, to work out the actual price, but could easily be £150 or more.
That’s actually the price you could pay for one leg of a flight to New York with Norwegian Air!
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.
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.
Don’t sign up for the Apple Upgrade Programme
I’d stay clear of Apple’s scheme where you can get a new handset every 11 months. It works out far cheaper to save up each month for a year and combine that cash with any money you raise from selling your handset.