The latest iPhone is cheaper than the flagship 13 and 13 Pro models.
Usually Apple announced new phones in September (here’s the details of the 13 launch), but this time there was an extra launch – the iPhone SE version 3 or 2022 model.
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 SE
These handsets are “budget” when compared to other Apple models. They keep the Touch ID home button and this time are 5G compatible.
This new version of the iPhone SE looks the same as previous models but with a few upgrades. It’s faster for a start and will have a longer battery life. The camera is improved too, though it’s still a far way from what the pricer models provide.
It comes in three colours – Midnight, Starlight and Red. It also has tougher glass on the front and back.
This “basic” iPhone SE will be available on the Apple site with the 64GB version costing £419, the 128GB model at £469 and the larger 256GB priced at £569. The mobile networks will add their own in the coming days.
Each time there’s a new release, Apple also removes a group from sale in its official range. However this time it’s just replacing the previous model of SE.
You can still get the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 12 and iPhone 11. It’s unlikely this will change until the next release in the Autumn.
The next cheapest model, after the iPhone SE, is the 64GB version of the iPhone 11 at £489.
Should you get the new iPhone SE?
If you really want a new iPhone but can’t afford a 12 or 13 then this lower price will be tempting. It’s also going to be popular for anyone who’s not already upgraded due to handset size or because they didn’t want Face ID.
But it’s still not cheap so you need to make sure you can afford it. And it’s also worth considering if you actually need a new phone. If your exisitng handset works fine, then maybe leave it a year or two?
There’s an argument that you’ll get more money by selling your current phone now rather than in a year – which is often true. Even so, I still think waiting is the best bet.
How to get a new iPhone for less
If you’re adamant you want (or need) to upgrade your phone when the new iPhone SE is available, here’s how to save some cash.
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.
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Why mobile contracts are bad for your pocket
Lots of people get a new phone as part of an upgrade via their network. That’s usually as part of a 24-month contract – or even longer.
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 than you actually need. Most people won’t use 128GB storage, let alone 512GB. Realistically, last year’s 12 will probably be fast enough for most people, so it might be hard to justify paying more for any of the 13 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 £399+ 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. You can always get this in Apple stores (take photo ID with you) with the iPhone Payments scheme offering 20 months interest free.
The online offer comes and goes, but it’s back for launch of these new handsets. 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, 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 after a period where prices where the same in dollar and pounds (so if a model is $899 it’s £899), once again the price in pounds and dollars is slightly different (eg $429 vs £419).
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 two and a bit years ago 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 12 price has already dropped by more than £120 – 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. Here’s how to get the most money from selling your old handset
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 £8 a month for your minutes, texts and at least 8GB of data. Here’s more on how it works.