You can definitely find a cheap iPhone if you know where to look. Obviously “cheap” means different things to different people but it’s easy enough to find an iPhone deal or discount. If you’re lucky you can even nab a free iPhone (but don’t get your hopes up).
One thing to keep in mind while hunting for the best iPhone deals, though, is that the better the deal is the worse your chances become of actually landing it (notice I didn’t say impossible). Still, saving money in any amount is better than not so let’s get to it.
Before you go any further you should probably ask yourself a few questions. Do you want to buy the latest iPhone or are you willing to buy an older model? Are you okay with buying a used iPhone? Do you need a new phone immediately or can you afford to wait a bit? Getting your priorities straight will make this process a lot easier.
It’s easy to assume that getting a great deal on an iPhone means you’ll have to go the used route but luckily that’s not always the case!
#1 Check the world’s largest online retailer for a deal
Whenever I’m looking for a great deal on any kind of electronics I go to Amazon first. The reason is simple: Amazon is huge and has the power to offer incredible deals you just won’t find elsewhere. Does that mean it’s guaranteed that you will find a deal on the item you happen to want to buy at this very moment? No, of course not. But it doesn’t hurt to check.
The first thing to do is search for iPhone deals on Amazon (or just click here to get straight to the results). If you don’t find anything appealing there then head on over to the Deals in Cell Phones and Accessories section of the site for a look. Finally you could try searching for Amazon coupons or installing a helpful Chrome extension like Wikibuy.
#2 Get on a monthly installment plan
If the Amazon route doesn’t work for you then consider signing-up for a monthly installment plan from T-Mobile, Sprint or even Apple itself. The big idea here is to pay for your iPhone in pieces — or installments — rather than all at once. $10 (or so) a month is a lot easier to digest than paying several hundred dollars up front.
“The catch” is that you’ll be stuck with a carrier contract and won’t own your phone (you’ll be leasing it instead).
Honestly this isn’t a bad option. I’ve been using T-Mobile’s JUMP! On Demand program for awhile now and have been fairly happy with the results. T-Mobile’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired, though.
#3 Check Apple’s website for factory refurbished iPhones
It’s kind of an open secret that Apple sells refurbished iPhones at a discount (along with other refurbished Apple products). Basically, these items are like-new rather than brand new. What makes these deals tricky is that factory refurbished Apple products aren’t available all the time: they tend to be available in batches and when they’re gone they’re gone.
There are some major benefits to buying a refurbished iPhone direclty from Apple. Not only can you sometimes find deals that can save you a couple hundred dollars but you’ll also get a 1-year warranty from Apple. Finally, every factory refurbished iPhone comes with a new battery and outershell!
#4 Buy a used iPhone from a trusted vendor
And now we come to the somewhat obvious tip: buying a used iPhone. But what might be less obvious is where to buy a used iPhone. Sure, you could try eBay but people have been complaining about the fees for years. Gazelle, Swappa and Glide are three great places to start your search.
These sites can save you up to 90% on a used iPhone (depending on what you’re looking for) and usually come with some extra protections (like inspections or guarantees) that you won’t get on eBay or Craigslist. And if you’ve got an old iPhone laying around you might want to consider selling it using ones of these sites in order to further reduce the cost of your new phone.
#5 Enter an iPhone giveaway (seriously)
Now this last option is a long shot, I admit, but if you don’t need a new iPhone immediately then it might just be worth it. Giveaways are popular ways for businesses to promote things and are especially popular enticements on social media. The best time to find an iPhone giveaway is right around the launch of a new model (obviously).
The first place I’d recommend checking for iPhone giveaways would be YouTube as several popular tech channels are prone to seasonal iPhone giveaways. When the time is right just search YouTube for “iPhone giveaway” and get yourself entered in as many as you want.