How to get the best iPhone deal

Andrew Michael
·3-min read

The Apple phone has taken on a life of its own over the years, with September and October being flagged as key months for the unveiling of the latest handset, a tradition going back to when the iPhone 4 was released back in 2011.

Sightings of the latest range, a quartet known collectively as the iPhone 12 featuring the Mini, 12, Pro, and Pro Max, first emerged in October 2020.

But iPhones aren’t cheap and, if you’re working to a budget, you need to eke out as much value from your deal as possible.

Whether you’re after the latest phone, or one of Apple’s similarly impressive predecessors (such as the ‘11’ or ‘XR’), here’s how to get one.

Should I get the latest iPhone?

The latest iPhone family comprises a quartet of handsets, namely: the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The Pro and the Pro Max represent premium models featuring larger screens, better cameras and bigger batteries.

All iPhone 12 models come with 5G capability, Super retina XDR OLed displays and a new A14 chip for extra processing power.

And the arrival of the ‘12’ coincided with a major change in iPhone design whereby flat edges (similar to those seen on an iPad Pro) replaced the rounded edges of previous models.

All well and good, but when you’re looking for a new phone, it’s worth considering whether you need the latest model at all.

With the features outlined above, it could be tempting. But, for less outlay, it’s more cost-effective to side with a handset that’s already a generation (or more) old.

Given Apple’s tendency to release its latest models at the same time each year, a good way to save some cash is to wait for a new iPhone arrival in the autumn. Then choose an older version when the price has dropped and existing handsets are shunted down the pecking order.

Whichever handset you choose, the best way to secure a great iPhone deal involves answering some key questions, undertaking a little research, and making some comparisons.

Should I buy an iPhone outright?

Once you know what phone you want, how you should go about buying it is the next thing to get right.

One option is to buy an iPhone outright (make sure you use a reputable seller) and then combine the handset with a separate SIM-only deal from an established network provider.

Before parting with any cash, take a look at customer reviews of the retailer in question and check both the handset’s availability along with the retailer’s returns policy.

The upfront cost will make a sizeable dent of several hundred pounds in your bank account. But it could still work out cheaper overall, compared with the second option which is to take out a contract with a network provider.

Should I get a monthly iPhone contract?

A monthly contract offers customers access to a suite of iPhone handsets (including all the latest ones) combined with a pre-agreed package of minutes, texts and phone storage/data. The contract will be stipulated over a set period of time (for example 24, or increasingly, 36 months) and the bill will be split into two elements.

The first part is where the user pays back the cost of the handset, while the second element represents the airtime and data usage you’ve agreed with the provider.

Popular deals include unlimited calls and texts, plus a pre-agreed amount of data (such as 2GB). Where you exceed your data for a particular month, the option is available to top up for an extra cost.

Should a fault develop, free repair or handset replacement may be included as part of the contract. On the downside, an early exit from a contract can prove costly as providers apply exit penalty charges.

Weigh up your initial decision carefully. You don’t want to be jumping ship just a few months into a 36-month agreement.