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Top 12 Cheapest iPhones and Tips for Saving on iPhones

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New iPhones are great and include perks like upgraded hardware and the latest software, but there are some benefits to owning an older Apple iPhone.

Older iPhones are generally cheaper than new ones, making them a more affordable option if you’re in the market for a new cell phone. If you've been using an older iPhone for a long time, you may be more familiar with its interface and functions.

Some people like to access older apps that are unavailable on newer devices, and with research showing that we are increasingly attached to our iPhones, choosing a phone that suits your needs is important. Whether your reasoning for buying an older iPhone is durability or your budget, older iPhones may not have the latest hardware or software features.

However, they can still be a good option for those who prefer familiar interfaces or those looking for specific features that may not be available on newer models. Whether you’re looking for a slightly outdated iPhone or a super cheap one, there are options for you in each price range.

Best iPhones Under $100

  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone SE

To get iPhones at a lower price, consider older models consistently priced below $100. The iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and original Apple iPhone SE are all great options, even though they show their age. Carriers offer these models at great prices, and you can buy them outright for under $100 without worrying about monthly payment plans. These are some of the most affordable iPhone models available.

Additionally, some major carriers offer the iPhone SE for free if you purchase it in monthly installments. The carrier will credit your monthly bill a certain amount, making the phone free. However, you must stay with the carrier for the entire installment period, up to 30 months, to truly get the iPhone SE for free. If you cancel your plan early, you must pay the remaining balance on the phone in one lump sum payment.

Best iPhones Under $300

  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE 2022

If you can spend more money, you'll have a more comprehensive selection of newer iPhone models, although none have been released in the past two years. The iPhone X and iPhone XR, priced at under $300 outright, are the primary iPhones to consider when looking for an affordable option. Additionally, the second-generation iPhone SE (2020) is also a good contender, with significant processor upgrades (compare it to the original iPhone SE to determine which one is best for you).

Most prepaid carriers offer these iPhones at a reasonable price, while some postpaid carriers provide them at an even more affordable rate. On a monthly installment plan, the iPhone X and even the iPhone 11 can cost as little as $5 per month or even be free. However, you must remain with the carrier for the entire installment period, which can last up to 30 months, or you will owe more money to pay off the phone.

Best iPhones Under $400

  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 11

You can acquire one of the best affordable iPhones available today by increasing your budget slightly. The iPhone 11 is an excellent value, providing numerous of Apple's latest and most popular technological advancements without breaking the bank.

One change in the iPhone 11 series (compared to the iPhone X series) is adding a new dual-lens camera system, Night Mode, and an enhanced Portrait Mode for all objects (not just people!). The display is also more pleasing to the eye, and the camera performs better in challenging circumstances, with the introduction of wireless charging and a much-improved processor.

Still, carriers like AT&T or Verizon often offer significant discounts if you opt for a monthly installment plan, lowering the cost to just $5 per month over a 30 or 24-month period, respectively. However, if you're willing to spend more, the new iPhone SE (2022) is a state-of-the-art option with all the latest features.

Understanding how much older iPhones cost versus new iPhones can be important for various reasons. Take financial planning, for example. If you're considering purchasing a new iPhone, it's important to know the cost to plan your budget accordingly. Knowing the price of older iPhones can also help you decide whether to buy a new phone or a refurbished model.

If you currently own an older iPhone, knowing its value compared to the cost of a new iPhone can help you decide whether it's worth upgrading. You can sell your old iPhone to help offset the price of a new one or keep it as a backup. When you're selling your phone, knowing its value can help you set a fair price and negotiate with potential buyers.

Understanding the differences in price between old and new iPhones can also help you make informed decisions about whether to buy new or used, which model to choose, and whether the features and improvements of a new iPhone are worth the cost and decisions about purchasing, upgrading, and selling your phone.

What Are the Benefits of Cheap iPhones?

There are several benefits of cheap iPhones, including:

  1. The most obvious benefit of an older iPhone is affordability — it will be much more affordable than a new or premium model. This makes it accessible to a broader range of consumers who may be unable to afford the latest models.
  2. Upgraded Features: Although a cheap iPhone may be an older model, it can still have many of the same features and capabilities as the latest iPhones. This includes things like advanced camera technology, Face ID, and access to the latest software updates.
  3. Older models of iPhones tend to be more durable than the latest models, as they are built with thicker and more sturdy materials. This means a cheap iPhone may last longer and be more damage-resistant than a new or premium model.
  4. Familiarity: For those already familiar with the iPhone operating system, cheap iphones can provide comfort and familiarity, as those who use their phones a lot will already know how to use the device and its features.
  5. If you purchase a cheap iPhone through a carrier, you may get lower monthly bills on your phone plan, as you will not be paying for the device's full price. This can help you save money in the long run.

Where Can You Buy Cheap iPhones?

If you’re wondering where to get cheap iPhones, you can find a deal in several places, including:

  • Apple Refurbished Store: Apple offers refurbished iPhones at a discounted price through its official online store. These phones are thoroughly tested and come with a one-year warranty.
  • Third-Party Retailers: Many third-party retailers sell refurbished or pre-owned iPhones at a discounted price. Some examples include Best Buy, Amazon, and Gazelle.
  • Carrier Deals: Carriers often offer discounts or special deals on iPhones when you sign up for a new plan or upgrade your existing plan.
  • Trade-In Programs: Apple and many carriers offer trade-in programs. Just trade in your old phone for credit towards purchasing a new or refurbished iPhone.
  • Online Marketplaces: Online marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist may also have cheap iPhones for sale. Exercise caution and ensure you are buying from a reputable seller.

Why Are iPhones Cheaper From Prepaid Carriers?

There are a few key reasons why iPhones are generally cheaper from prepaid carriers:

  1. No Contract: Prepaid carriers do not require a long-term contract, which means they do not have the same financial commitments to the customer as postpaid carriers. This can allow prepaid carriers to offer lower prices on devices, including iPhones.
  2. Fewer Features: Prepaid carriers may not offer the same features and services as postpaid carriers. For example, prepaid carriers may not offer international roaming or high-speed data, which can help lower costs.
  3. Lower Margins: Prepaid carriers typically operate on lower margins than postpaid carriers, focusing on providing consumers with low-cost options. This can mean that they may offer lower device prices to attract more customers.


It is important to note that while iPhones may be cheaper than prepaid carriers, they may also have limitations, such as limited network coverage or slower data speeds. Researching and comparing the options available is always recommended before deciding where to purchase an iPhone.

When Can I Buy iPhones for the Cheapest Price?

The price of iPhones can vary depending on various factors, including the model, storage capacity, and availability.

To get the best iPhone deal, you can find iPhones cheaper at certain times during the year, and here are a few examples:

  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two major shopping events in November, where many retailers offer significant discounts on various products, including iPhones.
  • New Model Releases: When Apple releases a new model of iPhone, the previous models may see a price drop as retailers and carriers try to clear out their inventory.
  • End of Financial Quarter: Some retailers and carriers may offer discounts on iPhones at the end of a financial quarter to meet sales goals.
  • Back-to-School Season: Apple often offers educational discounts and promotions during the back-to-school season, including deals on iPhones.
  • Major Holidays: Major holidays, such as Christmas or Hanukkah, can also be an excellent time to look for discounts on iPhones, as retailers may offer holiday promotions.

While you may be able to find iPhones for a cheaper price during these times, it is always recommended to compare prices and do your research to ensure that you are getting a good deal.

Can I Trade in My Old iPhone for a New One?

Yes, you can trade in your old iPhone for a new one, especially if your old device is in good condition. Apple and many other retailers and carriers offer trade-in programs where you can trade in your old device for credit towards purchasing a new iPhone.

To participate in a trade-in program, you typically need to provide information about the condition of your old iPhone, including the model, storage capacity, and any damage. The value of your trade-in credit will depend on these factors, as well as the current market value of the device.

Apple's trade-in program, for example, allows you to trade in your old iPhone online or in-store. You can get an estimate of the trade-in value online, and if you agree to the offer, you can ship your old iPhone to Apple for free or bring it to a physical Apple Store. The value of your trade-in credit can be used towards purchasing a new iPhone, either in full or partially.

Many carriers also offer trade-in programs, which can be a convenient way to upgrade your iPhone and save money. However, comparing the offers from different trade-in programs is always recommended to ensure you get the best deal. Trading in your used iPhone may help you score great deals on newer models that tend to be pricey, like the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Plus, or iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The Bottom Line

When looking for an affordable iPhone, it’s best to weigh your options in terms of storage, features, and specifications. Depending on what you need out of your phone, older, less advanced options like the iPhone 7 or 8 may be suitable, while a newer model like the iPhone 11 may be best if you’re looking for more of an upgraded phone.

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