What You Need to Know About the True Cost of an iPhone

Choosing an iPhone and the right plan

Learning how much an iPhone costs isn't as simple as checking Apple's website for the listed price of the latest iPhone. That's because the cost of buying an iPhone depends on several factors, and you also need to account for any monthly charges from your wireless provider. So we'll do the math to help figure out an iPhone's true cost.

The Cost of the Latest iPhones

An iPhone's primary cost factor is the price of the phone itself. However, prices vary based on which model you want and how much storage you choose. For example, you can find refurbished older iPhone models for extremely low prices on third-party marketplaces, while the newest iPhone 13 Pro Max with 1TB of storage can run you $1,599.

iPhone 11 Models on Display in an Apple Store
Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty News Images

As of March 2022, the cost of a new iPhone directly from Apple looks like this:

New iPhones Apple Sells Directly
Model 64GB 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
iPhone 13 Pro Max N/A $1099 $1199 $1399 $1599
iPhone 13 Pro N/A $999 $1099 $1299 $1499
iPhone 13 N/A $829 $929 $1129 N/A
iPhone 13 Mini N/A $729 $829 $1029 N/A
iPhone SE $429 $479 $579 N/A N/A
iPhone 12 $729 $779 $879 N/A N/A
iPhone 12 Mini $629 $679 $779 N/A N/A
iPhone 11  $499 $549 N/A N/A  N/A

Apple also directly sells some older refurbished iPhone models, though all models and storage capacities aren't guaranteed to be in stock:

Refurbished iPhones Apple Sells Directly 
Model  64GB  128GB  256GB  512GB
 iPhone 11 Pro Max  $769  N/A  $849  $1,019
 iPhone XR  $369  $419  N/A  N/A
 iPhone 8 Plus  $359  $399  $489  N/A
 iPhone 8  $319  $359  $449  N/A

You can pay full price for your iPhone, choose to pay in monthly installments, or check with your carrier for any promotions or incentives. Apple also offers trade-in opportunities that can lower your price via Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program.

If you choose to work with your wireless carrier and purchase a new iPhone, you can choose a monthly installment plan. This may provide a lower upfront cost, but you must stay with the carrier until the iPhone is paid for or pay the balance due before switching to another carrier.

Don't wait for a sale if you want to buy an iPhone. Apple rarely has iPhone deals that offer significant discounts. You might find short-term discounts when new iPhone models come out or around the holidays, but those are usually small savings or incentives.

Carrier Subsidies Aren't Going to Return

It used to be that customers could purchase iPhones for significantly lower costs because phone companies subsidized part of the cost to entice you to use their service. Unfortunately, the subsidy system is no more, and it's highly unlikely it will return.

However, when new iPhone models are released, major carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, will sometimes offer price reductions for trade-ins. Carriers also occasionally offer incentives for purchasing an iPhone. Check with your carrier about any promotions that make it obtaining an iPhone worthwhile.

Regional and Prepaid Carriers Sometimes Have Cheaper Prices

If you are working with a smaller, regional carrier that offers iPhones, you may be able to pay less than the full cost of an iPhone. However, these carriers may not have the latest iPhone models, their monthly payment plans may be more limited, and they serve mainly rural areas. However, it's worth checking with your regional carrier to see if its options work for you.

Monthly Voice and Data Plans

You'll need to factor in the monthly cost of your carrier's voice and data service when thinking about the price of an iPhone. This cost will vary depending on your wireless carrier and your plan.

For example, a T-Mobile Magenta plan with unlimited 5G & 4G LTE data and mobile hotspot data will cost you $70 per line or $140 for a family of four. Verizon's prices are similar, while Google Fi's Simply Unlimited plan is $60 per month for one line or $30 per person for four (with unlimited data.)

Prepaid plans are generally less expensive. For example, Metro by T-Mobile has a four-line unlimited plan that starts at $120 a month for one line or two lines at $70 per month. The best prepaid cellphone plans also often include taxes and fees, so the costs are more straightforward.

Other Costs

You don't want to spend hundreds on a new iPhone and then toss it in your purse or pocket without a protective case. Plan to put a case on the iPhone as soon as you get it. The best iPhone cases can cost from $40 to $100 and often feature protections against water and allow for wireless charging.

The iPhone comes with Apple's standard warranty, but you may want to extend that protection by adding Apple Care to your iPhone. The price of AppleCare differs based on your model; expect to spend between $129 to $199 for two additional years of coverage. The price goes up if you add theft protection. If you buy your iPhone through Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, AppleCare+ is included in the price.

Lots of other companies offer iPhone insurance, but we recommend not buying iPhone insurance.

  • How much does it cost to replace an iPhone battery?

    When it comes to iPhone battery replacement, go through Apple's iPhone battery and power repair website. If you have Apple Care or an in-warranty device, you'll pay nothing for an iPhone battery replacement. For an iPhone 13 through iPhone X, you'll pay $69 for battery replacement.

  • How much does it cost to replace an iPhone screen?

    For iPhone screen repair or replacement, check to see if your iPhone is under warranty. If it's not under warranty, you'll pay between $149 and $329 to fix or replace the screen. If you have Apple Care +, screen repair is $29 for all eligible models.

  • How much does it cost to upgrade your iPhone?

    If you join the iPhone Upgrade Program, what you pay depends on the price of the phone you want. For example, a 128GB iPhone 13 Pro Max costs $1,099, but with the Apple Upgrade Program, you'll agree to pay it off in 24 monthly installments of $45.80. After making half the payments, you're eligible for a free upgrade.

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