/>
X
Innovation
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

Want an iPhone? Here are the 19 best deals on new and old models

Retailers and carriers are offering promotions on the new iPhone 14 line, and you can also score great discounts on previous models through carrier offers and standalone purchases.

Shopping for a new iPhone can be a lengthy and sometimes stressful process. There's a lot to consider between deciding which model to get and looking for ways to save money on your purchase. 

Thankfully, carriers and even Apple constantly rotate promotions on all Apple's current iPhone models. That means you're not locked into getting whatever the newest (and most expensive) iPhone is, but you can find deals on models including the iPhone SEiPhone 11iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13.. Now that Apple has announced the new iPhone 14 range, including four new models -- the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Max -- there are also carrier deals for consumers who want one of the new devices. 

You'll notice that many carrier deals have the potential to net you a free iPhone, assuming you have the right type of phone to trade in and sign up for the right unlimited plan. Naturally, the devil's in the details, er, fine print, for any smartphone deal. But that's why we're here. If you decide that the current deals aren't worth trading in your old phone, you can always sell it yourself and see if you can get more cash than a retailer or carrier offers. Just make sure to factory reset it, first. 

Below you'll find the best deals we can currently find with US carriers, as well as with Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Bookmark this page and keep checking back as we continuously update this list. 

The best Apple iPhone deals available online

  • Current price: $799+; up to $570 on trade-in
  • Original price: $799+ $899+, $999+, $1,099+

Apple's new flagship product is the iPhone 14. This includes the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Max as a product line. 

The iPhone 14, revealed on September 7 at Apple's Far Out event, comes with a 6.1" Retina OLED display, is powered by Apple's A15 processor, and includes 4GB RAM, a 12MP main camera, and a 12MP front-facing camera. The iPhone 14 Plus has a larger 6.7" display. Storage options range from 128GB to 512GB.

The iPhone 14 range also includes a new feature for satellite connectivity in emergencies dubbed Emergency SOS. Prices begin at $799 for the smaller iPhone and $899 for the iPhone 14 Plus. 

The iPhone 14 Pro and Max come with Apple's latest A16 processor – what Apple claims is the fastest processor yet in a smartphone – and are equipped with 6.1/6.7" HDR Always On displays, a 48MP main camera, and a new "dynamic island" interface, an improvement to the UI for fluidly conveying information including notifications and alerts. You can select storage options up to 1TB and prices range from $999 to $1,099+.

You can take advantage of a discount of up to $570 when you trade in your old device on any iPhone 14 device. 

  • Current price: $799 | $999; up to $800 with trade-in
  • Original price: $799 | $999

Now that Apple has formally unveiled its new flagship iPhone 14 lineup, carriers are offering deals for Apple fans seeking an upgrade. T-Mobile is offering up to $800 off an iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro.

A discount of up to $800, applied via bill credits, is available when you add a new line and trade in a new device on a qualifying plan. In addition, other deals will net you a discount of between $200 and $400 with trade-ins on eligible plans including Magenta & Magenta MAX. 

  • Current price: $799+; up to $1,000 trade-in credits
  • Original price: $799+

US carrier AT&T is offering solid deals to Apple fans who wish to upgrade their mobile device. Any device in the iPhone 14 range can be ordered with a hefty discount -- as long as you are trading in an older device. The discount you receive will depend on the smartphone you choose to trade in.

You will receive up to $1,000 off the iPhone 14 Series when you make the purchase on an installment plan and AT&T Unlimited plan. Credits are applied over 36 months. This means you can pick up an iPhone 14 for free with the right device trade.

  • Current price: $1,099+, up to $1,000 in trade-in credit
  • Original price: $1,099+

You can also take advantage of trade-in credits to reduce the price of the iPhone Pro Max. Verizon offers up to $1,000 in trade-in credits on eligible 5G Unlimited plans. You can enjoy a further $200 when you switch.

In addition, Verizon has thrown in gifts to sweeten the pot. When you sign up for eligible plans, you will receive a free Apple Watch SE (new line required), or $200 off an iPad. 

If you sign up for the One Unlimited for iPhone plan, you receive Apple One -- access to Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and iCloud+ -- as part of the package.

  • Current price: $22.22 p/m+

As one of the US top retailers, Best Buy often provides the platform for carrier-related smartphone deals. At the moment, there are many options available for iPhone 14 models locked to carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

If you order your device through Best Buy, you can receive four months of Apple TV+, News+, and Music for free. Furthermore, you can save between $800 and $1,100 with qualified activation and trade-ins, depending on the carrier you choose. 

  • Current price: $599 (mini) or $699 (iPhone 13); - trade-in discount
  • Original price: $599 | $699

Apple started a whole new approach to offering iPhone promotions through the Apple Store when the iPhone 13 launched, and we've now seen that trickle down to the rest of the iPhone lineup. Instead of leaving the promotions only to the carriers, the iPhone maker allows carriers to offer deals for phones bought directly from Apple. 

If you buy an iPhone 13, either a mini or standard model, through the vendor directly, you can choose to trade in your old device and save yourself part of the upfront fee. The amount on offer ranges from $40 to $570, depending on the age and type of device you want to hand over. Cashback may also be on offer via Apple Card.

  • Current price: $Various
  • Original price: $Various

The prepaid Verizon-owned carrier Visible is offering discounts on iPhone models to customers. The iPhone 13 range and iPhone SE are included. In some cases, you can save a hundred dollars or so off the typical RRP, and virtual gift cards between $50 and $200 are also available. 

Visible will also throw in a free pair of 2nd-gen Apple AirPods Pro earbuds with select models.

  • Current price: Free with deal 
  • Original price: $599

Verizon has an online-only deal right now that requires you to sign up for a new line of service on an Unlimited plan. You'll get an iPhone 12 for free in exchange. In addition, Verizon is offering $50 off Beats Studio Buds with Apple purchases.

  • Current price: $630+ before trade-in value, potentially reduced to $0
  • Original price: $630+

T-Mobile is offering up to $730 off your new phone, an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini, when you trade in your current phone and sign up to a new line of service. However, when you sign up for a new line only, you can only expect up to $250 off.

The amount of the credit depends on which phone you're trading in. The credits for your trade-in will be split up over 24 months. 

Apple iPhone deals at Amazon

Here are some standalone, alternative iPhone deals we've found at Amazon. 

Apple iPhone deals at Best Buy

Here are some standalone, alternative iPhone deals we've found at Best Buy. 

Apple iPhone deals at Walmart

Here are some standalone, alternative iPhone deals we've found at Walmart. 

When should I upgrade my phone?

Believe it or not, you don't have to upgrade to that new, shiny phone every year. Modern-day smartphones are designed to function for years and years, especially if the manufacturer offers extensive software support.

Still, there are a couple of reasons why you may want to consider upgrading from your current phone:

  • Poor software performance: If you've had the displeasure of experiencing app crashes and delayed loading times, then you may have been told to "factory reset the phone." While that certainly helps with refreshing the internal state of your device, it is only a Band-Aid type solution and you are likely to face similar usability problems again in the long run.
  • Faulty battery: Nearly every phone in the market runs on lithium-ion batteries, which degrade over time and have the potential to swell if kept in hazardous conditions. If you're experiencing poor battery life or your phone doesn't hold its charge well, then that may be your signal to replace the battery or the phone altogether.
  • Hardware defect: Like the battery, if your device suffers from any hardware damage (i.e cracked screen, unresponsive digitizer, crackling speaker, etc.), then an upgrade may be due.

It never hurts to switch to the best, and as this deal list has shown, you don't have to pay a fortune to do so.

Should I buy from a carrier or directly from the manufacturer (unlocked)?

When deciding whether to buy from carrier stores or brand stores, the first question you should ask yourself is: do you mind having a locked device?

  • An unlocked phone allows you to use the device with different carrier services and without third-party bloatware or contractual agreements. This is important if you plan to switch carriers or travel internationally.
  • A locked phone restricts your mobile data usage to the carrier that you purchased the device from, whether that's T-Mobile, Verizon, or AT&T. While it sounds less beneficial than buying unlocked, carrier stores are more likely to offer you deals and promotions that make upgrading cost significantly less. For example, the best iPhone deals available right now are mostly from carriers.

If you do purchase a locked phone from a carrier and end up switching to a different service, don't fret. Thanks to the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, US carriers must unlock your phone after you've fully paid it off and completed any contracts or agreements.

Which phone should I buy?

There is a plethora of phone brands on the market, so you'll definitely come to a few crossroads during your purchasing journey. To help, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. iOS or Android? These two operating systems make up more than 95% of the market, so choosing between the two is your first big choice. iOS, the Apple iPhone's operating system, is known to be user-friendly, secure, and home to a robust library of quality apps. Android, on the other hand, utilizes Google's software and AI smarts to produce a more customizable user experience.
  2. Small or large? What do you use your phone for? Browsing social media? Streaming TV shows on the go? Some users prefer smaller devices for their ergonomics and one-handed usability. Larger phones provide more screen real estate for social and multimedia consumption. You also can expect greater battery life with the latter.
  3. Budget? How much are you willing to spend on your next phone? Fortunately, there is a wide selection of capable mobile handsets on the market, so paying less doesn't always mean you're getting the worst. Today, you can buy a 5G-ready smartphone for as little as $200.

My best advice for you is to give every phone a try at a brick-and-mortar store. There's nothing more helpful than holding and interacting with the phones in person and seeing what satisfies your consumer needs.


Editorial standards