How Apple’s annual iPhone Upgrade Program works and how much it costs

Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program offers you a new iPhone every year and AppleCare+ coverage from $32.41/month.

The iPhone Upgrade Program gives you an easier way to get a new iPhone every year, and the security and protection of AppleCare+. You’re even free to choose the carrier and rate plan that work for you.

After 12 installments, you can get a new iPhone and start a new iPhone Upgrade Program. No more waiting for your carrier contract to end. Just trade in your current iPhone for a new one, and your new program begins.

Because the iPhone Upgrade Program isn’t tied to a single carrier, you don’t need a multiyear service contract. If you don’t have any carrier commitments, you’re free to select a new carrier or stick with the one you have. A Specialist can answer questions and help you set your iPhone up the way you like.

iPhone 6s:
• 16GB – $32.41/mo.
• 64GB – $36.58/mo.
• 128GB – $40.75/mo.

iPhone 6s Plus:
• 16GB – $36.58/mo.
• 64GB – $40.75/mo.
• 128GB – $44.91/mo.

The iPhone Upgrade Program is available to qualified customers only with a valid U.S. personal credit card. Requires a 24-month installment loan with Citizens Bank, N.A. and iPhone activation with a national carrier — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon.

More info here.


  1. If they didn’t throw in Apple Care, it would still be cheaper by $29.92 to buy it out right for $949, resell for $440 (that’s what I’m getting from Gazelle this year). But with Apple Care, it’s not a bad deal unless you can still manage to get those 2-year contracts.

    1. Even at the full 24 month period if you want to upgrade every other year, you’re just paying $29.84 more than you would have if you also had bought Apple Care, and on top of that you still get to sell your old iPhone and use that for whatever you want as you start another 24 month period.

  2. They are going to sell million upon millions of these phones, new iPads, the pen for sure and even Apple TVs to each and everyone who has ever bought one.

    The “street” doesn’t get that people will replace everything they have and will continue to grow each year. Right now AAPL is on sale and if you invest for long term, you’d be nuts not to buy or transfer money into AAPL. Hey, I’ve been saying that for at the last 15 years but “you can lead a horse to water……”. Oh well, I’m going to retire in 4 years at 55 so what do I know.

  3. AppleCare is what you get for the full year when you buy the phone anyway. AppleCare Plus doesn’t add much during that first year; just the extension of Personal Support beyond 90 days, and that one incident of accidental damage (but with $100 deductible). So, you aren’t really getting much.

    So, if we assume you replace your phone every year, then you can fare better if you pay upfront (or get a 2-year interest-free loan from a carrier), get it unlocked and sell it after the first year. Last-year model usually sells for about $180 – 200 less than the current one. That means you’ll need $200 upfront to upgrade. After paying off the loan, the annual $200 cost will be the only outlay in order to annually upgrade your phone.

    For the first two years, the monthly cost may be higher than with Apple ($22 for the loan, plus about $17 for those $200 you’ll need for the new phone when you sell the old one). However, once the $22 disappears, you are spending half as much if you sell the phone on your own and buy a new one upfront.

      1. Not quite; those two replacements are for the period of two years. While they would likely allow two claims in a single year, the third claim would most certainly have to wait until next two-year cycle starts.

    1. Applecare is worth its weight in gold, if only for the ability to get 24/7 unlimited expert tech support and customer service help.

      In addition, if you have Applecare+ and your iPhone has a failiure, most of the time Apple will just swap it out with a new one on the spot.

  4. I don’t know. The more I’m reading about it, the more it looks like it may cost the consumer more in the long run. The options are getting dizzying.

    When I looked at one of AT&Ts options it mentions that I can upgrade every 12 months, but make payments for 20 months which gets me to the full amount of an unlocked iPhone. Then I trade in at 12 months. Does that mean the second phone is “free”? And when I get to the end of my 20 months, the second phone is mine? So, essentially the subsidy that we would normally get with a 2-year contact is on the back end?

    1. Good luck getting an answer to that. Lately it’s been either, like, AT&T support workers don’t understand their own plans, are trained not to give answers, or their commission incentives get in the way of factually informing customers.

  5. AT&T customers with an iPhone still under 2-year contract can’t use other carrier’s SIMs. They want you to use their international roaming (ha-ha). So when traveling abroad, I (an AT&T customer) always have to take my out-of-contract older iPhone.

    If Apple is providing an unlocked phone, this solves the international travelers problem. Is that correct? If so, that is a huge benefit.

  6. In my (DINK) family, we don’t sell old iPhones; they are too useful to keep around as iPods. We treat our iPhones as sunk costs not assets with depreciating value.

    Typically, I buy the new iPhone every year for my wife and I basically get an upgrade to the last year’s model for free, while I still get to vicariously experience the latest in  tech.

    With the new upgrade program, this habit might change. This year, I might still keep using the iPhone 6 and get my wife a 6S, but next year we might both be in the upgrade program. The cost to us would remain roughly the same every year but we would both have the latest model.

    No more demoted iPods. Maybe we have enough of those.

  7. That is a terrible deal. We have the T-Mobile Jump on Demand for our 3 64Gb iPhone 6 Plus’s and it’s cheaper and better in many aspects, making it a much better deal. No contracts either. Go T-Mobile!

  8. Critical Clue: 16 GB is not enough space for anyone active on an iPhone. My iTunes library doesn’t even remotely fit into 16 GB. Even 32 GB is way too small for the work I do. 64 GB should be the starting space size. And goodness knows, flash memory (SSD) has dropped dramatically in price. Apple should be selling 256 GB iPhones at this point for the price of the 128 GB phones. Not joking. Not dreaming. Hey Apple!

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