Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program gets more and more convenient

“I’ve been a customer of Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program since it became available back in 2015,” Dan Moren writes for Six Colors. “For me, it’s the perfect solution to the yearly tide of new phones: I pay a monthly fee to get a new model, use it for a year, then trade it in for the subsequent year’s model.”

“The one downside in the past has generally been that the upgrade program is a bit clunky when it comes to actually upgrading,” Moren writes. “The first year, I had to go to an Apple Store and actually wait in line to get a new phone, with no assurance that it would actually happen. Last year, matters improved somewhat in that upgrade program customers were able to pre-order their phones online and then go pick them up in an Apple Store (though it didn’t go smoothly for all potential customers).”

Moren writes, “But this year, iPhone Upgrade Program customers are once again back in the boat with everybody else hoping to snag an iPhone X.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program users, make sure you have your pre-approval in place before preorders open at 12:01am PDT / 3:01am EDT this Friday, October 27th!


  1. I have been a member of the program since its inception. While you were spot on for the first two years, Apple (or should I say Citizens One) won’t let me upgrade this year because my credit dipped below a 700. So after making 14 payments on my iPhone 7 Plus I am not being approved to upgrade my phone to an 8 Plus or an X. So I will have to move over to the Verizon Upgrade Plan and ditch the Apple Upgrade Plan Completely. The AUP has to be the WORST way to buy iPhone.

      1. Quite the judgemental attitude there. You don’t know the circumstances. You also seem to think credit scores are somehow accurate.

        Here’s one for you. My mum’s credit score dropped after pa passed because, as it was explained later to her, all major assets were in pa’s name and the credit agency had no record of mum’s finances. When she approached her bank for a equity loan to renovate the garage, they treated her like she must be a deadbeat when in fact she was the more astute financial manager of the house. Didn’t have a debt at all, house was paid for. She ended up telling the bank loan officer to pound sand. Saving money for a few years and doing a lot of work ourselves, pa’s old shop is now a very nice sewing room big enough to host her entire quilting club.

        Digitizing data or posting it to some corporate database does not make it accurate.

        1. You make a good point Andy, but I doubt your mum was trying to finance an annual purchase of the latest greatest iPhone.

          I would also point out he is blaming Apple and Citizens Bank or something they have nothing to do with. They don’t create or monitor his financial behavior aside from any direct account they may have with him.

          He points out he made all his payments. Did he make them on time? How many other credit accounts did he have? What is their status? What is his history? How many late payments? How many times has he sought new credit in the last two years?

          In the case of your mum it seems she didn’t have much of a history in her own name so while it seems unjust and is to a large extent, the two situations are not comparable.

          He is a different story. He clearly has a credit history and it has degraded since his last iPhone upgrade.

          His whining about Apple and Citizens has no credence. I stand by my evaluation.

          1. You just sound like an self righteous jerk who knows nothing about credit reports. All that is irrelevant. My credit score dipped not because I don’t pay my bills on time. It dipped because I have too many recently opened accounts and my risk profile to the credit agencies increases due to all the lines of credit being extended to me. I have been with the iPhone upgrade program for two years. I have made every payment on time. They have a well established credit risk profile of me. They don’t need to do a hard pull on my credit report once a year. Verizon doesn’t do this. They pulled my credit in 2012 when I switched to their service and have been paying my bills on time since then. So basically, I am able to do the same financing with Verizon Upgrade Program as I am with Apple without a hard pull on my credit report. Apple screwed me out of an upgrade last year on launch day and this year they won’t upgrade me this year due to a minor hiccup on my credit report. Even though I will be paying the same amount of money a month to upgrade my phone. Also, nowhere in their advertisement of the program or the fine print does it say my upgrade is contingent on the perfection of my credit score. So if I held up my end of the contract by making 14 payments on their iPhone, they should have to hold up to their end and allow me to upgrade without incident. They are in breach. Seems like a great class action suit.

  2. and by “upgrade” they mean “force you to buy a 256g model by removing the 128g option, even if that’s what you started with when you initially enrolled in the program, sucker”

  3. Given the high resale value of iPhones, if you really want the latest flagship every year, why not just sell your previous year’s model after buying a new one outright? The only reason I see this program existing is to lure in people who can’t afford $800+ up front so they spread it out over payments. Even if it worked out to $1/day after depreciation (say you sold your $1000 iPhone X for $635 in October 2018), you’ve still paid less than through this program, and without stupid contracts, loans, commitments and other corporate financial bullshit.

    1. For the most part I agree with you Nick, but …

      Interest free financing is a gift for anyone with solid cashflow. Why shouldn’t I use their money instead of mine? I certainly understand not wanting to be burdened with monthly payments and for many people that pain in the butt makes it worth paying up front if they can afford it.

      The interest free financing is also available on purchases not part of the upgrade program. That is where it makes the most sense. Someone buying that way can always pay off the loan, sell the phone for its current market value and get a new one at any point during the two year term of their loan.

      In the end, upgrade programs are nothing more than leases and just as with a car lease, you have zero at the end and just as with cars, leasing is rarely the best financial option. Leasing becomes attractive when you can use it partially or in whole as a business expense or you simply can’t really afford to purchase the item you want to buy.

  4. It’s basically a never ending lease, I don’t fancy paying forever.

    No thanks, I took advantage of their 0% finance offer – iPhone 8 Plus for £69 deposit and 20 payments of £36.50.

    At the end of the 20 months it’s mine to do with as I please.

    1. You only save money if you intend to keep the phone for more than two years. Nothing wrong with that. I actually keep my phones for at least 24 months if not longer. Having the latest and greatest is no longer a priority for me. My iPhone 6s does what I need it to do just fine. I am skipping this year and probably upgrading next cycle. What I do need is an iPad Pro, but that is for graphic design work 🙂

  5. Usually it’s a better deal to buy it outright and sell it when you are ready to upgrade. The AUP is just like any other lease. They give you less than the phone is worth when you turn it in. The balance owed on it is less than the market value of it. Otherwise they wouldn’t bother with the program. Nothing would be in it for them.

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