The iPhone Upgrade Program is Apple’s official way to buy a new iPhone every year. This isn’t new for 2019, but more and more users are looking into this way to buy the new iPhone.
It’s not a lease, as you own the phone. You can trade it in each year and upgrade to the new iPhone without any extra fuss. The price seems high, but it includes AppleCare+. You can also add AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss for an extra $4.17 a month.
You can do similar iPhone trade in programs at many carriers, but they don’t all include insurance.
What is the iPhone Upgrade Program?
The iPhone Upgrade Program is Apple’s official iPhone payment plan that allows you to upgrade to a new iPhone every year.
This is 0% payment plan with payments spread out over 24 months. Once you have 50% of the phone paid off or a year of payments, you can upgrade to the new model.
There is no extra cost to use the plan, but it does include AppleCare+ so you will make higher monthly payments than buying the iPhone alone.
How Much Does the iPhone Upgrade Program Cost?
iPhone Upgrade Program pricing varies based on which iPhone you buy. Currently, you can buy the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR, and you can pick whichever storage size you want.
The price starts at $77.41 a month for the iPhone XR and goes up to $68.66 a month for the iPhone XS Max with 1TB of storage. The rest of the prices are in between these.
In most cases you will need to pay the full taxable amount up front. This is a purchase and unlike with a credit card, you are not financing the tax over the term.
How to Check iPhone Upgrade Eligibility?
If you already have the iPhone Upgrade Program from last year, you should check to see when you can upgrade. This is especially important if you plan to buy the new iPhone later this month.
Use this link to sign in and check your eligibility. Depending on when you started the plan, you may need to make a last payment before you upgrade.
iPhone Upgrade Program vs Buying from a Carrier
You have many options if you want to upgrade to a new iPhone every year. In addition to the official iPhone Upgrade Program from Apple, you can use many carrier annual upgrade plans.
The biggest difference between the carrier programs and the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program is that Apple includes AppleCare+. Most carriers do not include any warranty coverage unless you pay separately or add a carrier insurance option.
To trade in the iPhone for the new one it needs to be in good working order, so AppleCare+ is a nice extra from Apple. If you are accident prone, you may want to add-on carrier insurance if you go that route. Here’s more on the best iPhone XS insurance options.
Is the iPhone Upgrade Program a Good Deal?
For users that want a new iPhone every year the iPhone Upgrade Program is a good deal and worth it in most cases.
There’s no additional cost compared to buying an iPhone on a monthly payment plan, and with AppleCare+ split up over 24 months you don’t end up paying for the year that you won’t use.
With payments through Apple, you also have more flexibility to switch carriers without switching phones. Since you aren’t locked into a carrier by monthly phone payments. This plan also removes the risk of a low trade-in value and any hassles from selling your old phone.
I like that you have the option of skipping the upgrade and sticking with your current iPhone if your situation changes or you decide to wait for the 2019 iPhone instead.
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