This is a guide to help you decide where to buy Apple’s new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Where you buy your new iPhone 12 matters because it can change how much you pay for it, what payment plans you are eligible for, and your overall shopping experience.
Many people will default to buying the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro directly from Apple, but you may have better luck purchasing through your wireless network or another retailer. That’s because they are all competing with each other and are incentivized to offer compelling trade-in deals, throw in extra accessories, and offer discounts.
If you’re looking to pre-order your iPhone 12 early on, you may have to scramble and not be able to get your desired options right away. If you want the most shopping choices, best deals, and help setting up your new iPhone 12, we recommend waiting a few weeks until the initial rush is over and sellers are able to over a more relaxed, personalized shopping experience. We are already seeing incredible discounts on the iPhone 12, which means you should be even more careful about where you buy.
In this article, we detail the advantages and disadvantages of buying the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro at the biggest tech retailers and wireless carriers in the following order. Scroll down to see the pros and cons of buying the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro from the following places:
- Best Buy
Buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro at Apple
Buying the iPhone directly from Apple has its advantages, especially if you’re a loyal Apple fan that has an Apple Card, which offers interest-free financing and 3% cashback on Apple devices, including the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. You can order iPhones unlocked from Apple, which means your iPhone 12 isn’t tied to any particular carrier should you decide to switch to another big carrier or a more affordable pre-paid provider at a later date. The Apple Store also allows engraving if you would like to personalize your iPhone with your name or inscribe it with a short message.
Another big advantage of buying the iPhone 12 directly from Apple is that its online store and retail locations offer some of the most knowledgeable retail associates to help you pick the right model and help get you set up.
One drawback of buying your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro directly from Apple is that you may end up paying more for accessories, such as cases and AirPods. Apple typically sells new iPhone cases and accessories for the full MSRP. If you do buy your iPhone from Apple, you should buy your iPhone 12 accessories elsewhere if you’re on a budget.
The Apple Store does pass on some of its wireless partners’ discounts, such as Verizon’s launch promo that offers $440 in trade-in credit for the iPhone 8 and newer. However, you need to check your eligibility for promotions with Verizon and other wireless carriers before shopping with Apple as the iPhone manufacturer is not able to help you switch wireless plans. Instead, it will simply tell you that your wireless account does not qualify for such promos. ‘
Buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro at Best Buy
Best Buy has almost 1,000 retail locations and has really refined its curbside pickup and delivery options in 2020. Whether you buy online or in-store, Best Buy generally has the complete iPhone lineup in every configuration. If you want to see your options in person, Best Buy is a good place to go. Just keep in mind that retail margins on iPhones are razor-thin and the company makes more money off of selling mobile carrier activations and accessories than the iPhones themselves. Do your research before stepping foot into your local Best Buy so you don’t can avoid any pressure to switch carriers, buy extra lines, or more accessories than you need.
Buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro at Walmart
With more than 4,000 retail stores throughout the United States, odds are that there’s a Walmart near you where you can pick up the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro. At times, Walmart does not offer a full selection of all iPhone models. If you’re looking for base models, Walmart is convenient enough, but you may be frustrated if you’re looking for iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 models with the highest capacities.
At launch, Walmart appears to be only selling the iPhone 12 to customers who are upgrading their devices to use on AT&T or Verizon. That means it’s impossible to just buy the iPhone 12 unlocked and popping in a low-cost carrier’s SIM. If you’re shopping for a pre-paid plan or affordable accessories alongside your iPhone 12, Walmart is a good place to start once Apple ships more devices to the retailer and they don’t restrict sales to just AT&T and Verizon customers. .
Buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro at Verizon
Buying the iPhone 12 from Verizon is another great option as it’s a leader in 5G and has very affordable payment plans for the iPhone 12 if you have an iPhone 8 or newer to trade. For a limited time Verizon is offering $440 in credit when customers trade in an iPhone 8 or newer. The credit comes in the form of reduced monthly payments for your device, spread out over the next couple of years. However, Verizon requires that you enroll in its Unlimited Play More, Do More, or Get More plan to qualify. The unlimited plans are Verizon’s top-tier offerings, so you may not qualify if you’re on an older unlimited plan or shared daa plans.
One nice thing about buying iPhones from Verizon is that the network automatically unlocks all of its mobile devices 60 days after you purchase it. That means that you have more flexibility in switching networks or passing your iPhone 12 on to a loved one in the future, without the hassle of unlocking it yourself.
Buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro at AT&T
AT&T is another major wireless network that is ramping up its 5G network. AT&T offers a variety of delivery and pickup options that make it a better choice than most other retailers if you’re looking for convenience and need a little help getting your new iPhone 12 set up. Wireless carriers generally offer their most favorable promos to new customers switching from other networks, but AT&T is offering $800 off the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro with the trade-on of any recent iPhone, going all the way back to the iPhone 8. That essentially makes the cheapest iPhone 12 “free,” so long as you’re prepared to stick with AT&T and make payments of $0 for the next 30 months. The $800 discount applies to all of the iPhone 12 models, which may be especially tempting for those shopping for the top-end iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max.
AT&T offers a complimentary service called AT&T Right to You in more than 50 cities and metro areas, including Atlanta, Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Where available, an AT&T representative will deliver your iPhone 12 in person, as soon as the same day you order it. Unlike UPS or FedEx deliveries, the iPhone 12 won’t be left on your doorstep. Instead, the AT&T representative will get your new iPhone 12 set up for you and help you migrate all of your accounts and data. If you’re not in one of the covered cities, AT&T offers a virtual AT&T Right to You setup experience.
Buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro at T-Mobile
T-Mobile is well-known for offering excellent value to iPhone users. The carrier tends to offer lower wireless rates than AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile’s wireless plans is that the pricing is straightforward and many of their plans include taxes and fees. This helps prevent “bill shock,” which many iPhone users complain of when switching carriers or upgrading to newer iPhones.
T-Mobile has a very compelling offer for couples or small families looking to get their hands on the iPhone 12 Pro and lower their monthly bills. Like Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile is offering huge credits with the trade-in of older iPhones. After turning these credits into monthly discounts over 30 months, T-Mobile is offering a pair of iPhone 12 Pros and its unlimited Essentials service for just $100 per month. You do need an iPhone XS or newer to take advantage of this offer. You can still qualify for similar offers, at slightly higher rates if you have an iPhone 8 or newer.
T-Mobile offers generous discounts and simplified plans to meet the needs of senior citizens, members of the military and veterans, and first responders. For example, T-Mobile’s currently offering a plan called Essentials Unlimited 55+ for seniors that provides two lines of service for just $55 per month, including 3G hotspot access. Seniors can opt for a plan called Magenta Unlimited 55+ for $70 per month for two lines that includes 4G hotspot access and other extras. You can see T-Mobile’s discounted plans for those aged 55+ at this link. T-Mobile is currently offering members of the military four lines of service for just $100 per month, inclusive of taxes and fees.
Buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 at Costco
For millions of Americans, Costco is the go-to place to stock up on bulk items, but the big-box retailer offers some fantastic terms on mobile phones. Thanks to a partnership with phone retailer Wireless Advocate, Costco has phone kiosks in its warehouses and sells iPhones via an online portal called Membership Wireless. Wireless Advocate sells service plans and upgrades on behalf of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. It typically passes on the the wireless carriers’ current promos, so you can expect to pay the same as going directly to AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon.
While the above may sound convoluted and confusing with so many names and brands involved, there are some clear benefits to buying the iPhone 12 at Costco. As with most of its other products, Costco offers a generous satisfaction and return policy. iPhones can be returned to Costco for refund or exchange up to 90 days after purchase, dwarfing Apple’s 14-day return policy. It is important to note that Wireless Advocate does have fine print and there may be fine print in your carrier’s contract to deal with should you decide to return your iPhone 12 without exchanging it for another device. It’s also important to note that Wireless Advocate sells iPhones along with new contracts or renewals, which means you can’t buy the iPhone 12 for them at full price without activating it.
Do you still need help deciding which iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 model is right for you or where you should buy it? Watch Apple’s iPhone 12 announcement below or click on the comments box below and we’ll try our best to answer your questions.
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