When Is the Best (and Worst) Time to Buy a New iPhone? | Reviews … – The New York Times

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“When’s the new iPhone coming out?”
Every summer, rumors about Apple’s next flagship device heat up, and people start asking Google (or their tech-savvy friends at Wirecutter) whether they should head to the Apple Store to buy a phone or wait.
Apple hasn’t confirmed that a new iPhone is on the way, but historical precedent and credible reports indicate that the iPhone 15 is due out in September. You should absolutely wait to buy a new phone—even if your current phone is on its last legs, and you don’t care about having a cutting-edge device.
Apple is holding an event at its Cupertino headquarters on September 12 at 10am PT/1pm ET, where the company is expected to announce its fall lineup of new devices. (Wirecutter will be attending.) According to Bloomberg, which has a long track record of accurate Apple product-launch predictions, new iPhones are expected to go on sale around September 22. Bloomberg’s report indicates that big changes are in store with the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max. All the new models will have faster processors and switch from Lightning to USB-C charging, and the 15 Pro and Pro Max are expected to have a new titanium design with a thinner bezel around the screen.
If you don’t care about new features, you should care about cost: Apple’s latest iPhones are always the most expensive, but the company almost always sells older models at a discount. That’s true even right now, as you can buy an iPhone 12 for $200 less than it cost at launch or an iPhone 13 for $100 less. Once the iPhone 15 launches in a few weeks, you can expect Apple to make the iPhone 14 more affordable, and retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy often discount older models further than Apple does.
You can also save a lot of money if you buy a brand-new iPhone on launch day from one of the three big wireless carriers. As part of their annual iPhone marketing blitzes, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon typically offer trade-in deals that cut hundreds of dollars off the price of a brand-new iPhone. (If you switch carriers, you could get a new phone or two for basically free.)
“But what if my iPhone is dying at this very moment?” you might be wondering. Depending on the cause of near-death, you have a few ways to extend your iPhone’s life by at least a few weeks.
It’s an obvious solution, but if your iPhone is sluggish or apps are constantly crashing, check to see which version of Apple’s software your phone is running. Change is hard, but delaying an operating system update for weeks or months only causes problems. With an update, however, not only will your phone speed up, but you’ll also unlock new features or patch some security flaws that you may not know you were exposed to.
If your iPhone is constantly petering out well before the day is done, you can attempt to diagnose the issue by checking its battery health. Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging and see if a “battery health degraded” alert awaits you. Battery replacement is free with AppleCare+, Apple’s two-year insurance coverage, or if your phone is still under Apple’s one-year warranty. Otherwise, you have to spend $50 to $100 out of pocket (the cheaper end is for an iPhone 5, while the ceiling is for an iPhone 14 Pro Max). Either way, replacing the battery is far more affordable than splurging on a new iPhone.
If your phone’s battery health is 100% and you’re still encountering random shutdowns, make an appointment at your local Apple Store, if possible, to see what the deal is.
Maybe you’re at the point where your iPhone storage is completely full, and you’re deleting old photos to make room for new ones. Newer iPhones come with more storage—a base-model iPhone 14 comes with 128 GB to start, up from the 64 GB of older models—so upgrading is tempting. But you can try a few tricks to free up space while you wait for the iPhone 15.
First, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to see what’s taking up so much space. Maybe, like me, you have 20 GB of old podcasts that you had no idea were still stored on your phone. From here, you can easily delete media you don’t need. Messages can also occupy a lot of storage space, and Apple offers recommendations for what to do with them. (You can auto-delete old conversations, for instance, or view large attachments and get rid of them.)
Consider offloading apps you don’t use every day. Offloading an app removes the app from your phone but keeps all the data associated with the app, so you don’t have to start from scratch when you reinstall it. You can offload an app from the same iPhone Storage setting: Select the offending app and tap Offload App. Or have your iPhone automatically offload apps for you by navigating to Settings > App Store and toggling on Offload Unused Apps.
If the problem is more obvious and more serious—a busted screen, for instance—it’s easier and cheaper to get that fixed than to buy a new iPhone. You can do so via Apple, through a service that will cost you at least a couple hundred bucks if your phone isn’t covered by AppleCare+, or for less at a third-party glass-repair shop (though going that route voids any warranty or AppleCare+ coverage you have).
And if you really want to buy a new iPhone in the near future, the trade-in value of your current phone will be much higher without any cracks. When I dropped my iPhone XS flat on its face without a case, the nicked screen rendered it basically worthless when I wanted to trade it in for a new phone. I took it to a nearby authorized Apple repair shop, paid $100 for a screen replacement, and then traded it in for an iPhone 14 Pro, which I got for basically free by switching to a new carrier and taking advantage of a deal.
So wait a few weeks to buy a new iPhone if you can. And if you absolutely can’t, make sure to buy an iPhone case and maybe even a screen protector if you’re accident-prone. The best way to save money is to protect your expensive purchases.
This article was edited by Jason Chen.
Caitlin McGarry
Caitlin McGarry is a senior editor at Wirecutter. She previously oversaw Gizmodo’s consumer technology coverage and has been reviewing Apple products and wearable devices for almost a decade.
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