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The Ideal and Worst Moments to Purchase a New iPhone

TL;DR: The best time to buy a new iPhone is in the fall after the latest model is released. Avoid purchasing in late July through early September, right before a new launch. Consider your budget, desired features, and last year’s discounted models when making a decision. Rumours suggest the iPhone 16 may have larger screens, new cameras, and a dedicated button.

Don’t buy an iPhone in August or early September.

New iPhones arrive seasonally, like most tech products. Keeping this in mind could help you save some cash, or at least prevent you from experiencing severe buyer’s remorse.

Generally, buying a new iPhone right before the next model launches is unwise. Even if you don’t care about having the latest and greatest technology, there are good reasons to wait. Historically, Apple has introduced new iPhones in mid-September, with availability beginning the week following the company’s launch event.

Let’s take a closer look at Apple’s typical product release timeline, what to expect from the iPhone 16, and more.

The Ideal Time to Purchase a New iPhone

There isn’t really a “best” time to buy a new iPhone. Apple doesn’t change its pricing structure very often, and carriers and retailers usually offer similar trade-in discounts throughout the year.

However, the fall is usually a smart time to shop for an iPhone. Waiting until the new version arrives allows you to make an informed decision about whether it’s worth upgrading or hanging onto your current phone for another year. If you are making the switch to the latest iPhone, you may want to consider waiting until it’s been on the market for a couple of weeks or months if possible.

Doing so could make it easier to get the color and storage capacity you want, since demand is usually high immediately following the iPhone’s launch. Waiting also ensures that you’re aware of any potential bugs or issues before upgrading, such as the iOS17 overheating issue that first impacted some iPhone 15 Pro units last year.

The Worst Time to Buy a New iPhone

While there may not be a best time to buy a new iPhone, there certainly is a worst time: late July through early September.

Don’t buy an iPhone right before Apple launches a new one.

New iPhones usually include camera upgrades, a new processor (especially on the Pro models), and other new features, such as the Dynamic Island, which debuted on the Pro in 2022 but made its way to the regular iPhone 15 in 2023. Buying the current model right before Apple launches a new one means you’re missing out on these improvements for essentially the same price you’d pay for the next-generation iPhone.

You may not care about having the newest iPhone. Maybe your current phone is four years old, and you just want to upgrade to something that feels faster with longer battery life.

Either way, you should wait.

Apple usually discounts models from previous years when launching new iPhones, as it did in 2023 with the iPhone 14, which it now lists for $699. The two-generation-old iPhone 13 now sells for $599 through Apple, which is $200 cheaper than its $799 starting price when it arrived in 2021.

It’s also worth noting that Apple allows returns for 14 calendar days from the date you received the product. If Apple changes the price of a product, you can also request to be credited back the difference in price as long as you do so within 14 days of the alteration. But Apple’s policy notes that you’ll have to have received that product within 14 calendar days of the price change.

What to Expect from the iPhone 16

With that in mind, you might be wondering whether it’s worth waiting for the iPhone 16. It’s impossible to know exactly what to expect until Apple announces the next iPhone. But rumors and reports suggest the following changes could be in store for Apple’s next batch of iPhones:

  • Larger screen sizes on the Pro models, according to Bloomberg, MacRumors, and analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Ross Young.
  • A dedicated camera button, likely just for the Pro models, and the Action button on regular iPhone 16 models, according to Bloomberg and MacRumors.
  • A tetraprism 5x telephoto camera on the iPhone 16 Pro, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. This type of camera is currently only found on the larger and more expensive iPhone 15 Pro Max.
  • A new processor likely called the A18 or A18 Pro.

What to Consider When Buying a New iPhone

There are several factors to keep in mind when buying a new phone. Your budget is the biggest consideration since it’ll dictate your options.

Otherwise, you’ll want to decide what you’re hoping to get out of your new phone.

Do you often use your phone for photography and videography projects and need the best possible camera in an iPhone? If the answer is yes, the Pro models are the way to go. Screen size is also important. If you have a desktop computer and a phone but nothing that fits in between like a personal laptop or a tablet, you might want a phone with a large screen for reading emails and watching videos. If that’s the case, consider the Plus or Pro Max model.

Then there are last year’s models. Buying last year’s phone can be a worthwhile option if you want a larger screen and don’t want to shell out an extra $100 for the newest Plus model. Right now, for example, Apple sells the iPhone 14 Plus for $799, the same price as the standard iPhone 15. Apple usually supports its phones with software updates for about five years, so you should still be able to get a good amount of time out of an iPhone that’s a generation behind.

Overall, when buying a new iPhone, you’ll want to avoid shopping right before the new one comes out and think about your priorities and budget. We’ll have more advice to share as we learn more about what to expect from the iPhone 16.


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