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The iPhone SE is once again available from Apple -- for $249

The discontinued budget handset returns to the Apple clearance aisle.

It's back -- for a while, anyway.
Jason Pepper/CNET

If you're jonesing for a new iPhone that won't break the bank, Apple is again offering an unlocked iPhone SE for $249. That's for the 32GB version of the now-discontinued phone, while the 128GB version will cost you $299 -- which are $100 and $150 off the original price, respectively. Even better: These phones, being sold through Apple's clearance channel, are new in the box, not refurbs. 

This deal, similar to one that has sporadically popped up every few weeks this year, is at least the fifth time that the SE has returned to Apple's online store in 2019. The occasional reappearances come after it was officially discontinued in September after the reveal of the pricier iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. But if you're tempted, don't wait: The earlier offers sold out in less than a day. (Click through the button below to jump straight to the deal. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale.)

While the phones listed come prepackaged with carrier SIMs, all of them are unlocked and should work with any US carrier.

Originally launched in March 2016, Apple's iPhone SE served as the smaller, more pocketable member of the iPhone family. It was Apple's compact, budget option, and its 4-inch screen and tinier overall size were total throwback stuff. Consumers loved the battery life and that it still had a headphone jack -- an option Apple started killing off starting with the iPhone 7 in 2016. 

Is the SE's repeated return an indication that Apple is testing the waters for an iPhone SE 2? We can only hope.

Originally posted on Jan. 23.
Update, April 13: Updated to reflect the new availability of the iPhone SE.

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