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7 reasons you should keep your current iPhone

Shiny new models have arrived, but you shouldn't buy one -- not yet, anyway.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
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The new iPhones are here! The new iPhones are here! Shiny! Fancy! Want want want!

Hold on, there, tiger. It's easy to get sucked up in Tim Cook 's Hype Machine (TM) -- "This is the best iPhone we've ever made" -- but there are plenty of reasons you might want to hold onto the iPhone you already have. In fact, I can think of seven:

1. New phone, new problems

Although Apple undoubtedly runs all kinds of tests on new features like Face ID and wireless charging, there are bound to be issues. For example, can facial recognition really work well in low-light environments? Do you have to abandon your case -- or favorite grip system -- to use a wireless charger? (Answer to the latter question: Yes. No more handles, rings or pop-out grips. The one possible exception is the Ninja Loop.)

Heck, remember antennagate? Let the millions of early adopters shake out the problems, then give Apple time to correct them.

2. Headphone jack!

Sarah Tew/CNET

With the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple has "bravely" continued to not include a headphone jack. If you're not ready to make the switch to Bluetooth headphones, credit-card swipers and the like, that's another big reason to stick with your iPhone 6 or earlier.

Granted, Apple does supply an adapter for your wired headphones, and you can always switch to Lightning-powered 'buds or cans. But, bottom line, even if you want a headphone jack, you can no longer have it.

3. Faster processors mean nothing

As always, Apple crowed about its latest processor, in this case the A11 Bionic. It's 25 percent faster at this, 70 percent faster at that, yada-yada.


How much faster do we need phones to get? I've had an iPhone 6s Plus for about two years, and not once have I said, "This sure is slow!" Rather, everything happens almost instantly: Touch ID unlocking, camera loading, video streaming. I occasionally have to wait a few seconds for graphics-intensive games to start, but I don't play that many games anyway.

Enlarge Image

A new case can breathe new life into your old iPhone.


I'm sure there's a small segment of users who might be able to take advantage of the faster chip, especially those looking to tinker with augmented reality. For most of us, however, a faster processor is hardly a reason to upgrade -- because our iPhones are already plenty fast.

4. You can make your old phone feel like new

Assuming there's nothing actually wrong with your current iPhone, don't let simple boredom drive you to spend money on a shiny new one.

Instead, take steps to spruce up your old phone. For example, if your big complaint is with ever-decreasing battery life, you can get a new battery installed for as little as $50. A new case can add a splash of style or color. And once you've installed iOS 11, you'll enjoy some fresh UI updates and a host of new and improved features -- all of which can contribute to making your trusty old iPhone feel a bit like a spiffy new one.

5. You can have wireless charging right now

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For as little as $13, a Qi-compatible sticker like this one adds wireless charging to nearly any iPhone.


Wireless charging has finally arrived! (Actually, owners of various Android phones have enjoyed it for some time.) But guess what: You can add this capability to nearly any existing iPhone.

Indeed, various case makers have long offered Qi-compatible charging cases for iPhones, the tradeoff being that they add length (to accommodate the necessary Lightning connector) and bulk.

More recently, however, wafer-thin adapters have arrived to provide a much less obtrusive solution -- one that makes for much easier switching to Lightning-cable connectivity when the need arises.

Best of all, they're very inexpensive; products like the Invitian one shown here sell for as little as $13. To learn more, check out Matt Elliott's story on adding wireless charging to your iPhone right now.

6. Prices will come down

Historically, every new iPhone brings a price cut on the previous year's iPhone. And today was no different: Apple cut the iPhone 7 's starting price to $549 from $649, the iPhone 7 Plus to $669 from $769. See more about the iPhone price cuts here.

Even if you don't want to wait a full year for just a modest price cut, patience will net you a lower price. For example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just a couple months away, and although you might not see any iPhone deals, Apple did offer a $50 gift card last year.

But you should also look to what's happening in reseller channels. Right now, for example, Daily Steals has a refurbished (but Apple Certified) iPhone 6s for $360. Sure, it's two generations behind, but still a very capable phone -- and it's a good bet we'll see similar deals on the iPhone 7 down the road.

How far down the road? Give it six months to a year for maximum savings.

7. Duh: It's paid for

Arguably the best reason of all to keep your current iPhone: You already own it.

Well, probably. Some folks are fine with a monthly lease payment, especially if it means getting an upgrade every year. But I'm a big believer in buying the iPhone outright and shopping for the best carrier deal -- almost always a smarter financial move than getting in bed with a Big Four carrier and never-ending lease payments.

Even if you pay $50-75 for a new battery and throw in some new accessories, you're way better off than buying a whole new phone.

Agree? Disagree? You know what to do. (Er, leave a comment.)

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Apple Sept. 12 iPhone event live coverage: Read about the event on CNET's live blog.

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