Why Now Is the Worst Possible Moment to Buy a New iPhone
The expected iPhone 14 reveal is happening shortly -- and that means big discounts for older iPhones are coming soon. You'll want to wait for those sales to hit.
Lisa EadiciccoSenior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
If Apple maintains its current pattern, it will likely announce the iPhone 14 at today's event alongside iOS 16 and launch it in the second half of the month. For example, Apple debuted the iPhone 13 on Sept. 14 before making it available in stores on Sept. 24. Timing was similar for the iPhone 11, iPhone 8 and earlier models.
That said, there have been some exceptions. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro launched in October 2020, while the 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max became available in November that same year. The iPhone X also launched in November 2017.
Read a more in-depth analysis of when we think the iPhone 14 will launch based on Apple's history here.
Older iPhones might get cheaper
Don't care about having the newest iPhone? You should still wait. Apple usually reduces the prices of previous iPhone models when introducing new models, just like it did with the iPhone 12 last year. The 64GB iPhone 12, for example, got a price cut to $700 from $800 after the iPhone 13 was announced. The iPhone 11, meanwhile, dropped to $500 in 2021.
This year's iPhone launch could be even better for those who would rather save money on an older model. If Apple follows 2021's pattern, it will likely keep the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in its lineup and drop the Mini's price to $500. That's significant, because it would make the iPhone 12 Mini one of the cheapest 5G iPhones available. Yes, the iPhone SE is cheaper at $430 and also supports 5G. However, it also comes with a much smaller screen than Apple's other phones, only has one main camera (most new phones have two) and lacks Face ID.
While 5G isn't a necessity, it's a good idea to make sure your next phone has 5G if you plan on keeping it for the next three years as those networks continue to develop. You can read more about whether it's OK to buy a non-5G phone in 2022 here.
Watch this: What to Expect at Apple's Sept. 7 iPhone Event
Another way to save
For an alternative way to save some big bucks, consider buying a refurbished iPhone. Apple offers refurbished models on its website that come with a one-year warranty. Apple says these previously owned devices are inspected, cleaned and include the option to extend customer service with an AppleCare plan.
You can also check for refurbished models on websites like Gazelle and Amazon, which will have their own disclosures on device condition and terms for warranty length. (You can sell your iPhone now, too.)