In this article, we answer all of your questions about when you should and shouldn’t buy a new iPhone – including advice on when Apple is likely to discount the price of older iPhone handsets. There are certain times of the year when buying a new iPhone is a bad idea, and there are certain times of the year when you can get a bargain on a new handset. The trick is knowing when you should buy a new iPhone. Luckily we are here to help.
Should I buy a new iPhone right now?
Those who are in the market for a new handset are probably wondering whether now is a good time to buy a new iPhone. Are prices likely to go up or down? And is there any danger that a new model will be released in the near future?
To answer the final question: the iPhone 14 series was introduced in September 2022 and we can safely assume that Apple will update the iPhone again in September 2023. That’s when we expect to see the iPhone 15 series.
So, is this a good time to buy a new iPhone? Yes and no, but mostly no.
If you want to get your hands on the iPhone 14 Pro or an iPhone 14 Pro Max handset your days may be numbered as Apple is unlikely to continue selling these models once the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max launch. But this is actually a good reason to wait: the new 15 Pro iPhones will improve on these models, while the 14 Pro and Pro Max will essentially be rebadged as the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. Wait a few months and get something akin to last year’s flagship for a lower price.
If you are thinking of upgrading your iPhone to an iPhone 14 or 14 Plus, then we will make a similar recommendation. If you wait until September you will get a more powerful chip (the A16) and some anticipated design changes (the Dynamic Island feature, new colors). All the new handsets in 2023 are also expected to get USB-C instead of Lightning port, which will be a big change that is likely to be a popular one.
What if it’s not one of the iPhone 14 models that you want right now? Should you go ahead and buy one of the older iPhones or the latest iPhone SE?
There are a few vague rumors about the future of the iPhone SE, last updated in March 2022. An update to the iPhone SE isn’t expected until 2024 or 2025. If you want an iPhone with a button our advice is to buy one, especially as there is no guarantee that the follow-up handset will have one.
As for the older iPhones. There is one key reason not to buy just before an event: Following the introduction of the new iPhone models, Apple tends to drop the price of the older models and remove some from the lineup. Right now you can buy the iPhone 14, 13, SE and 12, but the iPhone 12 is unlikely to be on sale for much longer.
Apple is likely to remove the iPhone 12 from sale in September 2023, so if you want one this could be your last chance to buy one. Whether you should is another matter. The iPhone 12 isn’t the cheapest iPhone (that’s the iPhone SE) but it has the older A14 chip and doesn’t work with MagSafe. When the iPhone 12 is removed from the line up the iPhone 13 will probably get a nice price cut, so we’d recommend waiting for that to happen.
Just after an event isn’t necessarily a great time to buy either, although in the U.S. some networks offer their best deals just after an iPhone launches. It will be a few months before any resellers start to drop the upfront price of new Phone handsets. See our best iPhone prices round-up.
You should be aware that even better discounts on older iPhone models could be just around the corner, though. Between Black Friday and Christmas many resellers will cut their prices, so you may be able to pick up a great deal on a new iPhone if you can wait until then.
When will Apple update the iPhone?
Apple usually updates the iPhone range at an Apple Event in September.
However, the iPhone SE is on a different schedule, with Apple introducing the iPhone SE models during the spring months (most recently March 2022), so a spring launch is possible. With rumors that a new larger iPhone SE could one day launch perhaps it’s worth waiting until the spring if that handset might suit you.
When is the best time to buy an iPhone?
It’s easier to say when the worst time to buy a new iPhone is. That is without a doubt in the months leading up to September. So don’t buy an iPhone in August, unless you want to be kicking yourself a month later.
The best time to buy an iPhone isn’t necessarily when a new model launches either – unless you’re desperate to have the very latest hardware. You might be happy to wait a month or two after the launch and wait for supply to catch up with demand, and for any problems with the new phones to be identified and (hopefully) fixed.
We’d say that it’s fine to buy a new iPhone at any time within nine months of it launching, but if you are hoping to save some money on your purchase we’d recommend waiting a few more months.
Another tip would be to buy during shopping events, such as Amazon Prime Day in July or October, or Black Friday, but the newest products are rarely discounted significantly in these sales.
When do iPhone prices drop?
We know based on past experience that Apple is very unlikely to drop the price of an iPhone in the first year of sales.
However, Apple does tend to reduce the price of the previous year’s iPhone when it introduces the new model – so expect Apple to discount its handsets in September (and potentially in the spring if it introduces a new handset at that time).
How much do prices drop when a new iPhone comes out?
Apple knocked $130/£30 off the price of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini when it introduced the iPhone 14 series in September 2022.
- The iPhone 13 was from $829/£779, but the price dropped to $699/£749 (128GB), $799/£859 (256GB) or $999/£1,079 (512GB)
- The iPhone 13 mini was from $729/£679, but the price dropped to $599/£649 (64GB), $699/£629 (128GB) or $899/£729 (256GB)
Apple reduced the price of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini by more than $100/£100 when the iPhone 13 was introduced in September 2021 and then the iPhone 12 was reduced by a further $100/£100 in September 2022:
- The iPhone 12 was originally from $829/£799, but as of September 2022 the price has dropped a further $100/£30 to $599/£649 (64GB), $649/£699 (128GB) or $749/£809 (256GB)
- The iPhone 12 mini was from $729/£699, but the price dropped to $599/£579 (64GB), $649/£629 (128GB) or $749/£729 (256GB) before being discontinued in 2022
The iPhone 11 also saw a discount in September 2021, but is no longer sold by Apple.
- The iPhone 11 was from $599/£599, but the price dropped to $499/£489 (64GB), $549/£539 (128GB).
Apple’s not the only place you can buy an iPhone and it certainly isn’t the only one to discount the handsets. From time to time you will see deals from other resellers. We track these in our Best iPhone Deals round-up, so check that page regularly!
Will there be Black Friday iPhone discounts?
The earliest you could expect to get a discount on the newest iPhones is around Black Friday at the end of November, so you might be planning to hold out until then. However, the deals we tend to see, if any, are usually for older handsets so if you are hoping for a discounted iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro following their launch you will probably be disappointed.
Nor should you expect to get a discount from Apple on Black Friday. Apple’s Black Friday sale usually only takes the form of vouchers with select product purchases, rather than a discount, and it is unlikely that the newest iPhone would qualify as previous year’s new iPhones haven’t been included. See our round-up of Best black Friday iPhone deals to see what could be in store.
Note that while shopping events like Black Friday gets all the attention, that’s not the only time you can get discounts on Apple products: we see discounts all the time. Another event where we see good iPhone deals is Prime Day, so take a look at the iPhone deals for Amazon Prime Day sale to see what you might be able to save.
In our experience, we don’t tend to see discounts on the newest handset until the spring–and these are always from third-party resellers, never from Apple. In fact, we don’t tend to see the iPhone discounted in the U.S. very often, most of the discounts we see are in the U.K. where unlocked iPhones are often sold off-contract at a good discount.
What if I want to buy an older iPhone?
Just want an iPhone and aren’t too bothered about it being the latest model? So why not buy now?
As we said above, Apple is likely to cut the prices of various older iPhone models following the September event. So it is likely you will be able to get the iPhone 13 and 13 mini for less than you could previously, and the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus at a discount later in the fall. You can buy these iPhones direct from Apple, but the best deals to be had usually aren’t from Apple: we round up the best iPhone 14 deals and the iPhone 13 deals separately.
Because Apple tends to cut prices of older iPhone models when it introduces a new generation we would suggest that you don’t buy an older handset just before the new ones are expected. If you make your purchase in August you will likely be kicking yourself after the price drops a month later.
On the other hand, there is a risk in waiting. If you had wanted to buy an iPhone 13 Pro from Apple and waited until after the iPhone 14 launch to take advantage of a lower price you would have been disappointed–Apple discontinued the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models. Apple did the same with the 12 Pro and Mac. You might be able to buy a discontinued Pro handset from a third-party reseller or get your hands on a refurbished one, but stock is likely to be in short supply.
You may still be able to purchase even older iPhones, such as the iPhone XR or the iPhone X, from a third-party reseller, but we suggest that the deal would have to be exceptional to be worth your money. If you’re wondering which of these iPhone models is best for you, read our iPhone buying guide.
How often does Apple update the iPhone?
Knowing when the latest iPhones came out should help when making a judgment on whether there will be an update soon.
The iPhone tends to be on a yearly cycle with Apple typically holding a single launch event per year in September (2020 was a bit different: we had the iPhone SE launch in April and the iPhone 12 launch was delayed until October).
In any year it is possible we could see an iPhone launch in the spring, but September event is generally a given.
Conclusion: Is now a good time to buy a new iPhone?
The worst time to buy would be July or August, mainly because with new iPhones on the horizon the price of the older handsets are likely to drop very soon.
If you want the newest iPhones then the best deals don’t tend to come before the spring and summer months. If you are happy to buy an older iPhone then you will probably see decent deals around Prime Day and Black Friday – but deals happen all year round.
We hope this article has proved helpful in reaching an informed buying decision. Remember that good prices can be found all year round, if a retailer is feeling generous and you know where to look: read our guide to the best iPhone deals for more on that.
Wondering how long Apple supports iPhones for? Read How long do iPhones last.