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Apple iPhone Upgrade Program: How It Works & Is It Worth It

Apple iPhone Upgrade

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Looking to get a new iPhone and on a budget? You’re not alone. When there’s a new iPhone in the market, every other iPhone user wants to buy it. Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program is a way to get an iPhone in 12 monthly installments with the option to trade it for a newer model every year.

The program has been around for a few years but there are still many people who don’t even know it exists and how it works. 

In this post, we dive into everything you need to know about the program so you can decide if it is right for you.

Apple iPhone upgrade program

How Does the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program Work?

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program was introduced in 2015. You can enroll in this program to buy a new iPhone in monthly installments. Let’s say you want to buy the latest iPhone but don’t want to pay the full amount outright. You can use this program to pay off your new iPhone in 12 installments starting at $39.50/month for the 128GB iPhone 13. The prices vary slightly depending on the model. 

Similarly, you can pay off an iPhone 13 mini in 12 monthly installments of $35.33/month for 128GB, $39.50/month for 256GB, and $47.83/month for 512GB.

For Apple Card owners, monthly payments can be made via card. One benefit of using Apple Card is that it gives 3% Daily Cash whenever a payment is made. 

monthly payment plans of Apple iPhone upgrade program

It’s up to the customer to decide the phone carrier, making it an excellent program for those who want to have an unlocked iPhone – they can use a carrier of their choice without plunking down hundreds of dollars at once. 

What’s more significant about the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program is that you can upgrade to a newer iPhone model after 12 installments. You get AppleCare+ along with the Limited Warranty, providing your device against accidental damage coverage twice a year ($29 service fee is excluded).  

With this program, you can upgrade your iPhone every year the new one is launched in the market. 

When the time comes, you’ll ship your old phone back to Apple and get a new one — including a new installment plan. You can keep that same carrier plan for as long as you want to, though you can only trade in one phone each year.

How Do I Get Started?

You can benefit from the iPhone Upgrade Program at any Apple Retail store in the US, UK, and China. Another way is to apply for the program via the website. 

check if your iPhone is eligible for an upgrade

What do you need to apply? Here are a few requirements to be eligible for the upgrade program:

  • You should be over the age of 18. If not, your parent or some other adult can represent you via their credit card. 
  • You should have a decent credit score. Apple hires the services of Citizens One for the credit check to approve you for the installment program.

Apple has a pre-approval feature available for already enrolled users and new enrollees too.  You can use the Apple Store App for loan pre-approvals for your pre-order.

Once you’ve made 12 monthly payments, you can trade-in your current iPhone for a new version. Your iPhone should be functional – can hold a charge – and the display has to be without cracks and breaks.

How Much Does the Apple Upgrade Program Cost?

Here’s the Apple iPhone installment plan for the latest iPhone 13 series:

iPhone 13 MiniFrom $35.33/monthFrom $39.50/monthFrom $47.83/month
iPhone 13From $39.50/monthFrom $43.66/monthFrom $52.00/month
iPhone 13 ProFrom $49.91/monthFrom $54.08/monthFrom $62.41/monthFrom $70.75/month
iPhone 13 Pro MaxFrom $54.08/monthFrom $58.25/monthFrom $66.58/monthFrom $74.91/month

Is the iPhone Upgrade Program Worth It?

There are a lot of pros, but is the iPhone Upgrade Program worth it? Should you pay month-to-month to get a new model each year or use the older version until you have enough money to buy a new one. The answer is not entirely black and white. 

Let’s look into its upsides and downsides so you can make an informed decision. 

Pros of Apple iPhone Upgrade Program

The Apple Upgrade Program lets you buy a new iPhone every year and pay for it in monthly installments with zero interest. 

With the iPhone Upgrade Program, you’ll get a brand new iPhone every year. You can upgrade after just six months or after 12 months with the ability to pay off the remaining cost of your current phone.

Monthly installments mean budgeting is easy. You can spread out your payments over 12 months. This is particularly good for people who want to pay off their phones over a period instead of spending hundreds of dollars at once.

There’s a lot of convenience with this program. When the new iPhone is launched, you can contact Apple, and they’ll send you a box and a shipping label. All you need to do is pack your current iPhone in the box and ship it to the concerned address. Do you have an Apple retail store near you? If so, then you can simply hand it over to the retailer. 

Does your iPhone have normal wear and tear? Well, it’s nothing to be worried about because Apple accepts such iPhones, provided it’s functional. The iPhone Upgrade Program is appealing to those who don’t take much care of their devices and use them roughly. 

Cons of Apple iPhone Upgrade Program 

One big disadvantage of the upgrade program is that you don’t own the iPhone until you make all payments – you can’t resell your iPhone or give it to someone else. 

The upgrade program only pays 50% of the phone’s price. But your phone’s resale value might be more than 50% of the price tag. For those who take good care of their devices, the iPhone Upgrade Program might not be worth it. If you trade in your nicely kept iPhone for the latest model, you’re potentially losing out on the resale value you’ve gotten otherwise by selling it yourself. 

You can’t upgrade to a new iPhone until you have made at least 12 monthly payments. That means if you purchased the current iPhone a few months ago and the newer model has just entered the market, you can’t upgrade. You’ll have to pay


There are plenty of factors to consider when deciding if the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program is worth it or not. 

It’s a great way to get a new iPhone every year, as long as you can afford the $35-75/month payments. Will you save money in the long run? You bet. But that all depends on your personal budget. 

In the end, it boils down to a simple fact: would you rather save up for 1 year to get that new phone, or spend less and get one every 12 months? That’s just the decision you have to make for yourself. We hope this article helped in some way!

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