Why Carriers Offer Better Value than Apple’s Upgrade or Trade-in Program

Conventionally, Apple has a history of launching iPhone devices after every 12-16 months. Between launching a new model and showcasing the future one, Apple also releases an enhanced or improved model as well. Like iPhone X, which launched at the end of 2017, and a year later, Apple released a performance version of the lineup iPhone XS.

With all these Apple devices releasing back-to-back every year, the consumers are left to upgrade their smartphone or keep the existing one. Luckily, Apple offers ‘Apple Upgrade and trade-in’ programs to smoothen the transition of jumping from an older model to the new one. However, the million-dollar question here is; are they worth it?

There are many ways you can get rid of your older Apple phone, earn money and buy a brand new shiny- iPhone. The interesting thing here we want to emphasize is that ‘Apple Upgrade and Trade-in programs’ are not really worth your time and money. Here is why. 

  • Carriers Offer Deals

Apple is famous for almost never providing deals on the purchases you make. On the other hand, carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint throw in some extra goodies and sometimes a free smartphone. 

In 2019, AT&T offered a free iPhone XR deal for a limited time.

In 2019, AT&T offered a free iPhone XR deal for a limited time. The carrier gave away a free iPhone XR on the purchase of the iPhone X or any other model above. On the other hand, Verizon, offered up to $300 to the customers who bought iPhone X from them. Of course, there were a specific set of conditions to meet in order to be eligible for the deals, but all in all, it always feels good whenever you are rewarded extra. 

In 2020, T-Mobile ran a promotion of offering a free iPhone 11 Pro to new and existing subscribers with specific terms and conditions. That same year, Sprint ran a promotion of 50% off on iPhone 11 per month installments. On the contrary, this almost never happens if you buy from Apple. So if you trade-in Apple iPhone with the carriers, you are highly likely to get free devices as well. 

It all boils down to how much you invest and get the return. If you prefer to trade-in Apple iPhone with carriers over Apple’s program, you are guaranteed to get random offers whenever a new device is on the verge of releasing in the market.

  • Carriers Offer Better Upgrade Programs 

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program offers a 24-month installment plan

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program offers a 24-month installment plan but gives you an option to upgrade for free to any new iPhone and trading in your old phone. While this may seem a seamless transition, in the long run, the customers do not get the benefit the programs offers. On the other hand, the big four service providers have exclusive upgrade programs which not only offer a better value but also offer an upgrade plan which does not break the bank. 

T-Mobile’s ‘Jump! On Demand’ program offered the flexibility of upgrading three times a year. The carrier allowed Apple consumers to trade-in Apple iPhone for the new one.

AT&T offered three programs to benefit their customers who upgrade to a new phone in 12 months. ‘AT&T Next 12’ allowed its consumers to upgrade every year by stretching the monthly installments to a 20-month plan. Moreover, if a customer trades-in Apple iPhone for a newer one after 12 months, the carrier waived the unbilled monthly installments. That did not stop here. If a customer paid all 20 installments, they were free to keep the phone. 

‘AT&T Next 18’ and AT&T Next 24’ programs worked in a similar manner. The only key difference was that the former provided a 24-month installment plan with an upgrade option available after 18 months, and the latter had a 30-month installment plan, letting you trade-in Apple iPhone and upgrade after the 24th month. 

  • Carriers Have Flexible Insurance Plans

While Apple offers an easy solution of replacing an accidental iPhone on the same day as the company has a large stock at their disposal, the carriers, on the other hand, have a little downside in this department. On the bright side, when it comes to insurance plans, carriers charge less. 

When we talk about iPhone 11 Pro Max 512 GB, Apple Care+ accidental damage comes at $12.99 per month, which is not a lot since it’s the most premium smartphone money can buy. However, Sprint offers the same service for $12 only. Moreover, in a year, you as a customer can make a maximum of 2 claims on your iPhone, whereas Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T allow you to make three claims in a year with Sprint at 2/year. 

If your iPhone needs a complete unit replacement, then Apple offers it for $269. On the contrary, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T charge $250 for complete unit replacement. Another downside is that Apple will activate your iPhone within 60 days, whereas all four carriers have just a 30-day time period. 

These small numbers matter the most when you add up the per month cost of buying an iPhone from Apple vs. the carriers. This is why the Apple Upgrade and Trade-in program is not worth it. There are plenty of options on the market that can save you money and get the product you want every year. 

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