Cheapest Unlocked iPhones in September 2020
With every new generation of cell phone comes a new upgrade, a new feature, a must have.
It can get overwhelming when shopping for a new phone, especially Apple iPhones. What's the difference between an iPhone 6 and iPhone 7? Is there a difference between a cheap iPhone 6s and a more expensive, new iPhone 8?
Finding a cheap iPhone that fits your needs is easy enough, once you narrow down what it is that you need.
Do You Really Need A New Smartphone?
With Apple's newest models, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, it's easy to think the older generations are becoming obsolete. However, the upgrades are generally minimal, and you can easily live without them.
iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 7
We've compared the iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 and noted the few differences:
- The 8 has been redesigned to allow for wireless charging, making it slightly bigger and heavier than the 7. It also charges faster.
- While the 8 has wireless charging, it does not come packaged with a charger, and the new charger for 8 and above, the and Apple-compliant chargers start at $49.
- The battery life of the two phones are almost exactly the same - 14 talk hours, 12 internet hours, 13 video playback hours, 40 audio playback hours.
- The 8 has a slightly faster performance, allowing for more multitasking.
- The camera on the 8 is almost identical to the 7, with the exception of having faster low light auto adjust and noise reduction, both of which were lacking on the 7.
- Storage space on the 8 has doubled, as well as the prices.
The differences between the two generations are nearly non-existent, except more space and wireless charging. At worst, you won't be able to update an app, or you won't be able to download certain apps from the app store.
Consider A Used/Refurbished iPhone
When looking for a new phone, there's always the option to get a used or refurbished iPhone. They're just as good as a new phone, but cost far less. It's important to note the difference between refurbished and used:
- Previously owned.
- Has undergone diagnostic testing, faulty parts replaced.
- Data from the previous owner erased.
- Repackaged and sold.
- Often come with an extended warranty from the retailer selling it.
- Previously owned, not refurbished.
- Can come with cosmetic wear and tear.
- Are ultimately fully operational and functioning.
While a brand new phone may seem attractive, the price difference between a new and a refurbished phone can make a refurbished one much more appealing.
Key Benefits Of Buying A Refurbished iPhone Over A New iPhone
While trusting a refurbished iPhone can be hard, there are benefits to going with refurbished rather than new:
- Saving money. You could get an iPhone for as little as $200 in some places.
- Websites that sell refurbished phones may offer returns and warranties, the same as you would get with a new phone.
- While you might not get the latest model, you can a model that's only a generation or two old, and functions much the same as the new one.
- If you're shopping around because your old phone died, you can get the exact same model rather than being forced to upgrade to something you don't want.
If you're looking for websites that sell refurbished phones and you're on the fence, make sure you read reviews and see what other people's experiences with the websites have been (see below for a list of buyback sites).
Things To Keep In Mind When Buying a Refurbished Phone
As with any big purchase, there are things to consider when you opt to buy a refurbished or used iPhone.
- Returns - Most sellers offer 30-day return guarantees.
- Warranties - Gazelle offers a 30-day warranty. Declutter offers 12-month a warranty. Swappa does not offer warranties.
- Certified - Gazelle and Decluttr test their phones and make sure they're in good condition before selling them.
- Insurance - If you're worried about breaking your phone, there are specialist cell phone insurance companies for her used devices, but this is optional.
- Monthly Payment Options - While this isn't recommended, as it includes interest, Gazelle allows for you to pay monthly.
Why Choose An Unlocked iPhone?
When looking at refurbished or used phones, consider buying a cheap unlocked iPhone, rather than locking into a certain company. This will give you more opportunities to change carriers.
Smartphones run on one of two networks:
Technology has advanced to the point where most smartphones can be used on both networks if they're unlocked. However, keep in mind that if you lose 4G coverage and you have a CDMA phone on a GSM phone (or vice versa) you could lose service all together until 4g coverage is restored.
Check out our guide on unlocking your own phone.
How To Get The Best Price On An Unlocked iPhone
Check out our reviews of the top used iPhone sites. Read our review of the best places to buy a used phone.
Shopping around can be overwhelming. So let us do the work for you! Check out our comparison tool to find the best price on a used phone.
Consider Switching to an MVNO
Smaller carriers, just as Text Now or Tello, piggyback off the cell towers of the "big four" and offer services at a cheaper price. They are also month-to-month payments, which can be canceled at any time, meaning you can have a cheap iPhone without a contract.
Most MVNOs work entirely online, rather than operating out of a store, which means you can get a new phone plan without having to leave the comfort of your home. If you like the network you're on, but don't want to pay the prices, you have options. Check out our guide to MVNOs.
- If you have an iPhone 7, it isn't obsolete, although if you're looking to upgrade, skip the 8/8s.
- While the iOs updates will eventually go beyond your model, there are benefits to getting a cheap, refurbished phone that's just as good as a new one.
- Unlocked phones give you more freedom in your choice of carriers.
- Consider switching to an MVNO to save more money.