Should You Buy an iPhone Directly from Apple or a Carrier?

Buying an iPhone can be a daunting task, especially when you’re faced with the choice of purchasing from a carrier or the official Apple store. If you want to know which one would be the right option, you’ve come to the right place.

Should You Buy an iPhone Directly from Apple or a Carrier?

This article will help you determine the best fit for you and provides the best value for money. 

The Convenience of the Upfront Cost

A significant factor when purchasing a phone is the upfront cost needed to buy the device. When purchasing an iPhone at an Apple store, you need to pay all the money upfront.

With a carrier, this isn’t the case. You don’t need to have all the money you need to purchase the phone because payments are based on monthly installments. You can walk into a carrier store, do all the paperwork, and walk out with an iPhone without putting any money down.

Locked vs. Unlocked iPhone

When you buy a phone outright from Apple, it comes unlocked. An unlocked iPhone is programmed to work with antennas from various mobile service providers. This feature gives you the flexibility of switching between different wireless carriers. This is a great option. If you dislike the services provided by one carrier, you can always change to another one.

In contrast, purchasing a phone from your carrier ties you down to that carrier because the iPhone is locked. As a result, if you want to try out different carriers in the future, then buying from Apple is the most sensible option. An unlocked iPhone is also suitable if you travel a lot, as you can conveniently switch up carriers wherever you go.

You can unlock a locked phone but the process can be pricey. First, you’ll have to talk to your carrier. Typically, most carriers require that you close the contract by paying a termination fee. Also, you’ll be required to pay the pending cost of the phone in full before it can be unlocked.

Device Protection and Insurance

Like any other item, you should buy an iPhone that has some protection. Both wireless carriers and Apple offer some degree of protection for your iPhone. However, the quality of the maintenance differs a lot.

Most carriers offer pretty solid insurance. Verizon, for instance, provides insurance against damage, theft, and loss for just $13 a month. Also, it’s convenient as you don’t have to wait days for a simple fix for your iPhone.

Apple, on the other hand, offers AppleCare. This is 90-day phone support and a one-year limited warranty against manufacturer’s defects. Note that the protection doesn’t provide any immunity against damage or theft.

Apple protection also features AppleCare+, which is a superior version of AppleCare. AppleCare+ has a two-year warranty and offers device support for two years. However, you should choose AppleCare+ Theft and Loss if you want insurance cover for both eventualities.

The price for each package increases as you tier up the programs, with AppleCare+ Theft and Loss being the most expensive.

Budget and Hidden Costs

Budget is a core factor when purchasing any utility or product. Therefore, it’s critical to understand the difference in costs when buying an iPhone from your carrier or Apple store.

There are rising concerns that purchasing an iPhone from a carrier might be more expensive than buying it directly from Apple. While these concerns are not entirely accurate, your duty as a consumer is to research a deal before signing any contracts. Ensure that you work out which option best fits your financial needs and makes the most economic sense. If you don’t face financial restraints, this might not be a big issue, but it’s still nice to know. 

However, the cost of an iPhone from the two services tends to be somewhat similar. The only difference is that the price is spread out across multiple months. Additionally, the general costs of a contract will be higher with a carrier as they are inclusive of the data plans. Hence, carriers are seen as the most expensive way of getting a new iPhone.

Buying Pressure

Apple employees don’t work based on commission. Consequently, when you step into their stores, they will give you genuine feedback on what you should buy, depending on the information that you provide.

On the flip side, if you head over to your carrier, the salespersons work based on commission. Naturally, they will try and pressure you to purchase the most expensive device and unnecessary accessories that you don’t really need.

Trade-in Values

Trade-ins are a significant part of the thriving phone market. It’s not time to chuck away your iPhone just because it’s getting old. You can always trade it for a brand-new model. Compared to carriers, Apple offers surprisingly low trade-in prices. You can trade in an iPhone 11 for around $300. 

With the same deal at Verizon, figures stand at around $800. Carriers are your best pick, therefore, if you’re making a purchase decision based on trade-in value.

Where Should You Buy Your iPhone

Deciding to buy an iPhone from a carrier or an Apple store boils down to whether you can afford to pay all the costs upfront or in monthly installments. Of course, more goes into buying a product than a mere question of how much it costs upfront. Some important things to consider include insurance, trade-in values, locking contracts, etc.

Happy Buying

A phone has become an integral part of our lives. We spend the majority of our time on our cell phones, either working, entertaining ourselves, or talking to our loved ones. For that reason, it’s necessary to consider the plans you use for your purchase to ensure you squeeze the maximum value out of the product.

Have you ever purchased a phone from Apple and a carrier? Which was the best deal? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

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