Help: Cheap way to buy new iPhone every year

I am wondering what is the cheapest way to do this

I am coming from a mid range android all my life . And now I am being made to use iphone…let's not get into the reasons.

I enjoy getting a sub$500 phone every half year or year… No need to deal with worn battery, cracked screen, dents, lost stolen, drowned …

But with iPhone, I will be going pro max 512GB as I need the storage and screen size.

Wondering anyone who repeat this each year with new phone announced.

How do you get it refreshed every year?
Pre order? Trade in? Gift cards? Sell on FB Gumtree? Give it to kids? When is best time to rinse and repeat?

Just curious if anyone has ideas on the best ways to do it annually as I think $2400 for a mobile is a bit silly each year.

How do I loose less money with a new phone every year?

In this case, is Apple care essential?


    • Might check out apples trade in values …. I hope it's close to what private sale would be. Easy way for apple to recycle old handsets so there is fewer circulating around and more new handset sale.

  • +4

    iPhones really don't need replacing every year, it should survive you 4-5 years with a screen protector and case. At worst, you might need a screen or battery replacement. I upgraded from a 7 to a 12 last year because I felt it was a decent upgrade at the time. My 12 does everything I need it to do and I have no complaints.

    If you still insist on upgrading, sell the old one on ebay/gumtree/marketplace for $1500-2000 (I have no idea what they resell for, but they tend to maintain their value compared to android) and use that to buy the new one and you should only need an extra $500 to cover the remainder.

  • +1

    I wouldn't buy a newly announced phone RRP unless I really need it or get a good deal like with the S21 Ultra ~$900. I'm happy to lag 1-1.5 years behind to enjoy the deals :)

    I got iPhone 12 Pro for my daughter earlier this year from a deal from Ozbargain, saved ~$400 there. I told her to wait until a good deal comes along and then we go for it. I wasn't worried when the phone didn't come with its original box, it was brand new condition.

    Then again I wouldn't personally buy sealed phones off Gumtree for the risk it will be reported stolen later. It's rare I know but I prefer the peace of mind :)

    I bet there are some good deals for the new iPhone January next year.

    From my recent memory I paid a full price for iPhone 6s Plus 128GB and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 when they came out. Phones weren't too expensive back then though that 6s+ was over $1k :P

    • +3

      Maybe I should wait till next SE announcement

  • +1

    Apart from spending $2400 on a phone (after being happy with $500 android range), needing 0.5tb of local storage ? How do you need that much stuff locally :/

    • +1

      I like storing all my photos and videos of memories on my mobile so I can view it at anytime anywhere whenever possible.

      And yes, I heard things like Google photo and cloud. Not into that though

      • +5

        Not into that though

        No reason? You like to spend money cause of a vague feeling without knowing anything about it, and making a very uninformed choice? Not very OzB.

        • -1

          Maybe just old fashioned. But old fashioned doesn't mean I am not tech savvy.

          But I like the feel that I can view and access stuff without restrictions (4G) and without needing anything to do with subscriptions.

          I rather pay a little more to avoid paying anything to do with monthly or annual subscription.

          • +1

            @lovepub: You will very quickly run out of Apple storage, and then will need a subscription to pay for more storage space.

      • You could buy a NAS and have your own private 'cloud' storage and use something like Synology Photos perhaps?

    • +1

      Why is everyone quoting $2400. Thats the top of the range model of any phone (Android/IOS). The op was a $500 user, so wouldnt a $1200 iPhone be more appropriate.

      • $500 android you could usually get a large screen size with almost everything packed in as what a iPhone 13 pro max offers. Obviously reliability and quality are not comparable, but are still good enough

  • +16

    Yay consumerism

  • Discount gift card —-> buy new—-> sell old privately —-> rinse repeat

    Probably is the way to go ??

    Once new one gets released, how much the previous model can sell for usually?
    70% of its original value.?

    If bought 2000, sells for 1300, I think it's pretty good and acceptable if it retains 60to70% value ..

    Prob work out to equal to my bad spending habit of 1-2 androids each year

    • +1

      Pretty much what i'm doing, I sell my iphone after 2yrs coz that's when the warranty runs out and battery starts to degrade. I do that as i don't want to be lugging around a phone that's still worth over $1k pls used without any warranty. Works out to be around $1 per day, i think it's a fair amount to own the latest iphone every year considering it's something i use everyday. Of course, the only pain is to fork out the initial $2k.

      • ACL lasts at least 3 years for iPhones.

        • wow really? that's a game changer! thanks for sharing, do you have like an official website link that says that? that would really help.

          • @akumi: Sorry but I have to restate that ACL may last 3 years. My iPhone X purchased nearly 3 years earlier stopped charging and they replaced it. This was on the first visit, easy and the receipt said it was under Consumer Law.
            I know that some staff are more willing to help out than others so if one refuses, try another.


  • +14

    should really get one every few weeks
    different colour and size each time

    • If my pocket are deep enough

      • +2

        re mortgage the house
        tim needs ur funds

    • Don't forget: One for the home, one for the office, one for the toilet as well….

  • +21

    Coming on to a bargain website stating you want to buy the the top end iPhone every year makes me think this is a troll post

    • Not trolling….just a upgrading habit coming from Android.

      Was hoping iPhone SE3 to be full screen, inbuilt fingerprint …. I don't mind slower phones, I don't use it to play games and nor am I trying to take professional photos with a iPhone.

      • +9

        Is it that hard to break such a habit?
        If the phone isn't broke, don't fix it. Take care and it'll last you at least 3 years before you should even consider upgrading
        I have an iPhone 8 Plus (released September 2017), still going strong. I don't plan on upgrading anytime soon

        • +1

          Yes…when I spend 2k+ for a phone, I will be keeping it for years.

          But wondering what's the way to go with maximizing savings if I like to refresh a handset each year

          Say I spend $500 a year on a new android phone…and they depreciate to worthless after 12 month.
          Then I will be pretty happy to sell my year old iPhone at a $500 below what I buy it for

          • +1

            @lovepub: Whilst I think your choice of forum is pretty poor (ozbargain isn't exactly a community that accepts much approaches other than frugality) this is actually a fair enough point.

            iPhones sell like hotcakes on ebay. If you wanted you could get 70-80% of the purchase price each time. Just make sure you post it to Gumtree first and use the 'free gumtree / ebay cross listing' promo to get the 10% ebay fee waived.

            • @stanstho: not necessarily ozb is ONLY for frugality, sure it is big part of the community spirit but surely not all of it. If there is a way to afford something luxury in a less expensive way I don't see why OZB cannot be happy about it.

              One of the way I used, which was for my current iPhone X back in 2017 was to take advantage of some Amex cash back offer. I believe it was from HN where for every $400 spent you get $100 back. I used to have a few Amex cards with sub cards so I remembered I saved about 4-500 in the end. Better still, make the purchase before your international travel to get the full GST back….

  • +2

    You should go work for Apple.

    I'm sure a new iPhone each year is part of the deal and you wouldn't be slumming it using an iPhone 5 or whatever in 2021.

    • +1

      Do apple employees get an iPhone from work??

      • +1

        I dunno…

        How far does an Apple fall from the tree?

        Maybe Salary Sacrifice one?

      • Yes but it's a work phone.
        Don't use your employers equipment for personal stuff.

      • No

  • +3
    • +1

      I agree!! But how can you turn your back to $$$$.

      Upgrades doesn't excite people much now. I do agree with new release with big design improvements and new facelift.

      The power the smart phones now possess is ample for everyday users

  • Well I assume if you look after them well and sell each year you might get maybe 70% of the cost back and therefore the upgrades, if you must have them, wouldn't be hugely expensive.

  • Based on the OPs logic, very surprised he's not a iSheep, although I'll give him credit he's getting there

  • A few options. You can always trade in your old phone which will take the sting out of buying.
    Or if you are with Telstra, you can do what I do, and pay $15/month for upgrade and protect, which gets you a new phone every year if you go on a 2 year plan

    • Even putting aside whether you could get a better deal through Boost or some other carrier, doesn't that mean you burn through half the price of the phone + $180 if you upgrade annually?

      • I have an Apple Watch with cellular, so I have extremely limited choice in network provider.
        It seems exxy, but it serves a couple of things - it also works as insurance (if I break/lose my phone, I'm not out of pocket), and I no longer have the hassle of trying to offload a phone (you don't want to know how many old Nokia's I still have!)

  • -1

    Lookup iPhone trade-up plan eg. with Optus. You can get a phone upgrade every 12 months

  • +1

    Once your in the system, you can cut the cost down by nearly 50% each year when you upgrade

    Just checked the apple page, the phone your after is $2369, but if you had last years same model to trade in, the website says you would get a discount of up to $1120, which can bring your new purchase price down to $1249 (assuming your previous model meets the categories for max pricing)

    Still steep out of your own pocket, but better 60% price than 100% price right?

    • Thanks for checking it out in apple in advance.

      Private sale probably can score more money back

  • +1

    Get a decent case (can recommend Otterbox) and just buy a new one every 6 months for that fresh phone feeling!

  • +1

    @lovepub: OP, why did you create a similar thread without searching first?

    • Sorry, I was searching to see if someone asked this, but didn't come up in my search.

      Thanks for the link …I can get some information from there too

  • -3

    Tax deduct the phone -> then sell it on gumtree cash. You can actually make a little profit by changing phones every 1-2 years. You used to be able to go on a holiday and get the GST back for even more profit.

    The tricky bit's fully tax deduct the phone, you just need someone to constantly call you through the workline and only use apps like whatsapp for personal calls. This will satisfy the archaic ATO rules.

    • I don’t know why you got neg.

      If you are really using the phone for work, you can tax deduct it and then sell it yearly. You will have to declare your sold price.

      Consider it is a top of the range iPhone, you should get back at least 55-60% on eBay provided you look after you phone. (You drop it, you cope it) it needs to be brand new looking and sold before next gen iPhone arrives.

      This reduce the cost significantly.

      • +1

        I shall look into how this can be done to perfection

      • +3

        negged because of deliberate attempt to mask the fact that the phone is not used solely or predominately for work. Sounds like tax fraud. Not recommended.

  • There's no such thing as buying a cheap apple product. They don't allow their resellers to reduce the price unless told otherwise so that keeps their prices inflated.

    Your best bet would be to sell the phone before the next model is announced/released and have something cheap to use Inbetween. You'd lose maybe $700ish each year, which increases as the price of the iPhone's increase each year. But thems the breaks.

  • “And now I am being made to use iphone“

    • can’t you make the other person/party/self also pay most part of the phone cost? 🧐
    • Yes .she just head in store and pays with her credit card….and end of the month, I pay for her statement . 🤷

  • +1

    I'm sure you still have two kidneys

    • Maybe have to sell one when I become a apple fan

  • +2

    There is an old adage about boots where you buy a cheap pair of boots for $20 but replace them every few months vs a $200 pair of boots that last 10 years.

    You are currently in the cheap boots phase and want to move to the expensive boots but still expect to replace them at the same rate as the old boots. A big part of the "premium" attached to these products is also about how long you are expected to keep the product. You replace your old $500 phone every 6m but you keep the iPhone for 2yrs+.

    You need to adjust your mindset to that expensive pair of boots meant to last a long time. Also as someone who bought mid range phones every year who bought a top of the range phone in the last few years, you dont even feel like you need to replace it since you dont feel like you are lagging behind in any way to the latest phones due to the premium price paid.

    • When accidents happen, I can't live with a cracked screen …unless I loo at spending $500 replacing the screen. That's a lot of money. And Screen accidents happens to me all the time even when u have a case on. 😵

      • As someone else said, you just need a better case and AppleCare for your screen. Just don’t break it more than twice a year.
        Or be more careful than me? :)

        Got a few phones of multiple ages (iphone 6s still going strong) - kids using the older cast offs. My own phone is an XS max - a few years old now. I do get screen protectors through, and those do tend to need replacing yearly.

        I used to get a phone annually in the age before smartphones :-p (ended with the iPhone!)

      • +1

        I can't stand a cracked screen also and have to fix or replace a phone once it gets one, however I am currently using a Note 20 Ultra with a decent case and a screen protector and its lasted a number of drops from pocket/lap height onto hard surfaces and taken it in stride without even a dint. If you feel you are clumsy look at a hardy case and good quality screen protector.

        A few things to consider:

        You seem to want to go for the biggest and best iPhone but do you REALLY need it, what is your current phone screen size and storage, also if you are using a $500 android phone why not look at a iPhone 12 its cheaper and likely performs better than your current phone.

        Alternatively just get Apple Care+ its $240 for 2 years and you get 2 incidents of accidental damage per year at $45 per service for screen or back glass damage.

        If you break your screen 2 times a year as you say thats $105 per screen replacement (240/4 + 45). Much cheaper than the $500 you are saying about screen replacements and even if you only break it once in 2 years that $285, which is still cheaper than the $500 you are stating.

      • I think you need a better case or to just be more careful.

        I've had an Android phone for 4 years now without a single screen accident. I've dropped it plenty of times and have a decent case though.

      • Has no one ever heard of glass screen protectors before?

  • +4


    • What's so funny

      • -1

        You won’t understand. Play with your iPhone.

  • +2

    At the very best I've made money, and at the very worst I've paid less than $100 to upgrade to the newest iPhone every year for the last 5+ years.

    • Tax deduct / salary sacrifice.
    • Sell last year's flagship iPhone (mint condition), preferably using eBay FVF or cash. Preferably before the Apple event to maximise resale.
    • Claim price protection on my 28 Degrees card

    This assumes you can afford the initial outright cost of the phone.

    Admittedly this year's iPhones are super underwhelming, but I'll literally lose money by not upgrading, which is why I get a brand new one every year and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Picking up my 13 Pro Max on Friday.

    • +1

      Sorry…new to this tax deduction trick. Care to elaborate a little in dummies language please!?

      And sub $100 loss each year upgrading to new one is like a mission for Mr Hunt.

      Also, question here is how to deal with the 1-2month when u sell prior new phone arrival after u sold it early for good price

    • +1

      So what phone are you using now that you’ve sold your previous phone, before the upgrade has arrived? Genuinely curious, the impression given is that you are currently without a phone?

      • Yes I was curious about this too. If you're selling it before the event announcing the new phone…. that's months without a phone?

        • +1

          "it's in the post"

  • +1

    Now you have an awesome iPhone camera, you will find the increase in revenue from your Only Fans page will offset the cost.

    • Regardless of how awesome the iPhone camera is…..the revenue is all generated by the BeautySelfieCam app. Probably does the job with a super dodgy Camera too

  • +2

    I upgrade every my iPhone 2 - 3 years, it's a device I use a lot for work and home - for calls and emails, internet, shows and movies, google maps, travel photos and games - so <$1 a day in depreciation is not bad.

    For me Apple is preferable because it just works with all apps (I've had app compatibility issues in the past with non-flagship androids) and they tend to their value more than Galaxy phones which seem to plummet in value after a couple of months.

    My tips are:

    • If you are spending $60+/month on a mobile plan already, consider one of the bundled device offers and do the math first.
      A current offer is Telstra via JB Hifi which is $99/month over 24months and gets you a $1200 JB voucher. Normally that plan is $65 so it's jacked up but you effectively get a $384 gain ($99 * 24months - $1200 = $1176 vs $65 * 24months = $1560)

    • Keep your phone in good condition and in a case. Keep the original box. Put in the effort to present it well when you sell and you'll get a few hundred more that doing a trade-in when it comes time to upgrade. I usually sell mine for around 50% of the original RRP at the 2 year mark (and I don't pay RRP)

    • Take advantage of mobileciti/allphone sales. In the past they have run 10% off only a couple of months after launch

    • Use discounted giftcards - promos for JB Hifi, Good Guys gift cards come up on OZB for 5%-10% off

    • Save on the mobile plan itself by going for virtual mobile operators like Lebara (vodafone), Amaysim & Circles.Life (Optus), Boost & Aldimobile(Telstra wholesale).
      You will get the same/similar coverage as the big3 telcos but at significantly less cost per month. Telstra long life 180 day plans are $150 for 150GB if you want that full Telstra network too. I typically pay under $20 a month for 10-15GB/month which is enough for me - instead of $55+/month minimum on the Telstra sim-only plans.
      Pick the one that uses the best network in your home/work area - Telstra was good at my last address but I'm looking at Vodafone now after doing speedtests in my new home. So don't just trust that one is overall better than the others based on anecdotal evidence

  • +1

    New thread idea… "Help: Painless way to get 1mm cut off the tip every year"

  • +2

    Not sure OP knows what need vs want is.
    Most companies aren't even turning over business mobiles that frequently, software support for patches continues for years. Few reason for actual NEED to change a device that frequently, they're built to last. Got an ip8 thats still going perfectly well that doesn't need to be replaced, will be 4 in December.
    Seems like a troll post.

    • I need an apple but want a new one every year in a most affordable possible way. So seeking other people's methods to get it done

      I am sure someone out there does this on regular basis

      • +1

        Again, need Vs want.
        The people who do get the latest device are not paying for it themselves, it's a business expense or something similar. I regularly get handsets for work, testing and other things which I will use, I only have "the latest" whatever phone because someone else is paying that bill.

        The most affordable way is for someone else to pay for it, otherwise buy then sell your old device kept in the best condition possible on ebay or similar.

  • +2

    Buy a new iPhone that is 1 to 2 generations behind the latest.

    New phone every year without the early adopters tax.

  • Buy an iPhone SE.

  • +3

    How do I loose less money

    Get a much bigger wallet.

  • +1

    Dunno why people are writing paragraphs about all this lol, it's as simple as:

    • Buy new iPhone. Wait for a deal to come on OzBargain if you can.
    • Sell old iPhone on Gumtree/eBay/FB Marketplace/people you know.
    • Keep on eye on trade in deals with your carrier in case that's better value than selling it.
  • If you can’t keep a phone protected from damage I can’t imagine what else you can’t protect.

  • +1

    upgrading every yeaar means its no longer a "phone" but a must have fashion/status symbol

  • +1

    If you can salary sacrifice the phone then the amount you save on tax means you probably dont lose money selling it second hand when you upgrade to the newer phone.

    • "technically" the sale price is assessable income.

      • nah no one is claiming that shit

  • The cheapest way is to resell before the announcement of the new one to maiximise your sell price, so posting this indicates you've missed that boat. Don't wait. September announcements every year. Sell before then.

  • Op, you said you purchase a new phone (circus $500) every year or half year.

    iPhone will last you at least two years . You are covered in terms of expenditure

  • +2

    Why would you get a new iPhone every year when the old one is still working perfectly?

    I've had an iPhone 6s for six years now, still working fine.

    I will upgrade when I break or lose it, or when Apple drops stops supporting it for the latest iOS.

  • +1

    Best bargain is the money you don't spent on something you don't need!
    But that's also against the ethos of Ozbargain :-D

  • It's a logical error to use CHEAP and APPLE in the same sentence.

    Thread should be closed.

    Thank you.

  • And now I am being made to use iphone…let's not get into the reasons.

    You poor bugger, I feel for you :( My work decided to go Apple with their corp phones so I took the chance to remove myself from their program. Now they can't bother me on weekends and after hours. Not touching that Apple crap.

  • Help: Cheap way to buy new iPhone every year

    buy new iphone that is 3 generations old every year

  • every half or every year… gezz mate. I still use my iPhone 6 that is about 5 years old

    • You need to upgrade.

  • Waiting for the "cheap way to buy a new property every year" thread, but I don't think you can do that buying an iPhone every year…

  • No need to replace every year, they are solid. No need for 512Gb on board, use iCloud. Apple have been trying to reduce on board storage for years but folk insist on it and make life hard for themselves. Using iCloud replaces it and syncs data with other devices.

  • Hi Lovepub,

    Reading through your responses, I think your problem is not affording new phone releases, but rather your fixation on so frequently upgrading.

    You might manage to save a lot of money if you think further about where this need comes from, rather than simply chalking it up to being 'old fashioned'. For many people, this is a matter of ego, and wanting to project purported wealth to others as a way of self-aggrandising. Of course, I don't know you in the slightest, so it would be unfair of me to suggest that any of this applies to you - but perhaps this may be worthy of your consideration.

    Alternatively, like the rest of us, maybe you're stuck on a hedonic treadmill here. Perhaps you could have a look at this:

    I know I certainly need to remind myself of this quite often.

    I sincerely wish you all the very best, Lovepub.

    • I like being different. I like to use rare phones of at least some decent quality. I don't like Samsung and Apple, coz everybody uses it.

      I don't mind using less known brand as long as its quality is ok. Just don't like to be same as others.

      Now it's finally time to go the Apple way. I thought might as well get the best available as I don't think I will be able to upgrade as often with my careless use. Hence sourcing other users ideas on how this can be done.

      Unfortunately SE3 is not release at the same time, otherwise I will be going for a full screen SE3 if that's the case.

  • So many contradictions and questions here..

    Firstly you say you enjoy a sub $500 phone every 6 to 12 months, but then set your criteria as being 512gb of storage and at least a 6.7" screen, what phones are you buying every 6 months in the 'android basket' that ticks both of these boxes?

    How does buying a new phone every 6 months prevent cracked screens, damage, loss / theft or accidental drowning of the phone, do you jump from a cliff into shallow water every 6 months and the transitional period means it doesnt get damaged?

    LiPo batteries last a lot longer than just 6 months - no need to replace this often so why use that as a reason? degradation over just 6 to 12 months is minimal, perhaps the equivalent of around 5% of the overall batter life.

    My advice would be to simply hold onto the phone (carefully and tethered to yourself with a small chain )for a longer period of time as in the apple ecosystem you likely won't really notice any changes between variants unless you constantly skip the next generation in sequence and upgrade every 2 years. This mostly applies to android too except different brands do different things so the changes are more substantial.

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