What the Tech? The value of an iPhone

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(ABC 6 News) – Apple dropped the trade-in values of nearly all of its products and iPhones are taking the biggest hit. iPhone 13, 12, 11, X, and Xs dropped as much as $80 when trading it in for a new iPhone 14.

What difference does that make if you don’t plan to trade in a phone in the next few months? Maybe not a lot but it made me wonder if we’ve reached a point where it makes more sense financially to upgrade to a new phone every time it is released.

On average, people tend to upgrade their phones every two years which used to make a lot of sense. But after doing the math I found we’re always paying the same thing for the smartphone we’re using.

Here’s what I found while shopping for a new iPhone 14 with 128 GB of storage:

A brand-new iPhone 14 is $799 or $33.29 a month. If you trade in an iPhone 13 you’ll get a $400 credit bringing the cost of the iPhone 14 down to $399 or 16.62 a month.

Of course, you’ll need to pay off the old phone and you’ve already paid half which is $400, the same amount as the trade-in.

What if you’re holding on to an iPhone for more than two years? You’ve already saved $400 a year because you no longer make payments.

Let’s say you’re still using an iPhone Xs that came out 4 years ago. You’ve saved $800 by not paying installments. If you trade it in, you’ll pay the $799 for an iPhone 14 and you’ll get $160 on a trade. Which comes out to a savings of $13.33 a month.

I also noticed that when trading in an iPhone with more than 128 GB of storage, Apple doesn’t take into consideration how much your phone is worth. At least it isn’t apparent on its website. An iPhone 13 with 512 GB of storage has the same trade-in value as an iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage.

That’s according to Apple.com when buying a new phone directly from Apple, but here’s the critical part. The phone is worth considerably less if it’s in bad shape.

An iPhone 12 with a cracked or scratched screen, isn’t worth anything as a trade-in. Apple says it will only recycle the phone for you. So you’re out of the full cost of a new phone.

All of this math is based on Apple’s trade-in program. You may have better luck going directly through a carrier, especially if you are looking to switch from one to another. AT&T and Verizon offer much higher trade-in values (at the moment). You may get special savings and discounts by shopping around.