How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade Your Phone?

Cell phones are built quite well these days. There is no reason not to expect your device to last you for several years, provided that you take good care of it. Part of what that entails is updating the software on it regularly. Other aspects of cell phone maintenance would be keeping it in a holder that protects it, not exposing it to extreme cold or heat, and not allowing it to get wet. Despite your best efforts, though, the functionality of your phone might not be what it once was, or you may be ready for a new one because of technological advancements. In either of those circumstances, you’ll want to look into the cost of upgrading your device.

How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade Your Phone

How To Upgrade Your iPhone

Upgrading Phone

Essentially, the term “upgrade” when we’re talking about cell phones means replacing your current version with a new one. That new one might actually be the same model that you currently have, or it could be a more recent generation of phones. A cell phone upgrade might involve both getting a newer model and switching over to a different brand. For instance, maybe you’ve had an iPhone for years, but the time has come that you want to try out an Android model based on positive feedback from relatives or friends.

When you’re upgrading your phone, you can do so on your own if you’ve already paid for your device outright. In such instances, it’s likely that you’ll want to trade in your current model and put the money from the sale toward purchasing the new phone. It makes a lot of sense to do so since brand-new, top-of-the-line devices can be quite costly.

The other way that you can upgrade your phone is to trade in your current model to your cellular service provider. If you are coming to the end of a one or two-year lease of the device, then that would be an ideal time for you to get a new phone if there’s a particular one on which you’ve had your eye.

You may be wondering, though, how much these various upgrades are going to cost. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to pay in a few different scenarios.

Factors in Determining Your Phones Worth

The iPhone XR

How much does it cost to upgrade your phone? There is no go-to formula for determining how much a phone upgrade is going to cost. That is because there are going to be all kinds of mitigating factors that can make a significant difference. Generally speaking, though, your current phone is going to have more of a trade-in value if it is a more recent model. It stands to reason that you will get more from a used iPhone XR than a used iPhone 6S.

At the same time, the condition of your phone will matter. If your older phone is still entirely functional due to your taking good care of it over the time that you’ve had it, you can command a higher trade-in value for it.

Damaged Phone

If it’s utterly nonfunctional because it was submerged in water or something else happened to it, then sometimes the term “bricked” is used to describe it. That’s because your phone is like a brick: a piece of machinery that’s no longer serviceable for much more than a paperweight. Whoever you trade it to can only hope to harvest some of the parts for salvage.

What are the Rent-to-Own Contracts?

It also matters whether you own the phone outright or whether you’re leasing it from your cellular service provider. Some contracts come with the stipulation that you’re paying for the phone rental, but you’re not doing so on a rent-to-own basis. This means that regardless of how much money you’ve spent over the months or years to rent the phone, you don’t own any equity in it.

It seems like it would not be to your benefit to sign such a contract with your service provider. However, usually with these sorts of contracts, there is a trade-off. Even though you don’t have the option of buying the phone at the end of the contract term, the usual stipulation is that at the end of the one or two-year period, you get a brand-new phone for free. That’s usually going to be the newest iPhone, or Galaxy, or whatever another kind of phone you like. This sort of deal is structured to encourage customer loyalty.

In such instances, you never own the phones that you rent from the service provider, but the new one you get every one or two years comes free of charge. Some people don’t think of that as a bad way to get periodic phone upgrades.

See What Different Service Providers Will Give You for Your Phone

If you own your older phone outright and you want to sell it so that you can purchase a new one, then what you’re going to get for that current phone is going to vary depending on what provider you use.

You’re not guaranteed the same monetary value from Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, or any of the others that are out there. If you don’t yet have a cellular service provider, then it’s a sound idea to shop around and ask them what price they’ll give you for the make and model of the phone you have. The one that gives you the best trade-in value may be the one that earns your business.

You Can Sell Your Device Through BuyBack Boss

Phone display to a store

You can also sell your used device through BuyBack Boss. It’s easy to assess the value of your phone with us, and once you receive the money either through PayPal or by check, then you can put it toward the cost of a new phone. You can buy that new phone through your cellular service provider, or you could get it from various online outlets or a brick-and-mortar store.

At the moment, if you have a factory unlocked iPhone 11 that you want to sell with 128 GB of storage that is in gently-used condition, that will get you $400. That is dependent, of course, on the company confirming that the phone is in the state in which you said it was. 

If you want to trade that in for an iPhone 11 that has 256 GB of storage, which would certainly be considered an upgrade, then that would cost $849 on the Apple website. If you elect not to get the Apple Care+ coverage, then the cost for such an upgrade would be approximately $849-$400 for your trade-in, or $449. With the tax on the purchase of the new phone, it’s going to be a little bit more.

Let’s say that you have an older model of the iPhone. Perhaps you have an iPhone 6S. Yours is factory unlocked, with 128 GB of storage. It’s used but has no cosmetic defects, and everything about it still works fine. BuyBack Boss would offer you $55 for that. Assuming that you want the same model of iPhone 11 in exchange through the Apple Store, then you’re looking at $849-$55, so the cost of your upgrade would be approximately $749.

Should I Upgrade My Phone?

Trading Your phone

In this way, you can see that there are dozens of different formulas and combinations when you’re looking to upgrade your phone. Depending on your current phone’s condition, whether you own it outright, what entity you choose to sell it to, and who your carrier is, an upgrade might cost you as little as a couple of hundred dollars, or it could be as much as a thousand. The range varies so widely because of all the different factors that go into the sale and purchase process.

One thing is certain: if you intend to upgrade your phone, then it doesn’t pay to rush into anything. You’ll get the best value if you carefully study your options before you take any action.

Make sure that you’re getting the best deal for a trade-in if you own your phone outright. If you’re going through a cellular provider and you want a new phone, compare deals offered by some different ones before you commit to anything. If you’re not locked into one of those long-term contracts at the moment, that will help you at this juncture.

Once you have your upgraded phone all set up, you’re sure to enjoy its various features. Now, you’ll have a little experience with the process, and the next time you go through it, you’ll be more confident about doing so.