A free iPhone is like a dream come true. You get the best phone on the market without a single cent coming out of your pocket. For the most part, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You’ll end up paying somewhere along the line.
So we’re here to help you navigate deals, scams, discounts, and everything else you need to get a free iPhone. In the end, we’ll also give you some tips on how to get a highly discounted phone. It’s not totally free but a great way to save big on your iPhone purchase.
Before we get started: scams, scams, and more scams
If you search for “free iPhone” on Google, you’ll see what looks like plenty of opportunities for free phones. Some of these are legitimate online giveaways. Most, however, are thinly veiled scams designed to get you to input your personal information like address, date of birth, and other sensitive personal information. These sites then sell your data to advertisers or steal your identity. So you need to be careful!
But, even with legit sites, you don’t have a high chance of winning. Instead, focus on these better ways to get a free or discounted iPhone.
Carrier Deals for Free iPhones
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile often have free iPhone promotions. The truth is, these aren’t really free. They’re free when you agree to a contract of usually 24 months. The telecom company provides the phones as incentives for you to sign up for lengthy contracts. In some cases, you’re even still paying for the phone just in monthly installments.
That doesn’t mean these are a bad option. They’re great if you don’t want to pay any money upfront or want to spread your phone purchase out over a couple of years. Generally, you’ll only have to pay a device activation fee of between $30-50—and this is sometimes waived during promotion periods.
Do a little research and see if there are plans that fit your budget. These deals are best structured for people who are loyal to carriers who like to upgrade their phone once every two years.
You’ll also find many promotions like “Buy one iPhone, get one free” or something like that. If you really want to get the most out of these, find a family member or friend who will go in on a plan with you. With each person you sign up, you’ll be able to get a cheaper monthly fee and other perks.
Be aware that aside from contracts, your phone will also be carrier-locked. This means you can only use it on your respective carrier until your contract finishes.
Store Discounts and Other Deals
Best Buy, Walmart, and other big-box retailers frequently have iPhone promotions going on. These will depend on the time of year—usually before and after the holiday season, back to school, and a few other times. Check around and see what’s currently offer. Many may offer a price match as well.
You’ll also find similar deals that are tied to carriers. For example, Best Buy often offers discounts tied with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint with a qualified trade-in.
The two real ways to get free iPhones that you most often see are from telecom carriers. They’re either a free iPhone with a new plan or some form of a trade-in deal. Either way, you will be going through a carrier. To get a free iPhone will depend on the value of your trade-in and the phone model you’re selecting.
Each carrier is different. For example, in Fall 2019, Sprint offered a generous free iPhone 11 with a trade-in of an iPhone 8 or newer. They also offered a discount for older iPhones.
You’ll need to check individually with the carrier. In general, you’ll get a free iPhone based on what tier iPhone you currently have. For example, the iPhone XS Max would translate into a free iPhone 11 Pro Max. If your phone doesn’t match up, you should still get a significant discount.
Buying Refurbished: Almost Free and a Much Better Option
Other options give you greater flexibility. You won’t get a free phone, but it will be highly discounted. Not only that, you’ll be able to have an unlocked phone compatible with all SIM cards and carriers.
The best way to do this is by taking advantage of deals on Swappa, Gazelle, or even Amazon. Here you can find a variety of established sellers marketing refurbished iPhones at significant discounts. It will be challenging to find great deals on this generation’s iPhones, but you will find amazing discounts on older iPhones.
For example, you can purchase a refurbished iPhone X from Apple for $599. However, you can find the same phone for as little as $415 on Swappa. Both have undergone rigorous testing and are even eligible for a warranty. The only difference is you can save almost $200. The same goes with all other iPhone models.
If you combine this discount with the high-value Buyback Boss offers for used iPhones, you can see some serious savings. Your phone won’t exactly be free, but you’ll save a ton of cash and not have to worry about an expensive, lengthy cellular contract.
How to Get an (Almost) Free iPhone
Some people are lucky. They might win an actual promotion and receive a free iPhone. Or they are fortunate enough to receive one as a gift. For the rest of us, however, there’s no such thing as a free iPhone. Nearly all online giveaways are scams designed to steal your personal information.
Instead, avoid the risks to your security and privacy and follow the tips in this guide. If you find the right carrier and plan, you can take advantage of “free” iPhones from big telecom providers.
On the other hand, if you want a little more flexibility and want to save in the long term, you can purchase a refurbished iPhone and find some incredible deals. Whichever way you go, make sure to sell your old iPhone to the highest bidder because that’s the best way for you to save some serious cash on your new iPhone. Click here to see how much your iPhone is worth right now!
Explore more about iPhone deals, tips and tricks, and more on the Buyback Boss Blog. You can learn about the best iPhone for the money. Get your phone ready to sell/give away. And find out the best places to buy used iPhones. We have everything you need to make buying, selling, using, and fixing iPhones a breeze. Discover it all now!