Updated on 10-13-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in revised T-Mobile prices, following the end of its launch promotion.
Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T have largely moved away from the on-contract discounts of yore to full MSRP pricing. Some have killed discounts and contracts all together. That fact isn’t without its benefits — like cheaper plan pricing — but will undoubtedly lead to sticker shock. That scary $650-and-up off-contract iPhone price is now pretty much standard.
Gone may be the days of getting Apple’s latest on the relative cheap, but there are other ways to nab a shiny new rose gold iPhone 6S for less than an arm and a leg. Not all carriers have eliminated subsidies entirely, and those that have now offer leasing and monthly installment plans. Even Apple’s jumping aboard the device payment trend: It’s launching an iPhone upgrade plan of its own later this year. But while the ways to acquire a new iPhone may be plentiful, they’re far from easy to navigate.
While a definitive list of every iPhone upgrade avenue is difficult if not impossible to compile, we’ve tried to aggregated the promotions you’re most likely to see online and at your carrier’s brick-and-mortar store. We’ll continue to update the list of plans and special discounts as they’re announced.
Here’s Apple’s suggested pricing for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and the pricing that carriers which haven’t eliminated subsidies will adhere to:
- iPhone 6s 16GB: $200 on contract, $650 full retail
- iPhone 6s 64GB: $300 on contract, $750 full retail
- iPhone 6s 128GB: $400 on contract, $850 full retail
- iPhone 6s Plus 16GB: $300 on contract, $750 full retail
- iPhone 6s Plus 64GB: $400 on contract, $850 full retail
- iPhone 6s Plus 128GB: $500 on contract, $950 full retail
In addition, Apple’s offering something entirely new: a monthly rental plan. For $32 per month, you can lease the latest iPhone directly from Apple, return it after a year, and get AppleCare+ warranty coverage for the duration of your enrollment. It may not be the cheapest option, but unlike a leasing offered through a carrier, you aren’t tied down to a service plan for the duration of the plan.
Verizon may have done away with upgrade subsidies for new subscribers earlier this year, but it’s still offering discounts on smartphones to current customers only.
New customers must choose The Verizon Plan, which allows you to breakdown the full retail cost of your new iPhone into 24 monthly payments. Current customers also have the option to switch to The Verizon Plan. The payment schedule is as follows:
|24 months||Full retail price||2-year contract price|
|iPhone 6S 16GB||$27.08||$650||$200|
|iPhone 6S 64GB||$31.24||$750||$300|
|iPhone 6S 128GB||$35.41||$850||$400|
|iPhone 6S Plus 16GB||$31.24||$750||$300|
|iPhone 6S Plus 64GB||$35.41||$850||$400|
|iPhone 6S Plus 128GB||$39.58||$950||$500|
Customers on The Verizon Plan only pay a $20 access charge per month, whereas contract customers pay $40.
As an extra incentive to join The Verizon Plan, Verizon is offering up to $400 in trade-in savings for current iPhone users looking to trade up to a new iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus. Verizon will give you $100 for an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s, $200 for an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c, $300 for an iPhone 5S, $350 for an iPhone 6, and $400 for an iPhone 6 Plus. The trade-in must be in good working condition.
This trade-in value can be used as a down payment towards your total device cost, which will lower your payments. For example, a customer who trades in a smoothly working iPhone 5S will get a $300 credit. If the customer puts that $300 towards a new iPhone 6S 16GB, the monthly price will drop to $14.58.
New customers to Verizon get one additional incentive. The carrier will give you a $100 bill credit when opening a new line with the activation of a brand new iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus.
Preorders for the iPhone 6S go live on AT&T’s website this Saturday, Sept. 12, at 12:01 a.m. PDT. Alternatively, AT&T will begin offering all models in stores on Sept. 25.
AT&T is still offering subsidized smartphone pricing for new customers, so most people shouldn’t have to pay more than $200 for the base, 16GB model. However, customers who choose AT&T Next save up to $25 a month on access charges for each smartphone when signing up with the Mobile Share Value plans.
AT&T’s Next plans starts at $21.67 for the Next 24 plan (30 months), while Next 18 (24 months) and Next 12 (20 months) costs $27.09 per month and $32.50 per month respectively. The rest of the pricing is as follows:
|Next 12 (20)||Next 18 (24)||Next 24 (30)||Next with down payment (28)|
|iPhone 6S 16GB||$32.50||$27.09||$21.67||$16.25 ($195 down)|
|iPhone 6S 64GB||$37.50||$31.25||$25.00||$18.75 ($225 down)|
|iPhone 6S 128GB||$42.50||$35.42||$28.34||$21.25 ($255 down)|
|iPhone 6S Plus 16GB||$37.50||$31.25||$25.00||$18.75 ($225 down)|
|iPhone 6S Plus 64GB||$42.50||$35.42||$28.34||$21.25 ($255 down)|
|iPhone 6S Plus 128GB||$47.50||$39.59||$31.67||$23.75 ($285 down)|
AT&T is also offering current DIRECTV or AT&T U-verse customers a $500 credit for switching to AT&T. Customers need to buy an iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus on AT&T Next and trade-in an eligible smartphone for each line that is switched in order to be get in on the deal. Other customers willing to switch to AT&T and buy a new iPhone on AT&T Next and trade-in an eligible smartphone can still get $300 in credits.
T-Mobile’s a bit of a trailblazer in the no-contract arena — it did away with subsidies in 2013. Appropriately, it offers a wide range of device payment choices.
When the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were announced, T-Mobile offered the pair at extremely competitive prices through its Jump! On Demand program. In mid-October, the promotion ended, and the days of an iPhone 6S for $20 or the iPhone 6S Plus for $24 per month were over.
The new Jump! On Demand program is more expensive. A 16GB iPhone 6S is $27 per month, and an iPhone 6S Plus with 16GB is now $31. There are some alterations regarding T-Mobile’s old phone trade-in prices too, with the iPhone 5S, Galaxy S5 and Note 4 all becoming less valuable, and now resulting in a $15 per month price for the iPhone 6S rather than $10 under the old scheme.
T-Mobile offers the iPhone 6S for outright purchase, too, but also a several-month payment plan. T-Mobile’s standard Jump! program runs anywhere between $27 to $32 per month (24 months) for high-end phones, and the basic 16GB iPhone 6S fits neatly into this at $27 with nothing to pay upfront.
Sprint, like AT&T, offers subsidized pricing, but also has the distinction of carrying the cheapest device leasing plan — iPhone Forever. You’ll be able to rent an iPhone 6S for $15 per month or an iPhone 6S Plus for $19 if you trade in your phone. If you opt not to hand over your old handset, the rates are $22 per month and $26 per month for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S plus, respectively.
Sprint’s discounted rental rates are time-sensative, it’s important to note. New and existing customers and enrollees in iPhone Forever can only get the $15 iPhone 6S plan before Dec. 31.
General iPhone 6S and 6S Plus preorders start on Sept. 12 at midnight PDT and sales come a bit later in the month, on Sept. 25.
If any of those options are too rich for your blood, though, you can now get older iPhones for a smidge less. The iPhone 6 Plus now starts at $200 on contract (or $650 outright), a $100 reduction; the iPhone 6 is now $100 ($550); and the iPhone 5S is free ($450).
The monthly options are now cheaper, too. On 24-month payment plans, you can now get the iPhone 6 Plus for $27 per month, the iPhone 6 for $23 per month, and the iPhone 5S for $19 per month.
Updated on 09-11-15 by Kyle Wiggers: Added Sprint’s promotional leasing rates.
Updated on 09-11-15 by Robert Nazarian: Updated AT&T pricing.
Updated on 09-12-15 by Robert Nazarian: Updated Verizon Wireless pricing.