Is Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program the best way to buy the iPhone 6S?

iPhone 6S hands on
Jeff Van Camp/Digital Trends
What Apple fan doesn’t want a new iPhone every year? Making sure the latest model is in your hands as quickly as possible is part of the fun, but it can be a very expensive and also very difficult process. Things are getting easier, with the introduction of leasing programs by carriers, but you still have to choose one provider, and there are a lot of deals to examine.

With the introduction of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, Apple has come up with its own way for fans to get the newest models with less hassle. It’s called the iPhone Upgrade Program, and at first glance it looks like excellent value. After all, it guarantees you a new phone each year, and comes with AppleCare+ coverage.

However, before you sign-up, let’s look at the plan in more detail, and compare it with some of the other options out there. Is the iPhone Upgrade Program the best way to buy your new iPhone? We went through all the available pricing offers for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus to find out what the best deal is. Suffice it to say, the iPhone Upgrade Program is not the cheapest option. Read on for full details.

*Note: Current pricing info is limited, but we will update this when more info comes out.

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program

iphone6s-gallery1-2015

The iPhone Upgrade Program is very simple, because Apple has done a good job laying out the pricing structure. You apply to finance your new iPhone over a period of 24-months, get the option to upgrade to the new iPhone after 12-months, and receive two-years worth of AppleCare+ thrown into the mix. AppleCare+ covers the phone for repair or replacement in the event of failure, two accidents related to water, damage the screen, or problems after dropping it.

Here is a break down of the pricing for both iPhones on the Apple Upgrade Program with AppleCare+ versus the full retail price without AppleCare+.

iPhone 6S

Storage  Price per month Total price Retail price*
 16GB $32.41 x 24 months $777.84 $650
 64GB $36.58 x 24 months $877.92 $750
128GB $40.75 x 24 months $978 $850

*Normal full retail price for the iPhone 6S without AppleCare+ or the Upgrade Program

iPhone 6S Plus

Storage   Price per month  Total price Retail Price*
 16GB  $36.58 x 24 months  $877.92  $750
 64GB  $40.75 x 24 months  $978 $850
 128GB  $44.91 x 24 months  $1,077.84 $950

*Normal full retail price for the iPhone 6S without AppleCare+ or the Upgrade Program

So is it a good deal?

As you can see, the full retail price is $100+ less than the what you’ll pay if you opt for the Apple Upgrade Program. However, you won’t have AppleCare+ insurance if you decide to pay for the phone outright, and depending on which carrier you go with, insurance could cost you extra. Essentially, the Apple Upgrade Program asks you to pay for your new iPhone outright, and then some, but you will get insurance. If you habitually break your phone, and depend on Apple for service, it could be a good deal, though some carriers will offer less expensive insurance.

If you’re still interested in the Apple Upgrade Program, there are a few more things you need to know. To qualify, you’ll need to complete the status check, and have a valid U.S. personal credit card in your possession. You’ll also have to agree to activate the phone with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. The phone is unlocked though, so you’ll be free to choose and swap between the carriers. If you decide to upgrade after a year, you’ll have to sign on for another two years with the program, and pay full price — and then some — for your next iPhone.

The deal is straight forward, and the cost is the same as buying an iPhone with an AppleCare+ program separately. You’re just paying for it monthly — with no interest — and getting a new iPhone after a year if you want one. Apple is still putting together the small print, and if anything changes we’ll update you here.

Learn more here.

Next page: Pricing on the networks

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