How to get a new iPhone 7 (almost) free

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 8:23 AM, Sep 14, 2016

I was going to headline this report "how to get an iPhone free," but since I am a big fan of truth in advertising, I decided to make it "almost free."  

After all, unless you win the lotto, nothing is really free. But right now, you can grab some pretty good deals on the new iPhone 7.

Debating Whether to Take the Plunge

It's that time of year again: iPhone madness, as Apple's new iPhone goes on sale. Many people with aging iPhone  5s and 6s are debating whether to take the plunge.

Tessa Hall, a hopeful iPhone 7 owner, said "I'd really love to, but not for $700!" To be fair, that's the price for the larger sized iPhone7 Plus; the base iPhone 7 will be a slightly more modest $649.

But all major carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, TMobile, and Sprint, will give their best customers a new phone for "free," according to their promotional ads.

How the "Free" Deal Works

It's actually a $650 credit, if you trade in a paid off iPhone 6 or 6S, and agree to stay with them 2 more years (Sorry iPhone 5s and 5Ss don't qualify, and your iPhone 6 must be fully paid off).

Also, note that you will be billed $649 when you initially buy your new iPhone 7. Carriers will send you a box for shipping, and once they receive it and make sure your old iPhone 6 is in good working condition, they will credit you the $649.

And of course there are the usual upgrade fees, so that's yet another reason why it's "almost" free. Check your carrier for details, or checkCNBC's report on the free deals from each major carrier.

Not Upgrading? You Can Still Save

Whether or not you are in the market for a new phone right now, this changeover season is always a good time to take another look at your plan, and see if you are overpaying. has just analyzed plans, with its easy-to use cell phone calculator, and finds that of the major carriers:

  • Sprint has the lowest cost over two years, at $1,757 for a new iPhone (purchased on installment plan) and data.
  • Budget carrier Ring Plus is the absolute lowest priced, at $1,200.
  • Verizon is the most expensive, followed by AT&T.

If it all gives you a big headache, you can just keep what you have, do nothing, and wait until your phone starts to fail to upgrade.

That way you don't waste your money.

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