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Apple's Apple upgrade program: Here's how it works



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James Martin / CNET

This story is part of the Apple Event our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

New iPhone models are on the way – read about the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models here – making it a good time to review the iPhone's Upgrade Program Apple. This is usually the "iPhone as a service" plan: Instead of paying the full amount up to the front or monthly payment to own a particular handset after 2 years, the iPhone Upgrade Program guarantees you to a new iPhone every year. Of course, for that privilege, you pay a subscription fee for the foreseeable future.

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How does the iPhone upgrade Program work?

You buy an iPhone from Apple – from an Apple Store in person, Apple's online store or the Apple Store app – and agree to pay it back for more than 24 months. But after making half of those payments, you qualify for a free upgrade. After 12 months, you can trade with your current phone for a new model. The clock starts again with 24 months of payment and eligibility to upgrade after making 12 of them.

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Why buy from Apple instead of a carrier?

Apple sweetened the deal by throwing in the coverage of AppleCare Plus, its insurance and extended warranty program that would otherwise cost $ 7.99 a month for the iPhone 11 or $ 9.99 a month for the iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max. The service doubles the standard one-year warranty to two years, but it doesn't really matter if you are planning on trading your phone after the first year. The true value of AppleCare Plus is getting accidental damage protection. You get two claimed accidents to replace your phone (each carries a $ 99 fee, but it's cheaper than buying a new phone). You can also replace a broken screen or two for $ 29 per incident. Phone support has also been extended to two years with AppleCare Plus, up from the usual 90 days.

How much does it cost?

Prices range from $ 35.33 a month for 64GB iPhone 11 to $ 68.66 a month for 512GB iPhone 11 Pro Max.

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What about AppleCare Plus in Theft and Loss? and Loss of coverage. It adds $ 4.16 to your monthly Upgrade Program bill and lets you pay a small deductible to replace a lost or stolen phone instead of the full replacement cost. The discount varies by model, from $ 199 for iPhone 8 to $ 229 for iPhone XR and iPhone 11 to $ 269 for iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

How do I pay?

You need a credit card to sign up, at least in the US. In the US, Apple uses Citizens Bank for an installment loan, and it requires a valid, credit-card-issued loan.

Is there an age limit?

Yes. Sorry, kids, you have to be 18 to apply. (And given the prices of the new Pro models, I expect you to start getting better with your parents.)

How do I trade with my current phone?

You can take it to an Apple Store and make the purchase there, but you can also save the trip and buy from Apple's online store or the Apple Store app. When you order an iPhone online from Apple, it will come with a trade-in kit so you can package your suddenly obsolete phone and ship it to Apple. You must return it to Apple within 14 days.

What if my current iPhone has been banged?

According to Apple, your current iPhone needs to be in "good physical and operational condition." This means that it should:

  • Able to hold and hold
  • There is a full and working display

I haven't made 12 payments on my current phone yet – can I upgrade?

Yes, but it will cost you. If you have made at least six monthly payments on your current phone, you can pay the difference between your current balance and the total for 12 payments to pass the clock and get a new iPhone.

Do I need to upgrade?

No, not all! You are not forced to upgrade. If you enjoy your current phone, you can continue to use it and continue to pay for it. After 24 months, you'll pay for it and you can continue using it without paying monthly, or you can turn around and sell it to help finance the cost of a new phone when you're ready.

Are there any other benefits to the iPhone Upgrade Program?

Yep! You can now get a free year of Apple TV Plus with the new iPhone.

Originally published 2 years ago.

Update, Sept. 11, 2019: Added information on new iPhone iPhone models.


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