When new iPhone models come out we inevitably get into this upgrade mood and want to have the latest and the best. It’s always at this time of the year when I get shivers because friends and family and making these easily avoidable mistakes. Whether you like to stick to S iPhone models like to get a new one every year or are buying a new iPhone for the first time, you should really consider these seven points.
1. Upgrading when it’s not time to upgrade
Apple has proven to be very predictable when it comes to launching new iPhone models. Every year expect a new iPhone model to be announced around the end of September. If there’s any doubt about it, MacRumors is famous for its buying guide, which tells you when it’s the right time to upgrade. Leaks from Chinese manufacturers have become so accurate that you can get a very good idea of what Apple is going to announce.
Every new iPhone model will be better than the one it replaces. If you want a new form factor, go for the non-S year model. If you prefer to stick to a familiar shape and internal improvements, wait for the S cycle. Since iPhones are updated every year, you what to get yours right at the beginning. Most carriers will offer what appear to be too-good-to-be-true deals just before a new phone is announced, which brings us to the next point.
2. Agreeing to a contract that will be very expensive in the long run
Regardless of your current situation, you are going to be presented with these two options to get a new phone in one way or another. You can buy the device outright from Apple or directly from your carrier. Your mobile service provider is going to offer you some type of bundle where you pay a monthly subscription for the device and a small amount upfront for the handset. While the latter is tempting if you don’t have sufficient cash around to buy your iPhone from Apple, your carrier is not really subsidising your new phone. The extra cost is added to your monthly bill and it’s very likely that you will end up paying more in the long run. Signing up to a lengthy contract, typically over 12 months, means that you won’t have the freedom to upgrade when the next one comes out. Buying an unlocked device and having, perhaps, a monthly play or 12-month contract will give you more flexibility to switch carriers in the future.
3. Wait to upgrade until your current iPhone has lost its resale value
This is exactly what happens in you didn’t consider the previous point and now you find yourself locked in a contract with a carrier. It’s very likely you bought your current phone in the middle on an iPhone cycle and now will have to pay some cancellation fee if you tell your provider you want to upgrade early.
The second-hand market has shown year after year that iPhones keep their resale value really well. You should expect to receive at least 60% of the original cost of an iPhone not older than 12 months and this amount decreases dramatically after that. Although you may want to get hold of your iPhone for a longer period because you don’t have the cash right now or are in the middle of a contract, by keeping your iPhone when you want a new one you will be leaving money on the table. These days there are services that will ‘recycle’ your device in exchange of cash or vouchers if the second-hand market is not for you. Apple will also take your old device — at a less competitive rate — with the added convenience of popping into your local Apple Store.
4. Underestimating the amount of storage you will need
For some evil reason, Apple keeps selling iPhones with 16GB storage. While these may appear really tempting, the limited local storage is probably going to make your experience using the device miserable. You can probably get around just fine if you only use your smartphone as a messaging and social networking machine. For anything else involving photos, music and games you will probably need more storage.
Thankfully there are native and third-party services that allow you to keep “your stuff” in the cloud. To make the most of your iCloud Photo Library, Apple Music, Spotify and Dropbox you will need a paid subscription, so it’s definitely wise to think of their cost too when you are choosing the iPhone model you want to buy.
5. Trying a phone model that doesn’t fit your lifestyle
This year Apple is offering the iPhone in two sizes and choosing one over the other can be a difficult decision. You won’t be able to tell whether a big Plus iPhone feels right until you try it for two weeks. You can read as many reviews as you want, but the best exercise is to list all the pros and cons that are applicable to you and your daily routine. Do you wear clothes without big pockets? Do you tend to run out of battery in the middle of the day? Are you comfortable holding a big gadget in public? Are your hands minuscule? I have recently upgraded to an iPhone 6s Plus myself and are only starting to see its true colours now. It’s really difficult to get a good impression without having the device with you, but you should be able to do as much homework as possible to identify scenarios where a certain iPhone model is not going to be great. iPhone Plus for running at the gym? No thanks.
6. Choosing the back colour without thinking about the front
Apple is offering the iPhone in more colour options than ever as long as you are willing to put up with a small detail: white front. It’s funny how the original iPhone came out with black front and this has slowly moved to white iPhones being the standard. There is only one iPhone with black front — that’s the Space Grey model — compared to the three models with a white front — that’s Silver, Gold and Rose Gold.
7. Get it delivered when you can pick it up
Whether you buy your new iPhone from Apple or your carrier, new product launches at this scale involve very complex logistics and things can go wrong. A good idea to save you some unnecessary stress if to select the ‘pick up option’ instead of home delivery. This way you are guaranteed to have a time slot on the day you have chosen instead of waiting for a delivery driver that will inevitably be late.