Apple iPhone 7 Upgrade Cost Analysis

It’s been 2 years since I upgraded my phone and they’ve moved away from the original 2-year contracts. Now I’m hit with a myriad of options and being an AT&T customer I looked at AT&T Next and it was so confusing I just ignored it all together. Way too many hidden fees for me to even consider it at this point. Below I’ve done an analysis on Apple’s own upgrade program vs. buying a new phone each year and selling it vs. buying a new phone and keeping it for 2 years and selling it. I also noted 2 important points I found out about the buying process below.

Upgrade Program (includes AppleCare+)
$41.58 * 24 = $997.92
$997.92-$869=$128.92 so the upgrade program just includes AppleCare+ and then is spread over 2 years.

AppleCare+ (extends your coverage for 2 years)

Unlocked iPhone 7 Plus

For the below current pricing I used eBay median price on the first 10 matching phones I saw
iPhone 6 plus currently sells for $425, original unlocked price was $849.
So it’s worth about 1/2 price after 2 years.

iPhone 6s plus currently sells for $550, original unlocked price was $849.
So it’s worth about 65% after 1 year.

2 year cost owning and selling your own phone with AppleCare+

2 year cost with 1 year upgrade and no selling with AppleCare+

2 year cost with 1 upgrade and selling both phones and assuming next year’s phone is the same price with AppleCare+ (this assumes you don’t have to buy AppleCare+ again after you buy the new phone) $869+$869-$565-$565+129=$737


If you actually want a new phone every year you should just pay the extra $260 and use Apple’s Upgrade Program (assuming you can deal with the headaches below). Personally, the incremental S upgrade isn’t worth the extra $434 over 2 years to me. The difference last year between the 6s and the 6 was 3d touch, a sturdier frame, faster network speeds, and a faster CPU. Over time the yearly incremental changes have become smaller too. I’m fine being on the 2 year cycle paying almost half the price over 2 years assuming you’re ok with selling your phone over eBay. eBay also still runs the price guarantee program for cellphones. I used to work on the team that guaranteed the prices as well so I know it does work pretty well. When eBay acquired Decide in 2013 this was one of the programs we launched.

IMPORTANT AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 7’s aren’t CDMA compatible. That means AT&T and T-Mobile phones can’t be used on Verizon/Sprint or any other CDMA providers. However, Sprint/Verizon phones will work on all networks including T-Mobile. Yes it really is that stupid, and yes it will have better resale value if you get a CDMA compatible phone. Unfortunately if you don’t have Verizon or Sprint you won’t be able to pre-order them through Apple’s own site. You’ll have to go in and buy them. MacRumors original report

ALSO IMPORTANT Members of Apple Upgrade Program have been having issues getting the phones they want. Looks like you can choose 2 of model, color, and storage so you might factor that into your decision making process too. MacRumors Report