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It's time for me to buy a new phone.  And I'm wondering what great deals or advice others have about purchasing an iPhone?  I hear that some people like to buy them directly from Apple, use prepaid plans; other people have found great deals from carriers like Sprint, T Mobile, etc...  

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rated:
That's too unspecific, what carrier are you using now?

That's like saying, I want to buy a car, and not saying anything else.

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forbin4040 said:   That's too unspecific, what carrier are you using now?

That's like saying, I want to buy a car, and not saying anything else.

  
Believe it or not, I do not currently have a phone.  I've been using Google Voice for free.

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Gauss44 said:   Believe it or not, I do not currently have a phone.  I've been using Google Voice for free.
 

 So, are you looking for a contract, pay as you go, or prepaid? Are you open to a lease agreement? Do you just want to buy a phone outright/in one lump payment for continued use with G00gle Voice? When you say new, do you mean NIB or just new to you (i.e., are you open to used/refurbished)? Do you need data, if so, how much (same with text and minutes). As forbin4040 said, you're going to have to provide a lot more detail if expect any useful responses.

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fivetalents said:   
Gauss44 said:   Believe it or not, I do not currently have a phone.  I've been using Google Voice for free.
 So, are you looking for a contract, pay as you go, or prepaid? Are you open to a lease agreement? Do you just want to buy a phone outright/in one lump payment for continued use with G00gle Voice? When you say new, do you mean NIB or just new to you (i.e., are you open to used/refurbished)? Do you need data, if so, how much (same with text and minutes). As forbin4040 said, you're going to have to provide a lot more detail if expect any useful responses.

  
I'm open to any and all options at this point.  I am educating myself on what's out there, and the pros and cons of different offers.

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Gauss44 said:   
fivetalents said:   
Gauss44 said:   Believe it or not, I do not currently have a phone.  I've been using Google Voice for free.
 So, are you looking for a contract, pay as you go, or prepaid? Are you open to a lease agreement? Do you just want to buy a phone outright/in one lump payment for continued use with G00gle Voice? When you say new, do you mean NIB or just new to you (i.e., are you open to used/refurbished)? Do you need data, if so, how much (same with text and minutes). As forbin4040 said, you're going to have to provide a lot more detail if expect any useful responses.

  
I'm open to any and all options at this point.  I am educating myself on what's out there, and the pros and cons of different offers.

 Well, IMHO, you're asking for a whole lot without even giving up so much as your budget, the model(s) you want, or whether you've even used iPhones before/why iOS over other platforms.

Since the little you've divulged suggests that you have little tech/mobile experience, I'd recommend the SE/Special Edition. It is an older but still powerful and affordable model. Recent SE deals from major CMDA and GSM carriers, their MVNOs, and/or unlocked/no carrier have ranged from $150-$260. Refurbs would, of course, be cheaper but I wouldn't bother with them unless they are refurbished by Apple or, less desirably, one of their authorized retailers. Read the discussions on recent SE deals to help answer some of your questions so you can ask clearer/more informed follow up questions here in this current thread: www.fatwallet.com/forums/search/results.php?type=forums&query=ip... 

A more limited/less powerful but cheaper older model is the 5S, which has ranged from $80 to $150 in recent deals. Read previous discussions here: www.fatwallet.com/forums/search/results.php?type=forums&query=ip... . You can compare the SE and S5 feature for feature here: www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/iphone-se-vs-iphone-5s 

Such and older models will allow you to get your feet wet without breaking the bank, so you'll get a good balance of features and price that will let you figure out if you really like iOS enough to invest 2 to 3 times more money in their top of the line/flagship model down the road.

You can set up FW topic alerts on the models you're interested in to get an email alert the next time they go on sale. Search the forums for past deals on models you like to see what others said about them, their plans, and the carriers. You can check AppIe's certified refurbished site for discounts on their newer models if you decide to go that way: www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals (copy and paste link). One benefit of purchasing directly from AppIe, new or not, is the ability to get an unlocked phone that you can use with any carrier. Of course, eBày is also an option with sellers with excellent reputations since you have PayPal buyer protection and $15 off $75 or 20% off coupons come up fairly regularly. 

Given how extremely broad this topic is, I've limited my response to general info based on guesses that you've never owned an iPhone, have a limited budget, and are better off testing used and/or older models before splurging on the latest and greatest. All of which may be poor guesses. The question you're asking gets asked regularly of FW as well, so I'd search the deal discussion forum and see what recent advice has been given.

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I've been quite lucky with used iphones on eBay.  We paid between $200 and $280 for Iphone 6 128 GB models on eBay, some were carrier locked, others unlocked. Models with smaller storage amounts are cheaper.  Depending on the quality of battery, you may have to pay another $50 (cell phone shop) - $90 (Apple) for a new battery.

The cheapest plan you can get is FreedomPop, but FreedomPop is tricky with lots of fees for the unsuspecting. They start at $0 for basic data and VoIP. FP is on the Sprint network. Ting and Tello are fairly cheap, and on the Sprint network also. If you have several people who need service and using more than a modest amount of data, Ting and Tello charges add up -- we recently switched to Cricket which is on ATT and has 5 lines for $100.

Selection of phone and service is not independent.  You need to get a phone for the service you select, or an unlocked phone (sometimes/usually more expensive).  Some/most phones can be unlocked via unlock services, but it is not always a priori knowable whether a particular phone can be unlocked (i.e., might be blacklisted as stolen or what have you) - if you plan on unlocking, best to do it during the eBay return period

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The Straight Talk iPhone 5s (no contract, unlocked) for $99 at Walmart is the lowest price for a brand new iPhone.

Can be used with an AT&T or TMobile SIM without unlocking.

The 5s is expected to receive security updates until September 2018.

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Before you even buy a phone you need to know which carriers are going to have coverage where you work, live, or go to school. You can google to find sites that provide coverage information for the carriers. Even then you may need to drill down later for coverage for a prepaid plan coverage vs. post paid plan coverage. Do you have any idea how many minutes, texts or data that you'll need?

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Apple usually announces new iPhone models in September. If you're one of those people not used to tech upgrade cycles, and will spend the next year lamenting the fact that your new iPhone was made obsolete soon after you bought it, and how unfair it is that Apple didn't give you any discount when they knew a new model was just around the corner, you should maybe wait until the new product is announced and the price of the existing models drops as a result.

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just get a Moto G5 with a prepaid crikit plan,,,someone is hyping you up for a $700 dollar phone which wont do any more than a good 100-200 phone..if you want to show everyone that you have an iphone by all means go for it.....its a great phone with a premium price...it just doesn't do anything that MOST all other phones can do..good luck

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trumpotron said:   just get a Moto G5 with a prepaid crikit plan,,,someone is hyping you up for a $700 dollar phone which wont do any more than a good 100-200 phone..if you want to show everyone that you have an iphone by all means go for it.....its a great phone with a premium price...it just doesn't do anything that MOST all other phones can do..good luck
  While I'm not an apple fanboi, there are a number of things the iphone has going for it -- longer period of manufacturer supplied Sw upgrades, a better integrated experience, and usually phones have more storage.  Many Android devices come with barebones memory (8GB or 16GB), and if you want to install more than a small number of applications, you're out of memory - even when the storage manager indicates that you have at least a 1/2 GB left.  If you buy a phone that is offered with large storage, a nicer screen, etc. (e.g., Samsung 's top of the line), you can quickly approach the price of an Iphone

Part of that is the memory management (several partitions created from flash etc.)  I've also found that heavily used Android phones somehome become slower over time (might be a partition that's increasingly full?).  Finally, the iphone has a more polished user interface, and where the Android sometimes falls down (handoff between apps etc.), the iphone performs flawlessly.

Android has many things to go for it, though.  OK Google is much better than Siri, and so is Google maps, and almost any other app.  Most of these applications can be had for iphone from Google in the Appstore, but integration into the OS isn't there, so you can't get "OK, Google" app to start unless you do so manually, or ask Siri to do it!   Android will also give you more freedom in terms of apps (think tethering apps, jailbreaking, and installing CyanogenMod - an aftermarket Android build.) 

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The thing about an Apple phone or any Apple device really is the battery. If you buy used or 3rd party refurbished you don't know what you are getting for as far as a battery. I bought a refurbished iPad from GameStop and I thought it had a new battery in it but right after that I ended up with a brand new iPad mini and the difference was dramatic. I learned my lesson.

So I attempted to buy my DH a new iPhone 6s + for Christmas and that was a fiasco. Don't buy a refurbished from Amazon All they do is turn the phone on (if that) and mail it out. I returned two. The first had the dreaded screen glitch and the second had half a battery. I gave up and paid more and bought one directly from Apple. Checked and it had a brand new battery as promised.

I just couldn't see buying someone else's problems..

We use Cricket for service.  We had a Straight Talk plan  until they screwed us over.  I'd rather buy our phones straight out rather than be stuck financing them and stuck in a 2 year cell phone plan. 

EDIT:  Straight Talk and Cricket are the SAME ATT cell service.  TMobile is ATT also. 

So so your only options are, Verzion, Sprint or ATT.

You need to Google each service map and reviews and decide which will work best for you.  Period. 

I tried to find the breakdown cheat sheet of the cost of buying an iPhone outright vs signing up with a cell phone service for a "free or a reduced cost iPhone" plan.  

TMobile is constantly changing their service so it's hard to keep up.  It depends on HOW MANY phones you want on the plan.  And then you have to add ON taxes and all kinds of extra things depending on where you live. 

I got sucked into one of the ATT plans when they first came out and it *sounded like* my iPhone was cheap.  My $49 phone a month ended up costing me $99 a month. I couldn't WAIT until my 2 year contract was over and I could break it!  I'm still using that iPhone 4s!

My husbands daughter has one of the original ATT plans where everyone in the family has unlimited minutes cheap. She lucked out. 

So when you try to sign up for a service, if it's not Cricket or Straight Talk (Walmart iPhones were locked to Straight Talk) you will probably get the run around about how much you will ACTUALLY PAY!   I'd make them send it to me in an email before I signed up...get it writing.  Because they lie. 

I will have to say here that TMobile actually has been honest so far about their FREE FOR LIFE DATA SIM CARD 
​​​​​​
for my iPad Air 3g.  It's has some hiccups. If I reset everything, I always forget my freaking password for TMobile.  I've had to contact them more than I would like. But..free is free. 

 

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allowingtoo said:   The thing about an Apple phone or any Apple device really is the battery. If you buy used or 3rd party refurbished you don't know what you are getting for as far as a battery. I bought a refurbished iPad from GameStop and I thought it had a new battery in it but right after that I ended up with a brand new iPad mini and the difference was dramatic. I learned my lesson.

So I attempted to buy my DH a new iPhone 6s + for Christmas and that was a fiasco. Don't buy a refurbished from Amazon.  All they do is turn the phone on (if that) and mail it out. I returned two. The first had the dreaded screen glitch and the second had half a battery. I gave up and paid more and bought one directly from Apple. Checked and it had a brand new battery as promised.

I just couldn't see buying someone else's problems..

We use Cricket for service.  We had Straight Talk until they screwed us over.  I'd rather buy our phones straight out rather than be stuck financing them and stuck in a 2 year cell phone plan. 

  
I also heard that Amazon had a counterfeit problem with Apple a while back.

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You need to ask this at Howard Forums maybe. But really, Google is your best friend. You shouldn't expect everyone else to do ALL the work for you. You should at least try to narrow it down to where you LIVE and the best cell phone reception. Sprint? Verizon? ATT? ATT would also be TMobile.

Are you thrifty? Like to save money or don't care?

Are you worried about having the LATEST & GREATEST model or can you wait a year or two?

I'm not trying to be harsh on you but really you have to do some searching yourself. Otherwise we might as well recommend a Jitterbug phone for you

rated:
Give us a HINT. What age group are you?

What was your LAST CELL PHONE? Or have you ever had one?

Are you using Windows 10? Windows 7? Windows XP? Vista?

Do you wear glasses? Have a hard time seeing a smaller screen size?

Have you gone in Best Buy or Walmart or anywhere and actually touched the different models of iPhones? You don't even have friends with iPhones to compare??

I had to upgrade my husband from an iPhone 5s to an iPhone 6s Plus because he had developed a tremor and could no longer type on his keyboard. I opted for the larger screen size and it works for him.

You can put in the model in Google - iPhone 6s Plus vs iPhone 5se and search under images at the top of the page and view the differences.

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allowingtoo said:   You need to ask this at Howard Forums maybe. But really, Google is your best friend. You shouldn't expect everyone else to do ALL the work for you. You should at least try to narrow it down to where you LIVE and the best cell phone reception. Sprint Verizon? ATT? ATT would also be TMobile.

Are you thrifty? Like to save money or don't care?

Are you worried about having the LATEST & GREATEST model or can you wait a year or two?

I'm not trying to be harsh on you but really you have to do some searching yourself. Otherwise we might as well recommend a Jitterbug phone for you

 Agreed.  This needs hofo.

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allowingtoo said:   Give us a HINT. What age group are you?

What was your LAST CELL PHONE? Or have you ever had one?

Are you using Windows 10? Windows 7? Windows XP? Vista?

Do you wear glasses? Have a hard time seeing a smaller screen size?

Have you gone in Best Buy or Walmart or anywhere and actually touched the different models of iPhones? You don't even have friends with iPhones to compare??

I had to upgrade my husband from an iPhone 5s to an iPhone 6s Plus because he had developed a tremor and could no longer type on his keyboard. I opted for the larger screen size and it works for him.

You can put in the model in Google - iPhone 6s Plus vs iPhone 5se and search under images at the top of the page and view the differences.

  
I would prefer an awesome phone at the lowest price possible.  I like to record videos and play them on my television take pictures, play music, etc.  I like nice things but am willing to wait for them to go on sale most of the time.  I don't mind having a phone that's a couple years old, but  don't want a complete dinosaur.  I am out of the loop as I have suffered using google voice for a while now so that I can pay for classes to qualify for a graduate program.  My friends like to spend a lot of money....  I don't as long as my belongings can still be nice enough.

When I posted this thread, I didn't realize shopping for an iPhone would be so complicated.  I will also start to ask around...  Kind of embarrassed that I don't already have an iPhone, but oh well...

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OP, the problem is not mostly the hardware itself (if you don't consider that older models still get sold as new for up to 2-3 years after its' debut, which makes for serious overlap) it's, as the case with ALL cellphones, the RATE and DATA PLAN and the NETWORK it would operate on.

US is so large with so many geographic variables that NO ONE CELLPHONE IS RIGHT FOR EVERYONE. The first thing is always LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT NETWORK that will work in the places you guesstimate to call the most time from. Then you would pitch for THE RIGHT PHONE THAT WOULD WORK IN THAT NETWORK and only then you would check the best price available for that model, even on Apple hardware, where the hardware maker control so much the price of the equipment.

OP, try those steps and you'll be on your way to be a more satisfied customer; and then still is up to a point (customer satisfaction indexes for cellphone networks only run up to the 80%'s and hardware's just a bit above that).

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