When Apple® introduces a new mobile device, are you among the first in line to upgrade your iPhone®? The latest version always comes with cool new features. The new iPhone 15, for example, has color-infused glass, a more advanced camera with twice the zoom range as before, and universal USB-C charging (you don’t have to use a Lightning cord).
Want to upgrade? There are a few things to know before you do. We’ll explain the timing, cost, and options when upgrading your iPhone.
When’s the best time to upgrade your iPhone?
The first thing to consider is if you’re due for an upgrade from your carrier. If you’ve paid off your iPhone and you’re eligible for an upgrade, it’s probably the right time to think about getting a new device. Apple typically introduces new models every year in September, whereas Samsung® usually releases them in January or February.
Ways to upgrade your iPhone
There are several ways to upgrade your device. We’ll walk you through them, so you can decide what’s right for you.
Buy a new iPhone
If your budget allows for it, you can upgrade by paying in full for one of the latest iPhone models. If you decide to buy a new iPhone, make sure you do your research and compare features, so you get the right device for your needs.
To learn more, check out our guide for what to consider when buying a new phone.
Use the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program
If you’d like to upgrade by financing a new iPhone, one way to do so is through the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program. It comes with AppleCare+® protection, and is a good option if you want a new device every year. If you want to upgrade to a new phone with the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program, you must be at least six months into your plan and have made at least 12 payments (or paid an amount that equals 12 payments). If you’ve only made ten monthly payments, you’d have to pay two additional payments to be eligible for an upgrade.
Assuming you’re signed-up and eligible, here’s what to do next:
- Research the model of iPhone you want.
- Prepare your phone for trade-in. Check out these tips for how to get the highest trade-in value for your iPhone.
- Back up your iPhone.
- Upgrade online using the Apple Store® iOS® app. Or, head to an Apple store. If you go to the store, you’ll need to bring a valid U.S. credit card, your Social Security number (for a credit check), and a photo ID.
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Upgrade through your carrier
When you buy or lease an iPhone through your carrier, make sure to check out the available phone upgrade programs to know your eligibility.
If you’re paying for your iPhone with an AT&T® 36-month installment plan, you can add AT&T Next Up (for an extra $5 per month), so you’ll qualify for an upgrade after you’ve paid 50 percent or more of the phone’s cost.
If your old device is fully functional and in good condition, here’s how to get a new iPhone:
- Check out the available features and decide on your new iPhone model.
- Get your phone ready to trade-in. Check out our guide to how to get the highest trade-in value for your iPhone.
- Back up the data on your iPhone.
- Mail in your old phone or trade it in at an AT&T store.
- Order your new iPhone.
Upgrading your iPhone is easy for Verizon® customers too. For no extra monthly fee, you can trade in a mobile device that you’ve been leasing for at least 30 days, with at least 50 percent of the agreement paid off. It’s all part of Verizon’s Early Upgrade Program for iPhone.
Here’s what to do:
- Shop for your new iPhone and place your order with Verizon.
- Verizon will send you a new device.
- Prepare your phone for trade-in. For help, read our guide to how to get the highest trade-in value for your iPhone.
- Back up your iPhone.
- Mail-in your old phone within 14 days of receiving the new iPhone.
How to set up your new iPhone
If you’ve backed up the data on your old device—and this is a must—you’re ready to get your new iPhone up and running. Check out our step-by-step guide for how to set up your new phone.
Need help deciding what to do with your old device after you upgrade? Check out our guide on how to trade in or sell your old iPhone.
Tried these steps and still need help? We got you. Get your tech problem solved when you call or chat with an expert now.