Why This Is the Worst Time of the Year To Buy an iPhone

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If you’re planning on buying a new iPhone soon, money expert Clark Howard wants you to think long and hard about that decision. Why? Every year, Apple throws a big party to celebrate its latest updates and releases. 


Every year, Apple throws a big party to celebrate its latest updates and releases. At this year’s “Apple event” set for Sept. 7, 2022, the company is expected to debut the iPhone 14 and other new products. But should you join the masses and buy the new iPhone?

Thinking About Buying the New iPhone? Read This

Clark does not recommend paying the high price of a new iPhone. He says if you’re in the market for a new iPhone, you should consider other models — or you could just wait a bit. 

According to research from phone resale website SellCell.com, iPhone trade-in and resale prices are expected to drop about 16% once the new iPhone is released.

Here are some key findings from SellCell gleaned from the September 2021 launch of the iPhone 13 series:

  • The value of all iPhone 11 and 12 series plunged significantly the month the iPhone 13 was released.
  • The 512-gigabyte (GB) iPhone 12 Pro Max depreciated 15.7% in the month after the iPhone 13 was released. Two months later, the depreciation grew to 16.5%.
  • The iPhone 11 256GB lost 14.1% of its value initially before settling at 11.3% depreciation two months later.

Takeaway: Older-model phones, including some just one generation back, will be available for cheaper prices in the weeks and months after the new iPhone is released.

3 Ways You Can Save Money on an iPhone

Here are some steps you can take to save money on your next iPhone.

Get a Deal From a Phone Retailer

If you buy the new iPhone when it first comes out, you’ll pay Apple’s suggested retail price, which is likely to be $1,000-plus. But if you wait a few weeks and buy from a phone carrier or retailer, you may be able to save some money on the same model, Clark says.

“If you’re willing to let the people who just gotta have the newest phone right then and there get theirs and you wait three weeks, you’ll likely find deals that they didn’t get,” Clark says on his podcast.


You can bet that retailers like T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon will all have the new iPhone for sale in the weeks after its release. The key is to comparison shop to see which retailer has the cheapest price!

Buy a New Older Generation Phone

New iPhone releases have such an effect on the mobile market that older generation phones — yes, brand-new devices — will usually drop in price, Clark says. “A lot of people want the latest and greatest when Apple has an inflection point, and the new iPhones will be an inflection point,” he says.

ClarkDeals.com often has great cell phone deals.

Buy a Used Phone

Clark says you can also take advantage of the used phone market to get a better deal when people start trading in their phones to get the newest one.

“The value of used iPhones will be much, much lower … and you’ll be able to find people’s used and now unloved iPhone at a lower price than they would have been before, so I strongly recommend waiting,” he says.

I can attest to the value of buying a refurbished iPhone as I’ve purchased a few over the years. Read my review on how I saved big money on a phone through Amazon Renewed.

Final Thoughts

Although there will likely be many people who are excited about the latest iPhone and will be willing to stand in long lines and pay top dollar to pre-order it, Clark has a better idea: If you want to save money on a new iPhone, the key is to wait just a bit after its release.

If you’re in the market for a new phone, read our Cell Phone Guide for an in-depth look at the latest devices and plans.

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