Are there good deals to be found on new, unlocked iPhones? Where?
October 7, 2017 12:39 PM   Subscribe

My iPhone 5s is doing odd things that tell me it's nearing the end of its lifespan so I'm looking to buy a new (not used or refurbished) unlocked iPhone 7. No need for a payment plan, but also no need for a contract with a particular carrier because I'm a Ting customer. I realize iPhones aren't discounted per se, but I've heard they are often sold with a retailer gift card as a sweetener. How do I score a deal like that? Or am I out of luck because I need an unlocked phone?
posted by DrGail to Shopping (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you not willing to just buy one from Apple?
posted by humboldt32 at 12:49 PM on October 7, 2017

Response by poster: I'm perfectly willing to buy directly from Apple, but I was hoping to get some sort of purchase incentive (e.g., an amazon gift card) at the same time and Apple isn't offering anything like that.
posted by DrGail at 1:09 PM on October 7, 2017

My experience is iPhones become aggravatingly slow, freeze and even restart when they are low on free space. Maybe an early spring cleaning might make your current phone usable until you can find a great deal. (Settings / General / Storage & iCloud Usage / Manage Storage ) should give you some insight. Good luck!
posted by hh1000 at 1:19 PM on October 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would try watching SlickDeals and setting up an account and alert for what you seek. Buying a fully unlocked one with a promo will be difficult because almost no retailers sell them.

However, iPhone buying tip: the Verizon-model iPhones are unlocked out of the box (FCC rule from years back) BUT you MUST do the iPhone setup—the part where you turn it on and enter your Apple ID—with a Verizon SIM (does not need to be active) in the device. Once you do that, the device is permanently unlocked (by Apple) and can be used with any SIM.

So you might want to look for deals on Verizon-type iPhones and make sure the retailer doesn’t helpfully activate it for you at point of sale.
posted by fireoyster at 12:41 AM on October 8, 2017

Buy a refurb from Apple. You'll save more than any gift card incentive on a new one and get a phone that is indistinguishable from a new one and has a full one year warranty.

Do not buy a refurb from anyone else, however. I've been buying refurbed Apple gear for a few years now when it's on my own dime and been completely satisfied.
posted by spitbull at 5:27 AM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I got my phone from Target. They do great incentived sales with gift cards. BUT, you may have to sign up for a contract with A major carrier. I'm on Verizon, and I think I had to extend a contract to get the deal. Take a look at their Sunday sales circular to see the terms. They alternate between Apple and Samsung usually.
posted by hydra77 at 8:43 AM on October 8, 2017

Best answer: Right, that's the thing. Who's giving out gift cards to purchase just a phone that has huge demand and sells at a premium price with no discounts? It's the carrier deal where you have a choice and competition and where there is money to be made selling you on A over B. So presumably that's where the incentives you're imagining would be applied.

Refurbed. Save more. Keep your options open.
posted by spitbull at 1:23 PM on October 9, 2017

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