What Is the Cheapest iPhone?

When the iPhone® debuted in 2007, users could only choose between a 4GB or 8GB model. With a contract, the phone cost either $499 or $599. The latest model — the iPhone 12 Pro Max released in November 2020 — starts at $1,099. While it's normal for costs to rise over the decades, especially as technology becomes more advanced and refined, it's safe to say that buying a brand new iPhone is not always feasible.

  • Tips For Purchasing an Affordable iPhone
  • Which iPhone is the Best Value?

Just because you're shopping on a budget doesn't mean you shouldn't get to take advantage of impressive cameras, video streaming and gaming capabilities — you just have to know what to look for. These are some of the most affordable iPhones available and some tips for finding a great deal.


Tips for Purchasing an Affordable iPhone

Shop refurbished devices

Follow sales and promotions

Get extra cash from ecoATM

Buy an older model

Enroll in a payment plan

Tips for Purchasing an Affordable iPhone

When you're looking for an affordable iPhone, you have several options to keep costs low:

  • Shop refurbished devices: If you want a newer phone without the price tag, a refurbished iPhone might be a great compromise. Smartphone users bought more than 206 million refurbished or used devices in 2019, and one study predicts that number will continue to grow as consumers seek better phones at a lower cost. If you plan to purchase a refurbished device, be sure to do so from an official retailer who has verified the phone's condition and not an individual or private third-party.
  • Buy an older model: One easy way to get a good phone for a low cost is to shop for older models. As manufacturers release new devices — usually multiple smartphones each year — their older lineup decreases in price. Third-party retailers also discount models that are no longer in production. Some accessories, like cases or chargers, may be challenging to find for old phones. Look for bundle options or shop around for accessories before you make your final purchase.
  • Follow sales and promotions: Keep up with Apple® and your local Apple store by signing up for their newsletter, following them on social media and watching local flyers to stay up-to-date on promotions and sale events. You can also wait until discounted shopping days to find a cheap deal on an iPhone, like Black Friday, where many devices and accessories are marked down or bundled.
  • Enroll in a payment plan: Some smartphone users who meet eligibility requirements enroll in a payment plan to pay off a new device over time. Payment plans are usually available through a carrier contract or prepaid carrier websites.
  • Get cash from ecoATM: Trade in your old device to an ecoATM and get cash to put toward your next purchase. ecoATM accepts most devices and gives you money on the spot — no waiting or eligibility requirements needed!


How You Can Use a New Phone to Tackle New Year's Resolutions

More than 74% of Americans are setting a New Year's resolution for themselves this year. Top resolutions reported include working toward better health and self-improvement, making smarter financial decisions, focusing more on family, finding love and seeking career growth.

With thousands of apps and tools, your smartphone can help you work toward these goals and track your progress along the way:

  • Health: Health is the leading reported resolution in the United States. Whether your health goal is to get fit, choose more nutritious food or stay hydrated, there is an app to help you manage your progress. If part of your healthy resolution is to spend less time on your phone, many new devices have built-in timers or usage alerts, so you know when you've reached your pre-established daily limit.
  • Self-improvement: Self-improvement means something different to each person, but common goals include practicing mindfulness, learning a new hobby or skill, building self-esteem, making healthier choices and getting organized. Apps and tools can help with activity trackers, journaling features and video tutorials.
  • Money: Financial resolutions often include creating a budget, making smarter financial investments, limiting unnecessary spending or saving for a large purchase or vacation. Use banking apps and mobile budgeting tools with push notifications to stay on top of your finances.
  • Family: More than ever, Americans want to stay connected with family. In fact, "family" has never been listed as a popular resolution until this year. Video and voice calls and social media apps can help you reach out to loved ones all year long.
  • Love: Looking for love? If finding a significant other is on your list of goals for the new year, your new device will let you snap the perfect selfie and access popular dating apps to meet people who share similar interests.
  • Career: Whether you're seeking a promotion or want to break into a new industry, organizational tools, job search apps and instant email alerts can help you grow your career.


Which iPhone Is the Best Value for the Money?

Though everyone's idea of affordable varies, these are some iPhones that may offer the best of both worlds— low prices and convenient features.

iPhone 7

When Apple released the iPhone 7 in 2016, it set users back about $550. At the time, the price was about average for smartphones — the Samsung Galaxy S7 was released the same year and cost $600. That's a far cry from the $1,000 to $2,000 iPhones of today. Today, you can find the iPhone 7 at third-party retailers for $150 to $280, depending on where you're shopping, the phone's specs and whether you're buying a refurbished model. Apple no longer produces iPhone 7s.

Keep in mind that, because it's nearly five years old, the iPhone 7 will not have the same camera quality, processing power or compatibility as recent models. However, you can upgrade it to today's iOS 14 operating system.

If you're looking for an iPhone because you want a reliable, brand name device that you can easily integrate with other Apple products, the iPhone 7 is a good phone, with features like the following:

  • Camera quality: The iPhone 7 came out when smartphones still had two cameras — one on the front and one on the back. The selfie cam shoots in 7MP, while the rear sits at 12MP, which is the standard quality across most of Apple's low-cost devices.
  • Processing power: As the oldest device in this lineup, the iPhone 7 uses an Apple A10 Fusion chipset for processing. The A10 Fusion boosted speeds compared to the iPhone 6S and is 120 times faster than Apple's first iPhone release. Its two-core design allows for more high-performance mode apps and better graphics. It was available in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB variations, each with 2GB of RAM. Keep in mind that, since it was released in 2016, you may have to do some digging to find your exact storage size and color preferences.
  • Battery performance: The 7 has a comparatively decent battery capacity of 1,960mAh, though it was still too early for standard wireless charging support.
  • Design features: The iPhone 7 was one of the first smartphones to omit the headphone jack from its design, so make sure you've got a pair of wireless buds if you want to listen to audio without the speakers. The design is a compact 4.7-inch display screen and weighs only 4.87 ounces. At release, color options were between black, silver, gold, rose gold and red. All models are water-resistant.

Some carriers also require a one-time upgrading fee if you choose to get a new device before your current contract allows it. Most carrier contracts include upgrades every 12 or 24 months. Contact your carrier to learn more.

Prepaid and pay-as-you-go phones from carriers are not a part of a contract or upgrade plan. This freedom allows you to upgrade your phone any time you want, but expect to pay full retail price. However, some carriers have started offering new, premium devices on a monthly payment plan if you meet specific credit and income requirements.


Today, you can find it for anywhere from $300 to $450, depending on which model and storage variation you choose.

iPhone 8

The iPhone 8 was released two years after the iPhone 7, in 2018, and hit the market at about $700. Today, you can find it for anywhere from $300 to $450, depending on which model and storage variation you choose. Many people still have their original iPhone 8 and remain happy with its performance — especially since you can upgrade it to the latest iOS 14 releases. The iPhone 8 is similar to the earlier iPhone 7, but with a few improved battery features, body design and processing power.

If you've got a few hundred dollars to spend, the iPhone 8 offers the following: 

  • Camera quality: Just like the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 has a 12MP camera on the back and a 7MP camera on the front.
  • Processing power: One of the most significant upgrades from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 8 was the chipset. Instead of the 7's A10 Fusion, the iPhone 8 boasts an Apple A11 Bionic chipset that provides 25% more speed than its predecessor. For storage, the initial release came with only two options — a 64GB or 256GB model, each at 2GB RAM.
  • Battery performance: Though the iPhone 8 has a smaller battery capacity than the 7 — 1,821mAh — it is compatible with wireless charging.
  • Design features: With a 4.7-inch display and 5.22-ounce weight, the iPhone 8 is slightly heavier than its predecessor, likely due to the new Gorilla Glass front and back to pair with the aluminum framing. Choose between silver, gray, gold and red, each with IP67 dust and water resistance.

iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 isn't as affordable as others on this list, but it's a good place to land if you want a new model for the lowest possible price. Upon release, the iPhone 11 started at $699, and you can still get it for around that price from the Apple website or third-party retailers because it's still in production. If you like the sound of the device, but it's too far beyond the budget, shop around for a refurbished or pre-owned device. Since it only came out in 2019, you should be able to find one in pretty good condition.

The iPhone 11 has these modern features

  • Camera quality: The iPhone 11 is the only option listed here with dual rear cameras, each at a Wide 12MP and 4K video recording. The front-facing TrueDepth is also 12MP. You also get to play around with features like Apple's Night Mode and Deep Fusion.
  • Processing power: The iPhone 11 again raised the bar for processing power with the Apple A13 Bionic chip. The upgrade gives the device faster speeds that won't drain your battery as quickly. You can get the 11 with 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of space, each with a much-improved 4GB of RAM.
  • Battery performance: Get more battery power with a 3,110 mAh capacity battery and both wireless and fast charging capabilities.
  • Design features: When Apple first released the iPhone 11, many were excited about the option to choose from standard colors — like black, white and red — as well as pastel green, yellow and purple. The phone also uses FaceID to unlock. The display screen is 6.1 inches and 6.84 ounces, leaving plenty of room for mobile gaming or video streaming without too much extra weight. The IP68 dust and water resistance is a step up from some earlier devices.

iPhone XR 

Apple released the simple, mid-range iPhone XR in 2018, and it's currently still for sale, starting at $499. That puts it somewhere between the price of the iPhone 8 and iPhone XS in price, offering many of the same features for a mix-and-match device. Though it's more expensive and not as powerful as the comparable iPhone SE that was released two years later, it still holds its own as a fun, easy-to-navigate mid-tier device for both entry-level and seasoned Apple fans. Fun fact — it's actually pronounced "ten-R" and not "ex-S."

The iPhone XR comes equipped with the following: 

  • Camera quality: The XR's TrueDepth selfie cam captures pictures at 7MP, while the rear camera is the standard 12MP Wide lens with Smart HDR and 4K video abilities. To add a little fun, you can also play around with Animoji and Memoji.
  • Processing power: Though you get 3GB of Ram, the iPhone XR makes you choose between either 64GB or 128GB of storage space with no larger model available. It also processes using an Apple A12 Bionic chip, giving the user faster app speed than phones with the A10 Fusion but not quite as much power as the A13 Bionic chipset.
  • Battery performance: The XR's battery capacity sits at 2,942mAh, with convenient wireless charging available.
  • Design features: The iPhone XR lets you use FaceID to unlock your red, yellow, black, blue, white or coral device, each with a 6.1-inch display and weighing in at 6.84 ounces. It's rated for IP67 dust and water protection.

Though Apple released an iPhone SE in 2016, the 2020 second-generation successor offers far more value for the money.

iPhone SE 2020

Though Apple released an iPhone SE in 2016, the 2020 second-generation successor offers far more value for the money. The iPhone SE is still in active production, retailing at $399. If you like the camera power and performance speeds of the iPhone 11 but aren't sold on the sticker price, the iPhone SE is a fan-favorite for affordable compromise.

Check out these features: 

  • Camera quality: The SE's cameras feel familiar, with a Wide 12MP lens with 4K video capabilities on the back and a 7MP front-facing camera. Built-in photo and video options include cinematic stabilization, slow motion video shooting and stunning portrait lighting modes.
  • Processing power: Just like the iPhone 11, the iPhone SE second-generation has the super-fast Apple A13 Bionic chipset for processing, though with a gigabyte less of RAM at 3GB. Despite the similar price, you get more storage options with the SE than with the XR — 64GB, 128GB or 256GB.
  • Battery performance: Enjoy fast charging and wireless charging with the SE 2020's 1,821 mAh capacity battery.
  • Design features: The iPhone SE second-gen seems to put power before style, with your choice of only white, red or black — though you still get the sleek metal and glass design and IP67 dust and water protection. The display screen is a comfortable 4.7-inches, at 5.2 ounces of weight.

iPhone XS

Apple released the iPhone XS in 2018 at a boggling $999 — a price that's only surprising when compared to the roughly $600 cost just two years later. The drastic drop wasn't due to a design flaw, but rather that Apple discontinued the device only one year after its release to make space for its upcoming lineup. Shop at third-party retailers and certified repaired iPhone distributors, and you're likely to snag it for a mid-range price. Like the XR, the "X" here is pronounced as "ten."

Though it's one of the more costly options on this list, the XS has the following: 

  • Camera quality: You know the drill — the iPhone XS's front camera shoots in 7MP while the rear sits at 12MP. There is one variation, however — the rear camera no longer shoots in Wide but is a Telephoto lens instead. This allows for better focus on the subject.
  • Processing power: Like the XR, the iPhone XS uses the Apple A12 Bionic chipset, but this device lets you choose from 64GB, 256GB and a whopping 512GB of storage space at an increased 4GB of RAM.
  • Battery performance: Enjoy a longer battery life and a cord-free charge with the 2,658mAh battery and wireless charging compatibility.
  • Design features: Choose one of three metallic hues — gray, silver or gold — all water-resistant. The phone offers a little more size at 6.24 ounces in weight and a 5.8-inch display screen.

Get Cash From ecoATM Today

The process is fast, easy and safe - learn more about our trade-in today!

Get Cash From ecoATM Today

It's no secret that today's leading smartphones can cause a little bit of sticker shock — but thanks to devices like those above, you don't have to choose between sticking to your budget and investing in a great new phone. Now that you have a better idea of which is the cheapest iPhone to buy, find an ecoATM kiosk near you and trade in your old device for some instant cash that you can put toward your upcoming purchase. The process is fast, easy and safe — learn more about our trade-in today!

*ecoATM is not affiliated with nor has it been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.