Ever since Steve Jobs introduced the first ever iPhone back in 2007, Apple phones have been synonymous with high quality, fast speeds and premium tech. And with every new iPhone that comes out, there are notable improvements to the software, the camera and the design to make each new handset better than the last.
So, if you’ve decided you want an iPhone of your own, it might be worth considering more than just the latest model. There are plenty of iPhone options out there, and all of them are sure to live up to expectations.
It’s a fair question – the iPhone is very hyped, and with good reason, but why precisely are iPhones so good?
Design: the iPhone is instantly recognisable anywhere, offering a simplified, cleaner look that was revolutionary when it first released, and still maintains that appeal. A range of colours as well as an endless line of officially licensed accessories like covers and cases have made it a popular fashion statement as well as an impressive piece of tech that appeals to the masses.
Operating system: the iOS operating system is exclusive to Apple. This gives a more premium feel than Android, which is much more widely available.
Synchronicity: There’s a reason the term ‘Apple fanboy’ exists. Once you’ve made the switch to Apple, you may find it hard to go back. The iOS will sync with your other Apple products such as your mac, iPod or iPad so you can have all your files available on any device. Not to mention they all look pretty great together too.
App Store: The app store gives you endless ways to personalise your phone with your choice of games, tools, messengers, whatever you like. Sometimes apps are exclusive to the App Store, giving the iPhone the edge. Android more than keeps up, but the iPhone was one of the first to offer these easy-to-install phone extras.
Camera: The iPhone is well known for its quality cameras. That’s not to say iPhones are the best cameras out there. Samsung and Huawei are particularly famous for their excellent smartphone cameras. But the iPhone is generally seen as the go-to choice for creatives and influencers. It plays a huge part in any of Apple’s iPhone marketing campaigns. There have even been whole music videos filmed on it.
For many people, the appeal of the iPhone is the camera, the overall design and its seamless integration with devices they already have, like a Mac. If these aspects aren’t terribly important to you, other options might suit you just as well, and could end up being more affordable, especially as the iPhone does have its drawbacks, like no expandable storage, no headphone jack and, often, no option for dual SIM use.
However, if you want a great phone with all the latest features from a trusted brand, you can never go wrong with an iPhone.
The iPhone has been around for a while, and with each generation, there is usually more than one variant, so it can be a little overwhelming to find the precise phone you want. Here’s everything you need to know to narrow it down.
The latest iPhone is the iPhone SE (a revamp of the 2016 model of the same name) which was released in April 2020. However, the iPhone 11, released in September 2019 is the latest premium iPhone.
With so many models around, you should first see which ones you can still get your hands on. Major network providers such as Three, O2, EE, Vodafone and Virgin Media will certainly have a full menu of models and plans for the following generations of iPhone:
You may also find a good selection for the following models:
The older iPhones are also relatively easy to find refurbished. This means they’ve been used before and are traded in by customers who want to upgrade. These phones are usually carefully checked and reset to factory conditions so you can get a like-new phone for a very good price. The following network providers offer refurbished phones:
With so many options, it might be tough to pick the best iPhone for you, especially as every generation comes with more than one version. As a general rule of thumb, every line comes with the following variation:
Standard: The core product of the line e.g. iPhone 11
Max/Plus: A larger version of the core product often with an additional feature such as an extra camera or improved display e.g. iPhone 11 Max
Pro: As of the iPhone 11, a pro model is now available, which offers improved features such as more camera functions, better display and a different size
As mentioned, the easiest way to find a cheap iPhone is by going the refurbished route. Prices vary depending on the condition of the phone, as well as the model, but you can usually hope to save at least £50 off the very latest releases this way.
The price of a refurbished iPhone is based on general demand as well. A refurbished iPhone 11, for example, will still be a long way from cheap, but an iPhone SE (first generation, not the 2020 model) which has now been officially replaced by a revamped version can go for less than £200.
They certainly can be, so long as you manage your expectations. Older models have, obviously, been around for longer and are therefore less likely to be in anything like near mint condition. That said, shops and suppliers won’t resell a phone that doesn’t meet certain standards. That means you can usually expect perfectly good operating system performance but might need to accept some cosmetic wear and tear.
You should also compare specifics. For example, do you want an iPhone SE simply to have the latest model or because you’re after the best camera? A refurb can save some money, but if you look closely at the specs, you may get equally as good camera performance out of an iPhone X, 8 or even 7.
If you want a brand-new iPhone, you’ll likely be looking at a pay monthly contract. You can get iPhones on pay as you go, but again, this depends on the model. The iPhone 11, for example, may be difficult to find, and even more difficult to afford on a SIM-free deal. You can get refurbished phones on a pay monthly contract too. The following providers all offer a good selection of pay monthly iPhones, some going as far back as iPhone 6:
As mentioned, the very latest iPhones may be difficult to find on a handset only deal. Most providers prefer to keep them on pay monthly, not least because, for most customers, an outlay of £700 – 1000 just isn’t realistic. Having said that, the following providers do offer SIM free iPhones:
Again, this depends on your circumstances. If you can comfortably afford to pay anything between £300-1000 on your new phone, then you may want to buy it outright. That said, you should look carefully at all your options. Often pay monthly deals are usually a little more expensive and you are locked into a contract for what can be a very long time. However, within that period, with major providers at least, you also get perks such as:
Customer discounts and freebies
Bundled deals e.g. home broadband or Sky TV
That’s not to say you can’t get some or all of these things on a SIM only deal, but providers tend to keep their best perks for pay monthly customers.
If you travel a lot and like to use local SIM cards, for example, being locked into a provider’s contract and handset isn’t ideal. But if that same provider covers your travel destinations with roaming, then this is less of an issue.
So far, Apple hasn’t released an iPhone 9. Instead, the smartphone giants released its premium iPhone X alongside its iPhone 8 range back in 2017. There are rumours that Apple might release a more affordable iPhone 9 later on this year. For now, don’t end up falling for any iPhone deals that claim to offer this non-existent phone.