What is the cheapest iPhone?

iPhones are great devices, both if you love a bit of luxury and if you want a simple phone to use day to day. The simple design and crystal-clear user interface also makes the iPhone a great starter smartphone, and a pretty safe baseline for shopping around as far as complexity goes.

What makes iPhones a tricky sell is the price, with the most expensive devices now retailing for up to $2,719 brand new. This is far from affordable for many people if you’re looking to buy outright, or even when broken down over a 12, 24, or 36-month payment plan from a major telco.

But don’t be too overwhelmed! This article is intended to help you find the cheapest iPhone on the market right now, be it a brand new flagship device, budget model, or a refurbished phone. Let’s get into it.

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What is the cheapest iPhone Apple sells?

The iPhone SE is currently the cheapest iPhone that you can buy directly from Apple, with prices starting at $679 outright for the 64GB size.

Black, white, and red iPhone SE models
iPhone SE

It’s a ‘budget’ iPhone with all the modern technology of the 2019 iPhone 11 Pro inside of an iPhone 8 body – this means it’s still got the home button on the front, but it’s a smaller unit without the widescreen technology of the iPhone 11 Pro. You can pick it up with 64GB, 128GB or 256GB storage.

The iPhone SE has a really good price, but let’s compare it to other models. Below, you’ll find how the iPhone SE stacks up against other iPhones on price alone. All the prices in this list reflect lowest storage sizes, and discontinued prices are based on refurbished values and reseller prices:

  • iPhone X (Discontinued): $549
  • iPhone XS Max (Discontinued): $719
  • iPhone SE (2020): $679
  • iPhone XS (Discontinued): $929
  • iPhone XR (Discontinued): $849
  • iPhone 11: $999
  • iPhone 13 Mini: $1,199
  • iPhone 12 Mini: $1,199
  • iPhone 13: $1,349
  • iPhone 12: $1,349
  • iPhone 11 Pro (Discontinued): $1,548
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max (Discontinued): $1,698
  • iPhone 13 Pro: $1,699
  • iPhone 12 Pro (Discontinued): $1,699
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max: $1,849
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max (Discontinued): $1,849

These phones all came out within the last four years and will be receiving iOS 15, which means they’re likely to be supported for some time.

How to get the cheapest iPhone

If you don’t want to pay $679 upfront, you can also buy the iPhone SE bundled to a phone plan. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone offer the iPhone SE coupled to phone plans over several payment terms: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone each offer the SE on plans of 12, 24, and 36 months.

Your cheapest monthly handset cost would be around $18.86 per month on a 36-month plan (or $679 in total). If you want a shorter repayment period, a 24-month plan is around $28.29 monthly, and a 12-month plan divides into $56.58 per month. Either way, you’re still paying the same for your phone in total. If you decide to cancel the payment plan early, you’ll need to pay out the device in its entirety.

This prices just include your phone payment, and don’t take into account the cost of your monthly mobile plan. Regardless which provider you go with, you’ll need to pair your handset payment with a postpaid SIM plan. You’ll find prices between Telstra, Optus and Vodafone vary dramatically, depending on the data inclusions on offer, and for the access to their networks.

For more iPhone SE plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, check out the below tables.

36-Month Plans for the 64GB iPhone SE

The following table shows selected published 64GB iPhone SE plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to conduct research on plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

24-Month Plans for the 64GB iPhone SE

The following table shows selected published 64GB iPhone SE plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to conduct research on plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Should I get an iPhone SE?

An iPhone SE might be a good choice for you if you don’t want to spend more than $1,000 on a brand new iPhone. For comparison, the retail price of the 128GB iPhone 13 Mini in Australia is $1,199, which is $520 more expensive than the iPhone SE. If you don’t need a huge display or a premium camera set-up, the SE still offers a powerful A13 Bionic chip and plenty of flagship features, plus the option to upgrade to iOS 15.

The iPhone SE is especially great if you don’t want a super-sized phone, and just because it lacks the full-screen feature of more expensive iPhones doesn’t mean it’s any less capable. The SE can still do most of the same things as the iPhone 11, 12 or 13 range, just in a more compact unit.

What is the cheapest iPhone 13?

If you’re looking at the 2021 iPhone 13 range, the cheapest option is the 128GB iPhone 13 Mini. However, with a $1,199 price tag, this device is far from affordable. However, you can pick it up on a telco plan and spread the cost over 12, 24, or 36 months of payments – if you opt for the 36-month period, you’ll pay around $33.30 per month.

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Apple iPhone 13 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, including some sponsored products which include links to our referral partners websites. Canstar Blue may earn a fee for referrals.

Sponsored Products
Apple iPhone 13 128GB
Smartphone Brand Satisfaction
5 Stars
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display
  • Dual 12MP camera system: Wide and Ultra Wide cameras
  • HDR video recording with Dolby Vision
  • MagSafe and QI wireless charging, up to 19 hours video playback
  • Midnight, Starlight, Pink, Blue, (PRODUCT) Red
  • PROMO: $65 for first 12mth, then $115/mth. Offer ends 02.11.21. T&Cs Apply.
Data Allowance/
billing period

Data Allowance/billing period

180GB
Advertised Cost/
billing period

Advertised Cost/billing period

$121.21
$65 plan + $56.20 phone
Phone on a Plan
  • Vodafone Network Coverage
  • Get 140GB Bonus Data each month connected to the plan
Data Allowance/
billing period

Data Allowance/billing period

60GB
+140GB Bonus Data
Advertised Cost/
billing period

Advertised Cost/billing period

$111.21
$55 plan + $56.21 phone
Phone on a Plan
$65 Large Optus Choice Plus Plan
  • Optus Network Coverage
  • No excess data charges in Australia. Speed will be capped at max 1.5Mbps
Data Allowance/
billing period

Data Allowance/billing period

200GB
Advertised Cost/
billing period

Advertised Cost/billing period

$121.19
$65 plan + $56.19 phone

Link to provider unavailable

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Apple iPhone 13 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, including some sponsored products which include links to our referral partners websites. Canstar Blue may earn a fee for referrals.

Sponsored Products
Apple iPhone 13 Pro 128GB
Smartphone Brand Satisfaction
5 Stars
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion
  • Pro 12MP camera system: Telephoto, Wide and Ultra Wide cameras
  • HDR video recording with Dolby Vision
  • MagSafe and QI wireless charging, up to 22 hours video playback
  • Colours: Gold, Graphite, Silver, Sierra Blue
  • Telstra Network Coverage
  • 5G network access on compatiable devices
Data Allowance/
billing period

Data Allowance/billing period

80GB
Advertised Cost/
billing period

Advertised Cost/billing period

$135.79
$65 plan + $70.79 phone
Phone on a Plan
  • Vodafone Network Coverage
  • Get 140GB Bonus Data each month connected to the plan
Data Allowance/
billing period

Data Allowance/billing period

60GB
+ 140GB Bonus Data
Advertised Cost/
billing period

Advertised Cost/billing period

$125.79
$55 plan + $70.79 phone
Phone on a Plan
$65 Large Optus Choice Plus Plan
  • Optus Network Coverage
  • No excess data charges in Australia. Speed will be capped at max 1.5Mbps
Data Allowance/
billing period

Data Allowance/billing period

200GB
Advertised Cost/
billing period

Advertised Cost/billing period

$135.77
$65 plan + $70.77 phone

Link to provider unavailable

Trade-in deals

Trading in an old iPhone to Apple might be a good idea if you’re looking to save some money and part ways with an older phone. Trading in an older model iPhone directly with Apple can get you credit on your next iPhone, or an Apple Store gift card. Here’s some estimates on what popular models will trade-in for:

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: up to $1,120
  • iPhone 12 Pro: up to $950
  • iPhone 12: up to $745
  • iPhone 12 Mini: up to $635
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: up to $700
  • iPhone 11 Pro: up to $610
  • iPhone 11: up to $535
  • iPhone Xs Max: up to $465
  • iPhone Xs: up to $355
  • iPhone XR: up to $320
  • iPhone X: up to $285
  • iPhone 8 Plus: up to $285
  • iPhone 8: up to $170

Keep in mind that these are estimated trade-in values, and don’t equate to being the full trade-in value of the device – this can vary due to factors such as your phone’s condition and storage size. This list was last updated September 2021.

How long does an iPhone last?

A new iPhone should last you about three to four years before you’ll need to buy a replacement. This time frame is wide enough for you to still be receiving updates, and for those updates to be catered to your device.

Over this time period, you’ll likely notice the phone getting generally slower, and the battery life getting worse. Typically, Apple will release updates for devices launched in the past four years, so this is a good window to make sure you’re still getting the latest version of iOS. For example, iOS 15 will be available on iPhones dating back to the iPhone 6S Plus, but that same device may not be eligible for iOS 16 in 2022.

Although Apple encourages yearly upgrading (obviously because it wants more of your money), it’s simply not necessary unless your device is malfunctioning or broken beyond repair (even then, a year-old device is still covered by both Apple and consumer warranties).

What about refurbished iPhones?

Refurbished iPhones can be quite good value if you’re wanting to get an iPhone without spending a massive amount of money. Refurbished iPhones are after-market, are typically repaired and usable-quality phones, and sell for less in comparison to brand-new devices.

You’ll still get a warranty with refurbished phones if you buy from authorised retailers, with the only massive downside being that refurbished phones are rarely brand new models.

If you’re planning to try out a good-as-new iPhone, it might be worth looking for a refurbished iPhone SE 2nd Generation, or an iPhone 11 or 12. These will sell for much less than their new counterparts, because of their age and repaired nature. However, keep in mind that – as mentioned earlier – older devices will eventually be excluded from Apple software updates.

Which phones are cheaper than iPhones?

If a $679 price point is too high for you, there are other great budget phones on offer in Australia. You can get a great Android smartphone for under $200 with all the basics and necessities, or alternatively there’s plenty of great phones under $400 – some of which are even 5G capable. Read our cheap phones guide to see what’s on offer.

You’ll find a lot of brands staying well below the price points of Apple products. Keep in mind that a lot of the stuff you can do on an iPhone, you can also do on an Android device. Here’s some mid-range phones we think are worth checking out:

Editorial credit: NYC Russ / Shutterstock.com

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