What is the cheapest iPhone?

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iPhones are great phones, 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 makes the iPhone a great starter device too, 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 selling for up to $2,499 brand new. This is far from affordable for many people if you’re looking to buy outright, or even 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 $749 outright for the 64GB size.Two phones

It’s a ‘budget’ iPhone with all the modern technology of the 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 64GB storage sizes:

  • iPhone 8 (Discontinued): $409
  • iPhone 8 Plus (Discontinued): $629
  • iPhone SE (2020): $749
  • iPhone XS (Discontinued): $999
  • iPhone XR: $1,049
  • iPhone 11: $1,199
  • iPhone XS Max (Discontinued): $1,249
  • iPhone 11 Pro: $1,749
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: $1,899

These phones all came out within the last three years and will be receiving iOS 14, which means they’re likely to be supported for some time.

How to get the cheapest iPhone

If you don’t want to pay $749 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 offers 24 or 36-month payment plans, while Optus and Vodafone both offer the SE on plans of 12, 24, and 36 months.

You’ll need to sign up to a postpaid plan too, over the same period (although you can change the plan during the period). If you decide to cancel the payment plan, you’ll need to pay out the device in its entirety. 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. We’ve listed the starting prices below.

  • iPhone SE 64GB & Vodafone $40 Red Plus Plan: $54.80/mth, $2,092.80 over 36 months
  • iPhone SE 64GB & Optus Small Plan: $59.80/mth, $2,152.80 over 36 months
  • iPhone SE 64GB & Telstra Small $50 Plan: $70.80/mth, $2,548.80 over 36 months

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 comparison tool to see 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 comparison tool to see 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. The RRP of the 64GB iPhone 11 in Australia is $1,199, which is $450 more expensive than the iPhone SE. Go with the cheaper SE, and you’ll get the same technology in a more budget-friendly body.

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

Black, white, and red iPhone SE models
iPhone SE

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 Xs Max: up to $560
  • iPhone X: up to $390
  • iPhone 8: up to $250
  • iPhone 7: up to $120
  • iPhone 6: up to $40
  • iPhone SE 1st generation: up to $40

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.

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, the iOS 14 will be available on iPhones dating back to the iPhone 6S Plus, but iOS 15 will likely not reach the iPhone 6S.

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 8, iPhone SE 1st Generation, or an iPhone X. 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 – these devices will eventually be excluded from Apple software updates.

What about other cheap phones?

If a $749 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. We’ve taken a closer look at the best cheap phones available here.

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:

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