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Want an iPhone, but can't afford one...

Lucie Spraggs's picture

Do you need the latest version?

Last year all you wanted was the iPhone 11, the pièce de résistance of the smartphone world. 12 months on and your fickle heart has moved on.

Apple does offer a variety of iPhones, some of which are actually pretty affordable. Who says you have to have the latest model? You’ll still have access to more apps than with any other phone in the world.

The standard iPhone 12 is actually just one of four models in the iPhone 12 range, but it’s the one that the most people will likely be talking about, and that owners of the iPhone 11 will be wondering whether they should upgrade to.

While there’s only a year between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12, a lot has changed, from aspects of the design and screen, to the battery and beyond. But there’s plenty more that’s stayed the same too, so whether you should upgrade will really depend on what you want from a new phone.

And, with the iPhone 11 still on sale you might even consider buying that instead, depending on your needs – especially as it’s far cheaper, starting at £599 SIM-free, while the iPhone 12 starts at £799.

Buying refurbished

As you probably already know, the new iPhone 12 will come with the new iOS and with a lot of new features. However, as you can imagine, the new iPhone will also be a lot more expensive to buy especially when you are considering buying an iPhone 11 refurbished. So, when you are looking at the price as the main factor of your decision, then the iPhone 11 refurbished price will be a lot more attractive. Besides, it is also worth pointing out that if this is your option, you will still be covered with a guarantee.

Most companies selling refurbished iPhones will sell them with a 12-month warrent, which means that if you buy one you can still protect it with insurance.    

Where to buy refurbished iPhones?

Refurbished products don’t usually get the spotlight from retailers like Amazon. You also won’t find them sitting on the homepage of Apple, Google, Nintendo, Sonos, or Olympus, to name a few. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find refurbs on these sites. Here are some places to try:

Mazuma offers a great selection of refurbished phones and gadgets with 12 month warranties. They will also give you money for old devices, so if you're keen for an upgrade or just fancy making a few bob. Check out their website. (Mazuma are currently only buying devices (not selling), due to the coronavirus pandemic

Amazon Warehouse is the section of the retailer’s site dedicated to used (though it's worth noting you will find it hard to get insurance on a used/2nd hand device), refurbished products — or “renewed,” as Amazon calls it. If you shop regularly for tech on Amazon, you stand to save some money here

eBay is another good source for refurbished tech of all kinds. Official reseller pages from brands like Apple exist, which you can trust for selling high-quality refurbished products.

Apple has one of the best refurbishment programs around. All of the products sold as refurbished will arrive in “like new” condition with at least 15 percent in savings compared to the cost of a brand-new device. Products will ship in a white box with all of the original accessories. In addition to having a one-year warranty, you can purchase AppleCare for your refurbished purchase. Just to give you an idea of the level of care Apple puts into its refurbs: it replaces the battery and the outer shell of all iOS devices.

Music Magpie is another buy and sell service, they will buy a wide range of products (not just gadgets) and sell them on to people who want them. This is a great way of decluttering, even if you're not after a new device. One man's trash is another man's treasure!

Best iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 contract deals

iPhone 11, 64GB iD mobile – 20GB, £50 upfront, £30 a month (£770 total cost) at mobiles.co.uk

iPhone 12, 64GB Vodafone – 60GB, £335 upfront, £30 a month (£1,055 total cost) at mobiles.co.uk