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Cheap iPhone deals

iPhone 8, unltd mins, 4GB, £673 upfront, £9/mth. Also deals on iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, & iPhone 7 Plus

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Nick and Weleid | Edited by Steve N

Updated Weekly

iPhone 7The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus have been released – with the iPhone X to follow. This guide will take you through the cheapest way to get your hands on one, or how to get the now-cheaper iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus - though buying one now isn't MoneySaving, and prices are likely to come down in the coming weeks and months.

If you can't wait, read this guide for the very cheapest deals, or for a full pricing comparison see our Cheapest way to buy the Apple iPhone 8 MSE News story. If you're looking for Samsung mobile tips, check out our Cheap Samsung guide.

The top iPhone need-to-knows

Upfront prices direct from Apple start at £699 for the iPhone 8 and £799 for the iPhone 8 Plus. But which phone is best? And should you get one on a contract?

Our iPhone need-to-knows should help you decide, as well as giving you some tips on selling your old phone and getting the most out of your current tariff.

iPhone top picks

Here are our top picks for buying a new iPhone – either buying upfront, or where a contract offers better value, with minutes and data bundled in. Please note that tariffs change continuously, so it's always worth checking what else is out there. Where it works out cheaper to buy the handset outright and pair with a Sim-only deal we've chosen that option.

BUY UPFRONT DEAL: 64GB iPhone 8 for £673 (which you can pair with a cheap Sim)*

Cancel the contract trick from Carphone Warehouse*

Three

It's usually cheapest to buy your phone outright if you can afford to pay for it all upfront. The cheapest way we've spotted to buy the new 64GB iPhone 8 is from Carphone Warehouse*, as it’s reduced the upfront cost by £40 from £699 to £659 if you get it as part of an EE contract, which you'll be credit-checked for.

Now, even EE’s cheapest contract is expensive (compared to the really cheap one below), but if you pick the right one you can cancel the airtime element of the contract with one month’s notice and only pay £13.99 for the first month, with the phone cost it's £672.99.

You’ve then got an unlocked phone which you can use with any network’s Sim. So even after shelling out you’re still £26 up on the phone cost.

The deal to go to is its 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB data for £13.99/mth.

The catch is to do it this way is you need to be an EE newbie. If you’re not, you could do the same with any O2 and Vodafone 30-day contract – though their cheapest ones are marginally more expensive than EE.

Then get a Sim - eg, unltd mins & texts, 4GB data for £9/mth

Once you've got the phone you'll need a cheap Sim. Our top pick right now is a Three Sim* we've blagged on a 12mth contract for newbies for just £9/mth (the monthly cost may increase each year in line with inflation). It's an 'Advanced' plan so you can roam for 'free' in Europe PLUS 24 more places incl the US and Oz. 

See full info and more options for higher or lower usage in Cheap Sims.

24MTH CONTRACT: 64GB iPhone 8 with unltd mins, 3GB data: £270 upfront, then £27/mth*

Mobiles.co.uk*

Three

It's usually cheapest to buy your phone outright but if you can't afford to pay for all of your handset upfront, this 24-month O2 contract for a new 64GB iPhone 8 from reseller Mobiles.co.uk* is one of the cheapest around. You pay £270 initially, then £27/mth for 24 months. It works out as £918 over the two years (though the monthly cost may increase each year in line with inflation).

You'll have to be an O2 newbie to get this deal. You get 3GB of 4G data with unlimited mins and texts - if you run out of data, bolt-ons start at £3/mth for 100MB.

BUY UPFRONT DEAL: 64GB iPhone 8 Plus for £773 (which you can pair with a cheap Sim)*

Cancel the contract trick from Carphone Warehouse*

Three

It's usually cheapest to buy your phone outright if you can afford to pay for it all upfront. The cheapest way we've spotted to buy the new 64GB iPhone 8 Plus is from Carphone Warehouse*, as it’s reduced the upfront cost by £40 from £799 to £759 if you get it as part of an EE contract, which you'll be credit-checked for.

Now, even EE’s cheapest contract is expensive (compared to the really cheap one below), but if you pick the right one you can cancel the airtime element of the contract with one month’s notice and only pay £13.99 for the first month, with the phone cost it's £772.99.

You’ve then got an unlocked phone which you can use with any network’s Sim. So even after shelling out you’re still £26 up on the phone cost.

The deal to go to is its 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB data for £13.99/mth.

The catch is to do it this way is you need to be an EE newbie. If you’re not, you could do the same with any O2 and Vodafone 30-day contract – though their cheapest ones are marginally more expensive than EE.

Then get a Sim - eg, unltd mins & texts, 4GB data for £9/mth

Once you've got the phone you'll need a cheap Sim. Our top pick right now is a Three Sim* we've blagged on a 12mth contract for newbies for just £9/mth (the monthly cost may increase each year in line with inflation). It's an 'Advanced' plan so you can roam for 'free' in Europe PLUS 24 more places incl the US and Oz. 

See full info and more options for higher or lower usage in Cheap Sims.

24MTH CONTRACT: 64GB iPhone 8 Plus with unltd mins, 3GB data: £270 upfront, then £32/mth

Mobiles.co.uk*

Three

It's usually cheapest to buy your phone outright but if you can't afford to pay for all of your handset upfront, this 24-month O2 contract for a new 64GB iPhone 8 Plus from reseller Mobiles.co.uk* is one of the cheapest around. You pay £270 initially, then £32/mth for 24 months. It works out as £1,038 over the two years (though the monthly cost may increase each year in line with inflation).

You'll have to be an O2 newbie to get this deal. You get 3GB of 4G data with unlimited mins and texts - if you run out of data, bolt-ons start at £3/mth for 100MB.

24MTH CONTRACT: 32GB iPhone 7 with unltd mins, 3GB data: £100 upfront, then £27/mth*

Mobiles.co.uk*

Three

It's usually cheapest to buy your phone outright but if you want the iPhone 7 and can't afford to pay for all of it upfront, this 24-month deal for the 32GB model via Mobiles.co.uk* may be the cheapest option for you.

It's £110 upfront but use the voucher MPC10OFF and it's discounted to £100. It's then £27/mth for 24 months, which gets you unlimited minutes and texts and 3GB of 4G data (the monthly cost may increase each year in line with inflation). You'll have to be an O2 newbie to get this deal - if you run out of data, bolt-ons start at £3/mth for 100MB..

24MTH CONTRACT: 32GB iPhone 7 Plus with unltd mins, 8GB data: £40/mth

MobilePhonesDirect

Three

It's usually cheapest to buy your phone outright but if you can't afford to this two-year contract from Three gives you a new 32GB iPhone 7 Plus with nothing to pay upfront followed by £40/mth for 24 months, making it £960 over two years (though the monthly cost may increase each year in line with inflation).

The deal is via reseller MobilePhonesDirect for Three newbies and comes with unlimited minutes and texts and 8GB of 4G data. If you run out of data you'll need to buy a bolt on which start at £2.50/mth for 250MB.

Find the right phone for you

Ask yourself what you really want from your phone, and what features are important to you. iPhones are popular and well reviewed, but they aren't cheap – so getting one is a decision you should weigh up carefully.

Older iPhones often drop in price following the launch of a new model, so consider whether you really want the latest handset. Below, we've compiled the features of the latest deals.

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Spread the cost of an iPhone 8 INTEREST-FREE with Apple

iPhone Payments is Apple's interest-free financing scheme – it's now available for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (and will be for the iPhone X too when it comes out). This allows you to buy the phone for Apple's standard price but pay only a small amount upfront and then the rest in 20 monthly instalments.

You'll be credit-checked and will need to be accepted for what's technically an interest-free loan, though. Here's what it costs:

  • iPhone 8 – £69 upfront, then £31.50/mth for 20 months for the 64GB model (£39/mth for 256GB)
  • iPhone 8 Plus – £69 upfront, then £36.50/mth for 20 months for 64GB (£44/mth for 256GB)

Here's how to pay this way:

  1. Reserve the model you want – you can ONLY get iPhone Payments in store. To collect an iPhone 8 in store, you'll need to reserve it online.
  2. When you collect the phone, say you want to pay via iPhone Payments. You'll need to bring bank details, a valid photo ID and your current mobile plus other personal info – see Apple's website for a full list. You'll need to be a UK resident aged 18+, have a UK bank account and have lived in the UK for three or more years.
  3. If accepted (it could take up to an hour), you'll pay £69 upfront and the rest in 20 monthly instalments. Your loan will be with Barclays, the finance provider behind the scheme, at 0% APR. Monthly repayments are made by direct debit. If you don't keep up with them, Barclays would take the same action as any other loan provider – it could result in a mark on your credit file, for example.

Once you've got the phone you'll then need to find a separate Cheap Sim.

Watch out for annual inflationary price rises

Under regulator Ofcom's rules, providers are permitted to increase the monthly cost of mobile contracts by as much as the rate of inflation each year, as long as they are upfront about this and warn you before you sign up. All the major networks (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone) now do this.

Adjustments are made in line with figures published in February or March each year based on the Retail Prices Index (a measure of inflation).

You'll be notified by your network of these changes and any bill you received after that dates will reflect the increase. See inflationary price rises for full info.

Match your tariff to your usage

According to Billmonitor, 76% of people are on the wrong contract. Use too few minutes, data or texts and you'll overpay for the contract each month. Yet go over your allowance and the extra charges are costly.

Analyse how many minutes, texts and how much data you're likely to use to get the right tariff. If you're new to smartphones, expect to use much more data than before. Here's a rough guide to help you determine which type of user you are:

  • Low user. Uses about 250 mins, 250 texts and 1MB of data per month
  • Medium user. Uses about 500 mins, 500 texts and 2GB of data per month
  • High user. Uses about 1,000 mins, 1,000 texts and 5GB of data per month

Some deals are only available to 'new customers'

The deals you see here and on most comparison sites are geared towards new customers of the relevant network. If you're already with that network, even if your existing contract is up, and you try to get the deal then technically you'll be 'upgrading' rather than taking out a new contract, and you may have to pay more as a result.

Of course, you can still get the deal if you take out a separate new contract. But if you do, frustratingly you won't be able to directly transfer your existing number across to your new phone.

There is one possible way round this, though it's a bit of work. What you can do is get the deal on a separate new contract, and also get yourself a free pay-as-you-go Sim from a different network.

Port your existing number across to the free pay-as-you-go Sim, then port it again to the new contract once it's been set up. To port your number over you'll need to request a porting authorisation code from your provider.

Buy a handset upfront and save

Unless you're a heavy user, a standalone handset with a Sim-only deal can often be the cheapest option. If you can't afford such an upfront payment, consider buying your iPhone on cheap or free finance instead.

There are many one-month rolling contract Sim-only deals available, so you're not tied in, you only pay for what you use – see the top Sim-only deals for the best options.

Already have a Sim-only deal from an old phone?

Unless you buy a handset for that network, to put it in a new handset you'll need to "unlock" it from its pre-set network provider. For some phones this can be free, or it could cost up to £30 – for more info, see Mobile Unlocking.

You can get cheap handsets from retailers such as Argos or Play.com. Use the MegaShopBot to quickly compare prices.

Don't overestimate how much storage you need

All iPhone models come in different storage sizes, depending on th model they're available with 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Generally, you'll pay £100 to go up a size (if you're buying directly from Apple).

As a rule of thumb 32GB can hold around 7,000 songs or 40 hours of video, which is enough for some, though apps these days can take up quite a lot of space.

Unlike other smartphones, iPhones don't have memory card slots so you can't expand the storage if you decide you want more. However, be careful not to overestimate how much storage you'll need and go for a more expensive model 'just to be safe'.

When we first wrote this guide we asked one of our former techies, MSE Shrey, for his top tips on saving storage space on your phone and paying less overall.

  1. Free online storage. Apple gives iPhone users 5GB of storage space in iCloud for free. It isn't much, but there are lots of other providers that also offer free storage space and many have mobile apps. If you need more, email providers such as Gmail offer free storage space. You could sign up to several with multiple email addresses and assign categories of content to each.

  2. Stream instead of downloading. Music and video streaming services like Spotify (which is now free on mobile) and Netflix are all the rage and get rid of the need to download and store content on your phone. Streaming uses the same bandwidth as downloading, so do it when connected to Wi-Fi or it's costly. If you're streaming via 3G/4G, make sure you get the right tariff with a big enough data allowance.

  3. Auto-upload to 'the Cloud'. Apps from some online storage providers, such as Dropbox, have settings to automatically upload your photos and videos, after which you can delete them from your phone without losing them. For music, iTunes Match will store all your tracks on Apple's servers for you to access online.

  4. Turn off automatic downloads. Content that automatically downloads to your device can take up more storage space than you realise. New purchases from the iTunes Store will sync to all of your iDevices with the same iCloud account, if they're set to do this. Turn off automatic downloads in Settings >> iTunes & App Store. Also, if you don't need to access older emails (especially if they have big attachments) while you're offline, you can reduce how many previous days' worth to store on your iPhone.

  5. Clean up your apps. If you go to Settings >> General >> Usage in your iPhone, it'll show a breakdown of how much space your apps take up. Go through and get rid of those you no longer use and delete content you don't want anymore (eg, watched videos). You can download them again free if you paid for them – although you can't get back personal data once it's gone.

Think about whether you need 4G

4G, also known as LTE or Long Term Evolution, is a lightning-quick internet connection for mobile devices. Networks claim that it's up to 5x faster than 3G, but Ofcom estimations say it's only twice as fast as 3G.

Check with your chosen provider whether you can actually get 4G where you live before signing up, and bear in mind that Ofcom says 4G and 3G performance differs between networks, with some outperforming others.

To get 4G, as well as being in an area that can receive a 4G signal, you'll also need a 4G tariff and a 4G-compatible handset. Everything released after the iPhone 5s is 4G-compatible.

Make sure you've the right size Sim

Daring to be different, Apple went against the grain with its iPhones, designing them to take a smaller Sim card.

Differences in Sim card sizesFor the iPhone 4 and 4s (and its iPads), Apple adopted the smaller-than-standard-size 'micro-Sim'. With the launch of the iPhone 5 came the arrival of a yet smaller Sim card – the 'nano-Sim'. This is also used in the iPhone 5c 5s and later. Because it's a lot smaller, if you have an iPhone 4 or 4s you won't be able to simply swap Sim cards.

If you're upgrading from another handset to a newer iPhone, you could ask your network provider to exchange Sim cards, or try one of their shops, which should have nano-Sims available.

Try haggling for a better deal

Haggling on monthly mobile phone contracts can slash the price you pay. If you have a contract deal and you're nearing the end of your fixed term, the network will be frantic to keep you, so it's the best time to haggle. Long-term customers have a better chance at success here.

Our poll found the best mobile providers to haggle with are Virgin and Vodafone. See our guide on How To Negotiate to help you get a better deal. Bear in mind though it's harder to haggle on a contract for a new phone, especially one in as much demand as new iPhones are.

Get a cheap Sim-only deal

Already got an iPhone? If you're out of contract, you could stand to make serious savings by switching to a Sim-only tariff.

The main benefit of switching is that you won't pay an extra monthly cost for a handset – so your tariff price and overall costs will drop significantly.

Find our up-to-date top picks in the Cheap Sim-only Deals guide.

Don't overestimate how much data you need

Apps on a smart phone

Smartphones are fast becoming the norm. If you use your phone to constantly search the web, you need to watch the amount of data you use. As more data-hungry apps are released, it's fair to question whether you'll chomp through your data allowance quickly each month and wind up paying a wedge for more.

For checking emails, looking at Facebook and watching the odd YouTube video, 1GB should be more than enough.

To give you a rough idea, MSE Eesha says: "I have 1GB a month. I tend to use close to this limit but never go over. I generally just use Whatsapp, Facebook, emails, and check deals apps like Groupon, Wowcher, Quidco and the PayPal app."

Downloading videos, TV shows or other web-heavy apps may take you over your limit and cause you to incur heavy charges.

If you're worried about data use, try using the free Onavo app mentioned below.

Sneaky app gets you more from your data allowance

Onavo Android app

Heavy downloaders could end up paying out BIG if they exceed their download allowance. Some providers charge as much as 20p/MB if you go over your inclusive data limit.

Try the free app Onavo, which says it compresses data when web-browsing and using other apps such as Facebook and Twitter. This means the same amount of surfing will only use a fraction of your data allowance, avoiding any hefty fees.

More info about Onavo

Sell your old phone to fund your new one

Selling your old mobile could help you recoup some of the cost of your new one. There are two ways you can do this:

Flog your mobile for more

There's huge demand for secondhand iPhones, so it's very much a seller's market. Perhaps unsurprisingly, eBay* should be your first port of call if you're willing to put in a bit of (virtual) legwork. At the time of writing, a used unlocked 16GB iPhone 6 in decent nick could fetch around £150, and a 16GB iPhone 6s about £250.

Flog your mobile in a hurry

If you want a guaranteed amount of cash to put towards your next handset (or something else entirely), mobile recycling sites are an easy option.

To save you the hassle of going door-to-door, sites like CompareMyMobile* and SellMyMobile* compare how much each of the big players will offer for your old phone, whether it's working or broken. Usually you'll get a bit less than what you'd get if you listed the phone on eBay. For example, at the time of writing, the most you'd get for recycling a 16GB iPhone 6 is around £160.

Don't forget insurance saving

Accidents can and do happen. Because mobiles are worth so much more to us these days (and they cost a lot more), if you lose 'em, break 'em or have 'em nicked, it can be costly to replace them.

Onavo Android app

Insurers play on this fear with hefty prices and unnecessary cover. Yet you can get cheap insurance for your iPhone from £70/year.

Read the full Mobile Insurance guide for full info and best buys.

If your phone's stolen...

Report it to the police and let your network know as soon as possible.This is important to prevent unauthorised use of your service, and may also be critical for insurance claims.

Check coverage in your area

The quality of the signal you'll receive will depend on where you are. Across all the networks, big cities and towns should all have a decent 3G signal – and some may have 4G – while those in rural areas can struggle.

All the networks have coverage checkers on their sites, but these tend to be optimistic. Ofcom's research into 4G constitutes the most up-to-date objective info we have on coverage – view its Mobile coverage checker to see what signal strength will be like in your area.

Consider a secondhand or refurbished handset

Don't forget to check out secondhand models on eBay*. As an example, at the time of writing you can get a used 128GB iPhone 6s in good condition for around £350 on eBay, compared with a new one from Apple which costs £699. Make sure it's unlocked (see Mobile Unlocking for full info) though, so you can take advantage of super-cheap Sim-only tariffs.

It's also possible to get refurbished handsets on eBay or through some resellers online. These work just as new phones and come in new condition, plus they typically come with a manufacturer's warranty. Bear in mind that used handsets on eBay usually don't come with warranties.

Watch out for auto-insurance

Some retailers automatically add insurance to a mobile phone contract when you sign up online, regardless of whether you want it or not.

This has stung quite a few MSE users, so be sure to read all the small print, thoroughly, before clicking the 'buy' button.

These insurance policies are normally more expensive than standard insurance, and if there's no 'opt out' option – you must remember to cancel it as soon as you get your phone.

If you cancel over the phone, ask the company to email you with confirmation of the cancellation, so you have it in writing too. Read the full Mobile Insurance guide for how to get the cheapest standalone mobile cover.

Protect your iPhone and its data

Losing your data, photos and contacts is a nightmare. Yet there are a number of easy ways to protect your mobile and data, many of which are free.

Sim card padlock

Regardless of how expensive your phone is, the info you've got stored on it can also be mega-valuable, and it's a nightmare (and probably a lost cause) to retrieve contacts, photos, apps, games, messages back after losing a handset.

To beat this, free services can back up this crucial info before you lose it.

Back up to the web

Back up your computer

Old school pen and paper route

Make use of free Wi-Fi

Rather than using up your monthly download allowance, when you're out and about, find a free Wi-Fi hotspot to use instead.

McDonald's, Starbucks and Wetherspoon pubs all offer free Wi-Fi access, plus check My Hotspots, Free Hotspot, and Hotspot Locations for more. There are thousands of free, legal wireless hotspots around the UK. See free Wi-Fi for more info.

Get extra cashback on top

It's often possible to grab extra cashback on top when you sign up for a mobile phone contract. To get it, you need to sign up via a specialist cashback website rather than directly with the network provider. Cashback websites use affiliate links to generate revenue, so if they get paid when you sign up, you'll get paid.

Unfortunately this cash is never guaranteed, as sometimes cashback sites don't track deals in progress, so it's generally best to pick the right tariff first and view any cashback as an added extra. To find out more about how these sites can pay you, and how you can make the most of them, read the full Cashback Sites guide.

Retailer redemption cashback. Don't confuse cashback sites with cashback you can get directly through a retailer, through redemption. This kind of cashback isn't straightforward, and can often require you to send several copies of your monthly bills on certain days.

We rarely include these kinds of deals, unless they're super-cheap. If we do include them, they'll be mentioned in the free MoneySavingExpert.com weekly email.

How to complain about your mobile provider

The mobile industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include limited network coverage, slow data speeds, unexpected charges and more. It's always worth complaining to your provider first, but if you have no success, then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will escalate it on your behalf to the free Ombudsman Services (or CISAS if you're complaining about Virgin Mobile).

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com as that's usually quicker.

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