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Apple launches iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max – how to find the cheapest deals

Tech giant Apple has unveiled its new handset range, the iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, while cutting the price of the now-older iPhone 11, SE and XR. Buying a new iPhone is never MoneySaving and early adopters usually pay the most. But if you're determined to get one, we've got some tips on how to cut costs below.

Some of the new models are now available to order. Yet the latest iPhones won't come with headphones or a power adapter (you'll just get a USB-C to Lightning cable). This means those new to Apple or those with older equipment that is not compatible may need to buy these separately, with a USB-C power adapter costing £19 with Apple directly.

However, in a first for the firm, its new range will be compatible with the faster 5G network (though 5G won't be available across the whole of the UK until 2022).

For full info on cutting the cost of an iPhone, see our Cheap iPhones guide.

What are the new models?

iPhone 12 Mini – its 'budget' model features a dual-lens rear camera, a 5.4-inch screen and the "toughest glass in the industry". It starts at £699 for the 64GB model, rising to £849 for the 256GB storage version. Available to order from Friday 6 November and on sale Friday 13 November.

iPhone 12 – has the same features as the 12 Mini, albeit with a 6.1-inch screen. It's £799 for the 64GB model, £949 for the 256GB model. Order from Friday 16 October, on sale Friday 23 October.

iPhone 12 Pro – it also has a 6.1-inch screen but comes with a triple-lens rear camera, which is reflected by a £999 starting price for the 128GB model (£1,299 for 512GB). Order from Friday 16 October, on sale Friday 23 October.

iPhone 12 Pro Max – Apple's top-spec model features its largest iPhone screen (6.7 inch) and a triple-lens rear camera, which is more advanced than the one on the iPhone 12 Pro. It's £1,099 for the 128GB model, £1,399 for 512GB. Order from Friday 6 November, on sale Friday 13 November.

How to cut the cost of buying a brand-new iPhone

As the new models have only just been unveiled, there are no deals yet, though we are expecting them in the coming days and will be updating this story and our ​​Cheap iPhones guide with the pick of them. New models won't come cheap, but if you are set on them, here's how to cut costs.

  1. First, do you REALLY need the latest model? The prices of previous iPhone models have now come down, so if you want a fancy smartphone but aren't fussed about having the latest model, this is a cheaper way to get your hands on one.

  2. If you're sure you want a new iPhone... wait a few weeks. Based on what we've seen in previous years, handsets are initially expensive but prices drop after launch, as the market settles and cheaper deals come through. This applies particularly to contracts, as upfront prices are less likely to move – but the longer you wait, the better the deals are likely to be.

  3. Avoid paying for extra storage you don't need. There's a real price difference when it comes to storage, so don't buy more iPhone than you'll really use. See How to increase phone storage for free.

  4. Avoid paying for extra data you don't need. Will you ever use that 100GB/month of data? Most won't and according to our most recent poll, 68% use 3GB/mth data or less, increasing to 80% using 5GB/mth or less. So it pays to check with your provider how much data you use each month on average. You can usually find this information by logging in to your account or if you're with O2, Vodafone, EE or Three, you can use Billmonitor* to analyse your bill.

  5. Contract deals can be the cheapest way – though never just go direct to the network. Historically we've said that if you have the cash, as a rule it's cheaper to buy a new mobile phone upfront and pair with a cheap Sim, as two-year contracts generally come at a hefty markup.

    Yet recently special contract deals from cheap mobile resellers such as Fonehouse and MobilePhonesDirect have started undercutting the cost of buying upfront – though deals direct from the big networks are almost never competitive, so always compare before signing up. See below for our pick of the top deals.

  6. Prefer to buy upfront? You can spread the cost of a new iPhone interest-free. If you're buying online via Apple, its monthly payment scheme allows you to pay over 24 months interest-free and works with all new iPhones. You pay a set amount each month – from £29.12 for the 64GB iPhone 12 Mini, to £58.29 for the 512GB iPhone 12 Pro Max – for 24 months. If you'd prefer to go in store, you can take advantage of Apple Payments, which works differently – see more on how these schemes work.

Still sure you want the latest model? How to save £500

Right now, the cheapest way we can find to get the iPhone 12 with enough data is to buy the phone outright, then pair it with a cheap Sim-only deal. To benchmark this price, we've used iD Mobile's 6GB Sim with unlimited minutes and texts for £7/mth. 

However, if you don't want to pay such a steep upfront cost, you could purchase the phone direct from Apple and take advantage of its Monthly Payments programme. This gives you an interest-free loan for the cost of the phone over a 24-month contract. The monthly price for the 64GB iPhone 12 is £33.29 – when paired with the £7/mth Sim, the total monthly cost would be £40.29.

Alternatively, you can go via a reseller. At the moment, the best deal we could find – also for a 64GB iPhone 12 – was from Vodafone with 6GB and unlimited minutes and texts, costing £977 over the 24-month contract. That's only £10 more than buying the phone outright and pairing it with a cheap Sim. 

Yet if you buy a similar contract deal from O2 direct, you'll pay about £500 MORE over two years. 

To show the savings you can make buying in the right way, we've compared the current prices for an iPhone 12 using the different purchasing options outlined above.

iPhone 12 deals compared (i)

Deal Upfront cost Monthly cost (ii) Data allowance Total over 24 months
Vodafone (via*) £425 £23 6GB £977
Apple (outright) £799 £7 6GB £967
Three (direct) £49 £25.50/mth for six months, £51/mth for 18 months 4GB £1,120
Vodafone (direct) £79 £54 6GB £1,375
EE (direct) £50 £59 10GB £1,466
O2 (direct) £150 £55 (iii) 5GB £1,471

Prices correct as of Tue 20 Oct, rounded to the nearest £1. We haven't linked to standard network contracts as these are more expensive. (i) All with unlimited mins & texts unless stated. (ii) Monthly costs are over 24 months. Monthly contract prices may increase in line with inflation each year. (iii) O2 allows you to 'configure' the upfront and monthly cost, ie, you can set how much you pay upfront, which changes the monthly cost, though the overall total doesn't change.

Prices for the iPhone 11 and other older models cut

As usually happens whenever iPhones are launched, Apple also slashes the cost of existing handsets, including its already 'budget' iPhone SE (prices below are based on 64GB models bought direct from Apple, though we expect other retailers to follow suit):

  • The iPhone 11 is now £599, down from £729.
  • The iPhone SE 2020 is now £399 (was £419).
  • The iPhone XR is £499 (was £629).

See our Cheap iPhones guide for our current top-pick deals for the models above, including our hot MSE Blagged deal for the 64GB iPhone SE with 4GB data and nothing to pay upfront, which ends on Thursday.

Selling your old iPhone? Do it soon

Trends from previous years suggest that the value of your old iPhone usually drops after a new model's announced, and then falls further again shortly after new models go on sale in the UK.

When selling an old phone, always compare the prices offered by the big reselling sites using a mobile-phone recycling price-comparison service, or go it alone and flog it on eBay, where you can often sell for more. See our Sell Old Mobiles guide for full tips on ensuring you get the best price.

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