Apple's iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now on sale in the UK. Buying a new iPhone is never MoneySaving – but if you're determined to get one anyway, buying it in the right way could save you almost £500 over two years compared to the cost of a standard contract.

Update 4pm Wed 27 Sep: Mobile phone prices can change hourly, particularly after a new handset's launch. These prices were correct as of 4pm Wednesday - but if you're going to buy, make sure you do your own price comparison.

Generally the cheapest way to buy a new iPhone is to pay for it outright – if you can afford to – and then pair it with a cheap Sim-only contract, as buying on a traditional contract from the major mobile networks will tie you in for 24 months and can cost £100s more over the contract's length.

Early adopters often pay more with new iPhones, but with this launch we've actually spotted a special one-month contract deal which cuts the upfront cost of a new 64GB iPhone 8 from Apple's standard £699 to £673. See below for more details and a round-up of the different ways to buy an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus.

For full info on cutting the cost of an iPhone, see our Cheap iPhones guide. And for more details on what the new handsets offer, plus the iPhone X which is released in November, see our Apple launches iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X news story.

Martin Lewis
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Buying upfront's usually cheapest – then pair with a cheap Sim

Usually when a new iPhone's launched we say the cheapest way is to buy it upfront - if you can stomach the hefty price-tag - and then find a separate cheap Sim to use it with. The price you'll get depends on how you buy it though (currently some colours and models are out of stock but more stock is expected soon).

Buying outright from Apple - 64GB iPhone 8 for £699

Here are prices if you buy direct from Apple:

  • iPhone 8 – £699 for 64GB model, £849 for 256GB
  • iPhone 8 Plus – £799 for 64GB model, £949 for 256GB

However, special deals can sometimes undercut these prices, particularly at launch - so you can actually get the phones for less with the options below.

Carphone Warehouse cancel-the-contract trick – 64GB iPhone 8 for £673

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

Now, even EE’s cheapest contract is expensive, 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.

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.

This works with other models too. Factoring in the handset plus the mandatory one-month contract prices are as follows:

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.

Buy upfront from Unshackled.com – 64GB iPhone 8 for £679

We've also blagged £20 off Apple's upfront price for the unlocked iPhone 8* and iPhone 8 Plus* with Unshackled.com – which means a brand-new 64GB iPhone 8 will cost £679 rather than the usual £699. Make sure you click on 'outright' rather than 'monthly' and to get the discount, enter code MSE20 at the checkout.

This works out as £6 more expensive than the Carphone Warehouse deal but you won't have to undergo a credit check to get it – and nor do you have to cancel a contract to avoid being charged for a second month.

Buying an iPhone 8? Here's our round-up of the best deals
The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now on sale

Can't afford it upfront? Spread the cost 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 - see below.

Bought the handset outright? Find a cheap Sim to go with it

If you've bought an unlocked iPhone separately - either upfront or buy spreading the cost interest-free - you'll need to find your own cheap standalone Sim.

Our top pick currently is Three's £9/month Sim with unlimited mins and texts and 4GB of 4G data on a 12-month contract, for new Three customers (and existing customers who want a second line).

It's an 'Advanced' plan so you can roam for 'free' in Europe PLUS 24 more places incl US and Oz, and Three's ‘Go Binge’ feature means you can stream Netflix, TVPlayer, Deezer or SoundCloud on your phone without using up your data. The monthly cost may increase each year in line with inflation and if you run out of data add-ons start at £2.50/mth for 250MB.

See our Cheap Sim-only Deals guide for a full round-up of options, including if you're a low or heavy user.

Traditional contracts usually cost more – but check resellers

Buying a new handset on a traditional mobile contract from a big mobile network can be much more expensive.

For example, EE's standard 24-month deal for a 64GB iPhone 8 with unlimited minutes and texts and 3GB data costs £100 upfront then £53/mth – an eye-watering £1,372 over two years. That's over £480 more than the Carphone Warehouse deal paired with an equivalent Sim.

If you are going to get a contract, reseller sites such as Mobiles.co.uk* (owned by Carphone Warehouse) or MobilePhonesDirect* are almost always cheaper than going direct to the network.

In fact, occasionally resellers offer tariffs that even beat buying the phone and pairing it with a cheap Sim, though this is unusual following the release of a new model and we haven't seen any such deals so far. Keep an eye on tariffs using a comparison site such as MobilePhoneChecker* to see if this changes in the coming months.

Buying an iPhone 8? Here's our round-up of the best deals
The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now on sale

How different ways of buying the iPhone 8 compare

To show the savings you can make buying the right way, we've compared the current prices for the different options outlined above for a 64GB iPhone 8.

To compare the cost of handset plus service, we've used Three's 'Advanced' £9/mth tariff with unlimited minutes and texts and 4GB of data as a benchmark, and used networks' closest deals where there's no direct equivalent.

iPhone 8 (64GB) deals compared - all with unltd mins & texts

Deal Upfront cost Monthly cost (1) Data allowance Total over 24mths
BUY OUTRIGHT (+ THREE SIM)  
Carphone Warehouse* (incl 1mth EE Sim, cancel straightaway - see full info) £673 £9/mth 4GB £889
Unshackled.com* £679 £9/mth 4GB £895
Apple* (outright) £699 £9/mth 4GB £915
Apple (iPhone Payments) £69 £31.50/mth for 20mths for phone, £9/mth for Sim 4GB £915
24MTH CONTRACT VIA RESELLER  
EE (via Mobiles.co.uk*) £290 £28/mth 2GB £962
O2 (via Mobiles.co.uk*) £270 £27/mth 3GB £918
Vodafone (via Mobiles.co.uk*) £270 £29/mth 4GB £966
Three (via MobilePhonesDirect*) £85 £50/mth 4GB £1,285
24MTH STANDARD CONTRACT  
EE (direct) £100 £53/mth 3GB £1,372
O2 (direct) £180 £46/mth 3GB £1,284
Vodafone (direct) £30 £54/mth 4GB £1,326
Three (direct) £99 £50/mth 4GB £1,299
Prices correct as of 27 Sep 2017, rounded to nearest £1. We haven't linked to standard network contracts as these are more expensive. (1) Monthly costs are over 24mths unless otherwise stated. Monthly contract prices may increase in line with inflation each year.

As always it's worth checking if cashback is available on these types of deals. See our Top Cashback Sites guide for more information. Remember you can also trade in your old handset for cash – check our Sell Old Mobiles guide for tips.

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Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help MoneySavingExpert.com: Carphone Warehouse (iPhone 8 Plus), Carphone Warehouse (iPhone 8), MobilePhoneChecker, MobilePhonesDirect, Mobiles.co.uk