iPhone Yearly Upgrade Conundrum

I have an iPhone 11 ProMax with 256 GB. I am using 30 GB of that storage. My battery level is 100%. I got the phone last November.

I pay extra to AT&T to upgrade every year. I always give in and get a new phone.

So my question is should I do so this year. I don’t see 5G being very available in our area. I have no real use that I can see for Lidar, & even if they up the refresh rate, I’m not sure I could tell.

There is no up front cost to upgrade. Yet it restarts a two year repayment schedule, rather than having this phone paid off by next year. And next year I would probably want a new phone.

I’ll probably cave and upgrade, but this year gives me more pause. I’m not sure I want a bigger phone than I have. It wouldn’t fit in my bike phone carrier. I’ll drop another $60 on an OtterBox which will make that phone huge! Yet the 12 Pro is smaller than what I currently have. Ugh…

Any recommendations?

If there isn’t anything you need, why upgrade?

I am on a 3 year cycle with my Android phones at the moment - usually changing when the monthly security updates stop.

At work, I’ll have to take an iPhone next time round (change in company policy), so it will be an iPhone 8 or an iPhone SE - everything else is outside the contract subsidy rate, so I’d have to pay the extra out of my own pocket and it isn’t worth it to me, to have an iPhone 11 Pro just for emails and phone calls (we can’t install any third party apps on company devices).

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There is Apple Card’s pay-to-own option, so you might look into whether or not your money would cover the rest of your current iPhone’s cost in time for it to make sense for you, even if next year you decide to switch back to the upgrade plan since you said you’d want a new one by then.

Yes, I agree… Especially when you see how much these babies cost :open_mouth:


I would say first, you’re right about 5G but this is not specific to you or your provider or even the phone itself. Everyone is still figuring out how to use 5G and optimize it. The next revision should make it better and by the time it rolls out there will be an upgrade path or a better approach. I stick to 3G in my area and it is still pretty darn good but my carrier did it right from the beginning.

I would also say that I was in your predicament 5 years ago because my carrier at the time would offer this free upgrade every year. It was marvelous that Apple was willing to subsidize Canadians to put the devices in their hands and give me a better monthly plan. Even if I wasn’t tied to Apple devices, I would have bought outright and saved up for another. Now of course I do not have the same luxury but I have many choices and close to what I wanted before, a good Apple device or a competitor that does just as well.

I’m not a big fan of the large screen phones either since I like to have a portable device with me at all times. My laptop would never be suitable and would never provide the connectivity I require. I would still put up with a high grade case to protect my phone because even that would be lighter than what I normally carry around while travelling.

Having said all that, I found myself keeping to the smaller phones and on to the SE models which seem to be a better upgrade to the iPhone 6/7/8. I couldn’t justify a phone like the 11 and spending more than $1100 knowing there are better form factors and capabilities. I’m hoping Apple starts excelling again at what they do best so that you and I have a real choice to justify the money we spend.

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I upgraded iPhones every year since 2007 up until I got my XS Max in September of '18. I still have it to this day and am running with 94% battery capacity so things could definitely be worse. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I want the 12. Based on the features “leaked” so far, I don’t think I’ll be upgrading. Just my $.02.