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Other Why upgrading every year isn't as dumb as you think

collin_

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 19, 2018
136
214
Every year, I pay the whole cost upfront for the biggest, fanciest iPhone unlocked directly from Apple. This year, I will be selling my iPhone 11 Pro Max (256 GB) on eBay and buying the same size 12 Pro Max. I should get about $900-$950 for it as it is in mint condition. Accounting for eBay fees, PayPal fees, and the taxes I'll pay on the new 256 GB Pro Max, it will essentially cost less than $500 for me to upgrade.

Older iPhones obviously lose value each time a newer model is released, so I am paying only a tiny bit more than if I upgraded every 2 years or every 3 years and did the same thing. I would start saving serious money only if I kept my current phone for at least 4 years, and as a tech enthusiast I just can't bring myself to do that -- especially considering that this is a device I use for multiple hours every day.

In other words, upgrading your iPhone every year is actually not stupid or particularly expensive assuming you pay upfront, keep it in good condition, and sell the old one on eBay. Using this method, I am paying only a fraction of what those on Apple's yearly upgrade program pay. I understand that not everyone is in the financial position to do this, but if you are and are a tech enthusiast like me, I think that this method is worth of consideration.
 
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Sam in SoCal

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2019
729
976
Every year, I pay the whole cost upfront for the biggest, fanciest iPhone unlocked directly from Apple. This year, I will be selling my iPhone 11 Pro Max (256 GB) on eBay and buying the same size 12 Pro Max. I should get about $900-$950 for it as it is in mint condition. Accounting for eBay fees, PayPal fees, and the taxes I'll pay on the new 256 GB Pro Max, it will essentially cost less than $500 for me to upgrade.

Older iPhones obviously lose value each time a newer model is released, so I am paying only a tiny bit more than if I upgraded every 2 years or every 3 years and did the same thing. I would start saving serious money only if I kept my current phone for at least 4 years, and as a tech enthusiast I just can't bring myself to do that -- especially considering that this is a device I use for multiple hours every day.

In other words, upgrading your iPhone every year is actually not stupid or particularly expensive assuming you pay upfront, keep it in good condition, and sell the old one on eBay. Using this method, I am paying only a fraction of what those on Apple's yearly upgrade program pay. I understand that not everyone is in the financial position to do this, but if you are and are a tech enthusiast like me, I think this is the best way to do it. :)
My situation is better, I think. You’re saying you would pay less than 500$ for the upgrade after you sell on eBay but I would be satisfied with the bottom storage this year 128gb. I too have the 256gb but I didn’t need that much and the base of 64gb last year was too small so I was forced to go to 256gb. Heck, if I got 900$ for mine the difference would be 200$ plus tax plus a 40$ Apple case.

ebay is a lot of fees I’m guessing? Have you tried swappa? What’s your experience been selling? Just eBay ?
 

bubulol

macrumors 6502a
Mar 7, 2013
612
100
I dont upgrade my iPhone every year, it doesn't make any sense
You lose money no matter what calculation
I upgrade every 3/4 years
No temptation, no desire to own new Apple iPhone every years
The only upgrade i have made for an Apple product its Airpods but mainly because every two years, dead battery i have to buy new one

iPhone 4S -> SE -> X > SE
I only owned 4 iPhone (2x SE because i didnt like iPhone X for some reasons at that time) since then
Most normal people are like me, upgrading when their current iPhone getting too slow or need to be repaired (broken screen, dead battery, malfunction...)
 

JM

macrumors 65816
Nov 23, 2014
1,487
1,959
Its too risky for me. I don’t trust buyers as they could easily say they didn’t receive it. PayPal usually always sides with the buyer too.
yeah I almost got scammed, twice. Both times was a buyer address that was some sketchy looking small business at street view, and doing a google search turned up other people that got scammed by the "iphone didn't arrive", and when the seller got the phone (if they did), it was a different phone usually with cracked screen or something.

I think sellers of phones on ebay do some predatory buying (offer overpriced winning bids), and then get the seller trapped in 15 day waiting periods from the time the buyer submit a "non-paying" report to ebay. (Thus, making it more difficult for one-off phone sellers to get a sale)

I'll never sell again on Ebay unless it's an old phone that's worth $100 or less.
 

Renho

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2014
2,752
1,367
SR, CA
Every year, I pay the whole cost upfront for the biggest, fanciest iPhone unlocked directly from Apple. This year, I will be selling my iPhone 11 Pro Max (256 GB) on eBay and buying the same size 12 Pro Max. I should get about $900-$950 for it as it is in mint condition. Accounting for eBay fees, PayPal fees, and the taxes I'll pay on the new 256 GB Pro Max, it will essentially cost less than $500 for me to upgrade.

Older iPhones obviously lose value each time a newer model is released, so I am paying only a tiny bit more than if I upgraded every 2 years or every 3 years and did the same thing. I would start saving serious money only if I kept my current phone for at least 4 years, and as a tech enthusiast I just can't bring myself to do that -- especially considering that this is a device I use for multiple hours every day.

In other words, upgrading your iPhone every year is actually not stupid or particularly expensive assuming you pay upfront, keep it in good condition, and sell the old one on eBay. Using this method, I am paying only a fraction of what those on Apple's yearly upgrade program pay. I understand that not everyone is in the financial position to do this, but if you are and are a tech enthusiast like me, I think this is the best way to do it. :)

i actulaly sell on craigslist. Meet at the police station and get cash with no fees or shipping. Its great. Except this year i wont be selling my 11PM. The resale value will be worse than other years due to split launch. My battery health is at 88% in a year...hmmmm. And it has a dang scratch on the selfie cam glass. argggg. So i dont think i will get as much as i want to this year. But i will start buying it in full from now on...
$900-$950 i think is a stretch, resale value is $700-$780 right now.
 

Dkka1

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2019
101
100
I dont upgrade my iPhone every year, it doesn't make any sense
You lose money no matter what calculation
I upgrade every 3/4 years
No temptation, no desire to own new Apple iPhone every years
The only upgrade i have made for an Apple product its Airpods but mainly because every two years, dead battery i have to buy new one

iPhone 4S -> SE -> X > SE
I only owned 4 iPhone (2x SE because i didnt like iPhone X for some reasons at that time) since then
Most normal people are like me, upgrading when their current iPhone getting too slow or need to be repaired (broken screen, dead battery, malfunction...)

Updating every year costs me 160€. Updating every 4 years would cost me 500€. However, I would risk 2 years without warranty and I would have poor battery health during 3rd and 4rd years.

So I'm paying 140 additional euros every 4 years, ie 3 euros per month, in order to have the latest hardware, warranty and new battery.

Not bad, huh?
 

bubulol

macrumors 6502a
Mar 7, 2013
612
100
Updating every year costs me 160€. Updating every 4 years would cost me 500€. However, I would risk 2 years without warranty and I would have poor battery health during 3rd and 4rd years.

So I'm paying 140 additional euros every 4 years, ie 3 euros per month, in order to have the latest hardware, warranty and new battery.

Not bad, huh?
Not bad indeed but you still losing money no matter if you update every year or keeping your iPhone for years
My personal thought is if you are willing to upgrade every year even though there is a chance of getting minor updates
What are the benefit of upgrading from iPhone X to iPhone XS? Its almost none
In my case, i would enjoy all new features and specs from iPhone 12 since i currently own (first gen) SE: OLED display, borderless design, new design, Face ID, camera specs, 5G, A14 Bionic and so on
Switching every years means you have to deal with small changes
I do consider iPhone as a smartphone that has great ecosystem, longest upgrade lifespan, overall lifespan (if you compare to Android phones)
Not like a toy that needs to be upgraded next year
 

Dkka1

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2019
101
100
It's not "dumb" if that's how you want to spend your money. But, let's not pretend it's cost-efficient. Even keeping it two years makes the whole thing a lot cheaper. For example, you can trade in an Xs this year for about $800 (details depend on carrier).

Nah, disagree. What you have to avoid is any Apple (expensive) model specific accesory, which are the real money pit.
 
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cardfan

Contributor
Mar 23, 2012
2,720
3,585
I would say that it’s best to pay monthly. Trade in. Vs purchasing up front and trading in.

The first method your guaranteed paying half the cost plus taxes. Second method your guaranteed only what they offer for your used phone.

I get the eBay and swappa ways but don’t have time to fool with or the fees or hassle negate it. Plus work pays for it anyways.
 

Nextup12

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2018
90
125
It's not "dumb" if that's how you want to spend your money. But, let's not pretend it's cost-efficient. Even keeping it two years makes the whole thing a lot cheaper. For example, you can trade in an Xs this year for about $800 (details depend on carrier).
This. It’s all about what you value, but fiscally speaking updating every year does not make a heap of sense. For me, I am somewhat of a tech enthusiast and therefore a 2 year upgrade cycle is the sweet spot especially these days as upgrades are fairly incremental. I have done the math and the total cost of the 2 phones saves me about $700 AUD rather than upgrading every year. That’s worth saving to me. The benefit does drop off a bit after 3 years unless you stay in a 3-year upgrade cycle.
 

Eso

macrumors 68000
Aug 14, 2008
1,772
198
Weird. As a tech enthusiast, I still own every phone that I've ever purchased.

But good luck getting that $900. I would expect something more like $600 after at least 3 ruined auctions from scammers and non-paying buyers. High value tech is a scam magnet on eBay.
 
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jasbur17

macrumors newbie
Sep 16, 2014
12
11
Southern New Jersey
I’d recommend Swappa. I’ve bought and/or sold 27 devices since the 6 came out. The fees are so much lower than eBay and I did have 3 disputes which PayPal backed me on each time.
I thought Swappa was safer for awhile too, but my last transaction was a bad one. Sold a phone and the buyer claimed the screen had scratches all over it. I knew the screen was pristine because of using protectors since day 1.
Did some google searching and found the address was a phone repair shop. I'm sure they took my screen for one of their customers.

Ever since then, I settle for trade-ins or reputable sites that buy them. Yeah, much less money but it's honest. Or I'll give it to family.
 
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