Spending

The 3 best times of year to buy a new iPhone or iPad, according to experts

"If you aren't in dire need of a tablet right now, we suggest holding off until Black Friday."

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There are a few signs it's time to replace your iPhone, tech experts say. If your phone is no longer compatible with software updates, the exterior is looking pretty banged up, or you've already gotten a new battery and that didn't address your issues, a new iPhone might be worth the money.

An iPad in need of replacement can exhibit similar warning signs. If the tablet is no longer able to download new software, the charging ports are damaged, or the apps are running slower than usual, it might be time to get a new one.

"Tablets are something people don't tend to replace all that often," says Nicholas De Leon, a technology reporter at Consumer Reports. "Personally, I'm still using an iPad that I bought in 2013. It's slower than dirt. Web browsing is nearly impossible. But I only use it to read comic books, so it's not worth it to me to buy a new one." 

Being hesitant to buy a new tablet or smartphone is understandable. Apple's latest iPad starts at $329, and the iPad Mini starts at $399. And the iPhone 12, the latest model, starts at $800.

There are times of the year when you can find older, and sometimes new, models heavily discounted, though. If you're looking to knock a significant amount of money off the price, here are the three best times of year to buy a new iPhone or iPad, according to experts.

1. Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day will be June 21 and 22, about one month earlier than usual. You'll likely be able to find deeply discounted tablets at this time, says Lisa Davis, shopping expert at Offers.com.

Be sure to look outside of Amazon for deals, too, she says. Typically, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart will compete with the online retail giant by offering equally good, or sometimes better, deals on similar products. 

iPhones, on the other hand, are typically not heavily discounted on Prime Day. To get a discount on an iPhone, you'll have to wait until later in the year.

2. After a new model is released

"The best time to buy a previous generation iPhone is after Apple releases its newest lineup in September," Davis says. "This is when older models will be discounted by $100 or more." This is true for many Apple products.

For iPads, that means that you might be able to find a discounted older model right now, as a new model was released on May 21. For example, an iPad 8th generation is discounted from $329 to $299 on Amazon right now. And a 2019 iPad Mini is discounted from $399 to $369 on Amazon.

The best time to buy a previous generation iPhone is after Apple releases its newest lineup in September.
Lisa Davis
shopping expert at Offers.com

3. Black Friday and Cyber Monday

If you can wait, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the optimal time to buy a new iPhone. Last year, the deals were definitely worth waiting for, Davis says.

"In 2020 Apple released the iPhone 12 in October due to Covid-19," she says. "Those who waited a couple months were even able to get an iPhone 12 model for free from T-Mobile, or up to $800 off at Best Buy. We suggest waiting until Black Friday and into Cyber Monday to buy the latest iPhone."

And iPads will likely be discounted as well, she adds: "If you aren't in dire need of a tablet right now, we suggest holding off until Black Friday, when you'll be rewarded for your patience with hundreds more in your pocket. This is when retailers will offer doorbusters and extra discounts on tech gear and tablets."

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