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Apple iPhone subscription — here's how much it could cost

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max in box
(Image credit: Future)

Rumor has it that Apple is working on developing an iPhone subscription service, allowing people access to devices in exchange for a monthly fee. Naturally, one question a lot of people have is how much this might cost, and how that affects how much you pay for an iPhone in the long term.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has been speculating about possible iPhone subscription pricing in the latest edition of his ‘Power on’ newsletter. 

Gurman suggests some speculative prices to show just how beneficial an iPhone subscription service would be for Apple. In his example Gurman prices the iPhone 13, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max at a respective $35, $45 and $50 a month — prices he notes undercut the current iPhone Upgrade Program by a few dollars. 

If you subscribe to the iPhone upgrade program in this scenario for three years, you would end up paying $1,260 for an iPhone 13, $1,620 for a 13 Pro and $1,800 for the 13 Pro Max. Those phones cost $799, $999 and $1,099, respectively, should you buy them outright. Like the iPhone Upgrade Program, this wouldn’t include the cost of your usual call and data plan.

However, the iPhone Upgrade Program includes AppleCare+, which for an iPhone 13 costs $149 for the standard plan and $219 with theft and lost protection. Apple could also decide to include Apple One, which is a single subscription fee that covers six services, including Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, iCloud+ for storage, Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+. The individual plan is $14.95 per month. 

Apple may well offer a 24-month plan as well, as it does with the iPhone Upgrade Program. In the case of Gurman’s price speculation, you’d end up paying $840, $1,080 and $1,200. That’s not such a huge price difference to buying outright, though it will all depend on whether Apple Care Plus cover is included and what the final prices actually are.

The usage of terms like “subscription” also suggest that users will essentially be renting their phones from Apple — rather than buying ownership over an extended period of time. So the longer you keep an older iPhone, the worse off you might end up being. Then again, this means there is no downside to upgrading as soon as you can, provided the cost of renting the latest iPhone is around the same or not too much higher.

Gurman makes it clear that these figures are “just back-of-the-envelope math," but notes that they’re not beyond the realm of possibility. Unfortunately, we can't say for sure how much of a good deal the rumored iPhone subscription plans will be without some sort of announcement from Apple.

We’ll bring you more on the alleged iPhone subscription plan when we hear it.

Oh, and speaking of iPhones, Apple WWDC 2022 finally has a date, and we've got all the details on the annual event where the new iOS will be revealed.

Tom Pritchard
Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.