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iPhone 12 mini pre-order deals — where to buy Apple's new phone now

iphone 12 mini pre-order
(Image credit: Apple)

Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max get underway tomorrow (Nov. 6). But even before Apple starts taking orders on the two remaining iPhone 12 models, wireless carriers are already touting deals that promise big savings. In the case of the smaller iPhone 12 mini, that means picking up Apple's latest smartphone for free.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all have offers that let you get an iPhone 12 mini at no cost with the help of bill credits. There are restrictions on each deal, of course, but play your cards right, and you'll be able to get the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini at no cost. (Make sure to check out our guide on the best iPhone 12 deals for more savings). 

iPhone 12 mini: was $699 now free @ AT&T
When pre-orders begin Nov. 6, you'll be able to get $700 in bill credits at AT&T when you buy a new iPhone 12 model and trade-in your old phone. That $700 covers the cost of a new iPhone 12 mini. This deal is open to new and existing AT&T customers.

AT&T's iPhone 12 mini offer is the most straightforward. Both new and existing customers can get a $700 credit when they trade-in an eligible device, buy their new iPhone on an installment plan and sign up for an unlimited data plan with the carrier. 

That $700 credit covers the exact cost of the iPhone 12 mini, but you could also apply it to the purchase of any iPhone 12, including the iPhone 12 Pro Max. With the credit, your iPhone 12 Pro Max monthly payment drops to $13 a month, allowing you to save $700 on the purchase of the largest iPhone. 

AT&T spreads out your bill credits over 30 months, and your trade in needs to be in good condition to qualify for the full discount. But AT&T is unique in that its best iPhone 12 offer is available to both current customers as well as those switching their service.

As for Verizon, its free iPhone 12 mini offer comes in the form of a buy-one-get-one-deal. Buy a new iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 12 and you can get a second model for free when you switch to Verizon, start a new service, or add a new line. Both lines require that you sign up for an unlimited data plan, which you'll want to do anyhow, since 5G coverage requires an unlimited plan. 

iPhone 12 mini: buy one, get one free @ Verizon
You can get a free iPhone 12 mini after you buy Apple's phone and switch to Verizon, start a new service, or add a new line. Both phones must be on an unlimited plan. Verizon offers the same deal for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Verizon's BOGO offer also extends to the iPhone 12 Pro models, where you can get a second iPhone 12 Pro Max for free when you buy one model and switch to Verizon, start a new service, or add a new line.

Existing Verizon customers who just want to purchase one phone can lower their monthly payment to $12 a month when they sign up for an unlimited plan and trade in a device, including the iPhone 8 or later. Verizon applies its credits to your bill over 24 months. (Verizon also plans to offer 30-month payment options for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.)

T-Mobile isn't disclosing the full details on its iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max offers until pre-orders begin Friday. But the carrier says that T-Mobile customers will be able to get an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini for free with an eligible trade-in and new line of service.

At 5.4 inches, the iPhone 12 mini is Apple's smallest iPhone, with an even more compact design than the iPhone SE. Yet, the iPhone 12 mini has an OLED screen and runs on the same A14 Bionic processor that powers the rest of the iPhone 12 lineup. In many ways, the iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12, only with a smaller display than that 6.1-inch device. (Check out our iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 12 mini comparison to see all the differences between these two phones.)

While discounts on the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max figure to grab headlines as pre-orders begin, keep in mind that we're also in the midst of Black Friday deals. iPhones figure to be a hot item this holiday season, so be sure to check in on the best iPhone 12 deals before you buy.

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.