You may think I’m crazy, but I was recently offered a free iPhone 12, which I turned down to keep my iPhone 8. The looks I got from the Tom's Guide team were quite a picture as you can imagine. Some thought I was joking, while others assumed I wasn’t fully aware of what was being offered.
While I don’t pretend to be a smartphone expert, I do have a basic understanding of the difference between iPhone models. I’m aware newer is better in terms of running and specs, but nevertheless I said no. Here’s why I didn’t take the upgrade.
Why end a good thing?
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with my iPhone 8. I’ve owned it now for almost three years and it runs just as new. The battery still lasts the full day, the camera quality is more than I need, and the touchscreen responds quickly.
The only issue I really have is that it gets a bit hot during long phone calls, but that’s hardly a reason to discard it. Other than that, my iPhone 8 actually hasn’t had any problems since I purchased it, and my previous iPhones were much the same.
I also like the size of the screen of the iPhone 8 — I can still text one-handed which is my cardinal rule when picking out a new smartphone. Before the new iPhone SE, this was the main reason I wouldn’t upgrade; every new iPhone seemed to have a bigger screen. While others are willing to pay more for this, I just see it as added weight and space to store in my bag. Plus, it’s less comfortable to hold if you have smaller hands, like me.
It’s more sustainable to keep it
As there’s nothing wrong with my iPhone 8, it’s not very sustainable to upgrade it for the sake of new tech. According to Tech Dump (opens in new tab), the average American will buy a new phone every 18 months, which results in about 100-120 million phones being discarded every year. Of course, you can recycle your smartphone so some of the parts are re-used, but materials will inevitably be discarded each time.
There’s the environmental impact from the production of new phones to consider as well. While there’s a high demand, there will always be supply. That’s why I’ve only ever purchased a new phone when there’s something wrong with my previous one, or it’s stopped functioning altogether.
It’s cheaper to keep and run
If you’re constantly upgrading to a new phone, you will be paying for it as part of the monthly contract on an ongoing basis. Or you will have the huge expense of the phone upfront each time. In either case, it’s costly. You can get the best value for your money by extending your phone’s use. When I’ve had to upgrade in the past, I always look forward to paying for the data alone which is so much cheaper versus paying for a contract with the cost of the phone included.
It’s also cheaper to insure an older phone, such as my iPhone 8, versus the latest generation and it’s not so much the end of world if I drop it or if it gets stolen. It essentially takes the pressure off of handling your phone with extreme care.
When is it time to upgrade?
This is really down to your preference and circumstance. Because I don’t need the advanced features of the latest iPhones, and my iPhone 8 runs just fine, I won’t bother upgrading. But, if you can make use of the latest specs, and you really enjoy owning the newest model, then it might be worth the investment.
If you don’t want your phone to get too outdated, but you want to save some money, you can always upgrade less regularly — you don’t need to be as stubborn as me. In any case, I’m happy to say the iPhone 12 I turned down ended up with another owner who needed it more.