T-Mobile Offers a Free iPhone 7, But With a Catch

UPDATE, 1:00PM ET: T-Mobile answered our queries regarding how to qualifyfor the full $650, and we've added that information.

If you're already looking to pre-order an iPhone 7, there's just one pre-order deal to check out for now — and on the surface, it looks hard to beat. T-Mobile is offering you a free 32GB iPhone 7 when you trade in an iPhone 6 or later. It sounds enticing, but the deal deserves some closer scrutiny so that you know what you're getting into. 

For starters, T-Mobile isn't just handing over a new iPhone to you in exchange for your older model. Instead, the carrier is promising "up to $650 in monthly bill credits." So essentially, you're getting the iPhone 7 with no money down, and for the next two years, T-Mobile is wiping out the monthly payment you'd otherwise have to make until that phone is paid off. Cancel your service with T-Mobile before those two years are up, and you'll need to pay off the balance on that device.

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T-Mobile hasn't specified which make and model of the iPhone merits that full $650 credit when it announced the deal. We'll update this post with that information once we hear back from the carrier.

If you want a phone with more capacity, as even the iPhone 7's larger 32GB could fill up in the blink of an eye, you can always apply this deal to other iPhone models, though T-Mobile says you'll need to pay a little more upfront. As for the iPhone 7 Plus, T-Mobile is offering the same monthly credits if you trade-in your iPhone 6 or later, but you'll have to put $120 down for Apple's larger phone.

If after all of that, you're still on board, T-Mobile will begin to take pre-orders starting September 9 at 12:01 a.m. PT / 3:01 a.m. ET. The carrier's MetroPCS prepaid subsidiary starts carrying the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on Sept. 23, a week after the phone goes on sale at T-Mobile and other carriers.

Credit: T-Mobile

(Image credit: T-Mobile)

UPDATE: T-Mobile sent us the above graphic and informed us that all "iPhone 6 or higher models in all memory variants" can qualify for $650 in credits.

The company also informed us of the three requirements that need to be met in order to receive that sum. First, it must power on. Secondly, it must "have no visible water damage." Lastly, it must "have an unbroken screen."

Lastly, the company noted that while customers pay $0 down when trading in an iPhone 6 or later for a 32GB iPhone 7, customers will need to cover applicable taxes.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.