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Should You Get an Unlocked iPhone 7? Pros and Cons

If you wanted an iPhone without necessarily being tied to a carrier, your options just expanded. Apple has started selling unlocked versions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

When Apple started selling its new iPhones in September, its website required you to pick one of the four major carriers when you bought an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. Now there's a new option: you can buy a SIM-free iPhone that you can activate with any carrier later — or at least a carrier that uses the cellular bands supported by the iPhone. (Apple lists those bands on the specs page for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus under Cellular and Wireless.)

MORE: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Review

The SIM-free option is a new addition to the Apple Store.

The SIM-free option is a new addition to the Apple Store.

By grabbing a SIM-free iPhone 7, you're not tying yourself to a specific carrier right out of the gate. However, you won't be able to pay off your phone in monthly installments; instead you'll have to pay the full amount when you buy your iPhone. The iPhone 7 starts at $649 while the 7 Plus has a $769 price tag for its base model.

SIM-free iPhones are available in all colors. You can order them online for now, though Apple will likely ofer unlocked phones at its retail stores as more inventory arrives.

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.