Which iPhone should you buy?

Which iPhone should you buy? Should you buy an iPhone at all? If we do decide to buy one, which one would make most financial sense? These are some questions that popped up in our household recently.

The reason is simple, Mrs CF has quit her job too. She currently has a company phone and will loose it shortly. I’m still holding on to our old Windows phone (yes, I’m a digital dinosaur!). By the end of the year, Microsoft will stop supporting it’s operating system. This does not mean the phone is useless but I’ve already encountered many issues with apps no longer working, or not being available at all. This is especially an issues with banking apps, which are now required (read mandatory) to be able to move money around. So it’s time for new phones in the Cheesy household.

Which iPhone should you buy?

Why buy an iPhone?

Albeit we don’t feel the need for a fancy phone, we do value our privacy and phone security. Why do I still have that Windows phone I hear you ask? Well, I can be too cheap on occasion (plus I had a company phone for a while too). But times are changing and we feel our online privacy is worth something. Why keep a blog then? Good question, need to get back to you on this!

But all joking aside, we use the phones daily and the amount of data that is being collected on an Android system is far greater than that through an iPhone’s IOS. Now Apple is not a saint either when it comes to data mining, but it’s less then with our friends from the binoculars. Less is beter here.

Also Apple tends to have better security and keeps it’s IOS revisions longer for it’s devices (I like that part of durability / sustainability). We also like minimalism, so having tons of apps on the phone we don’t use but cannot get rid of, is something we don’t like of Android systems. No, I’m not going to Root an Android system. Not my cup of tea.

Anyhow, we’ve decided on getting one or two iPhones. But which ones?

iPhone Options?

When browsing around the interweb, I found this cool overview of IOS revisions per iPhone model. I’ve recreated this in the blow Excel overview and added my anticipated number IOS revisions and therefore the remaining revisions for the particular models. Note, IOS 13 will be released later this year and should hold up to late 2020. It’s likely that support for the iPhone 6S and SE will be dropped by that time. The iPhone 7 likely still sees support to 2021, and so on and so forth.

IOS overview

Next I looked for the various prices of the base models of each iPhone. As noted, we don’t need a fancy phone, loads of storage or any other extra’s. We are just looking for the biggest bang for our buck in terms of operational life (from an IOS perspective; assuming the battery/phone does not die an early death). This is what I found (assuming you buy a “new” phone, not used or refurbished):

iPhone overview with yearly depreciation costs

And this is how the yearly depreciation (aka yearly cost of the phone excluding electricity consumption, damage, insurance or repairs. I’m also assuming the phone is worth zip at the end):

Yearly iPhone depreciation by model

So, what iPhone should you buy?

It seems that the price levels for the various basic iPhone models all end up around the €150 per year mark. The more fancy/new models (the X and XS) are definitely more expensive at around €200 per year.

This makes for an interesting discovery, the purchase prices do actually drop at roughly the same pace. Making the most phones cost about the same in yearly terms. So there is no real benefit of buying an older model “to save money” (this does not fly if you are not concerned with your IOS being as up to date as possible thou). Albeit according to the graph above, the iPhone 7 seems to be the best bang for your buck (or Euro in this case).

What I have not factored into the equation is lost opportunity cost. This will obviously add some costs to the newer more expensive models. In short, the iPhone 7 will be getting even more attractive.

What to do, what to do?? We still have a few more weeks to think about it, but it’s not unlikely that we will buy two different phones. It will likely be an iPhone 7 and perhaps an XR. This will spread the cash-flow expense a bit in future years. Also App support should be good for say the next 4-5 years between both phones.

Anyhow, these phones are “expensive fruit” indeed!

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19 Comments

    1. Yes we did, we ended up buying aan iPhone 7 refurbished for €249. Will see what prices will do in the fall before buying a second phone. Good luck with your search!

  1. We’re still using our iPhone 6’s. Thanks to your handy chart, looks like we’re screwed next year. Dangit!

    Hating to have to even think about dropping this much coin for something most of society live without for eons. Now it’s almost a tax we pay of $1000 every 5 years. Time to bring back the landline, and digital cameras??

    1. I hear you Cubert! Still remember the good old days with just a landline 🙂
      We actually decided to buy a refurbished iPhone 7 for now, put on on the business expenses too. Not yet ready to spend more money…. darn I hate being somewhat frugal 😉
      The second phone will be bought by year end most likely.

  2. About the data collection: my life is so boring that if Google would ever calculate the true value of all my collected data they probably end up with a negative number! (And for the non-boring part there is a dedicated VPN server running on my synology NAS …)

  3. I have also been a satisfied iPhone user since 2010. My rule for buying is simple; just buy a well cared for second hand model of two years ago, as most people upgrade after two years. Fast enough for the coming next two years and less than half the original price. Depreciation is limited to €5 to €7 per month, which is acceptable for me.

  4. First argument that Google mines more data: can’t argue with that.
    Second argument that there is a ton of apps you do not use that you can’t remove: then you should be on the look-out for phones with stock Android. Of course the Pixel series has this, but also all phones with Android One. All of these have no bloatware whatsoever.

    1. Thanks for that tip, we must have had the “wrong” phones then (we both had several Samsung phones, always with loads of crap installed on it that we could not ditch).

  5. About two years ago i’ve had the same situation. After some investigation i had to choose between the 6s and the 8 (both second hand). The difference in price was about 250 euros. Both had the same amount of storage. The two differences were: better camera and faster processor. As i came from a iphone 4s, both the camera and processor of the 6s were better. I still use the 6s with pleasure

  6. Great timing with this post! I’m buying an XR next month, happy to see it does well on these criteria. Also has superior battery life (apparently), which is something I’m particularly excited about 🙂

  7. Love this blog post! (And Apple… haha). I would recommend you to go to a store for some testing, so you can hold the phones. Happy with my 8 Plus, but it’s way more heavy than the 7… Was thinking of buying a newer phone, but decided to keep using the 8 plus till it dies or becomes toooooooo sloooow.

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