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What is the cheapest iPhone you can buy?

Key Takeaways

  • The cheapest new iPhone is the iPhone SE (3rd generation, 2022), which starts at $429.
  • The iPhone SE offers a basic user experience with decent specs and is the last iPhone with a physical home button and a classic, small form factor.
  • Buying a used iPhone can offer a better deal, as well as environmental benefits, but be sure to choose a model with at least a year of software updates remaining.

Getting a new iPhone is always quite an experience. Your new phone can do a lot of cool stuff that the previous device couldn’t, and it simply has the air of “newness” around it that the old one lost quite some time ago.


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However, even though these new devices are a lot of fun, you don’t always want to spend a copious amount of money on one. Unfortunately for all iPhone users, when choosing Apple products, there is barely anything that you’d call cheap. Apple wants to be perceived as a luxury brand, so you don’t really have a choice to go out and buy a budget smartphone with the Apple logo on the back.

Fortunately, there are still some great, decently-priced options that you can pick from the best iPhones available on the market. There is also, of course, another way to do this – you can get yourself a used device and pay less for much more.

What is the cheapest new iPhone you can buy?

If you want or need a brand-new iPhone, the cheapest choice from the ones sold by Apple right now is the iPhone SE (3rd generation, 2022). It’s a phone with an extremely familiar design of the iPhone 8 – there is the good, old home button with TouchID, a handy footprint and a small 4.7-inch display. It does look positively ancient by modern standards, but it still offers the best features of modern iOS and should do so for quite a long time.

Apple iPhone SE (3rd gen) to come with 5G and Touch ID, Spring 2022 photo 1

If you want to buy the iPhone SE, it starts at $429 for the 64 GB version. It isn’t much, so you’ll have to pay a bit extra if you want to go for a higher storage tier. The 128 GB variant costs $479, while the highest 256 GB version is $579. However, as the phone has been out for quite some time now, check out our article with the best deals on the iPhone SE 2022 – you might save quite a few bucks.

The phone itself is quite a basic device, which nevertheless offers quite decent specs and a familiar user experience for all iOS enthusiasts. What’s more, it might be a great choice if you still don’t want to move on to the borderless design of the new phones – the iPhone SE 2022 is the last remaining remnant of that era.

The newest iPhone SE is powered by the A15 chip, which is still extremely powerful, so you shouldn’t worry about performance – it’s on par with the iPhone 13 lineup. You also get a single 12MP camera on the back and a 7MP selfie shooter. It came out with iOS 15, but you can upgrade it to iOS 17 – and you should expect at least 3-4 more updates from Apple.

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPhone SE (2022)

$404.99 $429.99 Save $25

The iPhone SE (2022) carries over the design from the second-gen iPhone SE from 2020, and, consequently, the iPhone 8. The display isn’t quite as impressive as the other models in the company’s portfolio, but it has the same core hardware as the iPhone 13 models, 5G capabilities and a single camera on the rear.

Should you get an iPhone SE?

The iPhone SE (3rd generation, 2022) is a strange device. On the one hand, it might be a great choice for you if you like your smartphone basic and don’t really want to move on from the era of physical buttons and smaller screens. On the other hand, however, the design and the battery life are all getting on with age, and you can expect much more from other phones nowadays. You might find the phone lacking in functionality now, not to mention a few years from now, if you want to keep it longer.

That’s why the iPhone SE is a great choice only if you’re OK with the limitations or simply need a secondary device to do the most basic tasks. If you want a fully-fledged smartphone, you’re probably much better off getting something a little bit more pricey – or going for a used option.

Apple could launch 5G iPhone SE 3 in early 2022 photo 1

Is it worth getting a used iPhone?

The other route you might take is buying your iPhone, used or refurbished. Of course, doing that has some drawbacks, so you need to keep that in mind before making that decision.

For starters, you will not be getting a warranty, so there is no buyer’s protection unless you use a reputable site such as eBay. You might also encounter some shady sellers trying to hide the device’s flaws, so you’ll probably need to do a bit more work when choosing a good listing than buying a new one. Also, speaking of – the device will not always be in mint condition, so you will have to be ready to see some scratches or dents.

However, in return for your time and effort, you can get a much better deal, and a miles better phone for much less. You’re not limited to the one model that Apple deems worthy of selling for a reasonable price – you can pick and choose, matching your needs to your budget and buying the phone that best suits what you want to do with it.

Of course, there are also environmental benefits – buying used means not contributing to a vicious cycle of consumption, lowering the demand and maybe, in the future, also lowering the production numbers, doing our planet a favor.


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What is the cheapest used iPhone you should buy?

It has to be said that, even when buying used, you should still keep some things in mind. Not all used iPhones are worth buying. Some of them are just too old to get right now. They don’t have software support or might be losing it soon, and getting such a phone would mean having to change it again in a year or so. If you want to buy a used phone, you should still try to get one that will last you at least a few years, and having a phone with old software is neither a great experience nor a safe choice for your data.

apple s flat ios 7 reportedly set for summer preview september release image 1


So, if you’re looking for a used iPhone to buy, it’s best to stick to the models that have at least one more year of OS updates coming to them. That way, you are set for at least two years of use. As the newest iOS version right now is iOS 17, you’ll be looking at smartphones that should get the update at least to iOS 18. Here are all the models we’re expecting to get that version of the operating system:

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