Every year it is the same scenario: Apple unveils a new iPhone, and we all start wondering what we’re financially able to afford. The question on everybody’s lips then becomes “am I eligible for an upgrade?” If you bought your device 2 years ago, then chances are you are already eligible for an upgrade. If you’re not sure what your current status is, we have a way for you to check if you’re going to be able to pick up the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus at the subsidized price, or if you’ll have to break that piggy bank you’ve been preciously keeping on your dresser for the past 15 years.
Note that because T-Mobile does not offer subsidized phones anymore, we did not include the company in this roundup.
Check your upgrade eligibility from Apple’s website
Step 1: Go to the iPhone pre-order page on Apple’s website.
Step 2: Select a device and a finish. This will make the upgrade eligibility check available to you.
Step 3: Click on the “Check your upgrade eligibility” link.
Step 4: Choose your carrier and enter the required information.
Step 5: You will then find out what your status is and how much it would cost you to purchase an iPhone today.
I’m not sure about other carriers, but AT&T also offered pricing under the AT&T Next plan. Since other carriers have similar offers, I imagine you would have the same options if you chose Verizon or Sprint.
As you can see from the image above, I am not eligible for an upgrade until September 2015, right on time for the iPhone 6 Plus S. Of course I could choose to use AT&T Next but since I like to own my iPhones, this is definitely not an option for me. It you’re running low on cash, and if you’re not eligible for an upgrade at this time, the installments plan could be your best bet though.
Other way to check your eligibility
All carriers have a tool that lets you check your eligibility directly from their website. You usually need to login to your account and check your eligibility from there. It’s not as straightforward as using the method described above, but it is an option. Here are web portals for the three carriers:
There is one final way to check your eligibility, but from my experience, I do not find it to be very helpful because it doesn’t really paint the right picture. For example, I checked my eligibility with AT&T who told me I was eligible under the Next plan, which I guess is accurate, but it failed to tell me I am not eligible outside the Next plan. To check your eligibility from your carrier, open the Phone app, and dial the following, then press call:
- AT&T: *639#
- Verizon: #874
- Sprint: 1311
After a few seconds, you will receive a text message from the carrier alerting you of your upgrade status. Again, this is not the best way to check your eligibility. If you want a true and accurate picture of your upgrade status, then follow the method at the top.
One more thing… Get cash for your old device
All carriers offer trade-in programs so you might want to check with them. We’ve also published an article recently on how to get the most money from for your old device, where we highlight a few good ways to sell your older iPhone for cash.
So, what’s your situation? Are you eligible for an upgrade at subsidized price, or will you have to cough up the full price of the device to get your hands on it? Share your game plan with us.