Here Are All the Pricing Options for the iPhone 6s

Since subsidies are on their way out, there are several different payment options for Apple's latest smartphone. Find out which one is right for you!
New iPhones

Apple just announced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, to much fanfare. But unlike in previous years, the pricing structure for the latest models is a bit complicated.

Given the current landscape for smartphones and wireless plans, there are now several different ways you can pay for your iPhone. Here are all the different options.

Subsidized Prices for the iPhone 6s

While the traditional subsidization model is on its way out, it does still exist in some capacity. Subsidies are what most of us are accustomed to: A new phone comes out, you pay a reduced cost up front for the base model — usually $199 for a flagship smartphone — and commit to a 2-year contract with a wireless provider. (Typically, it's argued that you're locked into a pricier monthly plan when you take advantage of subsidies.)

Verizon and Sprint have dropped their subsidies for new customers, but older customers appear to be grandfathered in for the foreseeable future. AT&T is currently the only wireless provider that still offers this kind of pricing structure for all customers.

If you can opt for a subsidized offer, here's what the iPhones will cost you, with a 2-year contract:

  • iPhone 5s: $0
  • iPhone 6: $99
  • iPhone 6 Plus: $199
  • iPhone 6s: $199
  • iPhone 6s Plus: $299

Full-Cost Prices for the iPhone 6s

If you don't have the option of a subsidized phone, then you might have to pay either full-price for the phone, or pay for it on a monthly installment plan (more on the latter option below).

The full price of the phones might seem painfully high if you're accustomed to the subsidized model, but keep in mind, these prices remain the same as they have always been for previous versions of the iPhone. In theory, the benefit to paying the full cost of your phone up front is that you can opt for cheaper monthly plans, and move from carrier to carrier more easily if needed.

Here's what all the iPhones will cost you if you pay full price:

  • iPhone 6: $549
  • iPhone 6 Plus: $649
  • iPhone 6s: $649
  • iPhone 6s Plus: $749

Monthly Installment Prices for the iPhone 6s

If you can't take advantage of a subsidized plan, but you don't want to pay the full price of the phone up front, Apple offers an installment plan in which you pay for the phone over the course of 24 months. There is no initial down payment, and the total sum of what you'll pay over the course of those two years is exactly the same as the full prices above.

Here's what all the iPhones will cost per month with an installment plan:

  • iPhone 5s: $19 per month
  • iPhone 6: $23 per month
  • iPhone 6 Plus: $27 per month
  • iPhone 6s: $27 per month
  • iPhone 6s Plus: $31 per month

iPhone Upgrade Program: Get a New iPhone Every Year

With all of the above payment options, you actually own the phone you're using (assuming you finish paying for it, or complete your 2-year contract). But given the high cost or 2-year obligation, most customers can't get the latest iPhone every year.

Enter the iPhone Upgrade Program! Apple announced its own leasing plan that allows customers to pay a monthly $32 fee for their phone, and upgrade once a year to a new model. That means you don't ever have to pay the full price of a phone in order to use it, but you must trade in the old model when upgrading.

Under this plan, you'll pay $5 more per month than you would for the monthly installments on the iPhone 6s, which translates into $60 over the course of a year. The Upgrade Program also includes AppleCare+, which costs $129 for the 6s and 6s Plus. If paying a $60 premium in order to always have the latest phone in your hand is worth it to you, then this might be an enticing new option.

However keep in mind that several wireless providers also offer their own leasing plans. Once carriers release details about lease prices for the iPhone 6s, we should be able to do a cost comparison to see who offers the better overall price. The benefit though to Apple's offer is that you can take your phone to any carrier and still upgrade each year; with a carrier leasing plan, there's incentive to remain with that carrier in order to avail yourself of the upgrade.

Readers, what do you think of the latest iPhone? How will you pay for it if you decide to get the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Lindsay Sakraida
Contributing Writer

Lindsay Sakraida specializes in writing about retail trends and lifestyle subjects. She's also obsessed with music, movies, and tennis. Follow her on Twitter at @LinSakraida.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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Lindsay, how about a similar article on Samsung 's high end phones?
DJ jim
Why no mention of T Mobile's 18 month rent or buy @ the end contract, you can upgrade 3 times within the 18 month contract @ the end of the plan, return it or pay the balance on it & it's yours or you could sign up for another 18 months. You can always have the latest model phone. You pay a monthly fee along with your cell phone plan. If you want more memory, you will have to pay a deposit.
I used to think AppleCare (+) was a smart buy if you aren't really careful with your phone. But not so sure anymore.

I'd guess the most common "failure" is broken screens.

AppleCare costs $99/129 (6/6s models, 2yr coverage). Each covered broken screen (2 max) comes with a $79/99 deductible!

Depending on your model, apple charges $109-149 to fix your screen without AppleCare.

Of course other things can break, but I wonder what the likihood is? And non-abuse failures are covered under the free 1-year warranty. So you're betting a non-abuse failure will happen in the second year with that $99/129 fee.
Nice summary of the pricing choices.

(1) Note, the $0-299 2-yr contract subsidized prices can't be compared to other options without comparing the increased monthly service cost that goes with them. The US is finally joining the rest of the world with buy your phone separately from your service. A good thing for transparancy and competition.

(2) The leasing option is interesting if you really need (want) to upgrade every year. Comparing: $32 x 12 = $384 - $100 (or $129 AppleCare) = $284. Compare that to buying the 6s/6s plus for $649/$749 and selling it a year later for what, $500/600? Implied premium for the reduced hassle = $135/135 per year. Adjust up or down if you dongle like those used prices.

For frugal iPhone users who don't want an older model or refurb, buying it outright and keeping for 2+ years seems like the smart choice.
Does the iPhone 6s have the sapphire screen?
AppleCare+ for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is $129, not $79. For the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus it is $99.
@hsteinbe - I'm aware of his statement, but phones (according to the last contact I had with Apple) are not unlocked if pre ordered. The unlocked phones directly from Apple are to be introduced at a later date as yet undetermined and will come with no sim installed. All pre order phones have a sim installed corresponding to the carrier you chose when checking out.
@MurrayJimW, if you watch the keynote from 9/9/15 Phil states that if you buy a phone from Apple (full price) without a contract it will be unlocked.
@MurrayJimW, I have Verizon iPhone 6 and I can confirm it's unlocked from day 1, even though it's still under contract.

If you go with another carrier, and you already paid for the phone, by US law carrier is required to unlock it for you, so you can easily call them (call them beforehand if you want to be sure) and have them unlock it.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@Pikaju Correct, with the regular monthly installment option you own your phone. You get to keep it at the end of the 2 years (or whenever you complete payments).
So I go with the "Monthly Installment Prices for the iPhone 6s", I get to keep the phone? There is no trade-in.
Greg the Gruesome
The pricing option that's right for me is to win an iPhone in a sweepstakes (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).
does that meant, Apple won't sell the iPhone without service at all ?
I just chatted with Apple after having looked at their pricing models for the new 6S phones. Under all carriers they indicate you can now pay full price for the phone up front, but said nothing about unlocked or locked. According to the chat representative the phones will be locked to the carrier chosen at checkout even though you're paying full price. This seems completely wrong to me. Any chance someone at DealNews can follow up on that and find out for sure?
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@GiaHuy But to better answer your question, you should be able to have the cracked screen fixed under AppleCare+ which would mean an OK trade in to the new model.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@GiaHuy Good question! Updating the feature now to mention that the Upgrade Plan includes AppleCare+. I believe that means you can get a free replacement for warranty based issues, which would in theory be different from your upgrade to a new model.
what will happen if I bought the 6s and paying extra $5 per month, and during the course of using it, I dropped and cracked the screen, and wanted to upgrade when the new one comes out, will Apple accept the cracked screen trade-in ?