The Best iPhone 12 Deals (And Which Model to Pick)


These aren’t the only iPhones Apple sells. See our guide to the Best iPhones. You should also know that Apple no longer includes EarPods or a power adapter in the box. These new iPhones come with a USB-C to Lightning cable, so if you do not have an adapter with a USB-C port (like the one for MacBooks), you’ll need to buy one. We like this Aukey one. It’s small yet powerful enough to juice up your laptop and your phone, but if you want something even smaller and cheaper, this is a good option from Anker.

A Word on Cases

Most case manufacturers (except Otterbox) do not have MagSafe-compatible cases yet. If you buy Apple’s MagSafe wireless charger, it will be able to recharge through most of these cases just fine, but the magnet won’t sit as securely compared to a MagSafe case.

The MagSafe Wallet from Apple also does not stay attached to most non-MagSafe cases. If you plan to buy MagSafe accessories down the road, it’s a good idea to wait for more MagSafe cases to come on the market, or you can buy one from Apple right now.

How to Get It Unlocked

This year’s iPhones are giving us flashbacks to the terrible times when US network carriers offered lower prices than unlocked versions. Wireless carriers want to lock your phone to their network so that you’re also locked into a long contract that makes it difficult to switch until you need a new phone. We always recommend buying the unlocked model of a phone so you never run into issues. (These models also typically have better resale value should you ever need to sell your iPhone.) You can try to trade in your existing iPhone with Apple, but the discount might not be as high as if you sell it.

The iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren’t available to order until November 6, and they ship November 13.

Deals on Network-Locked Phones

The big carriers are offering $30 off the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12, so they’ll start at $700 and $800, respectively. You can find special promotions from all of them, and these are worth considering if you are switching to a new carrier soon or opening a new line. Just make sure to read the fine print!

  • AT&T is offering up to $800 off to new and existing customers if you trade in a specific phone (in good condition) and add a new line of service or upgrade to an unlimited plan. The savings come as bill credits over 30 monthly installments.

  • Verizon has a promotion that saves you up to $550 when you add a new line (or upgrade) with select plans and trade in a compatible phone. (These are credits applied to your bill over 24 months.) If you’re switching to Verizon, you can save an extra $250 with certain unlimited plans.

  • New customers joining T-Mobile with an eligible plan can get up to $850 off if you pay via monthly installments and trade in a qualifying device in good condition. The savings are applied via bill credits over 30 months. If you’ve been with T-Mobile or Sprint for five or more years, you can get an additional $200 off by trading in any active iPhone on a specific plan.

  • Walmart is offering $130 off the new iPhones for AT&T or Verizon subscribers if you purchase them on an installment plan.

  • Visible, which is in our list of the Best Cheap Phone Plans, is offering a pair of Bose Wireless Headphones if you switch to the Verizon-owned operator and port your number. Plus you get $100 or $150 to spend depending on the model you buy via a prepaid Mastercard virtual account (after you make two service payments). The phones cost a little more, $740 for the iPhone 12 and $858 for the iPhone 12 Pro, and there’s no 5G support on the network yet, but Visible says it’s coming in a few months (at no additional charge).

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Updated October 24: Thanks to a helpful reader, we corrected a typo that said the iPhone 12 Mini had a smaller display than the SE. It has a larger display but smaller overall dimensions.

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