Buy a “free” iPhone 13 with trade-in: all you need to know about offers from Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T

The IPhone 13 lineup arrived last month and, as usual, carriers have deployed take-back agreements to inspire people to upgrade to the latest and greatest from Apple. (Here are some the best iPhone 13 deals around.) AT&T walked out the door essentially giving the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Mini for a starting price of up to “free” for new and existing customers. Verizon subsequently effectively matched this offer, while AT&T rescinded its agreement to also allow a iPhone 13 (and will also offer $ 1,000 off the iPhone 13 Pro Max with qualifying exchanges, too).

T-Mobile is also offering all three devices free of charge to new and existing customers.

Either way, there are a lot of caveats. It all depends on the phone model you buy, the wireless plan you have, and the financing.

AT&T / Screenshot by CNET

IPhone 13 models are now available (already out of stock, in some cases). To help you avoid having to sift through the fine print, we’ve outlined the main details of the three carriers’ respective trade-in offers.

Note: These offers do not include taxes in their prices, which are often based on the total price of the phone. Some carriers may also charge a one-time activation or upgrade fee (usually around $ 30).

Sarah Tew / CNET

  • Offer only applies to those with unlimited plan and 36 month plan.
  • You must also have a qualifying trade-in that is in good working order. The iPhone 11 and 12 (and XS Max) ranges, as well as recent phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20, S21, Note 20, Google Pixel 5, and LG Wing, are among the phones eligible for the full iPhone 13 discount. Pro. .
  • Others like the iPhone X, XS, and XR, Galaxy S10 line, Pixel 4 line, and OnePlus 8 line are some of the phones that can get the iPhone 13 Mini for free. You can check the value of your device on the AT&T trade-in site.
  • As with other carrier offerings, you won’t get the full value up front, with AT&T instead offering monthly bill credit rebate for the next three years to keep you on its network. If you change operator or cancel the service earlier, you will be responsible for the remaining balance on the phone.

Verizon / Screenshot by CNET

  • Current and new Verizon customers can get an iPhone 13 Pro (128GB only) with a selection of exchanges – damaged phones included – on a “qualified” unlimited plan.
  • Eligible plans include Play More, Do More, and Get More as well as the older Above Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. Note: The line you are upgrading will need to be on one of these planes.
  • If you port your phone number to Verizon from another provider, you can get up to $ 500 for “helping you switch carriers.”
  • Similar to the AT&T promotion, trade credit (up to $ 1,000) is applied in monthly installments over 24 to 30 months. Promotional credits will end if you leave Verizon or change your plan.
  • The exact value will adjust depending on the phone you buy and trade in. For the full $ 1,000 on an iPhone 13 Pro, you must trade in an iPhone 11 Pro / 11 Pro Max or an iPhone 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max.
  • The list is a bit wider if you want a discount of $ 800 (for a free iPhone 13) or $ 700 (for an iPhone 13 Mini). Phones eligible here include iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone X, 11, 12 Mini, or 12. A large number of Android phones are also in this class, including most Galaxy S phones (S9 or version later), Note (Note 10 or later). ), Google Pixel (Pixel 4 or later, including 4A line), OnePlus 7 (or later) and LG and (V50 or later, Velvet 5G UW and Wing 5G UW).
  • If you don’t have a phone to trade in, you can theoretically buy an iPhone SE (2nd gen) or a Samsung Galaxy A42 5G. Both phones are priced at $ 400 and Verizon will give you a trade-in value of up to $ 800 as long as you purchase a new iPhone and meet all of the other requirements listed above.
  • Verizon will take broken phones, including those with broken screens, but they cannot damage the battery. All traded devices will also need to have Find My features disabled.
  • More details are described in the press release here.

Sarah Tew / CNET

  • T-Mobile is giving new and existing users up to $ 1,000 on the iPhone 13 Pro, $ 800 on the iPhone 13, and $ 700 on the iPhone 13 Mini with a qualifying trade-in, but you’ll need to have their best plan. unlimited Magenta Max and buy directly from them.
  • The best older plans from T-Mobile or Sprint are also eligible. For older T-Mobile plans, this includes Magenta Plus or One Plus. For Sprint, this includes Sprint Max, Plus, or Premium Unlimited.
  • Exchange credits will be distributed over a 30-month period. If you leave T-Mobile before this date, you will lose whatever is left and will have to pay the balance owed over the phone.
  • For the $ 1,000 off, you’ll need to buy an iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max and trade in an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, or an iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max.
  • The list is a bit larger for the “up to $ 800 off” list. Eligible phones here include iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, iPhone 11, and iPhone X / XR / XS / XS Max. You can also trade in a variety of Android phones including Galaxy S20 and S21 lines, Note 10 / Note 20 lines, Motorola Razr 5G, and OnePlus 8 5G and 8T 5G.
  • Older devices can get up to $ 400 off a new iPhone. Full details can be found by clicking on Terms and Conditions of Agreement on the T-Mobile website.

It’s also worth noting that T-Mobile has added a new iPhone Magenta Max upgrade program that it calls Forever Upgrade that will guarantee you “up to $ 800” (up to $ 700 for the Mini, or less if you buy an iPhone 12 today) in future trade-in credits.

The catch here: You’ll have to wait two years to trade in the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 you buy today to get the credits, and you’ll have to be on Magenta Max all the time.

Those with other T-Mobile plans can get up to $ 500 off, but you’ll need to trade in an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, or iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max to get this discount. Those with older devices can take advantage of an offer of up to $ 400, with full details available by clicking the “Ours with Magenta Max with Commerce” link on T-Mobile’s product pages.

Read more: The best iPhone 13 deals are here: Target, Best Buy, Verizon and more