Where to buy the iPhone SE

In the early days, you could only buy an iPhone at an Apple Store or from AT&T. Today, it’s offered by all major carriers and big retailers, and many of them want to entice you to buy with them by offering special deals. Of course, you can always buy directly from Apple in-store or online.

If you haven’t yet put in your order for an iPhone SE, here’s a summary of some of the deals and promotions offered by different retailers to help you make up your mind. For each, we’ll tell you about any current special deals, when you should consider buying there, and when you shouldn’t.

Apple Store

Best deals

Apple’s not running any iPhone SE promotions right now. However, it is one of the few places to buy an unlocked, SIM-free iPhone SE, and it’s the go-to place to join the iPhone Upgrade Program (though the iPhone SE is not a part of that program at this time). Apple will let you trade in your old iPhone (in good condition) as credit toward a new purchase, too. That might bring the price down as low as $229.

Why you should buy here

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If you really want to kick the tires on a new Apple product, a trip to the Apple Store is probably the best way to do it. If you have a lot of questions or need help with setup, Apple Store employees are generally going to be helpful, accurate, and patient, without pressuring you to buy stuff.

Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not going to be doing much in person at an Apple Store right now.

If you want to buy your phone with the iPhone Upgrade Program, you’ll have to do it at the Apple Store or in the Apple Store iOS app. The iPhone SE is not currently part of the iPhone Upgrade Program and may not ever be.

It’s also one of the few places you can get your iPhone SE SIM-free and unlocked.

Why you shouldn’t buy here

If you plan to switch carriers or open a new line, buying directly from the carrier can be a better bargain—many carriers offer nice incentives to switch over. From time to time, carriers may offer deals (“buy one get one free” or other rebates), though those usually require some sort of long-term commitment. The best carrier deals tend to be for new line activations and transfers, though.


Best deals

The new iPhone SE does not appear to be available from Amazon at the time of this writing. Be careful—you may see the old iPhone SE model listed quite a lot, especially refurbished units!

Why you should buy here

Amazon rarely has deals on the latest iPhone models, but it can be a good place to score a deal on an older certified refurbished model.

Why you shouldn’t buy here

You’re almost never buying directly from Amazon, but rather through a reseller. And most of the iPhones you’ll find on Amazon are certified refurbished, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not the place to go if you’re looking for a brand new model.


Best deals

AT&T is offering an iPhone SE (64GB) for only $5 per month. You can get a 128GB model for $10 per month…


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