MoneyDon't Waste Your Money


As iPhone 15 goes on sale, should you upgrade your phone or wait?

Waiting a year can save hundreds, but there could be a risk
Apple officially announced the iPhone 15—here’s what’s new
Posted at 4:21 AM, Sep 20, 2023

Whether it's Apple's iPhone15, or Samsung's latest Galaxy, there's just something about getting your hands on a new phone. But those new models come with a hefty price tag, as much as $1,000 on some models.

With the unveiling of the shiny new iPhone, you might wonder if it's time for an upgrade or if you can hold off. How long can you actually wait before you have to make that upgrade?

Kiera Kelley hopes to get another year out of her old iPhone.

"I had my screen replaced today," she said as she took her repaired phone home.

But how much longer can she keep using it? Repair shop owner Bashar Alvustani, of Wireless Technologies, says iPhone 13s and 14s are still fine, but he says a phone older than that will probably run slower.

"If you compare a new phone with 11 and the 12, you'll see the difference," he said.

But if your only issue is a cracked screen or battery that runs down quickly, he says those can be fixed for under $100 and might be worth doing.

"You can actually change the battery," he said, "and you'll be OK with that for a while."

The problem with keeping a phone too long

Jackson Holbrook with uBreakiFix says smartphones do have their limits, especially when it comes to software and security updates.

"The apps that you use on a daily basis may stop functioning after a certain amount of time," he said.

Phones from the major tech companies are generally supported for five to seven years. Apple, for instance, no longer supports the iPhone 7 or anything older than that. That means no essential security updates.

Then, it may be time for a trade-in.

"Maybe you manage stocks on your phone," Holbrook said. "Maybe you have your kids' schedule on your phone; all that important information needs to stay safe. And so it's crucial to make sure that you're staying up to date with the latest security updates."

Holbrook says the better you maintain your phone, the longer it'll last. He recommends:

  • A good screen protector.
  • Purchasing a shockproof phone case, not a case that just looks good.
  • Taking your device in for regular cleanings, especially cleaning the dust out of the charging point.

If you need high-end video for work, or you just like having the latest hardware, Holbrook says go ahead and upgrade.
Otherwise, you may be fine doing what Kelley did.

"I want to keep my old phone," she said. "Fix it!"

And that way you don't waste your money.


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