The upside is you get a new phone every 12 months. If you join the program in September, as I did, you can get the new iPhone each year when it’s released, which is why it’s more fun than signing up in other months.
Because I joined the program with the iPhone 8 Plus last year, I was able to go to Apple’s website this week, check to see if I was eligible for an upgrade (I was) and then pick my new phone. Apple will send me a box for the old phone and my payments will begin on a new iPhone Xs Max. But since the iPhone Xs Max is a more expensive phone, my payments will increase by about $20 per month.
The iPhone Upgrade Program also includes AppleCare+, Apple’s insurance policy. With it, you pay a deductible if you crack your phone screen or need a replacement from accidental damage. You’ll pay $29 for a cracked screen or $99 for a complete replacement. I like the peace of mind it gives, and it typically costs $199 for the iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max (or $9.99 a month.)
Carriers also sell phones with financing plans, but they don’t include AppleCare+ or sell you an unlocked model, meaning you can only use it with that provider. If you buy with Apple, you can move from carrier to carrier or more easily use the device when traveling in foreign countries.