IPhone Black Friday 2021 Deals: Are They Worth It?

NerdWallet is here to help you win Black Friday, while leaving your budget intact. We spend the time, you save the money. Visit regularly for holiday shopping tips and announcements about your favorite retailers. Black Friday is Nov. 26.

Apple released its new iPhone 13 models in September. These new devices will be a major highlight in Black Friday sales, but retailers will also provide opportunities to score steep savings on earlier iPhones.

Promotions have already arrived — and so have shipping roadblocks. We’ve seen devices including the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 12 on back order until December on some websites. Keep that in mind as you browse the deals below.

What are the best Black Friday iPhone deals in 2021?

Most of the iPhone deals we’ve seen so far are tied to a carrier and require a device trade-in. Here’s a rundown on some of the top promotions:

  • Verizon is taking up to $1,000 off the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max with device trade-in on a new line. Customers who switch to Verizon can get up to $1,000 as a bonus. The deal ends Nov. 17.
  • Verizon is giving the 64GB iPhone SE to customers for free when they add a new line on an eligible Unlimited plan.
  • Best Buy is offering up to $900 in savings on the iPhone 13 Pro with qualified activation and trade-in of iPhone 11 or newer, and up to $725 in savings on the iPhone 13 with qualified activation and trade-in of iPhone 8 or newer.
  • AT&T has several early, limited-time iPhone deals, including up to $800 off the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max and a free iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini (with eligible trade-ins). Shoppers can also get 50% off the 64GB iPhone 12 mini with no trade-in required.
  • T-Mobile is offering up to $1,000 off iPhone 12 and 13 models with eligible trade-in on the Magenta Max plan, and up to $500 off iPhone 13 models with trade-in on any plan.

If you’re looking for an unlocked device, you may find more options by going the pre-owned route. We’ve spotted discounts on refurbished iPhones from retailers like Amazon and GameStop.

How to decide if it’s worth it

Inflation and supply chain shortages may lead to a smaller assortment of deals and longer shipping delays on popular iPhones. Take advantage of discounts while you can find them, and prepare for the possibility that the phone you want could take weeks to arrive.

Remember to read the terms and conditions closely. Savings typically come with conditions, such as trading in a previous-generation iPhone or adding a line to your account. If an attractive deal is offered only on another plan or network, it might be worth switching to get it — as long as you understand what you’re signing up for.

How to budget for an iPhone

First, figure out how much you can afford to spend on a new phone. You can use a budget planner to map out your monthly expenses and estimate how much wiggle room you have.

Compare different iPhone models, colors and capacities to narrow the choices ahead of Black Friday. Smaller, older or refurbished devices are worth considering if you want to limit your spending. Then, keep an eye out for deals from big-box retailers and cell phone carriers.