The best cheap iPhone you can buy in 2021

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The world of Apple is known to be quite the premium place to buy your new phone. However, the fact that the iPhone 12 series starts at $749 for the iPhone 12 mini should not disappoint you: cheaper iPhones are available for those of you who are on a budget.

First off, we need to point out that iPhones are known for their longevity, so even a slightly older model does not mean the phone won’t get the newest software updates out there, and plus, at the same time as Apple’s newest models get them. What’s more, an iPhone remains fast for years. Of course, you will have to compromise on some of the flagship features we see these days, but you can still get a good and capable iPhone for less money.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into which iPhones we find are the best cheap iPhones you can buy:

iPhone XR

The iPhone XR makes the head of our list for a reason. Despite being the oldest of the recommended, released in October 2018, it currently holds the title of the best cheap iPhone with its overall great balance between quality and price. Its guaranteed software updates for two or three more years, which is usually what new Android phones get to begin with. The iPhone XR offers a 6.1-inch LCD display with a more modern look than the iPhone SE 2020. The iPhone XR has a 12MP camera and a 7MP selfie shooter, capable of producing good photos for your social media or to share with friends. Its processor, despite being a bit older, is still fast and capable and the phone offers a lag-free experience. Currently, the iPhone XR is available for purchase on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, and unlocked from Apple, with a retail price of $499.

iPhone SE 2020

The iPhone SE 2020 is a great option if you need a cheap iPhone with one of the latest Apple processors (the A13, found in the iPhone 11 series), but you don’t mind its mediocre battery life and somewhat dated design. It looks like the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8, offering the same compact form factor, but with a way more capable processor and guaranteed 5 years of software updates. It has a single camera on the back, complemented by powerful computational photography capabilities, that assure the photos are up to par with the competition. The one downside, which to some may be pretty major, is the very disappointing battery life, due to the smaller form factor. The iPhone SE 2020’s retail price is $399; but on major carriers, it’s often discounted and you can even find it for free.

iPhone 11

We include the iPhone 11 here, although it’s not the cheapest iPhone out there with its retail price of $599. However, if you have a slightly bigger budget, you should definitely consider the iPhone 11, as it’s a powerful iPhone with big battery and a versatile camera system. It comes at a comfortable size with a 5.8-inch display: not enormous, but not small either, and its battery life is way better than the iPhone SE or the XR. What’s more, the iPhone 11 has two cameras on the back: a main and an ultra-wide camera, which offer great photo quality, hardly distinguishable from some of the most recent iPhones out there.


If you’re willing to deal hunt, you can save even more with carriers offering discounts on the iPhone 11 series. Check out our article with the best iPhone 11 deals right now.

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