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How to get the best deal on the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and Pro Max

We look at the best contract and Sim-free deals, plus how much you could save on last year's iPhone XR, XS and XS Max

Now that the new iPhones 11s have arrived, you might think it’s a great time to get a bargain on the older models. 

Typically when a new flagship phone launches, its predecessor sees a price drop. However, as a brand that’s well-known for its steep prices and modest discounts, how much can you really expect to save?

To find out we looked at current prices for the previous generation, the Apple iPhone XR, XS and XS Max,  as well as the new iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. We also crunched the numbers to see if you’re better off going for a contract or Sim-free deal on these phones. We used mobiles.co.uk to check for the contract deals and prices are based on 24-month contracts.

Find out which iPhones make our round-up of the best mobile phones.

iPhone contracts with high upfront costs

Before we delve into the deals, it’s worth mentioning that many of the contract offers below have high upfront costs for the phone. While this might not be ideal if you don’t have that sort of cash to spare, we found that contracts with very low or no upfront costs worked out far more expensive overall – in some cases by upwards of £500. Pay careful attention to the total cost of the contract – including the phone and bundle, so you know exactly how much you’re paying.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 11

Just like the iPhone XR when it first launched, the iPhone 11 is the cheaper alternative to the other two iPhone 11s, but that’s not their only similarity.

The iPhone 11 has an identical 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD display, screen-to-body ratio (79%) and dimensions to its predecessor. However, the biggest difference is that the iPhone 11 now has a second rear camera (12Mp ultra-wide angle lens) and a higher resolution 12Mp front camera, up from 7Mp on the XR.

Best iPhone XR and iPhone 11 contract deals

iPhone XR, 64GB

  • Low data: O2 – 5GB data, £220 upfront, £24 a month (£796 total cost)
  • High data: EE – 20GB, £150 upfront, £31 a month (£894 total cost)

iPhone 11, 64GB

  • Low data: O2 – 5GB data, £330 upfront, £24 a month (£906 total cost)
  • High data: Vodafone – 20GB, £275 upfront, £29 a month (£971 total cost)

Best iPhone XR and iPhone 11 Sim-free deals

  • iPhone XR, 64GB: £629
  • iPhone 11, 64GB: £729 

iPhone XS vs iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone XS was already high priced when it launched at £999 but the iPhone 11 Pro went a step further when it spilled over the £1,000 mark, launching for £1,049.

As with the cheaper iPhone 11, it’s physically quite similar to its predecessor, with a 5.8-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen, though the XDR element is designed to give the 11 Pro a brighter display. 

The 11 Pro’s processor and cameras are where you’ll see the biggest upgrades. As well as having the new A13 chip, it also has an extra camera lens, so for the first time on an iPhone, you’re getting a triple rear camera: 12Mp ultra-wide angle, 12Mp wide angle and 12Mp telephoto lens.

Best iPhone XS and iPhone 11 Pro deals

iPhone XS, 64GB

  • Low data: O2 – 5GB, £550 upfront, £24 a month (£1,126 total cost)
    High data: O2 – 30GB, £440 upfront, £33 a month (£1,232 total cost)

iPhone 11 Pro, 64GB

  • Low data: O2 – 5GB, £640 upfront, £24 a month (£1,216 total cost)
    High data: O2 – 30GB, £490 upfront, £33 a month (£1,282 total cost)

Best iPhone XS and iPhone 11 Pro Sim-free deals

  • iPhone XS, 64GB: £949
  • iPhone 11 Pro, 64GB: £1,049

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max

If you opted for an iPhone XS Max after its 2018 launch, you may already be accustomed to the astonishingly high price for Apple’s highest spec smartphones.

Identically to the 11 Pro, the most noticeable difference between the 11 Pro Max and XS Max’s display lies in its new XDR technology that should give you a better and brighter viewing experience on its massive 6.5-inch screen.

The 11 Pro Max also has a significantly bigger battery than its predecessor – up to 3,969mAh from 3,174mAh on the XS Max and it also has the new camera setup, which mirrors the 11 Pro.

Best iPhone XS Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max contract deals

iPhone XS Max, 64GB

  • Low data: Vodafone – 5GB, £680 upfront, £24 a month (£1,256 total cost)
  • High data: O2 – 30GB, £525 upfront, £33 a month (£1,317 total cost)

iPhone 11 Pro Max, 64GB

  • Low data: O2– 5GB, £730 upfront, £24 a month (£1,306 total cost)
  • High data: O2 – 30GB, £590 upfront, £33 a month (£1,382 total cost)

Best iPhone XS Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max Sim-free deals

  • iPhone XS Max, 64GB: £999
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max, 64GB: £1,149

Our mobile phone contract calculator can help you decide whether to opt for a Sim-free purchase or enter a contract.

Should I buy an iPhone on contract or Sim-free?

Although in recent years, buying a phone on contract has worked out to be the pricier option, the pendulum has shifted back in favour of contract deals in the case of these iPhones.

Whether or not you want a phone with a low (5GB) or high data allowance (20GB+), when we shopped around for the available deals mobile phone contracts trumped the Sim-free option. 

As far as choosing between the newer or older iPhones, based on the differences in price between them and the upgrades you get with the newer models you would be better to invest in the new iPhone 11s. At worst, it is roughly £150 more expensive to get the iPhone 11 Pro Max compared with the XS Max (Sim-free).

Considering that there are some genuine upgrades with the new models, you might be better off with those instead, but if you want to know our final verdict on how good these phones are, you can compare them to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy phones and the Huawei mobile phones with our mobile phone reviews.

Can you save money on an iPhone in the Black Friday sales?

The best of last year’s Black Friday sales saw a few of the iPhones appear with extremely low or no upfront costs from network resellers such as Fonehouse.

This year, the likelihood is that upfront costs on iPhone contracts will dip a bit thanks to Black Friday discount codes, and this should also be the case for other smartphones if iPhones aren’t your preference. Cashback sites are also likely to get in on the action so there are ways to make back some of the money you’ve spent with their after-sales incentives.

If you’re more interested in Sim-free deals, your best bet may be to go for an older model. Phones like the iPhone 8 (£529) are likely to see some marginal price cuts so if you shop around, you’ll be able to find the best deal.

If you don’t want to wait for Black Friday to snap up your new phone, our guide on the Best Sim-free deals narrows down some phones on offer.

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