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Iphone Mob

What is the true cost of an iPhone?

Smartphones are an essential part of everyday life. They’re so much more than just a device to call or text! But, as smartphones become more and more advanced each year, their price tag gets bigger too.

So, how much money do we truly spend on smartphones over the course of a lifetime? For the sake of argument, we looked at how much it would cost if you got your first smartphone at 18, and upgraded every 24 months right through until you turned 81.


Average cost of an iPhone

The average cost, taking into account any iPhone you could buy outright rather than having to sign up to a contract plan is £647. When you take out a contract with a provider, this cost is factored into your monthly bill so you pay it off as you use it, along with the cost of calls, texts and data.

We estimate that the price of an iPhone rises by £53 with each new flagship. If this trend continues, in 60 years’ time, we’ll be paying close to £4,110 for an iPhone. Now the £1,000 barrier has been broken, this maybe isn’t such a surprise. However, these little yearly increases soon add up.

If the iPhone of the future will cost you almost £3,000, you’ll be working an eye-watering 168 hours to afford it.

Here’s how much an iPhone will cost in the next decades, if the price continues to rise as steadily as it has done:

Cost Graph

When you’re upgrading your phone, the short term cost isn’t considered – but to have spent what could have bought you a house on your phones, it’s staggering.

Even if you had wanted to do something a bit more luxurious and less grown up, you could have flown in a private jet a couple of times, bought a jet pack or even purchased your own private island!


Depending on your network, the amount of data you require and the model of your iPhone, you can pay outlandish sums of money for your device and contract. We looked at some of the UK’s biggest networks to work out an average contract cost.

Iphone 55

Looking at the two flagship models for Apple, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR, taking into account the main providers, the average cost per month works out at £55. When your two year contract finishes, you will have paid £1,325.04 for the phone and usage. Not bad, considering the price of the phone is around £1,000.

Rising Costs

As we see each September, the brand new iPhone becomes more advanced with amazing features, incredible battery life and a professional grade camera. These upgrades cost more and more each time – which we come to expect, but at £1,000 a phone, the blueprint has been set for the newer era phones.

In the last 10 years, the price of a brand new iPhone has increased by 162%. As you can imagine, wages have not increased by that much over the last 10 years – in fact, it’s not even close!


The hourly wage has increased by just 2.95% in the last decade.

If you wanted to buy an iPhone XS, the 2018 flagship iPhone, the average person would need to work 70 hours to be able to afford it. That alone is a 180% increase compared to the 25 hours you would have needed to work in 2008 to be able to buy a new iPhone!

Here’s how much the average person will be earning over the next 60 years, based on recent increases.

Working Graph

That begs the question – how much will an iPhone cost in the next decade? If things keep going the way they have been over the last 10 years, we’ll be parting with £2,879 for the iPhone 20, or iPhone XX.

Should wages continue to increase at their current rate, the average person will earn £17.17 an hour by 2028.

How can I reduce the cost of a new iPhone?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re not paying an absolute fortune for a new iPhone.

Sell your Phone

You can recoup some of the cost of your last phone when you trade it in or sell it privately. You have plenty of options to sell your phone; you can use a trusted name like musicMagpie to buy your phone from you to then refurbish it.

Musicmagpie You can use eBay or Facebook Marketplace to list your phone but you should be wary of timewasters. Marketplaces aren’t always safe either – you have no idea who you’re going to meet, or whether the item is legitimate. When you sell with a trusted name like musicMagpie, you know how much you’ll make before you send off your phone and your sale is guaranteed.


Depending on the age, condition and storage space your phone has, you can make a good chunk of money to help buy your new iPhone.

Sell Now

Musicmagpie Store

Buy Refurbished

If you aren’t bothered about buying a brand new device on the day of release, you could buy a refurbished device and literally save yourself hundreds of pounds.

The phone will work as you’d expect it to and it may not even have any marks to show it’s been used, depending on its condition.

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Reduce your usage

When it comes to upgrading, you can save some money by buying the smallest storage option (likely to be 64GB) as well as reducing the data you sign up for.

For example, if you pay for 20GB of data a month but you aren’t even close to using it all, make some cuts on this to 10GB or 12GB to save a little each month. It’ll make a difference in the long run.


Sim Only

Break the cycle

The less you upgrade, the less you’ll have to pay when you do. However, don’t just let your contract overrun the 24 month period because you’ll end up paying over the odds. It’s important to know when your contract ends so you can either go for a SIM only deal or you can weigh up your options for a new deal.

A SIM only deal means you would only pay for your airtime and your data; you would keep the phone you already have – or you’d buy one outright – so you can pay a lot less a month for the network you use.

Shop around for the best SIM only deal. You should understand what you’re using right now and whether that is enough for you.

How is the environment affected?

Smartphone usage has a huge effect on the environment, from the production of the device, through to usage and finally to how it is disposed of.

The cycle we have become accustomed to, of upgrading our devices every two years regardless of whether the device we have is in full working order or not, makes smartphone disposable. It’s crucial that we don’t just throw away our devices with reckless abandon because of the intrinsic materials.

Mining metals like gold (AU), silver (AG), platinum (PT) and palladium (PD) has a profound effect on the earth. The building of a smartphone represents up to 95% of the device’s total CO2 emissions for two years.

Erviro Damage Even when we’re done with our iPhones, simply chucking them away means these precious metals aren’t being reused and other chemicals tucked inside your little iPhone can cause pollution of air, soil and even drinking water.

Erviro Damage

As trends shift, we’re seeing larger phones coming on to the market with supersized screens and plenty of power inside. The carbon footprint of a larger device is more than the smaller phones we used to use.

Despite the options available like musicMagpie to recycle our old phones, less than 1% are being recycled.

Selling your broken phone couldn’t be easier. Just get an instant price, send it for FREE and we’ll pay you the same day. It’s not just the iPhone itself either. It’s the data centres we use that bump up the CO2 emissions from smartphone usage too. By 2020, 45% of ICT emissions will be accountable by data centres and servers. ICT represented just 1% of the carbon footprint in 2007 but by 2040, it’s expected to be at 14%.

It’s estimated that up to 125 million smartphones are sitting in our houses, completely unused. In 2017, the average Brit produced almost 25kg of e-Waste and as much of 30% of that is typically sent to landfill.

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What about refurbished phones?

There are plenty of reasons why you’d choose to buy a refurbished phone over a brand new one. One of the biggest factors is the lower cost of a refurbished device. We crunched a few numbers to explain.

If you were to get an iPhone XR phone, brand new with a contract that has 10GB of data a month from EE, you’ll pay £43 a month for it. It’s below the average, but it still works out as a £1,032 cost over the course of two years.

Refurbished However, if you bought a Pristine iPhone XR from musicMagpie, the phone will cost you £649.99. You’d pay just £12 a month with a Virgin Media SIM only plan that gives you 12GB of data, meaning the cost over two years amounts to £937.99.
A simple change saves you money any time you want to upgrade.


Reusing the devices that already exist, refurbishing them to the best possible condition and extending their life cycle means we’re putting less pressure on the environment as we aren’t mining materials as often. The CO2 emissions from smartphones lessen too.

One small change is important for our environment in the long run.