Ah, the age old question: Do I need to spend money on a new iPhone this year?
While pretty much everyone can agree that ripping open the box of a brand new gizmo is a thrilling exercise, it's not always in your best interest to upgrade to a shiny new iPhone every single year—especially if you find yourself on an ever-tightening budget, like me.
Sometimes, though, the stars align in such a way that makes it conceivable—if not downright sensible—to invest in a new iPhone experience. Perhaps your current model is slowing down in its old age, or maybe your iPhone's once beautiful display is now splintered in spiderweb pattern.
Whether you're ready or not, the new iPhone season is fast approaching. Here's a little guide to help you figure out where to stand.
First, figure out which iPhone you own.
I'm betting many of you just read those words and thought to yourself, "of course I know what type of iPhone I own!" Well, if you're already hip to the lingo, feel free to skip ahead to the sections below—this part is for the surprisingly high number of people who don't know which iPhone they own. And, look—there's no shame in not knowing! For many people, an iPhone is just an iPhone.
But figuring out where your iPhone fits into the iPhone family tree is the first step in figuring out if the time has come to upgrade. To get to the bottom of it, follow these simple steps:
1. From your iPhone's home screen, select the "Settings" icon.
2. Click on the name associated with your Apple ID account (it should be the first option you see in the settings list).
3. Select your iPhone from the device list.
4. Your iPhone model should be listed under Device info.
If you have an iPhone 7 or any earlier model...
... It might be time to upgrade to a new one this year.
In my experience, even well-maintained iPhones begin showing their age after about two years. Your iPhone being on the decline probably isn't your fault, either—batteries get old and lose their longevity, storage space is eaten away by regular software updates, and certain features begin to feel sluggish in comparison to those found on newer models.
If you're still rockin' an iPhone 7, an iPhone 7 Plus, an iPhone from the 6s generation, or anything older than that, you might want to consider making a move later this year to what may or may not be called the iPhone 9.
If you're worried about your wallet taking a wallop, here's the good news: Major carriers typically offer trade-in reimbursements or discounted payment plans if you haven't upgraded in a while.
It's also worth noting that your first new iPhone in at least two years will definitely perform at a noticeably higher level than what you're currently experiencing.
If you're still using an iPhone 8 or an iPhone X...
... You might want to hold off and try to get another year out of your current model.
It might seem a little presumptuous of me to say that you don't need the new iPhone before any of the details about the new iPhone are released, but I'm still willing to go out on a limb with this one. Here's the truth: It's rarely the case that the newest iPhone is a big enough upgrade over its immediate predecessor to warrant the switch after just a year or less.
Both the iPhone 8 the iPhone 8 Plus will continue to be fantastic, top-of-the-line smartphones for at least another year. This is doubly true for the iPhone X, whose extra-premium features will most likely find their way into the 2018 iPhone lineup anyway.
The only circumstances in which I'd trade a year-old iPhone 8 for a brand new "iPhone 9" is if I was enrolled in Apple's upgrade program. If you're one of the folks enlisted for this program, it makes a little more sense to get your hands on a new iPhone every year.