IPhone Black Friday 2020 Deals: Are They Worth It?

Shoppers can save hundreds on iPhones with eligible trade-ins.

Lauren SchwahnNov 23, 2020
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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. 27.

Apple announced the new 5G-capable iPhone 12 series in October, just in time for the start of Black Friday sales.

Retailers and cell phone carriers are repeating trends from past Black Fridays. That means you’ll see old and new iPhones discounted, bundled with gift cards or in some cases, free. But you may not qualify for a deal unless you’re with a specific carrier or on the right plan, so read the details closely.

Here’s how the deals are shaping up for 2020.

What are the best Black Friday iPhone deals in 2020?

Black Friday sales are getting off the ground. Here’s a sample of iPhone highlights:

  • Apple has a few trade-in deals, including up to $250 off the iPhone 12 or 12 mini, and up to $370 off the iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max.

  • AT&T has select iPhones (including the iPhone 12 series, 11 Pro and XR) up to $700 off for a limited time with eligible plan and trade-in.

  • Best Buy is selling the iPhone SE starting at $199.99 with activation and in-store trade-in of an iPhone 7 or newer model.

  • Target shoppers can save up to $250 on eligible iPhones when they switch to a qualifying AT&T plan. The offer is good through Nov. 28, while supplies last.

  • Target also has the iPhone 7 for $129.99 ($70 off) through Total Wireless. The retailer is throwing in a $30 Target gift card for free with in-store activation. Available through Nov. 28 in limited quantities.

  • T-Mobile is currently offering up to $950 off the iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 12 Pro with sign up and trade-in of an eligible device for a limited time. The carrier is also offering the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini at no cost with similar terms.

Retailers and carriers will likely roll out additional iPhone deals on Black Friday, so keep your eyes peeled.

What were the best Black Friday iPhone deals in 2019?

Last year’s top deals were spread among cell phone carriers and big-box retailers. Standouts included:

  • AT&T offered the iPhone XR (64GB) for free after statement credits when customers activated a new line on a qualifying plan. The deal was available from Nov. 22 through December.

  • Target gave away a $200 Target gift card with qualified activation of an iPhone 11 or iPhone Xs (various versions) with Verizon or AT&T. The deal started on Black Friday at 7 a.m. and ran through Dec. 1.

  • Walmart shoppers could get a $450 eGift card when they bought a new iPhone XS and activated it on a purchase installment plan with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Gift cards were also available for the iPhone XS Max or XR ($400) and the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max ($300). Trading in an eligible phone could earn shoppers up to $250 more on a separate eGift card.

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How to decide if it’s worth it

Black Friday deals are worth pursuing if you meet the right plan or network criteria. You’ll have more bargains to choose from if you’re open to purchasing a past-generation iPhone.

But electronics deals will continue into December. If these offers don’t hit the mark, the right one could be just around the corner.

How to budget for an iPhone

IPhones can come with big price tags. If you’re planning to add one to your Black Friday shopping list, make sure it fits into your budget. Using the 50/30/20 budget, you should spend no more than 30% of your monthly income on "wants."

Purchasing a new iPhone shouldn’t interfere with your other expenses. Shop around at different retailers and compare several models and sizes to find a phone in your price range.