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Is Black Friday the best time to buy an iPhone 12?

With a busy sales period approaching, here is the best time to pick up a new Apple handset and how to find the best deals when shopping online.

Walid Berrazeg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you are in the market for a new iPhone 12, timing is everything. Following iPhone 13 pre-orders going live, there could be some great opportunities coming your way to bag a bargain on the previous generation of Apple handset. 

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With one of the year’s biggest sales events – Black Friday 2021 – also quickly approaching, the question of “buy-or-wait” has never seemed more complex. Do you invest in the all-new iPhone 13 or hold out for discounts on the iPhone 12?

The unveiling of the iPhone 13 wowed Apple fans, but buyers in the market for a new iPhone shouldn’t forget its predecessor. We gave the popular phone four and a half stars in our full iPhone 12 review, and it’s still well worth considering as a purchase.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 will be here soon, too, complete with tempting deals, between Friday 26th November and Monday 29th November. There are bound to be some tempting iPhone 12 deals. 

The event has evolved into much more than a weekend of pre-Christmas sales frenzy – with deals, offers and discounts appearing for basically the entire month of November and some retailers launching pre-Black Friday price cuts.

These days, stores known for solid deals on technology – including Amazon, John Lewis, Currys, AO, Argos and Very – will reduce the cost of electronics, and that likely includes Apple products – especially iPhone 12 devices. Be sure to follow our full Black Friday 2021 page that’s dedicated to bringing you the best deals.

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Despite the new iPhone 13 only just being revealed, pre-orders are already live. 

Sky Mobile has some brilliant deals on the new models, so we’ve picked out some we think are worth shouting about. 

Looking for advice on whether to upgrade your phone? Head to our iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 guide to see how the flagships compare.

When’s the best time to buy an iPhone? Should you wait for Black Friday?

Following the release of the iPhone 13 and with Black Friday sales close, it is highly advised to hold off buying a new iPhone 12 – for now.

There are a lot of factors in play. First, it’s worth taking an in-depth look at the features and specs of the new iPhone 13 and comparing them to what you typically use your phone for. Do you need the very latest specs, and are the new features both appealing and useful for you? Or is the iPhone 12 series is still more than enough to keep you happy? 

If you’re deciding which generation of iPhone to buy, try our iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 guide.

  • We’re gearing up to review the iPhone 13, but in the meantime you can head to our iPhone 13 features guide for the full list of specs, or browse the latest iPhone 13 deals.

As we detailed in our iPhone 12 review, the 2020 smartphone is no slouch: it’s compatible with MagSafe accessories, has a fantastic high-res display, a fast A14 Bionic chip, 5G, wireless charging, good drop protection and more.

But the same can also be said for the iPhone 11 – which may lack 5G compatibility but still has a stunning screen, Qi wireless charging and a reliable camera setup. It won’t be the latest and greatest, but not everyone actually needs that.

If you have an older iPhone (perhaps the iPhone X) and are looking to upgrade, you will need to weigh up your options. In most cases, moving to the iPhone 12 – which is less than a year old and still a premium device – will be enough. In that case, you should take advantage of Black Friday and shop around for a good deal.

While the iPhone 12 (64GB) has an RRP of £799, it is already on sale for £679 via Amazon. If you are buying the handset outright, that price is highly likely to come down significantly in the November sales, given there will be a new model.

And if you can settle for the iPhone 11, even better. Last year, the iPhone 11 – which had an RRP of £729 when it was released in 2019 – was discounted to £599 at both Currys and Amazon. The same 64GB model now retails for £549 at Currys, and we are only likely to see even more upfront price drops on the iPhone 11 this year.

If you want to know the key differences between the two older Apple phones, read our iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12 guide – which will help you make a buying decision. Or, for a wider view, take a look at our best iPhone round-up.

How to get a good iPhone deal on Black Friday

Black Friday may boast some legitimately great tech deals – but we totally get it – the entire period can be a little… overwhelming. But there are some time-tested tactics that you can use to ensure you get the best iPhone deal possible:

  • Keep a close eye on Amazon: Much like during Prime Day, Amazon leads the way when it comes to price reductions during Black Friday. It often seems to undercut the competition, and its product pricing is updated frequently. It’s here that many of the best discounts will be found – although remember to always use the CamelCamelCamel price tracking tool to make sure the offer is actually good value and to find out if the pricing has ever been lower.
  • Don’t settle for one retailer: The brilliance of Black Friday is that it isn’t limited to a single retailer – so there’s a much higher chance of getting a bargain on a variety of items, from tech to clothing to home appliances. Make sure you shop around to find the best deals, and remember that some retailers, like Currys and John Lewis, often price-match. This is great if you find a product that is sold out elsewhere but is still in stock at those stores.
  • Don’t forget about social media: While the best deals are often advertised on a retailer’s Black Friday website section – don’t forget about social media – which may be used to tease upcoming offers before they go live. Following some relevant hashtags could also give you an edge over other shoppers.
  • Sign up to newsletters: Much like scouring social media, many retailers will have a newsletter that will highlight their best deals – and potentially even give a heads-up on upcoming drops. Oh, we have a newsletter too – and it will be providing coverage of Black Friday alongside news and reviews. Sign up below.

Black Friday iPhone deals: what offers were there last year?

The Black Friday sales may still be a way off, but it’s good to be prepared – and if 2020 is anything to go by, we expect there to be fantastic deals on the older iPhones, including the iPhone XR, iPhone SE, iPhone 11 – and yes, the 12.

There were some great deals to be had last year. Apple devices don’t often see huge price drops – so Black Friday is one of the best times to pick one up. Indeed, with the iPhone 12 so fresh at the time, the best discounts were on its predecessor.

The iPhone 11 handset was reduced by roughly 20% on Very, falling from £729 to £579. Phone retailers had great offers (for the time) too. Three was offering the iPhone 11 with unlimited texts and calls for £42 a month and £49 upfront cost – which was a saving of about £168. Carphone Warehouse offered a massive £370 saving on the iPhone 11 – offering the handset for £31.99 per month and £49.99 upfront.

Be sure to bookmark this page, as we will include the best Apple iPhone deals here when they are announced via retailers and high street phone stores such as O2, EE, Carphone Warehouse, Tesco Mobile and more – which often offer lower upfront prices and better data packages if you decide to go down the contract route.

The iPhone 11 (64GB) is available on Amazon for £549. The iPhone 12 (64GB) starts at £579.00. Those prices are likely to be reduced as the sales start in November.

James D. Morgan/Getty Images

James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Black Friday 2021 date: when can you expect to see iPhones on sale?

While Black Friday 2021 starts on Friday 26th November, deals and offers will often start long before that date – some launching weeks earlier. In previous years, some retailers have advertised price drops from the beginning of the month – but be careful as the best deals are typically reserved for the main weekend.

Some iPhones will go on sale in the run-up to Black Friday, particularly contracts. However, the biggest upfront deals may not happen until the 26th.

Cyber Monday always begins three days after Black Friday and starts on Monday 29th November this year. While Cyber Monday was once an online-only sale that complimented the in-store Black Friday discounts, these days, the two events are indistinguishable from each other, with the offers running across both dates.

Here’s the bottom line: If you are shopping for a new iPhone, wait – at least until November when you find out what discounts are on offer during Black Friday.

With the new iPhone 13 family out, it is highly likely there will be big price drops on older models, including the iPhone 12 and 11. And if you are solely focused on the new iPhone 13, the same advice applies as retailers have offered trade-in deals in prior years that could save you some money if you are upgrading devices.

Want an Apple device but not sure which to buy? Read our in-depth guide to the best iPhone so far. Got an iPad? Read our guide to the best iPad accessories

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If you’re still deciding which generation of iPhone to buy, try our iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 guide.