It’s totally OK to buy the new iPhone every year

iPhone 15 Pro colors

The decision to upgrade to the new iPhone each year can feel torturous. Replacing a perfectly fine iPhone with one that’s better in one or two ways can feel like some kind of moral failure.

To be clear, it’s not that any one person or force makes me feel bad about upgrading. Nevertheless, I question whether or not I’ll upgrade each year before buying the new thing as soon as it can be physically obtained.

“It’s for my work.” That’s the easiest way to justify the expense each fall — especially around here. On the other hand, not even everyone from 9to5Mac upgrades annually. (I think my boss uses a cracked iPhone 12 or something.)

I really do enjoy taking the new iPhone out and trying all the new camera improvements myself. Everyone can have a similar experience with the Dynamic Island. The photos I shoot of the people and places I care about feel more personal though.

And yet I protest internally every August. “This is the year I’m keeping my iPhone for more than a year like normal people.” Come September, I’m making plans that fully include saying goodbye to last year’s flagship.

I’m satisfied with the decision most years. Even the lackluster upgrade between iPhone X and XS felt OK because we got gold and a Max size.

The only iPhone purchase I regret is when I don’t get the one I actually wanted. This might come down to color, screen size, camera specs, or storage capacity.

Still, I look around and not everyone upgrades their iPhone each year. What gives?

Personally, I’ve very intrigued by and appreciate the latest experience Apple provides with the iPhone. Much less so with updating my wardrobe on a regular basis.

I’m almost guaranteed to not lose interest in some of the differences between the new iPhone compared to last year’s model.

For example, my favorite iPhone 14 Pro feature is having both 2x and 3x optical zoom in one camera. I appreciate it several times a week. 48MP RAW and pixel binning at 1x? Not as certain, but it enables the 2x crop without losing quality.

Meanwhile, there are iPhone users who honestly would not care about the new iPhone if Apple gave it away for a dollar.

As for the idea of throwing out a perfectly fine iPhone and buying the next one, eh, that’s really not what happens. People sell, trade-in, or pass down iPhones.

Last year I traded in my iPhone 13 (non Pro… I changed carriers mid-cycle and downgraded from Pro) for $550 ($450 trade-in allowance, $100 trade-in promotion) at Best Buy and left with an iPhone 14 Pro for $168 and a $12 monthly charge.

That was a much sweeter offer than either Apple or my carrier provided, and it took the price bite out of upgrading on day one.

I don’t know if I’ll find as sweet a deal this year, but do save an iPhone 15 Pro Max for me, won’t ya?

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