Stick with your iPhone until it stops working

Clara Wetzel, Columnist

Annual iPhone upgrades are a waste of money. Every year Apple Inc. comes out with its newest iPhone model along with the newest iOS updates. The newest models illustrate Apple’s latest designs such as better camera abilities and the newest security features – but is it worth it? 

Let’s be honest, even with the iPhone upgrade program you will still be paying 12 monthly installments before you are eligible to upgrade to the newest model. Dumping upwards of $35 in monthly installments in addition to paying your phone bill every month for endless years to come is a waste of money – especially for college students living on a budget. 

I know it’s difficult to hear, but just because you don’t have to spend the money all at once, does not mean you won’t be burning a major hole in your pocket.

According to data provided by price comparison engine Flipsy, the average lifetime cost of a smartphone comes to a staggering $75,000. This includes usage bills, equipment and apps, among other things. Now just imagine how much that price increases if you’re someone who purchases the latest models on a bi-yearly or yearly basis. 

Fox Business did a nice little breakdown for us using Flipsy to determine how much money the average American spends on smartphones over the course of a few years. Assuming that we begin our purchase history at the age of 18 and upgrade roughly every 32 months with the latest models having a minimum selling price of approximately $500, the average American will spend $12,559 in just ten years. 

Apple is a $2 trillion company and it’s no wonder why. We live in a material world where status can be determined by which latest model of smartphone we have. 

As a long-time iPhone user myself, I admit that I too have occasionally fallen victim to upgrade envy and late model shame. As I have gotten older, and consequently wiser, I have realized that my money can be better spent on more important things. I have also caught on to the corporate America agenda of consumerism and realized that smartphone upgrades are by large a scam. 

Apple capitalizes on pushing their latest models onto consumers and we don’t even stop to second guess their true intentions.

In addition to the annual model releases, Apple also releases iOS updates for all iPhones and has openly admitted that they slow down older models intentionally. 

Apple claims that the updates are meant to prolong the battery life of older models and protect against hardware malfunction in order to keep up with the peak app demands. This was confirmed after a shared performance test indicated that older iPhone models slowed considerably after iOS updates had been installed but retained their original speed after battery replacement.

Apple stated that it is not their intention to encourage people to upgrade through slowing down older models but it is certainly more enticing to upgrade to a shiny new model than it is to replace the battery. 

Now, I’m not saying that you should never upgrade your phone, but what I suggest is that you hold on to your phone until it no longer serves your requirements. If you’re someone who needs fast internet speed and high-quality camera capabilities, then by all means, upgrade. However, if your phone works well enough and performs its base-line functions, hold on to it and save your money. 

There will always be a newer, shinier model, but don’t fall victim to the corporate consumerism. Your iPhone model doesn’t make you any cooler and it certainly doesn’t determine any kind of social status.