Buying an iPhone with your Apple Card is changing for the worse

Inside the Apple Store in Knightsbridge, London
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)
iPHONE 15: What you need to know

Buying an iPhone using your Apple Card is changing, and it isn't changing for the better.

While Apple Card owners have previously been able to buy an unlocked iPhone using the Apple Card Monthly Installment option online, that will no longer be available soon.

Come August 15, those buying an iPhone using the installment option will have to also sign up for a new carrier contract via AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. This mimics the current situation when buying an iPhone using the Apple Card Monthly Installment option in an Apple Store.

All change

This all means that anyone buying an iPhone 15 this September will have to sign up for a new contract rather than pick up an unlocked model and add their own SIM card.

The change was hidden at the bottom of the iPhone Apple Store webpage, as spotted by 9to5Mac.

"Currently, carrier connection with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon is required for all iPhone purchases made with ACMI from Apple Store locations only," the page says. "Starting August 15, 2023, carrier connection with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon is required for all iPhone purchases made with ACMI.

But that isn't the only change coming to Apple Card-toting iPhone buyers. The same August 15 deadline will see Apple Watch purchases using the same Apple Card Monthly Installments option reduce the term from 24 months to just 12 months. The end result? You'll have less time to pay off your new wearable like the Apple Watch Series 9 when it launches this September.

"Starting August 15, 2023, the ACMI installment term for new Apple Watch purchases will change from 24 months to 12 months," Apple warns.

There's still no word on when Apple will update its best Apple Watch, however. The Apple Watch Ultra may get a refresh later this year, but that isn't a given at this point. We may also see a refresh of the Apple Watch SE, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Wotchered
    that’s going to help isn’t it !
  • Ledsteplin
    I always get mine with Verizon anyway. So no biggie.
  • Lee_Bo
    Well I don’t use the monthly option anyway. I but my phones outright, get the cash back, then pay it off at the end of the month.
  • Annie_M
    I have always purchased my iPhones through my carrier.
  • Wotchered
    I buy my phones outright from Apple
  • EdwinG
    It doesn’t change anything for me. Apple Card is not available in Canada, and most of my iPhones were bought outright.
  • kataran
    I used the option last yeAr with Zero issues