AirPods with iPhone 7Source: iMore

Best answer: Apple doesn't sell the iPhone 7 anymore, and although you may be able to find one used or through a carrier, it's not worth buying right now. If you're looking for a cheap phone, the iPhone 8 is sold by Apple, and it's very similar to the iPhone 7. If the only reason you want the iPhone 7 because you still want TouchID, waiting for the rumored iPhone SE/iPhone 9 might be worth your while.

  • The best inexpensive iPhone right now: iPhone 8 (from $449 at Apple)
  • FaceID on a budget: iPhone XR (from $599 at Apple)
  • Futureproof as much as possible: iPhone 11 (from $699 at Apple)

Why do you want the iPhone 7?

I know it can be tempting to buy an older iPhone from a carrier offering a deal, or a mildly used one for way cheaper, but as a general rule, purchasing used iPhones aren't my first choice. They can be a bit of a pain to properly transfer ownership due to Apple's strict software that locks iPhones to certain iCloud accounts unless you deactivate them properly. Plus, even if the phone looks fine on the outside, it could have battery problems or problems with the internals that you might not notice before purchase. Buying a new iPhone is always a safer investment.

Of course, maybe you're looking for an iPhone 7 because you don't like how big and bulky iPhones are these days, or you really love TouchID and don't want to lose it, the goods news is the iPhone 8 can help with all of that.

The iPhone 8 is just better

The iPhone 8 has everything the iPhone 7 does. It's water-resistant, has TouchID, is the same form factor and size, and Apple still sells it, meaning it readily available straight from the source.

I recently popped my SIM card into my old iPhone 8 and decided to make it my daily carry for a few weeks, and I was astonished at how well it performed. The A11 Bionic chip packs enough power to get you through anything you can throw at it, from gaming for hours on end, to lots of emails, texts, Facebook messages, tweets, and every other type of communication. Not once did I feel like my iPhone 8 wasn't up to the task. Even over a year later, the battery still lasts enough to get me through my day with average use, thanks in part to some significant optimizations that came with the upgrade to iOS 13.

There's no denying that opting for an iPhone that has Apple's old design has a few drawbacks when you compare it to the iPhone 11. You're not getting an OLED display, the TrueDepth selfie camera, or the near bezel-less design, but in honor of saving $350, the iPhone 8 still has a lot to offer.

iPhone XR has the new form factor for the lowest price

The iPhone XR features quite a few upgrades over the iPhone 8, including the new design, even bigger display, Face ID, and dual-SIM support, but still has some of the same features like wireless charging, and LCD screen, and a single rear-facing camera. Of course, the iPhone XR is bigger than the iPhone 8, and if you're a fan of small phones, the iPhone XR will likely fail you in that regard.

The iPhone XR is a great option for those who don't mind spending a little more to get a more updated and modern looking device.

The iPhone 11 is the most future proof

When buying a slightly older model of a phone, it's natural to be worried about how well (and how long) the device will still be running as newer models come out. The good news is Apple has an impressive track record when it comes to supporting older devices with new software updates; however, iPhones do get phased out.

Most likely, the iPhone 8 would be supported for a year or two, but beyond that, its anyone's guess to how long new iOS updates would make their way to that older hardware. If you're looking for a phone that will last you as long as possible, the iPhone 11 is the cheapest new model of the iPhone.

No, you don't save a ton of money when you buy an iPhone 11, but it's a reasonable size (though not as small as the iPhone 8), and it will ensure you will have it supported for years to come.

Hold out for the rumored iPhone SE / iPhone 9

Lastly, it's rumored (and pretty likely) that Apple will be releasing a new iPhone SE / iPhone 9, which is supposed to have TouchID and a smaller form factor like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, but with upgraded internals.

They could be releasing this phone as early as Spring 2020, so if you want that smaller form factor, you love TouchID, and you want a new phone that will be updated for the foreseeable future, waiting to see what Apple has in its pipeline maybe a good move.

Best inexpensive iPhone

iPhone 8

Water-resistant, wireless charging, A11 Bionic chip, and the wonderfully speedy iOS

While it may lack the new design of Apple's newest iPhone, the iPhone 8 still offers an all-glass design that allows for wireless charging, has an IP67 rating, and the A11 Bionic chip still feels just as fast and responsive as ever.

Cheapest with Face ID

iPhone XR

Face ID, TrueDepth selfie camera, and minimal bezel design.

If you're looking for that new design look that offers an edge-to-edge display, Face ID, and the TrueDepth front-facing camera that allows you to take portrait mode selfies, the iPhone XR is the cheapest way to do it.

Best for future-proofing

iPhone 11

With a lot of the same features as the most expensive iPhone, buying an iPhone 11 will ensure you get the newest phone at the lowest price. Still, it's more costly than buying older models.

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