Buy a ‘free’ iPhone 13 with swap at Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T: You need to know

This story is part of Apple event, our full coverage of the latest Apple news.

Apples iPhone 13 has arrived and, as usual, conveyors roll out barter to entice users to upgrade or switch. AT&T came out of the gate with the best barter offer of the season and mainly gave away the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Mini at a starting price that can go as low as “free” for new and existing customers. And as of Friday, September 17, Verizon effectively matched this offer, while AT&T bumped its deal to also allow for a free iPhone 13 (and will also offer a $ 1,000 discount on the iPhone 13 Pro Max with qualifying trade-ins as well) .

T-Mobile similarly offers all three devices for free to both new and existing customers.

In all cases, there are plenty of reservations. It all depends on the phone you shop with, the wireless plan you have, and the financing you choose.

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AT & T / Screenshot by CNET

Pre-orders on iPhone 13 are now available (and already ordered in some cases). To help you avoid having to struggle with the small print, we have outlined the key details of the three airlines’ respective swap offers.

Sarah Tew / CNET

  • The deal only applies to those with an unlimited plan and a 36-month installment plan.
  • You must also have a qualified prey that is in good, working order. The iPhone 11 and 12 lines (and XS Max) as well as newer phones like Samsung Galaxy S20, S21, Note 20, Google Pixel 5 and LG Wing are among the phones that can get full discount on iPhone 13 Pro.
  • Others like iPhone X, XS and XR, Galaxy S10 line, Pixel 4 line and OnePlus 8 line are among the phones that can get iPhone 13 Mini for free. You can control how much your device is worth AT & T’s exchange site.
  • As with other carrier agreements, you do not get the full value in advance, as AT&T instead pays the discount as a monthly bill credit for the next three years to stay on its network. If you change operator or cancel service early, you are responsible for the remaining balance on the phone.

Verizon / Screenshot by CNET

  • Current and new Verizon customers can get an iPhone 13 Pro (only 128 GB) with select replacement-damaged phones included-on a “qualified” unlimited plan.
  • Eligible plans include Play More, Do More and Get More as well as the older Obove Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. Note: The line you are upgrading must be on one of these plans.
  • If you move your Verizon phone number from another provider, you can get up to $ 500 to “help you switch operators.”
  • Similar to AT & T’s promo, the trade credit (up to $ 1,000) is used in monthly installments over 24-30 months. Promotional credits expire if you leave Verizon or change your plan.
  • The exact value is adjusted based on the phone you buy and shop in. For as much as $ 1,000 on an iPhone 13 Pro, you need to shop with an iPhone 11 Pro / 11 Pro Max or iPhone 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max.
  • The list is a bit wider if you want $ 800 off (for a free iPhone 13) or $ 700 off (for iPhone 13 Mini). Qualified phones here include iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone X, 11, 12 Mini or 12. A large number of Android phones are also in this class, including most Galaxy S phones (S9 or later), Note (Note 10 or later)), Google Pixel (Pixel 4 or later, including the 4A line), OnePlus 7 (or later) and LG and (V50 or later, Velvet 5G UW and Wing 5G UW).
  • If you do not have a phone to swap, you can in theory buy an iPhone SE (2nd generation) or Samsung Galaxy A42 5G. Both phones sell for $ 400 and Verizon gives you a trade-in value of up to $ 800 as long as you buy a new iPhone and meet all the other listed requirements mentioned above.
  • Verizon accepts broken phones, including phones with broken screens, but they may not have any battery damage. All trade-in units must also have Find My Features turned off.
  • More details are described in the release here.

Sarah Tew / CNET

  • T-Mobile offers new and existing users up to $ 1,000 on iPhone 13 Pro, $ 800 on iPhone 13 and $ 700 on iPhone 13 Mini with a qualified trade-in, but you need to have its top Magenta Max unlimited plan and buy directly from them.
  • Older top plans from T-Mobile or Sprint are also eligible. For older T-Mobile plans, this includes Magenta Plus or One Plus. For Sprint, this includes Sprint Max, Plus or Premium Unlimited.
  • Credits from the exchange will be distributed over 30 months. If you leave T-Mobile before then, you will lose what is left and will have to pay the balance due on the phone.
  • For the $ 1,000 discount, buy an iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max and swap an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max or an iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max.
  • The list is a bit wider for the “up to $ 800 discount” list. Qualified phones here include iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, iPhone 11 and iPhone X / XR / XS / XS Max. You can also shop with a range of Android phones including Galaxy S20 and S21 lines, Note 10 / Note 20 lines, Motorola Razr 5G and OnePlus 8 5G and 8T 5G.
  • Older devices can get up to $ 400 off a new iPhone. All details can be found by clicking on Terms and Conditions on T-Mobil’s website.

It is also worth noting that T-Mobile has added a new Magenta Max iPhone upgrade program, called Forever Upgrade, which guarantees you “up to $ 800” back (up to $ 700 for Mini or less if you buy one iPhone 12 today) in future swaps.

The catch here: You have to wait two years to shop in the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 that you buy today to get the credits, and you have to be on Magenta Max all the time.

Those with other T-Mobile plans can get up to $ 500 off, but you will have to deal with an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max or an iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max to get that discount. Those with older devices can get up to $ 400 deals with all the details available by clicking the “On us with Magenta Max with trade” link on T-Mobile’s product pages.

Read more: Pre-order iPhone 13 now: All Apple deals at AT&T, Best Buy, Verizon and more

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