You will not own your iPhone with Apple’s new subscription service

iPhone 13 Pro review showing the camera in hand

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority


  • Apple is reportedly working on an iPhone subscription program.
  • The initiative has been compared to iCloud storage or Apple Music subscriptions.
  • It is believed that you will not fully own an iPhone using this plan.

Updated: April 4, 2022 (2:10 AM ET): BloombergIts Mark Gurman now addresses the iPhone subscription program in his weekly newsletter. The journalist specifically mentioned that if you subscribe to this program, you will not actually own your device. Read the section below for the full quote:

The iPhone hardware subscription is a lot like leasing because you are paying a fee that is not the cost of splitting the iPhone in just two years. You pay a fraction of the price of the iPhone, but you never own it. And when a new version comes out you can replace it – just like with a car lease.

In other words, if you want to keep your phone, you’ll still want to stick to a carrier deal, a prepaid purchase, or an iPhone upgrade program.

Main article: March 25, 2022 (8:07 AM ET): Cloud storage, music and apps have largely shifted from buy-one models to subscription-based offers. However, it seems that Apple may be the latest company to change the business model.

Bloomberg The report states that Apple is working on a subscription service for iPhone and other consumer hardware products, citing sources familiar with the matter. So what does this actually mean?

The outlet compares this mooted iPhone subscription service to an “auto-leasing program.” This draws more parallels between these new services and subscription services like Apple Music and iCloud Storage.

Paying for a phone that isn’t yours?

The iPhone 13 Pro comes with a search and keyboard

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Apple already offers an iPhone upgrade program, allowing users to pay for a device for 12 or 24 months and upgrade each year. However, Bloomberg Claiming that the new subscription plan will not spread the cost of the device within 12 or 24 months but instead it will still be a fixed monthly fee.

It’s not clear if users will be able to keep their iPhones after paying a certain amount, but comparisons with Apple Music and iCloud suggest that this may not be the case.

For the price, the iPhone upgrade program allows users to keep their current phone after paying 24 bucks. Google’s Pixel Pass program allows customers to keep their Pixel device after two years of payment.

What do you think about phone subscriptions?

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This is not the first time we have seen what a leasing program is effectively, as rental initiatives are available from some carriers and retailers. However, this may be the first time we’ve seen a leasing or membership-based program from a major manufacturer.

This sounds like a rather worrying trend, as your most personal technology won’t actually be yours if it turns out you can’t keep the phone. However, this might make sense for people who need a phone for a short time (such as a business trip or your previous device is broken) or for those who want to try a device first.

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