You can now get an unlocked, SIM-free iPhone with Apple Card Monthly Installments. Apple introduced the option quietly, but it was spotted by an eagle-eyed Reddit user.
Previously, Apple’s Apple Card installment plan was limited to carrier-activated iPhones from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon. Now, users will be able to buy an unlocked device and pay for it over two years with no interest or fees.
Users who opt to buy an iPhone this way will pay the iPhone’s cost divided by 24 monthly installments, which are included in their Apple Card minimum payment every month. The option is also only available in the U.S.
It’s worth noting that this appears to be a pilot program that’s only available for online orders and in-store pickups, according to an apparent Apple Retail employee who responded to the original post on Reddit.
The Apple employee added that the option will only appear if you are ordering from a device that has the Wallet app or is Apple Card via Apple Pay set up. (You won’t be able to take advantage of the offer in-store.)
While apparently intended as an option for users who want to finance with smaller or regional carriers, anyone can take advantage of the offer to get financing on a SIM-free iPhone. Essentially, that means you can just pop in a new SIM card from another carrier to easily switch networks.
There’s no obligation to activate the SIM-free iPhone on a major carrier or provide any carrier details to Apple or a third-party.
As far as why you’d want to consider this option over the iPhone Upgrade Program, you get 3% Daily Cash for the purchase upfront and you don’t need to buy AppleCare+ if you don’t want to.
While you won’t be able to upgrade your iPhone after 12 months, you’ll still be able to take advantage of Apple’s general trade-in program. You can even use that cash to pay off your Apple Card balance (though you won’t get the credit applied toward your Apple Card directly).
Managing payments in the Wallet app is also incredibly easy, and there aren’t any additional fees for late payments. You’ll just need an iPhone running at least iOS 13.2 to view and manage your Apple Card Monthly Installments.