In this Sept 19, 2014 file photo, a customer shows off the new Apple iPhone 6, right, and 6 Plus at a store in Tokyo. Apple sold 61 million iPhones in the first three months of 2015, or 40 percent more than in the same period a year ago. That represented about two-thirds of its $58 billion in revenue. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
Noah Meloccaro, right, compares his older iPhone 4s to the new iPhone 5 held by Both Gatwech, outside the Apple Store in Omaha, Neb. (Nati Harnik/The Canadian Press/AP)

Ethan Wolff-Mann, TIME

Before you buy that new iPhone, read this.

( – The death of cell phone contracts may be great for consumers tired of being locked into a two-year commitment, but it has dragged the automatic “free” upgrade down into hell with it. Which is a shame, because top-of-the-line phones are way, way more expensive than most people realize.

Do you know the list price of the new iPhone 6s, which is available for pre-order now and officially goes on sale next Thursday? No, it’s not the $199 or $299 you paid when you signed up for your old phone. It’s $649, just for the cheapest 16GB model.

If you chafe at the thought of being mugged every two years, which is probably the “new phone day” pace free upgrades have gotten you used to, here are a few things you can do to keep your old phone alive longer—and save you big money in the long run.



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