Buying from Apple remains the cheapest way to get the iPhone 15 in Canada

Unless you're good with returning your phone after two years

Apple’s new iPhone 15 series launched with a hefty price tag — the phones even got a price bump in Canada!

But if you’re deadset on buying a new iPhone this year and you want an iPhone 15, here are the cheapest options.

Before we get too deep into it, there are a few things to touch on in order to set the foundation for what we’re going to do here. When it comes to buying a new phone — any new phone, iPhone or otherwise — people need to consider two monthly costs. The first is the cost of the phone and the second is the cost of the plan. You won’t get much mileage out of a new phone if you don’t have a plan to go with it.

Plus, if you choose to buy a phone through a carrier, you’ll have to get a plan with that carrier, too. So, it’s doubly important to consider the cost of a plan when looking at phone upgrades, even if you plan to buy the phone outright.

Another factor worth keeping in mind is that Canada’s Big Three carriers — Rogers, Bell, and Telus — all offer a program that discounts the monthly financing of a phone if customers agree to return the phone (or pay the difference) after two years.

As you’ll see below, generally, it’s not worth going this route unless you get a really, really good deal on the monthly financing (spoiler: you won’t).

With that said, let’s get into it.

The cheapest way to get the new iPhone you want

Let’s start with the obvious. The cheapest way to get an iPhone 15 model is to get the iPhone 15. It is the lowest cost option across the board and unless you really need the extra features offered by the iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max, it’s probably the choice that makes the most sense purely by the numbers.

That said, some people will want to try and get the most expensive option for the lowest possible price, too. So, I did the below calculations based on the iPhone 15 Pro Max starting price. The calculations work regardless of the iPhone 15 model you want, just swap out the numbers where appropriate. (Plus, focusing on one model saves us both a lot of time since I won’t need to write as much and you won’t need to read as much.)

The cheapest way to buy an iPhone 15 model for most Canadians will be to buy it outright from Apple. The main reason for this is that it’s the lowest cost for all of the iPhone 15s (Apple now charges interest if you finance through it and the carriers slightly inflate the cost of the phones so you end up paying them more). The other reason is buying from Apple means you get to pick your plan or keep your existing plan if you have a good one, potentially saving you hundreds over the course of two years.

Here are examples based on the iPhone 15 Pro Max:

From Apple

$1,749 outright or $79.09/mo financing for 24 months at 7.99 percent APR, which works out to $1,898.16 total. Then, couple that with the cost of a plan that makes sense for you.

In my case, I’d likely keep my current Fido plan (the $45/50GB Black Friday special), but there are plenty of other decent options out there, like Telus-owned Public Mobile’s current $40/30GB 5G promo plan. Using that plan, it’s $960 total over two years, which means $2,709 total when combined with the iPhone 15 Pro Max or $2,858.16 if you finance through Apple.

Whatever the case may be for you, Apple’s pricing should be the benchmark. If the iPhone you want and the plan you want are cheaper than buying through a carrier, you’re good to go.

From a carrier

Starting with the Big Three, Rogers will be the way to go because they offer the cheapest possible plan to go with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Rogers’ plan is $70/mo ($65 with autopay) for 60GB of 5G data at the time of writing. Bell’s minimum plan was $80/65GB and Telus’ was $105/150GB.

Rogers charges $50.81/mo financing with Upfront Edge, plus $65/mo (assuming you take the autopay discount) for a total of $2,779.44 over two years. And you don’t get to keep the phone unless you pay back the $580 Upfront Edge credit after two years.

If you skip Upfront Edge, you’ll pay $74.97/mo financing for a total of $3,359.28 over two years, the same as with Upfront Edge and the $580 at the end of two years.

Now, you might be wondering about the flanker brands, Fido, Koodo, and Virgin Plus. Once again, the Rogers side comes out at the lowest cost because of cheaper plan options. Fido has $39/mo 10GB (after $5/mo autopay discount), while Koodo and Virgin both have a minimum $65/mo plan.

With Fido, you need to pay $999 upfront and $33.35/mo in financing for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Coupled with the $39/mo plan, that’s $2,735.40 total, just slightly more than buying the phone outright from Apple.

Regional carriers

That leaves us with regional carriers like Freedom and Vidéotron. At the time of writing, both of these appear to be promising if you live in an area covered by one of the two and are willing to return your phone.

Freedom charges $0 down and $49/mo for the iPhone 15 Pro Max on TradeUp (its device return program) and a $50/mo plan. The problem is that, at the time of writing, Freedom’s website wasn’t loading properly for anyone on the MobileSyrup team, making it impossible to check the cost breakdown of TradeUp.

The two numbers we have access to work out to $2,376 over two years, but the TradeUp cost will make or break Freedom’s position among the carriers. That said, if you’re okay with returning the phone, then Freedom becomes a more attractive offer. Plus, the provider has a BOGO deal (of sorts) where customers can get an iPhone 15 with the purchase of another eligible iPhone 15 model, though both phones need to be on $65/mo+ plans.

Finally, Vidéotron had a ‘flashsale’ on the iPhone 15 series at the time of writing. For the iPhone 15 Pro Max, that drops the financing cost from $72.75/mo to $44.75/mo with the take-back credit. The minimum plan is $55/15GB, for $2,395 total over two years. Again, however, you need to return the device at the end of the two-year period.

Wrapping up

As I said at the start, there are several factors to consider when pricing out the cheapest way to get a new iPhone 15. For me, the best option remains an outright purchase from Apple and sticking with whatever plan makes sense for me.

I would also recommend that same course for anyone else considering the iPhone 15 series, but you should tailor the numbers accordingly. Generally, you should compare any carrier rate against the cost you’d pay buying the phone outright plus 24 months of whichever plan works best for you, and go with what’s cheapest.

You can check out the pre-order pricing and offers from all carriers here.