Buying Your Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S Phone From Tracfone

If you read smartphonematters.com , you may already know that I am a big fan of Tracfone’s Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) plans, but many of my readers would like to buy their Apple iPhone, Samsung, Galaxy or other Android smartphone directly from Tracfone. In many cases you can get a great deal buying that iPhone or Galaxy phone from Tracfone, and in this article I’ll explain what you need to know to make an informed choice.

The Benefits

First, lets take a look at the positive side of buying your iPhone or Galaxy S phone from Tracfone.

Getting The Best Deals

To get the best deal on buying an iPhone or Galaxy directly fromTracfone try to combine one or more discounts. Sometimes Tracfone sells smartphones for less than what you’d pay buying the phone directly from Apple, Samsung, or other retailer such as Best Buy. Also Tracfone usually offers discounts when you buy a phone and plan bundles. These deals change from month to month buy typically range from 10 to 30% off. When you can combine both savings you’ll get the best deal. Here are two examples.

In April 2018, you can buy the Apple iPhone 6s from Tracfone for $299. Apple sells the same phone for $449, so you’ll save $150 immediately. And if you bundle that phone with a plan and use the 20% discount code for April you’ll save even more. If you combine that iPhone 6s with a $125 one year plan the subtotal is $424 for the phone and plan combo. That’s $25 less than buying the phone only directly from Apple. When you use the 20% code the price drops to $339.20. That’s 20% off, an additional $84.80. That is a good deal.

Also for April 2018, you can buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 for $429.99. Tracfone says that’s $100 off the regular price of $529. But if you check samsung.com or bestbuy.com that phone is currently selling for $469.99, so your saving $40 compared to buying the phone from another retailer. Combine the Tracfone S7 with the $125 plan and the subtotal is $554.99. When you use the 20% off discount code the price drops to $454.99, an additional $100 savings. Tracfone’s discount codes are usually up to a maximum of $100 off. So in this case you getting the phone with the 1 Year service plan for $15 less than buying the Galaxy S7 from samsung.com or bestbuy.com.

In both cases, this is a pretty good deal. For the latest Tracfone Deals and Promotions, See Tracfone Wireless Deals and Promotions

Convenience

Most people in the United States, buy their phone directly from their wireless carrier or an authorized retailer. Even the Apple store is a authorized retailer for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. For many people it’s simpler to buy their phone from Tracfone as they know the phone will work with their service.

The Downsides

Now that I’ve covered the positives of buying your phone directly from Tracfone, let’s take a look at the downsides.

Tracfone iPhone and Galaxy Phones are Locked

When you buy your phone directly from Tracfone, the phone is locked and it cannot be activated or used with any other wireless service. Tracfone sold you the phone at a discount to get you to use their service, they are not in the business of selling phones for use with other wireless carriers. Tracfone does have an unlocking policy and it states that after you use your phone with their service for 12 months they will unlock the phone for use with other services. Note that if you want to use that phone with Verizon, or another prepaid wireless network that uses the Verizon towers, you’ll still need to check the MEID (serial number) of your phone with the new carrier to make sure it can be registered on their network, and you may find the phone is not eligible. You can see Tracfone’s unlocking policy here.

Your Tracfone iPhone or Galaxy may not use the towers or network you want

Tracfone uses either the AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile networks. When you sign up for BYOP you can choose which network you use as long as it’s compatible with your phone. When you buy your phone from Tracfone, they choose which network it uses. So you may want to use that Tracfone iPhone with their AT&T towers, but the phone they sent you uses the Verizon towers.

You may not find the iPhone or Galaxy Model, Storage Capacity, or Color You Want

While Tracfone does sell the iPhone, you may not find the model you want. For example at the time I am writing this they only sell the iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE. For Samsung Galaxy, they only currently have the Galaxy S7. The models and availability change all the time. Even if you can find the phone you want, you may not find the model with the storage option you want. Tracfone typically sells the smartphonematters with the least amount of storage. So if you want a phone with 64GB or 128GB of storage you my find they only have the 16GB or 32GB options. And finally if may have a limited choice of what color phone you can buy.

Software Updates

For iPhone, all software updates come directly from Apple so Tracfone iPhones get the same updates as iPhones directly from Apple or any other wireless carrier. For Samsung or other Android phones, software updates come from your wireless carrier, and Tracfone does not have a good history or track record of updating their phones. For Samsung phones, even Samsung themselves do not have a good record of updating unlocked Galaxy S phones that they sell directly. This includes both security updates and system updates that fix detects and add features.

Conclusion

I hope this article helps you understand the benefits and drawbacks of buying your smartphone directly from Tracfone. Are you going to buy your phone from Tracfone or go the BYOP route? Leave a reply below and share.

6 Comments

  1. Thomas Millard | | Reply

    Perhaps a bit early but you might have some useful information that I could use. Apple is slated to launch an update to the SE in the coming months, now initially I was not too interested as the early design specs seemed to be similar to the current model. However, rumors over the past week or so seem to agree that the new SE will sport an ‘X’ look and feel. This I am interested in. I doubt that Tracfone will be stocking these anytime soon, so I am considering buying the updated SE from Apple itself. So the question is, will Tracfone support an unlocked iPhone SE2 from Apple? I have contracted Tracfone several times on this with no reply.

    -Thomas

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Thomas,
      As a new iPhone SE is still just a rumor, we really do not know what to expect in terms of the phone. As for tracfone, I’d have no reason to believe that you would not be able to use a new SIM-free iPhone SE with tracfone, just as you can with all of the iPhone models Apple currently sells. As for whether or not Tracfone will sell it themselves. I think that will depend. The current SE is one of the few iPhone models that Tracfone sells (other tracfone brands, sell almost all the models apple offers).

      The current iPhone SE is popular with the prepaid wireless companies and they all sell a locked version of the phone as a significantly reduced price over what Apple charges. I hope that trend continues. The current iPhone SE was created to offer an updated 4″ iPhone. If the goal is to continue that trend then we’ll see newer model inherit some features from later iPhones. I’d guess the specs of an iPhone 7. i doubt it would have a notched screen. I’d expect to see a touch id sensor.

      Personally, I think a lot of the rumors are overly optimistic. We’ll see.

  2. Chris | | Reply

    Thanks for the video. Yesterday I went to TF to buy an iPhone 6s and it was $251 with a plan after the discount, but I didn’t have time to buy it at the moment, so I went back later in the evening and then it said the discount is not available with that phone. I wonder if it’s gone for good or if they go back and forth allowing the discount? Oh well! (The discount works on the SE, but not the 6s anymore.)

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know why they do that but the discount codes sometimes start, stop, and start working randomly over the course of the month. And their website sometimes has problems. If you want the 6s your best bet is to keep checking and when you find it working buy at that moment. I know its a pain. I don’t know what the may deals are yet. Could be 15% or 30%. I like to tell the people about the deals but it’s disappointing that the codes work erratically. The SE is not the best deal. FYI you can use the service days, I recommend buying a longer service plan because you getting it at 20% off too.

      • Chris | | Reply

        Thanks, Bob. I’ll check back and see if anything changes. Their website is definitely fluky. Do you know offhand how the bundled plan comes? Is it just a code on a card? I currently have a Tracfone smartphone, so after I transfer my number and minutes, can I then add the included plan?

        Sorry if i missed your post – but did you have any luck buying a Straight Talk iPhone SE and activating on Tracfone?

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          When you order a phone and plan they stick a phone and a plan card in the box. The plan card can be used with any phone or new or existing plan. Ordering a cheap phone and expensive plan is another way to get a good deal. Sometimes combining a free or $5 phone with a 125 serice plan will save you 10 to30% and you can use the plan with another phone.

          I have used a Tracefone ATT SIM in my Straight Talk iPhone SE. That phone shipped with a Straight Talk Verizon SIM. it does work. Others have reported the same. If you want to use the Verizon network you may have a problem activating the phone. A number of my readers do buy Straight Talk phones to use with Tracfone. I don’t promote it in my articles and videos. Just because it worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will work in the future. Many of my readers are not familiar with phones and technology. I don’t want to recommend something that causes confusion or a problem down the line. That said, if you decide to do it knowing the risks, that is your choice.

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