The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are available to buy either on a SIM-free & unlocked basis or on a 24-month contract. We compare the UK’s cheapest deals.

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are Apple’s latest generation of flagship iPhone device. With a 5.8-inch Super Retina display, the iPhone XS is the smaller of the two. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS Max has an even larger 6.5-inch screen. The latest iPhones have a stainless steel construction, and have support for technologies like wireless charging and Face ID.

In the UK, there are two ways of buying an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max:

  • SIM-Free & Unlocked. The simplest, and often cheapest way of buying an iPhone XS is to buy it SIM-free from an electronics retailer. There’s an upfront fee starting from £999 but you can save lots of money in the long-run with a low-cost SIM-only deal or Pay As You Go SIM card.
  • Pay Monthly contract. You can get the iPhone XS on a 24-month contract. This will save you some money upfront but you’ll typically pay a lot more over the long-run (typically around £50 to £80 per month).

In this article, we’ll compare the cost of buying an iPhone XS, both on a SIM-free basis and on a 24-month contract. We’ll also compare the features available on different UK mobile networks when you choose to buy an iPhone XS on contract from them.

SIM Free & Unlocked

In our opinion, the simplest and best way to buy an iPhone XS is to get it outright on a SIM-free & unlocked basis.

When buying your iPhone SIM-free, you’ll need to pay the full cost of the handset upfront. This can be a fairly substantial sum, starting from £999 for the iPhone XS and £1,099 for the iPhone XS Max, but you’ll likely save money in the long-run as you’ll then have flexibility to choose the best SIM-only deal.

For instance, some of the best SIM-only deals and Pay As You Go bundles are now available from as little as £10/month. Combined with a SIM-free iPhone XS at £999, your total cost of ownership will come to around £1,239 over 24 months. Contrast this to a Pay Monthly contract, where you’ll typically pay at least several hundred pounds more over the length of your contract.

The following table shows the price of an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max from various electronics retailers:

Retailer iPhone XS iPhone XS Max
John Lewis & Partners £999.00 £1,099.00
Argos £999.00 £1,099.00
Carphone Warehouse £999.00 £1,099.00
Currys PC World £999.00 £1,099.00
Very £999.00 £1,099.00
Mobiles.co.uk £999.00 £1,099.00
Apple £999.00 £1,099.00

My personal recommendation would typically be to buy your iPhone XS from John Lewis & Partners. You’ll pay the same amount as you’d pay anywhere else, but you’ll also get a 2-year guarantee included at no extra charge. You’ll also benefit from the “Never Knowingly Undersold” promise, something that isn’t available from retailers elsewhere.

If you’re buying your iPhone XS on a SIM-free basis, you’ll need to order the SIM card separately for your device. For more information, see our recommended SIM-only deals and our guide to free Pay As You Go SIM cards.

Pay Monthly Contract

  • BT Mobile
  • EE
  • giffgaff
  • O2
  • Three
  • Vodafone

If you’d like to buy the iPhone XS on a 24-month contract, you can choose from mobile networks including BT Mobile, EE, giffgaff, O2, Three and Vodafone.

Key factors you should consider when choosing a mobile network include:

  • The amount of data you want on your plan. You can choose an iPhone XS contract with anything between 500MB (0.5GB) and 100GB of data per month. The data allowances available and prices will vary across mobile networks.
  • The level of coverage available where you live & work. This should be a key consideration when choosing your next mobile network. Remember to check the coverage where you live before ordering your iPhone, or read our in-depth guide to the topic.
  • Other features available on the network. For instance, there might be network-specific features such as Priority on O2 and Go Roam on Three.

In the following tables, we show the cheapest available deal for an iPhone XS with various amounts of data on each network. We recommend reading on to the rest of the article for further information about the coverage and features available on each network.

With 2GB of Data

If you’re a fairly light data user (e.g. you spend most of the day using wi-fi at home or in the office), entry-level plans are available with at least 2GB of monthly data. The following table shows currently-available deals with at least 2GB of data:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,000Unlimited2GB£249.99
upfront
£39.99
monthly
£1,209.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£250.00
upfront
£47.00
monthly
£1,378.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£200.00
upfront
£49.66
monthly
£1,391.84
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0005GB£0.00
upfront
£61.88
monthly
£1,485.12
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,539.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£55.00
upfront
£65.00
monthly
£1,615.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£30.00
upfront
£69.75
monthly
£1,704.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£150.00
upfront
£68.00
monthly
£1,782.00

* The total cost over 24 months is given as an approximation for ease of comparison. It doesn’t include out-of-allowance charges or mid-contract price rises. We’ve approximated the total cost as upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost).

With 4GB of Data

For a typical user, we’d probably recommend choosing a plan with at least 4GB of data per month. The following table shows iPhone XS deals with at least 4GB of data per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,000Unlimited5GB£249.99
upfront
£44.99
monthly
£1,329.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£250.00
upfront
£47.00
monthly
£1,378.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£200.00
upfront
£51.66
monthly
£1,439.84
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0005GB£0.00
upfront
£61.88
monthly
£1,485.12
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,539.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£55.00
upfront
£65.00
monthly
£1,615.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£30.00
upfront
£71.75
monthly
£1,752.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£150.00
upfront
£68.00
monthly
£1,782.00

* The total cost over 24 months is given as an approximation for ease of comparison. It doesn’t include out-of-allowance charges or mid-contract price rises. We’ve approximated the total cost as upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost).

With 8GB of Data

If you’re regularly listening to music or watching videos on-the-go, or using features like tethering and portable wi-fi hotspot to share data with other devices, it can sometimes be worthwhile to choose a plan with even more data. The following table shows iPhone XS contracts with at least 8GB of data per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,000Unlimited10GB£249.99
upfront
£49.99
monthly
£1,449.75
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£200.00
upfront
£54.66
monthly
£1,511.84
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£250.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,546.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00010GB£0.00
upfront
£64.88
monthly
£1,557.12
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited26GB£49.00
upfront
£66.00
monthly
£1,633.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00
upfront
£70.00
monthly
£1,705.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£70.00
upfront
£73.00
monthly
£1,822.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£30.00
upfront
£74.75
monthly
£1,824.00

* The total cost over 24 months is given as an approximation for ease of comparison. It doesn’t include out-of-allowance charges or mid-contract price rises. We’ve approximated the total cost as upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost).

Cheapest Deals By Mobile Network

BT Mobile

BTBT Mobile offers the iPhone XS on a range of price plans, with customers living in a BT Broadband household getting a £5/month discount on their plan.

Some of the key benefits of choosing BT Mobile include the extensive 4G network provided by EE and monthly spend caps that allow you to prevent “bill shock” on your account. You’ll also get unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots included, and inclusive access to the BT Sport app on plans with at least 6GB of data.

The following table shows iPhone XS tariffs available on BT Mobile:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£235.00
upfront
£57.00
monthly
£1,603.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£55.00
upfront
£65.00
monthly
£1,615.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£185.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,625.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00
upfront
£70.00
monthly
£1,705.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£10.00
upfront
£76.00
monthly
£1,834.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited60GB£10.00
upfront
£81.00
monthly
£1,954.00

In the table above, we’ve shown the full original price for customers not living in a BT Broadband household. If you’re living in a BT Broadband household, you’ll qualify for a £5/month discount on the prices above. Over 24 months, this will reduce the total cost of ownership by £120. You may also benefit from a reward card and from a BT Family SIM discount on additional lines.

Order iPhone 8 from BT Mobile → Check Coverage on BT Mobile →

The BT Mobile website has full information about their iPhone XS tariffs and about the benefits of their network. You can also read our in-depth review of BT Mobile and comparison to EE.

EE

EEEE claims to be UK’s “biggest and fastest” mobile network with 99% population coverage on 4G.

EE offers the iPhone XS on two types of tariff: EE Essential and EE Max. Whilst customers of both types of plan will get access to high-speed 4G coverage, benefits of choosing an EE Max plan include faster 4G+ speeds, inclusive BT Sport for the duration of your contract and roaming in 5 non-EU countries (Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA).

The following table shows iPhone XS tariffs available on EE:

TariffMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
EssentialUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£150.00
upfront
£68.00
monthly
£1,782.00
EssentialUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£70.00
upfront
£73.00
monthly
£1,822.00
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£150.00
upfront
£73.00
monthly
£1,902.00
EssentialUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£50.00
upfront
£78.00
monthly
£1,922.00
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£70.00
upfront
£78.00
monthly
£1,942.00
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£10.00
upfront
£83.00
monthly
£2,002.00
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£10.00
upfront
£88.00
monthly
£2,122.00

On EE, your monthly price will increase every April in line with RPI inflation. For this reason, the stated ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone XS from EE → Check Coverage on EE →

The EE website has more information about their iPhone XS tariffs and the benefits of their network.

giffgaff

giffgaffgiffgaff will offer the iPhone XS on a SIM-free basis, available to be used with their one-month goodybag packages.

The following table shows iPhone XS tariffs available on giffgaff:

TariffMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
Goodybag £10UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£200.00
upfront
£49.66
monthly
£1,391.84
Goodybag £10UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£100.00
upfront
£54.63
monthly
£1,411.12
Goodybag £10UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£50.00
upfront
£57.11
monthly
£1,420.64
Goodybag £10UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£25.00
upfront
£58.35
monthly
£1,425.40
Goodybag £12UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£200.00
upfront
£51.66
monthly
£1,439.84
Goodybag £12UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£100.00
upfront
£56.63
monthly
£1,459.12
Goodybag £12UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£50.00
upfront
£59.11
monthly
£1,468.64
Goodybag £12UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£25.00
upfront
£60.35
monthly
£1,473.40
Goodybag £15UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£200.00
upfront
£54.66
monthly
£1,511.84
Goodybag £15UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£100.00
upfront
£59.63
monthly
£1,531.12
Goodybag £15UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£50.00
upfront
£62.11
monthly
£1,540.64
Goodybag £15UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£25.00
upfront
£63.35
monthly
£1,545.40
Goodybag £20UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£200.00
upfront
£59.66
monthly
£1,631.84
Goodybag £20UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£100.00
upfront
£64.63
monthly
£1,651.12
Goodybag £20UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£50.00
upfront
£67.11
monthly
£1,660.64
Goodybag £20UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£25.00
upfront
£68.35
monthly
£1,665.40
Goodybag £25UnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£200.00
upfront
£64.66
monthly
£1,751.84
Goodybag £25UnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£100.00
upfront
£69.63
monthly
£1,771.12
Goodybag £25UnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£50.00
upfront
£72.11
monthly
£1,780.64
Goodybag £25UnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
upfront
£73.35
monthly
£1,785.40

Order SIM card from giffgaff → Check Coverage on giffgaff →

giffgaff uses O2 as their network coverage provider so customers on giffgaff will get the exact same coverage as customers on O2.

O2

O2O2 offers the iPhone XS on O2 Refresh Flex, where you can choose to pay for your handset over any time period between 3 and 36 months.

With Refresh Flex, your monthly payment is split into two parts. For instance, a £74.75 monthly payment could break out as £45.75 for the device and £29 for the airtime. You can choose to reduce your monthly payments by increasing the length of your plan.

A key benefit of joining O2 is you’ll get access to O2 Priority. This gives you a number of exclusive offers such a free coffee from Caffè Nero on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and exclusive early access to many entertainment tickets before general release.

The following table shows iPhone XS tariffs available from O2:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£30.00
upfront
£69.75
monthly
£1,704.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£30.00
upfront
£71.75
monthly
£1,752.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£30.00
upfront
£74.75
monthly
£1,824.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited50GB£30.00
upfront
£78.75
monthly
£1,920.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited100GB£30.00
upfront
£82.75
monthly
£2,016.00

For ease of comparison with other networks, we’ve shown the 24-month plans available on O2. You can reduce your monthly payments by increasing the length of your plan (e.g. to 36 months). On O2, the airtime portion of your monthly payment increases every year in line with RPI inflation. For this reason, the ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone XS from O2 → Check Coverage on O2 →

For more information, please see the O2 website for their iPhone XS tariffs and for the benefits of their network.

Three

ThreeThree offers the iPhone XS on a range of price plans with features like Go Roam Around The World (inclusive roaming in 71 destinations & free upgrades with EasyJet) and Wuntu. On certain plans, you’ll also get Go Binge (unlimited data on Apple Music, Netflix and several other inclusive services).

The following table shows iPhone XS tariffs currently available from Three:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
Three300Unlimited500MB£250.00
upfront
£42.00
monthly
£1,258.00
Three300Unlimited500MB£99.00
upfront
£49.00
monthly
£1,275.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.00
upfront
£51.00
monthly
£1,323.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£250.00
upfront
£47.00
monthly
£1,378.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,395.00
Three300Unlimited500MB£250.00
upfront
£48.00
monthly
£1,402.00
Three300Unlimited500MB£250.00
upfront
£49.00
monthly
£1,426.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.00
upfront
£57.00
monthly
£1,467.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.00
upfront
£58.00
monthly
£1,491.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£250.00
upfront
£53.00
monthly
£1,522.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,539.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£250.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,546.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£250.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,546.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£99.00
upfront
£61.00
monthly
£1,563.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£99.00
upfront
£61.00
monthly
£1,563.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£61.00
monthly
£1,563.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£250.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,690.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£250.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,690.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£99.00
upfront
£67.00
monthly
£1,707.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£99.00
upfront
£67.00
monthly
£1,707.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£99.00
upfront
£67.00
monthly
£1,707.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£250.00
upfront
£62.00
monthly
£1,738.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£250.00
upfront
£62.00
monthly
£1,738.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£99.00
upfront
£69.00
monthly
£1,755.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£99.00
upfront
£69.00
monthly
£1,755.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£99.00
upfront
£71.00
monthly
£1,803.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£0.00
upfront
£88.00
monthly
£2,112.00

With Three, your monthly bill will increase with RPI inflation. For this reason, the ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone XS from Three → Check Coverage on Three →

Three’s website has more information about their iPhone XS tariffs. You can also read about the benefits of choosing their network.

Vodafone

Vodafone offers the iPhone XS on a range of 24-month tariffs. Customers choosing a Red Entertainment plan will get 24 month of inclusive entertainment (either Amazon Prime Video, Spotify Premium, NOW TV or Sky Sports Mobile TV).

The following table shows iPhone XS tariffs currently available from Vodafone:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£199.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,495.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,539.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited26GB£49.00
upfront
£66.00
monthly
£1,633.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£99.00
upfront
£67.00
monthly
£1,707.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£49.00
upfront
£72.00
monthly
£1,777.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited42GB£49.00
upfront
£73.00
monthly
£1,801.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£49.00
upfront
£79.00
monthly
£1,945.00

On Vodafone, your monthly bill will increase in April of each year in line with RPI inflation. For this reason, the ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone XS from Vodafone → Check Coverage on Vodafone →

On Vodafone’s website, you’ll find more information about their iPhone XS tariffs and about the key benefits of choosing their network.

About the iPhone XS

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are Apple’s latest flagship smartphones. They have large 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays respectively, along with a 12-megapixel dual-camera, wireless charging support, Face ID, the Apple A12 Bionic processor and the iOS 12 operating system.

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus compare as follows to the iPhone XR:

Apple iPhone XS
Apple iPhone XS Max
Apple iPhone XR
Release Date2018, Flagship2018, Flagship2018, Mid Range
SoftwareApple iOS 12.0Apple iOS 12.0Apple iOS 12.0
Display
Size5.8-inch display6.5-inch display6.1-inch display
TypeOrganic LEDOrganic LEDLCD
Resolution2436x1125 pixels2688x1242 pixels1792x828 pixels
Pixel Density458 pixels per inch458 pixels per inch326 pixels per inch
Camera
Rear Camera12 megapixels12 megapixels12 megapixels
Auto-Focus
Flash LED flash Dual-LED flash Dual-LED flash
OIS
Front Camera7.0 megapixels7.0 megapixels7.0 megapixels
Internals
ProcessorApple A12 BionicApple A12 BionicApple A12 Bionic
Speed2.5GHz 2.5GHz 2.5GHz
Internal Storage64/256/512GB64/256/512GB64/128/256GB
External Storage
Handset Weight177g208g194g
Battery0mAh (20 hours talktime)0mAh (25 hours talktime)0mAh (25 hours talktime)
Mobile Networks
3G Networks Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s
4G Networks
SIM Card TypeNano SIMNano SIMNano SIM

For more information about the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, please see Apple’s official website.

Your Comments 35 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 35 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • There is also another way of getting the devices cheaper than you think.
    Go to Very.co.uk
    Select the iphone
    Apply for a Very account (hope you get a high limit)
    Pay by credit
    10% off code MJWTM
    This will only work if it’s your first time for new customers***

  • For a page that is about the Iphone 8, flagship product of 2017, why is there not one comment dated 2017 in this thread? Have they been posted / moved elsewhere (by mistake?), deleted or was there no feedback on the topic?
    What relevance are posts from 2009 to content that is no longer visible here?

    • Hi Bob,
      Thanks for the feedback! You’re right: this article used to highlight iPhone 7 deals but has since been updated to discuss the iPhone 8. As such, lots of the older comments will no longer be relevant today.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken
    the cheapest way to get hold of an iphone 7 32gb model is from Giffgaff. £28.47 x 24 + £25 up front + £10 first month goodybag =£718.28
    You can cancel the goodybag as soon as you receive the phone and pay off the phone at £28.47 month over 24 months.
    All giffgaff phones come unlocked and you can use whatever sim you want in it.
    I personally use 3 pay as you go at 3p min 2p text and 1p mb which is extremely cheap. I text alot and mainly use home Wifi which works out at roughly £4 per month. 3 coverage is great in London and ideal for me.
    Obviously other peoples usage is different

    Kind Regards

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