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Rooster_Ties

Wife and I finally upgrading to new iPhone 11's (after 6-7 years with super low-memory iPhone 5's w/ 16GB) -- any advice??

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My wife and I are still on our very first smart-phones, iPhone 5's (the most basic model, with only 16GB each, if you can imagine).  I think we got them in January 2013, iirc.  They both still work (kinda-sorta), but the lack of memory and ever worsening battery life (they both barely work more than an hour with continuous use) -- means they're both old as dirt, and act like it too.

Then my wife must have dropped her phone sometime in the last month, because the screen on hers is starting to separate from the phone (though it all still works, again, kinda-sorta).

We've been SAYING that we need to upgrade to new iPhones for about 2+ years now, and I think the time has finally come.

As luck would have it, the iPhone 11 has just been announced -- and I think we're both going to spring for the lesser of the 3 different iPhone 11 models available (as opposed to getting iPhone 8's, which are still being produced).  That's on the theory that if we're gonna use these new phones for a good 6 years (like we did our iPhone 5's), then we really ought to get about the best/newest ones we can.

We have absolutely no need of the features of the top-tier iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max versions -- but some cursory comparisons between the "8" models vs. the basic "11" seem to really point to getting an iPhone 11.  BUT, I'm torn between getting it with 128 GB, or maybe going whole hog and getting the 256 GB version.  Probably my *only* motivation here, is to NEVER buy anything close to the minimum amount of memory in a smart-phone EVER again (as we did with our current iPhone 5's, with only 16 GB).  Yeah, yeah, I'm sure we don't really need the 256 -- but if we're going to keep them for 6 years (or maybe if we're luck, 7-8, and it's only like $100 more per phone, why the hell not?  (So I guess I'm asking all of you -- why the hell not?)

(And yeah, I'm not counting the next 6-8 years with the same phone, until that chicken hatches -- I fully realize.  But, what the heck? - these iPhone 5's have sort of lasted 6 years, so who knows?)

 

We're probably going to go back to the provider (store) where we got our iPhone 5's -- which is the AT&T store nearest where I work.  I presume the deals are all pretty similar from store to store, and all similarly competitive? -- is that right???  (I hate, hate, hate, trying to comparison shop stuff like this, because they make it impossible to compare apples to apples between different plans.)

Anything I need to be wary of in all this??  We upgrade equipment like this barely once or twice a decade, so I'm about as green as they come in trying to navigate all the different deals, bells, and whistles associated with all this.  Hell's bells, I used my old flip-phone cell phone for 10(!) full years, before I got the iPhone 5 that I'm still using now -- if that tells you anything.

Any advice would be more than welcome.  Thanks!!

I imagine I'll need to 'up' our data-plan too, since half the reason we blow our data-limits only occasionally now -- is the (poor) performance of our ancient iPhone 5's.  And I'm just SURE that when we get 11's, we're gonna go through twice as much data, without even trying.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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My guess is 128 GB of memory is sufficient.  Multimedia files take up the bulk of memory on a typical user's smartphone, so ask yourself, based on your normal usage: how many GBs of music will I carry around at any one time?  How many GBs of photos (especially since you can download the bulk of them to the cloud)?  How many movies?  I have an iPhone Xr with 64 GB; I limit it to 10 GB of music at a time, which I switch out from time to time, and I still haven't used half my phone's storage.

The big thing you need to be prepared for (i.e., "wary" of): phone stores are generally independently operated, usually local chains, who have a working relationship with the carrier.  So it's not AT&T selling you the phone, it's Joe Shmo.  Joe Shmo really makes money on the accessories, so they'll be really helpful in the beginning, but towards the end of the sales process, will start to lard you up with add-ons.  For a lot of them, they won't even ask you if you want them; they'll just "assume" you do.  So you have to start getting on your guard about halfway through the sales process (right around the time you've decided you like the dealer and are starting to let your guard down).

And even if you need something, like a phone case, the Apple store near you (or Target, or Walmart) might have a very different selection than your AT&T store.

So, before you go to the store, determine:

  • the phone case: the look, material, level of protection.  You many want to do some research first.
  • do you want a screen protector?  Many people don't.  And if you do, do you want plastic or glass?
  • do you want an extended warranty?  Joe Shmo is going to give you a very hard sell job on this.
  • do you want to store your data in the cloud?  (Apple's going to ask you that when you register; I use the dollar-a-month for 50 GB plan.)
  • lord knows what else.  Be prepared!  Last time I upgraded an iPhone at the Verizon store, they tried selling me on a device where I could read my car's diagnostic information on my iPhone.  Huh?  And they presented it as a free device!  But the monthly subscription cost...

And here's a big question:

  • do you want to stay with AT&T?  You might want to shop around to see if you can get a better deal from another carrier.  Once you buy the phone, you're pretty much stuck with that carrier, especially if you use the 24-month finance option.

Don't forget to ask if you can trade in your current phones.  On the other hand, if you won't get much money for them, you may want to repurpose them as iPods.

Good luck!

Edited by mjzee

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I'm sure you're right about us not really needing the 256 GB.  I just want to make up for my past mistake of only getting 16 GB last time! :g

I use the dollar-a-month for 50 GB plan too (but only for the last year or two, finally).  Not sure if that's backing up my wife's phone or not (we're on the same plan/account).  She lost her iCloud password 6 months ago, and hasn't been able to get back into her account (because she could never get the verification notification to show up on her phone).

We've both been plagued by extremely low memory (full memory) on both of these dogs of 16 GB phones, despite everything we've ever tried.  We've deleted lots of apps, and I deleted all my music, and half my photos.  And supposedly when you backed up the entire phone to/thru iTunes (to our laptop at home), then you could restore everything to your phone from the backup, and it would basically recover all kinds of unused/poorly used memory.  Except I tried doing that 3-4 times (backing up the whole phone to iTunes, and then restoring), and it would NEVER free up any memory at all.  I think I stopped trying after the 4th attempt.

Last night my wife's phone said it literally had like 68kb free on the whole thing.  I deleted about 10 apps she didn't use all that much, and I got it to jump up to almost 1 GB free, but even then, it's slow as a dog.

And they've both been like that for a couple years now.  So you can imagine my temptation to max out on memory.

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My experience leads me to say to avoid iPhones. I don't like the hardware or software. About 10 years ago, I helped a friend get iPhones. He went through four and they all failed. Plus, the first thing it says is "Enter iTunes". That is totally irrelevant. I want the phone to start without having to start music software, and I have never used iTunes.

I don't work for them, but my son and I have had great success with the Sony Xperia (Android) phone. Mine is the Z3, but they are all similar. Importantly, they take a memory card, and I have never had a capacity problem. The battery sinks like a lead brick, and when I'm at home, my phone is plugged into a 20000 mAh external. That is the big drawback of the Xperia, but you can live with it. The other minor (and irritating) problem is that the phone has no door for the battery. A friend showed me how easy it is to change the battery, and I have replaced three so far on my and a friend's phones. You just have to avoid the usual Chinese junk batteries.

Android has an annoying amount of useless, undeletable apps, which rejoice under the name "bloatware", but the phone has enough built-in memory, and I've never had memory problems.

Hope that helps.

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I think you've got the right idea as far as the 11 being the "sweet spot" of Apple's newly-revamped lineup. If you don't need (or want) the top-of-the-line camera or OLED screen, the 11 provides a lot more bang for the buck than the Pro models, just like the XR did in last year's lineup. I'll admit to being awfully tempted by OLED screens every time I look at one, but so far not enough to pay the required premium to get one. 

mjzee's advice is spot on. I'd just add that if you're not under contract with a carrier, you may want to think about buying the phone from an Apple Store instead of an AT&T-affiliated store, particularly if you intend to purchase an AppleCare plan. Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program includes interest-free financing of the phone over a 2-year period and AppleCare, and if you choose to do so, you can trade in your phone and upgrade to a new one every year, otherwise you own it outright after the two-year note is paid up. It's a pretty good deal even if you don't intend to upgrade, now that carriers no longer heavily subsidize the cost of phones the way they used to. 

I have a 3-year-old 7 with 128GB and will probably replace it with an 11 this year. I almost bought an XR last year, but wound up procrastinating long enough that I eventually figured I'd just wait until this year's new models were released. I used to always be bumping up against the memory limit with older iPhones I've had with less memory (32GB and 64GB), but haven't gotten close to doing so with this one, however, I don't store a lot of music on it either, mainly just apps, photos, videos, and ebooks.  

Oh, and the ability to read/reset trouble codes in my car's ECU using my phone is a function I can't live without, but I'm damn sure not paying a carrier a monthly subscription cost to do so. I use the OBD Fusion app and a $20 OBD II wi-fi dongle I got from Amazon that plugs into my car's data port. Arguably of questionable utility with a relatively new car that rarely throws codes, but for those of us with older cars it's a godsend. 

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Buy them directly from Apple. You can buy it outright or pay monthly over 2 years at 0%, and you get their excellent AppleCare warranty if you sign up for their upgrade program. Much better than buying from the carrier.

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Is there a reason why it has to be an Apple iPhone? I am on my 4th Samsung Galaxy and I have been extremely happy with all of them. My daughters buy iPhones and I've used their phone occasionally. I guess I just don't get the love affair with them. To me, they are just another smart phone.

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I can't deal with my wife's iPhone, everything about the muscle memory involved is totally counter-intuitive to me. She hands it to me to do something and I'm like, ok, where do you want me to go and how the hell do I get there from here? Don't have that issue with Androids. Same thing with computers, PCs make sense to me, stuff works the way I expect it to, very linear and "logical", Macs are, like, ok, if I was going to assume a bunch of stuff that I don't already know, where is everything going to be, what leaf am I supposed to look under, and hell, god only knows. I ain't got time for all that..

Different strokes for different types of brain wrings, I'm convinced. If you can make it do what you want it to do, use it, whatever it is..

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I like the Apple Iphone 7 and 8. i had the Plus version of both models. They are the last two generations to have the home button. I'm not ready to live without it. I went for the 256 GB of memory which allows me to carry around one of my iTunes libraries so that I always have music for my car or with me- since I always have my phone. This is my fourth iPhone and we have many in the family. We've never had an issue with reliability. Quite the opposite actually. Never had a problem. And your iPhone is six years old. 

I've heard that future models may bring back the home button while in other places I've seen that the home button is gone for good. I expect to get another 4-5 years out of this phone.

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As I said in the other thread where phone memory was mentioned, you can put a 256 GB Micro SD card in the Samsung Galaxy. You don't need to buy it up front like you do with a iPhone.

Does the iPhone require you to use iTunes to get your music onto the phone? I simply stick the MicroSD card into the card reader slot (with an SD adapter) on my PC and copy the music files over. No special tools or apps required. I do not want iTunes on my PC. I hate that app.

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Can't stand Macs, or more specifically the Mac user interface. (Or I should say more specially what Macs became in the early late 90's and early 2000's. I used Macs back in college a lot (circa 1987-93), but by 2000 I could barely work one, once I stopped using them a lot more frequently.

My Mom still had/used one, and then my Dad -- and trouble-shooting the damn thing for my Dad became increasingly impossible, simply because I could never figure out the damn UI.

 

But I pretty much love my iPhone (or the interface), and it seems way more intuitive than other Apple products.

Then again, my only smart-phone ever has been these iPhone 5's that we've had for 7 years.

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I'm afraid I'm a Luddite and still use an old style flip top mobile phone.

Although I'm interested in technological innovation, for some reason I'm yet to be converted to the church of the smart phone.

Edited by kinuta

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I've never been a fan of the near-religious devotion espoused by both Mac and Windows camps. Use the proper tool for the job at hand, and if there are two reasonably equivalent alternatives, well, then it comes down to personal preference. The first desktop computer I ever bought 30 years ago was a high-end Mac IIx. It was eye-wateringly expensive, and wound up getting stolen a year or two after I got it when my apartment was burglarized. Ever since then, I've owned Windows machines, mainly because they've usually been a lot cheaper than Macs, particularly when you build your own machines, as I did for a long time. 

When it comes to phones, my first smartphone was an iPhone 3G, and I've been sold on iPhones ever since. None of the things that tend to perturb Android devotees about Apple's hardware and OS (non-user-serviceable battery, no ability to add storage via memory cards, limited user control over the filesystem, etc.) have ever really been an issue to me. Having worked in IT professionally, I can tell you that most of the network and infrastructure guys I've known have been solidly in the Android camp due to Android's vastly superior access to nuts-and-bolts configuration settings within the OS by end-users, but again, that has yet to really be a deal-breaker issue for me. 

As with many other things, it's frequently a matter of what one is already used to and comfortable with. 

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My son has an Android and I’ve never really cared for its OS or the way it’s organized. I’ve always had iPhones so that could be a reason. It’s like two different languages. 

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UPDATE: My wife and I got our new iPhone 11’s (128GB), and the transition was petty seamless. Upgraded to unlimited data, and our bill actually went down slightly. Got $5 each trade-ins on our ancient iPhone 5’s (probably more than they’re worth). The sales rep actually got us quite a deal, by putting us on a family plan with 3 lines (we have no use at all for the 3rd line), but it saves us $40 a month. Then after 30 months, we can drop the 3rd line and save another $25 more/month.

Phones are an amazing improvement too.

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