The unending war between Android and iOS users was dimmed a bit after iOS users almost won when iPhone 13 was released. Due to the cost of an iPhone, low-income earners have always been on the Android side. Fortunately, the US government has initiatives in place that aim to provide affordable phone and internet services to low-income earners. These initiatives include the Lifeline program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Aside from the affordable internet services, low-income households are also eligible for a free government iPhone 13. Today, in this article, we will get into details of getting a free iPhone, so stick around till the end.
Features Of An iPhone 13
Released in September 2021, iPhone 13, runs on iOS 15 and is upgradable to iOS 16.3. Unlike the older models, this model comes with a better battery capacity of 3240 mAh which can take you throughout the day if you are an average user. It comes with a memory of 4GB, which can handle a good number of processes without lagging. It also comes with storage options of 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB, and unfortunately no memory card slot. When it comes to physical attributes, iPhone 13 is made up of ceramic shield glass making it more durable and shatter-resistant.
What It Takes to Get A Free Government iPhone 13
The US government offers free mobile phones including iPhones to low-income earners. These mobile devices are offered to eligible individuals through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline program.
Established in 1985 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Lifeline has been providing discounted phone services to Americans. Over time, this program has evolved and currently, eligible individuals can get a free phone. For you to be eligible for the Lifeline program, you must have an income of 135% or below the federal poverty guidelines. You can also qualify if you or your household member participates in one of the government assistance programs.
Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is another program established by FCC to provide discounted internet services. ACP was created to replace Emergency Broadband Benefit, a program that helped consumers to stay connected during the COVID-91 pandemic. To be eligible for the ACP, your income should be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. You can also be eligible if you participate in government assistance programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, etc.
Accompanied with the free phone are other free monthly plans from your selected provider i.e ACP-only plans, Lifeline-only plans, and Lifeline & ACP combo plans.
While making an application, you will first need to have some documents ready. These documents can be categorized into three i.e. proof of identity, income, and participation in government assistance programs. If the application is online, you will need to have the soft copies of these documents and if it is via mail, get the hard copies ready. The stated documents should clearly highlight your name, the name of the document, and the issue or expiry date.
To verify your identity you may have to provide at least one of the following:
- A Birth Certificate
- A Government-issued ID Card
- A Driver’s license
- A Certificate of naturalization.
To verify your income you should have one of the following:
- A retirement statement of benefits.
- A statement of income from your latest employer.
- A Social Security statement of benefits.
- The most recent tax return form.
To verify your participation in the government assistance programs:
- A copy of the benefits award letter.
- A copy of the benefits approval letter
- A copy of the statement of benefits.
- A copy of the benefit verification letter.
How To Apply For Free Government iPhone 13
Via Government Website
- On the mobile device, open your browser then visit the National Verifier website (fcc.gov/lifeline).
- Select the state you are currently located in from the dropdown menu below What is your state or territory then click Get started.
- Tap Create your account then fill out all the required details.
- Once done log into your account and you will be taken to a page where there is an application form. Fill in all the applicable fields in the application form.
- Upload all the necessary documents to prove your identity and eligibility then go through your application to ensure all the details are entered correctly.
- Hit submit then wait till you see a message that says your application was submitted successfully.
If you are applying via ACP, be sure to visit the right website (www.affordableconnectivity.gov/). From here, use the steps same as the one for Lifeline then sit tight as you wait for your application to be processed.
If you are not that tech-person, you can go the old school route i.e apply through mail.
- Visit the Downloads page of the respective programs you are applying for then download the application forms.
- Print them into a physical copy then fill out all the applicable entries. As an ACP applicant, you are advised to also print a Household Worksheet which you can access it via this link: (https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf).
- Attach the required documents then re-check your application to ensure that all the fields have correct info and documents are well attached.
- Once done submit the package for review to the following address: PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
Before making your application, you may have to check the eligibility guidelines with your provider. After you have confirmed, gather all the mentioned documents then start your application using the following steps.
- Head to your preferred provider’s website.
- Input your ZIP code in the field provided then hit Get started.
- Key in your personal details then upload the soft copies of the required documents.
- As usual, verify that all the information is correct then hit the Submit button.
Your application will then be reviewed and you will get a word once the review is complete. If you meet all the requirements, you will receive your phone via mail. The duration that the application will take will depend on several factors. This includes the number of applications received, the accuracy of the information, etc. Some of the providers who can give you a free iPhone include;
- Airtalk Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- Verizon Wireless
- SafeLink Wireless
- Cintex Wireless
See here: how to get a Free Government iPhone 11
Why Your Application Might Be Rejected
There are many reasons why your application may be rejected but some of the common ones include:
- You do not meet the minimum required age i.e. at least 18 years or you are not an emancipated minor.
- You provided invalid eligibility documents.
- You do not reside in the state where the provider offers the services.
- You no longer meet the eligibility requirements e.g. your annual income was raised and you no longer participate in the government-aided programs.
Alternatives To Free Government iPhone 13
Concerning their high prices, owning an iPhone without spending a coin may seem impossible. As the old adage goes, when the deal is so good, think twice. You too should be very careful whenever you see an online advert saying you can grab yourself an iPhone for free. Some of these postings are scams targeted at unsuspecting individuals who are very desperate to own an expensive phone for free.
These deals may require you to pay some amount upfront and once you have paid, the receiver will vanish into the thin air. Others do not target your money but some of your personal details like address, date of birth, etc. Your data may then be sold to third parties e.g. advertisers or other parties who may have ill intentions.
Important: Some of the suggestions below are not totally free and the agreement will differ from one offeror to the other.
Although this may not be a completely free way of getting an iPhone for free, you can consider it affordable. Most carriers have deals whereby they sign a 1-year or so contract with their customers. In this contract, you may be required to pay a small fee as a deposit to own an iPhone then the balance is spread out through a specified period. These types of phones are however locked to the carrier you had a deal with and you will not be able to unlock it till you clear out the payment.
This is a type of deal you can get into with your carrier, repair store, or iPhone store. In this deal, you will be required to trade out your old iPhone to get a new phone. For example, in 2019, Sprint had a deal where anyone could get iPhone 11 for free and would be traded in with an iPhone 8 or newer. Other trade-in deals may require you to pay a certain fee, give out your old iPhone then get a newer model.
Need a significantly discounted phone? The answer could be to get refurbished phones. Refurbished iPhones run 100% as new and were either co-owned or used as a display. Some refurb deals are offered at crazy amounts of even up to 90% off from their original amount. Most of these phones, if not all, are unlocked– you can use them with any carrier. Refurbished phone deals are common on e-commerce stores like Amazon and you can go through the reviews from past customers to check on their experience.
Discounts & Promotions
This is yet another perfect way of getting an iPhone 13 for free at a greatly discounted price. In times of holidays, e.g. Christmas, Easter, etc., many retailers have promotions for their customers. Some of these promotion terms include “buy one get one free” whereby if you buy one iPhone of a stated model, you get another exact iPhone model for free. In holiday periods, you can look around for promotions, partner with your family member or a homie, and get a brand-new iPhone for free.
The list can be endless and among them include participating in surveys or product testing and looking for giveaways. To avoid falling into the hands of scammers, always be of questioning mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Get Another Free Government iPhone 13 If I Already Have One?
No, you are only eligible for one free phone per household. This means that if any member of your household has already applied for a free phone, you can no longer receive another one. All your household data is with the National Verifier and even if you apply it through another provider, your application will be rejected.
Can I Upgrade From A Free Flip Phone To A Smartphone?
Yes, most providers allow you to upgrade from a flip phone to a smartphone. Although the upgrade policy differs from one provider to the other, you may be required to pay a small fee.
What Is Lifeline And ACP Combo Plan?
With a Lifeline-only plan or an ACP-only plan, you get to save a few coins on your monthly bill. Lifeline And ACP Combo is a merge between the two plans allowing you to save even more. Depending on the service provider, the internet discount ranges from $30-$50 per month, while the phone discount is $9.25 per month. Some service providers offer an additional $100 discount towards the purchase of a laptop, desktop, or tablet.
While the government has given priority to low-income earners, you might be wondering if you too can have a chance to get a free government iPhone 13. The good news is, yes there are other options available for you. This includes buying a refurbished model, enrolling in a financing program, or using a trade-in program to reduce the cost of a new phone. By taking advantage of these programs, you can still access the latest technology without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, several individuals have fallen into scams purporting to offer free phones. So to avoid being one of them, always have your eyes and ears on.