The Best iPhone Plans for Every Situation

Get the best cell phone deals for you, whether you're a heavy data user or you barely touch your phone

Fed up with your cellular service carrier? Looking to get the best value for your big family of iPhone users? Where do you even start to look? Well, if you’re fretting about which is the best plan for your particular situation, let us lend a hand. In this article, we’ll go over the best iPhone plans for heavy data users, for single lines, for families, for seniors, and depending on location.

For many plans, setting up auto pay will cut down on your bill by $5 or $10 per month, which is worthwhile savings and has the added bonus of saving you from remembering to pay a bill each month.

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Best Cell Phone Plans for Heavy Data Users

If you are a heavy data user, your best bet is going to be an unlimited data plan. But even knowing that, every carrier offers some version of this. How do you know which one is best for you? Well, that can depend on your individual needs and preferences. Let’s break it down by carrier.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile offers several unlimited plans. Its basic tier is Essentials, priced at $60 per line with auto pay. This plan includes unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as 50 GB of premium data. The next step up is Magenta, at $70 per month for a single line. The plan gives you unlimited 5G and 4G LTE coverage and up to 100 GB of premium data. If 100 GB isn’t enough for you, consider upgrading to Magenta Max at $85 per line and enjoy unlimited premium data, with Netflix Basic included.

Verizon

Verizon also has several tiers of unlimited plans, starting with, appropriately enough, Start Unlimited. Start Unlimited clocks in at $70 per month and includes a bundle of perks for the first six months: Disney+, discovery+, and Apple Music. However, this plan doesn’t include Premium Network Access, which means your data usage may be throttled. To avoid that, you can upgrade to one of Verizon’s higher-tier unlimited plans. Play More Unlimited is a good option for those who love to stream and includes all the perks that Start Unlimited does, plus Hulu and ESPN+ included; while its sibling plan, Do More Unlimited focuses on productivity and offers 50 percent off unlimited connected device plans and 600 GB of cloud storage along with the perks of Start Unlimited. Both clock in at $80 per month for a single line and include an unlimited mobile hotspot. If none of that is enough for you, you can go with Verizon’s ultimate in unlimited plans: Get More Unlimited. For $90 per month, you get all the best perks of each of the lower tier plans rolled into one package.

AT&T

Like its competitors, AT&T also offers several options for unlimited talk, text, and data. Its basic package is Unlimited Starter, which offers 5G access and is a good option for travelers and those with family abroad with its unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada as well as unlimited texting from the US to more than 120 other countries, all for $65 per month for a single line. This plan does throttle your data speeds on a busy network, so if you want to avoid that, AT&T offers two beefier options: Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite. Unlimited Extra, at $75 per month offers 50 GB of premium data before you’ll start getting throttled, as well as 15 GB of hotspot data. Unlimited Elite doubles the premium data you have available to 100 GB, gives you 30 GB of hotspot data, and ups the ante with HD streaming and HBO Max included, all for $85 per month.

Related: Does Your Smartwatch Need a Data Plan?

Best Cell Phone Plans for Families

If you’ve got a big family of iPhone users, you’ll probably fall into the category of “heavy data user” regardless of whether any one of you personally uses that much data. An unlimited family plan is your best bet here. Many of your options will sound familiar if you’ve read our best picks for heavy data users above: you’ll build your family plan from carriers’ unlimited plans outlined above.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s family plans start with Essentials for $105/month for four lines after auto pay discounts are applied. With this plan, you’ll get 50 GB of premium data and an unlimited 3G mobile hotspot. For the internet-junkie family, consider upgrading to Magenta for $140 per month for 4 lines with auto pay. This plan covers a $9 per month Netflix subscription, 100 GB of premium data, and a 5 GB high-speed data mobile hotspot. Magenta Max will set you back $170 per month for four lines (again, after auto pay) and includes unlimited premium data so that your speed will never be throttled. Other perks of Magenta Max are a two-screen, HD Netflix subscription and a 40 GB high-speed data mobile hotspot.

Verizon

Verizon’s basic unlimited family plan is Start Unlimited, priced at $35 ;er line for four lines ($140 per month total). You will need to be conscious of speed throttling as you use more data with this plan. If you don’t want to worry about slowing down, Verizon’s top tier is Get More Unlimited, for $220 per month for four lines, which includes 50 GB of premium network access per month. Verizon also offers its two mid-tier plans as family plans: Play More and Do More Unlimited, both at $180 per month before taxes and fees for four lines. The perks for all of these plans remain the same as outlined above in the plans for heavy data users.

If you have young children in your life who need a phone but perhaps don’t need access to all the apps or the ability to add contacts willy-nilly, consider Verizon’s Just Kids plan. You can add a Just Kids line to any Verizon plan for $25 per month. Just Kids includes unlimited data, talk and text to 20 parent- or guardian-approved contacts and Verizon’s Smart Family Premium to help you keep track of your kids' physical location as well as the content they see.

AT&T

Like its competitors, AT&T lets you build your family plans from the building blocks of its unlimited plans. You could also choose to opt for a 4nGB plan, but at $160 per month for four lines, it’s actually more expensive to go that route than to stick with AT&T’s Unlimited Starter at $140 per month, so even if you don’t think your family will use that much data, you’re still saving by going unlimited. If you’ve got a family that loves to surf the web and watch videos on their phones, consider upgrading to Unlimited Extra for $160 per month for four lines or Unlimited Elite for $200 per month for four lines and enjoy all the same perks you would on a single line unlimited plan.

Visible

If all these prices have you sweating, consider looking into an alternative plan like Visible Party Pay ($100 per month for four lines). This plan lets you start your own “party” or join an existing one, and can work perfectly well for a family of four. Visible uses Verizon’s network, 5G included. It includes unlimited talk, text, and a mobile hotspot with unlimited data at speeds up to 5 Mbps. Calling and texting to Mexico and Canada is also offered. Because this plan is designed primarily for adults to share, billing is separated by lines, and it may not be the best or most streamlined option for families with small children who probably can’t foot their own bills.

Best Cell Phone Plans for Single Users on a Budget

If you’re a single user on a budget, never fear the dollar signs stacking up in the above plans. There are still some solid, affordable options on the market.

Mint Mobile

Operating on T-Mobile’s network, Mint Mobile offers plans ranging from $15 for 4 GB per month to $30 for unlimited data. This is the best value for a single, price-conscious user, but be warned, prices will increase when you renew after three months. Alternatively, you can keep your introductory price by renewing with a 12-month plan.

Visible

Visible uses Verizon’s network, and their standard plan is $40 per month for one line, and if you don’t mind doing a little evangelizing, you can refer friends and pay $5 per month for each friend that signs up using your referral code. This plan includes unlimited talk, text, and data, but be prepared for slowdowns; premium data is not available.

Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Some carriers offer discounts for groups like seniors, first responders, teachers, and military members. Let’s take a look at what is on offer for seniors.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile offers Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta Max in two-line plans for people 55 and up. These plans all include scam protection, texting abroad, no annual service contract, and a dedicated customer service team. Essentials 55+ costs $55per month for two lines and includes 3G mobile hotspot data and 2G data in Mexico and Canada. Magenta 55+ is $70 per month for two lines and offers data as well as texting abroad, 5 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot data, 5GB of 4G data in Mexico and Canada, Netflix Basic for one screen, and one hour of in-flight Wi-Fi. Magenta Max 55+ costs $90 per month for two lines and includes 4K UHD streaming, 40 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot data, 5vGB of 4G data in Mexico and Canada, unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi, and Standard Netflix for two screens.

Best Cell Phone Plans By Location

Picking out the best carrier may also depend on your geographic location. Before you choose the best plan for you, consider testing out the Opensignal app or viewing their coverage maps. This app lets you test 5G, 4G, and Wi-Fi signal speeds. Before you buy, make sure that your preferred carrier has coverage where you’ll need it most.

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Author Details

Elisabeth Garry's picture

Author Details

Elisabeth Garry

Elisabeth Garry is a Feature Web Writer for iPhone Life. Formerly of Gartner and Software Advice, she has four years’ experience writing about technology for everyday users. As a former college writing instructor, she is passionate about effective, accessible communication, which is perhaps why she loves helping people make the best use of the strongest communication tools they have available: their iPhones. She has a degree in Russian Literature and Language from Reed College.

When she’s not writing for iPhone Life, she’s probably either reading (19th-century Russian literature or fantasy novels), writing fiction, or spending time with her adorable dog, Moosh.