You must have heard of free government phones before, right? They are also known as the “Obama phones” and are a part of the government-supported program called Lifeline.
Since free phones are an actual reality for those who meet specific requirements, the question about free iPhone government phone options started to appear more and more often. Thus, we decided to create this article to avoid any future confusion.
Herein you will learn the truth about free iPhone government phone options and whether it is a myth or reality. We will extend our discussion on other valid alternatives and as such provide you with a ton of value, which you can bank and finally get that free phone that many are talking about.
So, are you ready to learn the truth about free iPhone government phone options? Let’s do this.
Free iPhone Government Phone – Just a Myth or Truth?
Does getting a free iPhone from the government sound too good to be true? Well, you’re in luck! While several years ago receiving a free iPhone government phone was just a myth, nowadays, several wireless providers offer high-quality devices from this beloved and reputable brand.
Most government phone providers still offer entry-level to mid-range Android phones, however, some providers also offer Apple phones. The free iPhones you can receive from the government are not any of the latest and most advanced devices, nevertheless, even older iPhone models are reliable and packed with amazing features. In addition, the providers that offer free government iPhones are very few and they do not offer their services in all U.S. states. Nevertheless, getting a free government iPhone is a possibility.
Stay tuned to find out which providers offer free iPhone government phones and exactly how to get one.
How to Get a Free iPhone From the Government
Lifeline is an old government assistance program by the FCC designed to make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. The program has limited funds. While it does cover some basic expenses, such as free monthly phone service and a free basic phone, it generally doesn’t have enough funds to cover iPhones. As such, while Lifeline was the only assistance program available, providers simply couldn’t afford to offer free iPhones.
However, when the Emergency Broadband Benefit or EBB was established in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Lifeline providers that also signed up for the EBB program were suddenly given enough funds to offer more advanced services and devices, including iPhones.
The EBB program was a temporary benefit and it ended on December 31, 2021. Nevertheless, the EBB program was simply replaced by a new, long-term assistance program called the Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP. Like the EBB, the ACP is also an FCC program designed to help households afford the internet connection they need for work, school, healthcare, and more. ACP providers offer discounts on monthly broadband services and one-time discounts on connected devices. While most ACP providers that offer discounted devices provide tablets, laptops, or desktop computers, certain ACP providers have found a clever way to combine their Lifeline and ACP programs and to offer unlimited data and more advanced smartphones instead.
While the EBB program was still available three service providers offered free iPhones through their combined Lifeline + EBB programs – Cintex Wireless, NewPhone Wireless, and SFone Wireless. While the first two decided to participate in the ACP program as well, SFone Wireless sadly didn’t decide to do so at the moment. As such, SFone Wireless probably doesn’t offer free iPhones any longer.
Free iPhone From the Government Qualifying Process
Both Lifeline and ACP providers that offer free government iPhones have a joint program. To qualify for this program, you must:
- Be a resident of any of the states where they offer their services
- Be Lifeline and ACP eligible
A household is eligible if any household member meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Has an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- Participates in a qualifying government assistance program, such as Medicaid, Lifeline, SNAP, SSI, WIC, or Federal Public Housing Assistance.
- Participates in a qualifying Tribal assistance program, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
- Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
Documents Required for Free iPhone From the Government
When you apply, the provider will have to verify your provided information and make sure that you indeed qualify for the program. In case they are unable to do so, you will have to provide certain documents that prove your eligibility. The documents that you will be asked to attach depend on your eligibility criteria.
To verify your identity or address, you may be asked to provide an official document that includes your full legal name, date of birth, and address. Acceptable documents include:
- Government-issued ID
- S. driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Certificate of U.S. citizenship or naturalization
To prove your annual household income, you may need to provide an official document that shows your income and includes your full name. Acceptable documents include:
- Prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return
- Current income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub
- A Social Security statement of benefits
- Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits
- Divorce decree
- Child support award
- A retirement/pension statement of benefits
To prove your participation in a qualifying assistance program, you may be required to attach an official document that shows your full name, the name of the program, the name of the establishment that issued the document, and an issue date within the last 12 months. Acceptable documents include:
- Approval letter
- Benefit award letter
- Statement of benefits
- Benefit verification letter
As only people who are 18 years old or more and emancipated minors can participate, the latter must also provide an official document that proves their emancipated minor status, such as a court document or a certificate of emancipation.
How to Apply for the Free Government iPhone
Applying for a free iPhone government phone or any Lifeline/ACP program is as simple as it gets. All you have to do is to follow these steps:
- Make sure you are Lifeline/ACP eligible. See the eligibility criteria above.
- Find a Lifeline/ACP provider (preferably one that offers free government iPhones) that offers services in your state of residence.
- Once you find the best provider for you, visit its website and find their online application form.
- Fill out the online application form by entering all the required information and providing the necessary documentation.
- Submit your online application and wait for the provider to inform you whether or not you have successfully enrolled.
Which Companies Offer Free iPhone from the Government
Currently, only two Lifeline and ACP providers offer free iPhones from the government.
Cintex Wireless is a wireless provider that offers both Lifeline and ACP benefits. Eligible customers can apply and receive a free 4G/5G LTE smartphone from a reputable brand, such as Apple (iPhone 6s) or Samsung (Galaxy S7). Qualifying households will also receive a monthly service plan with free talk, text, and data.
Cintex offers its services and free iPhones for residents of the following U.S. states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
To sign up, follow the instructions below:
- Visit https://cintexwireless.com/. Enter your ZIP code and email address and press ‘Apply Now’.
- Fill out the quick and simple application form by providing the required information and documentation. Note: Your proofs will be verified through the government’s secure system.
- Once your application gets approved, you will receive your free government iPhone or another device within 7 to 10 business days. Shipping is free of charge.
NewPhone Wireless also offers both Lifeline and ACP benefits. Customers who qualify for the provider’s government assistance program will receive a premium 4G or 5G smartphone, such as an iPhone 6s or a Samsung Galaxy S7. Eligible households will also receive a free monthly service plan that includes free talk, text, and data.
NewPhone Wireless offers free government iPhones and other Lifeline and ACP benefits to subscribers in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.
To enroll, follow these simple steps:
- Visit https://apply.newphone.com/. Enter your ZIP code and email address and press ‘Apply Now’.
- Complete the user-friendly application form by providing the required information and documentation. Note: Your proofs will be verified through the government’s secure system.
- Once your application gets approved, you will receive your free government iPhone or another premium device within 7 to 10 business days. Shipping is free of charge.
Free iPhone Government Phone Alternatives
In case you are unable to qualify for any of the free government iPhones and programs above, don’t worry! There are still other ways to get a free phone. You can apply for a free government phone from a provider that only offers other cell phone brands or opt for a non-government free iPhone instead.
Free Government Phones
If you are eligible for the Lifeline assistance, which means you are part of a low-income household (below 135% on national poverty threshold) or one that has a member in one of the specific government-supported programs, we strongly advise you to take that support.
It is not to take this great opportunity for granted. To be able to enjoy free wireless services and also receive a free smartphone is pretty amazing and worthy of ‘rainchecking’ your iPhone desire. Since you are most likely in a financial crisis, it makes sense to make use of the Lifeline support.
There are countless wireless providers available throughout the US. Keep in mind that not all of them offer the same plans nor the same phones. Of course, you will have to work with those available in your area.
If you are clueless about the Lifeline program, we strongly suggest you visit governmentfreephone.com or lifelinesupport.org, where you can obtain all the information about it. You can learn how to qualify, how to apply, locate which wireless providers offer Lifeline in your area, and more.
Moreover, also keep in mind that many Lifeline wireless providers offer you the option of upgrading your free device. And more often than not, iPhones are available among the upgrade phones. This iPhones often come at discounted prices, especially if you consider some older models or perhaps the refurbished ones.
Non-Government Free iPhones
If you are not a resident of any of the states where the providers that offer free government iPhones operate or if you do not qualify for the Lifeline and/or ACP program at all, you can still get a non-government free iPhone. however, there are actual ways how to get free iPhones. Yes, you read that correctly.
There are wireless providers that offer special deals to new clients or those adding an additional line to get a free iPhone. Of course, this option will require you to sing up for a pre-defined monthly plan, which in most cases won’t be all that affordable.
On the other side, you may anyway be considering an unlimited plan, so why not get the one that can get you a free iPhone on top, right?
The only wireless providers that can afford such generous deals are the leading ones. This includes AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. Since they regularly change their offers and special deals, it makes no sense for us to list current deals here. It is best for you to visit their official websites and check the latest info yourself.
We want to give you an additional warning regarding these special deals: ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT! The last thing you want is some extra-long term contract on your shoulders without your notice. Go through all the details and make sure you agree with them. If you can handle it, then you will be able to enjoy a new iPhone. In many cases, the latest iPhone is part of those extra deals.
Moreover, in some cases, free iPhone will require you to trade in your current phone. This will all be defined within the fine print, which you should read carefully.
If you are not able to find a free iPhone deal that will suit you and are not eligible for the Lifeline assistance but still determined to get your hands on an iPhone, then you need to consider discounted iPhones.
The best place to start this research, are the official websites of the wireless providers available in your area. Once on their pages, look for “Special Deals” or something similar, or go directly to their online shop. If any discounts are offered, they are normally displayed.
You can also take your research one step further and start calling the wireless providers operating in your area, asking if they are currently offering any discounts on iPhones.
Refurbished and Used iPhones
If you don’t mind using a phone that is not new, refurbished iPhones are definitely an option you should consider. Refurbished iPhones are new-like and very reliable if offered by a trustworthy provider.
Furthermore, used iPhones should be even more affordable, however, those are not new-like and thus a riskier option.
The best place to look for refurbished iPhones is Apple’s official store.
Other Free & Free(ish) iPhone Alternatives
Above we have listed all the most common options, however, there are some additional alternatives. These are all valid, but normally require some hustling, luck, or other types of effort.
These options include:
- iPhone giveaways – these are offered by various companies or influencers on regular basis. They come in a form of contests, where you will be asked to perform some sort of task (e.g.: like three previous posts and comment on them, etc.). If you do all as instructed and are selected as a winner, you may actually get a free iPhone.
- Surveys – there are countless online survey platforms, where you collect points and then can trade those points for various products and devices, often iPhones as well. Keep in mind that you will need to invest quite a lot of time and effort into the collection of a sufficient amount of points to be traded for an iPhone, thus this is an obvious free(ish) option.
- Online lotteries – there are also legit only lotteries run by legit companies, where you will be asked to enter your email address or/and phone number (subscribe) and in return be a part of a draw.
NOTE: All of the above three options (especially giveaways and lotteries) are valid, however, there are also countless scams online. Thus, if you decide to go down that road pay extra attention. Do proper research and make sure not to share any sensitive data. Trust us, free iPhone is not worth risking being hacked or get your identity stolen and abused.
A while ago getting a free iPhone government phone was nothing but a dream. Nowadays, there are several Lifeline and ACP providers that offer free iPhones for eligible low-income households. However, in case you don’t qualify for any of their programs, there are also some other valid methods to receive a free phone. Keep in mind that some of those options come with certain requirements, such as signing up for a monthly plan, paying in installments, trading in an old phone, etc.
We believe in your ability to use the information provided herein wisely. You’ve got this.