Could the iPhone 13 launch mean the end for the iPhone XR?

iPhone XR stood up outside
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Update: Well, it's official - we made our assumptions and Apple proved them to be correct. The iPhone XR has now been removed from the Apple Store. While you can't buy it from Apple anymore, it is readily available from most major retailers still.

Apple fans across the world will be waiting patiently this week to finally get a glimpse of the brand's latest and greatest phone, but while the iPhone 13 launch will bring in a roster of new devices, it could also spell the end for an old classic.

Launching all the way back in 2018, the iPhone XR will be turning 3 years old this month. In the world of smartphones, that is old, especially by the standards of Apple.

Across its phones, tablets, and laptops, Apple has always been quick to stop selling its old devices, usually only offering the latest versions of everything, but the iPhone XR has done well to buck this trend.

While it has been one of the brand's most popular devices, we can't help but feel that this week is the most logical time for it to finally be discontinued.

The right time for the iPhone XR to end

Way back in February, we were sure that the iPhone 13 launch would be the latest we'd see Apple sell the iPhone XR, and we still think that's true. 

Apple has a history of using its new launches to alter its existing roster. Whether that means discounting an old handset as it did with the iPhone 11 when the iPhone 12 came out or quietly discontinuing its old devices.

Back when the iPhone 12 launched last year, the phone giant cut away both the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It did the same to the iPhone XS and XS Max during the iPhone 11 launch and, the iPhone X came to an end when Apple went live with the iPhone XS and XS Max.

All of these devices were discontinued during Apple's phone launches in September and, for the most part, were only around for 1 or 2 years before Apple silently removed them.

This means the iPhone XR has made it further than most of its fellow iPhones and, an additional year on the market would make it the brand's longest-standing device ever.

Will you still be able to buy the iPhone XR?

Let's say Apple does cut the iPhone XR, what happens next? Are you still able to buy the device? Realistically, yes. This simply means Apple will stop selling it and stocking retailers with it.

Considering the device's popularity, most retailers across the world will continue to hold stock for quite a while. You won't be able to buy it directly from Apple anymore, but it will likely remain readily available for a few extra months.

When Samsung discontinued its Samsung Galaxy S20 trio way back in January, we saw most retailers and carriers continue to sell the device for months after, and then, when stock finally ran out, you could continue to buy the handset thanks to its mass number of refurbished offers floating around.

The same fate is pretty much a guarantee if Apple does decide to discontinue the iPhone XR. The one thing to consider is that while the culling of a device sounds like it would bring the price down, the dwindling stock levels could see the iPhone XR shoot right up in price.

Alex Hughes

Alex is a journalist who has written extensively about all things broadband, SIMs and phone contracts, as well as scouring the internet to land you the best prices on the very latest in gadgets and tech. Whether that be with the latest iPhones and Android handsets, breaking down how broadband works or revealing the cheapest SIM plans, he's in the know, and will help you land a bargain.