Having a smartphone is nowadays essential for all people. The practical, portable, smart device helps us stay connected to our family members and friends, work, education, healthcare, and other emergency services, and it enables us to use the numerous convenient apps and features it offers.
However, as nowadays there are so many different phone brands and models available, some are naturally more and others less popular. In the U.S., Apple is the most desired phone brand. Its devices have constantly proven to be reliable, durable, advanced, powerful, attractive, and packed with security features and exciting features. Unfortunately, Apple iPhones are also among the most expensive smartphones in the world.
But fret not! There are several ways to receive an iPhone completely free of charge! One of those ways is through the government assistance program for low-income people in need.
Is It Possible to Get a Free iPhone 11 Under the Government Assistant Program?
While the combination of the Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) funds from the government has recently enabled several participating wireless providers to start offering free iPhones to eligible customers in need, expecting to receive a free government iPhone 11 is an overshoot. After all, iPhone 11 was only released in September of 2019 and it is considered one of the most advanced and popular iPhones yet. Its retail prices are simply too high to be covered by the government.
So, the answer is no – you cannot get a free government iPhone 11. Nonetheless, there are several other (older) iPhone models that are offered by certain Lifeline and ACP providers.
What Model of iPhone Does the Government Provide for Free?
Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program providers may not offer free government iPhone 11, however, some of them do offer certain other, several generations older iPhone models. Free government iPhone models include:
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8
It’s important to keep in mind that until recently Lifeline providers were only able to offer entry-level to mid-range Android smartphones and feature phones. It was only after the government launched the Affordable Connectivity Program during the pandemic that wireless providers that participated in both programs finally had enough resources to offer newer Android smartphones and even Apple iPhones. Moreover, while there are many wireless providers that offer both Lifeline and ACP benefits, only a few of them are generous enough to offer iPhones.
What is the Process to Get a Free iPhone Provided by the Government?
Currently, you can only receive a free iPhone provided by the government through two government assistance programs – Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Lifeline is a federal aid program that helps make communications services more affordable for low-income people and households. The program has been around since the mid-80s when the government recognized the vitality of communications services. It provides a discount on monthly phone, wireless, and internet services. Some Lifeline providers (not all) also offer free government phones.
The Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP, on the other hand, is a brand-new program that offers discounts on monthly broadband services. Some ACP providers also offer a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase an internet-connected device, such as a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
Currently, only some wireless companies that offer both Lifeline and ACP benefits offer free government iPhones. As such, in order to receive a free iPhone from the government, you must follow these steps:
- Check whether or not you qualify for Lifeline and the ACP. See the eligibility criteria in the next chapter.
- Make sure that you can also prove your eligibility. Simply claiming that you qualify just won’t be enough. See the list of acceptable proof documentation below.
- Apply for the Lifeline and ACP programs. After doing so through the National Verifier, you will have to find a Lifeline and ACP provider that offers free government iPhones in your state of residence and apply for a free iPhone. Alternatively, you can apply for the Lifeline and ACP program directly from your provider. See the exact application process below.
- Receive your free device and other benefits. Even though a free government iPhone 11 is currently not available, you can receive a high-quality iPhone model, as well as other great perks.
How to Qualify for a Free iPhone From the Government?
While Lifeline-only providers may offer entry-level flip pones to mid-range Android phones, free government iPhones are only provided by providers that offer both Lifeline and ACP benefits. As such, you must qualify for both programs.
In order to qualify, you must meet the universal government-determined eligibility criteria.
A household is Lifeline-eligible if it meets one of the following criteria:
- Income-based eligibility: The household’s annual income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- Program participation-based eligibility: A household member participates in at least one of the following qualifying government assistance programs, federal or Tribal:
- SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps
- SSI – Supplemental Security Income
- FPHA – Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
A household is ACP-eligible if it meets one of the following criteria:
- Income-based eligibility: The household’s annual income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- Program participation-based eligibility:
- A household member participates in Lifeline or any of the Lifeline-qualifying assistance programs listed above (federal or Tribal).
- A household member participates in WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children).
- The household participates in the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools.
- The household received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
Now, you may be wondering why we are focusing on households instead of individuals. We do so because according to government rules only one Lifeline and/or ACP benefit is available per eligible household. Moreover, the benefit is non-transferable.
In addition to the eligibility criteria listed above, both assistance programs are only available for people that are at least 18 years old or emancipated minors. Plus, the applicant can only choose a provider that offers its services in the applicant’s state of residence.
What Are the Documents Required While Applying for a Free Government iPhone?
As mentioned before, claiming that you qualify for a free government iPhone just won’t cut it. Instead, you will have to prove your eligibility with certain valid, official documents.
Depending on your eligibility criteria and which information the provider is able to verify on its own, there are 4 basic types of proof documentation:
- Proof of identity or age, such as:
- A valid government, military, state, or Tribal ID
- Birth Certificate
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization
- Driver’s license
- Government assistance program document
- Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
- Or another valid official document that contains your full legal name and date of birth
- Proof of address, such as:
- A valid government, state, or Tribal ID
- Driver’s license
- Mortgage or lease statement
- Most recent W-2 or tax return
- Utility bill
- Or another valid official document that contains your full legal name and physical address
- Proof of household income, such as:
- Child support award
- Current income statement from your employer or paycheck stubs
- Divorce decree
- Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance
- Prior year’s state, federal or Tribal tax return
- Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Or another valid official document that contains your full legal name and annual household income
- Proof of participation in a qualifying government assistance program, such as:
- Approval letter
- Benefit award letter
- Benefit verification letter
- Statement of benefits
- Or another valid official document that contains your full legal name, the name of the assistance program, the name of the establishment that issued the document, and an issue date within the last year or a future expiration date
You may also be required to provide:
- Your Social Security Number or Tribal ID Number
- Your duplicated address
- Proof of emancipation (in case of emancipated minors)
- Proof of life
How to Apply for a Free Government iPhone 11
Unfortunately, there are currently no Lifeline and ACP providers that would offer a free government iPhone 11. Nevertheless, you can apply for another free iPhone model.
There are three ways to apply for the Lifeline and ACP program and receive a free government iPhone:
To apply for Lifeline and ACP programs online through the Lifeline/ACP support center, follow these simple instructions:
- Visit nv.fcc.gov/lifeline (Lifeline online application form) or nv.fcc.gov/lifeline/?id=nv_flow&amp;amp;amp;ebbp=true (ACP online application form).
- You may be required to choose your state or territory and press ‘Get started’. You may also be asked to log in or create a new account.
- You will be redirected to the online application form. Complete it by providing the required information and documentation.
- At the bottom of each page, press ‘Next’, and submit your application at the end.
- Print out a Lifeline application at lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/get-lifeline/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf and ACP application at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/ACP-Application-Form-English.pdf.
- When applying for the ACP program, it is highly advisable to include a Household Worksheet, which can be found at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf.
- Complete the forms and add copies of your proof documentation.
- Send the package to Lifeline/ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
Directly through the Selected Provider
While some Lifeline and ACP providers require customers to apply at the Lifeline/ACP support center or National Verifier first, other providers enable clients to apply for the Lifeline and ACP program directly through their websites.
To apply directly through the provider, you must first find a company that offers free government iPhones in your area. Find a free government iPhone provider and learn how to apply for its free device in the next section.
Which Companies Offer Free Government iPhones?
As iPhone 11 is one of the latest and most expensive iPhone models, currently, no Lifeline or ACP provider offers a free government iPhone 11. Nevertheless, there are very few of them that offer other free government iPhone models. Moreover, all of these providers are affiliate companies from the same owner, therefore, they have a similar phone and program offer and application process.
Cintex Wireless is one of the most generous Lifeline and ACP providers. It offers Lifeline, ACP, and Lifeline + ACP plans, which are most valuable. In addition to the free phone, the provider also offers free monthly wireless services with free talk, text, and high-speed data.
To apply, visit cintexwireless.com. Press ‘Apply Now’. You will be redirected to another page. Type in your ZIP code in the provided search box and press ‘Apply now’ once again. If the company offers its services in your area, you will be redirected to your state’s offer page. If not, the system may notify you that one of their affiliate companies offers services in your area. If so, agree to be redirected to the affiliate company’s (AirTalk or NewPhone) website. Review the available plans, and select the one that best fits your needs by pressing ‘Apply Now’. Then, fill out the online application form and submit it at the end. If your application gets accepted, you will be notified via email.
See the list of Cintex’s free phones at cintexwireless.com/free-phone.
Cintex’s affiliate company, AirTalk Wireless, also offers three types of plans with free phones and free monthly wireless services with free talk, text, and high-speed data.
To apply, go to airtalkwireless.com and press ‘Apply Now’. Provide your ZIP code and if services are available, you will be redirected to your state’s offer page. Choose the best plan for you. Complete the online application form. If it gets approved, you will be notified.
See the list of AirTalk’s free phones at airtalkwireless.com/free-phone.
NewPhone Wireless is Cintex and AirTalk’s affiliate company. It offers Lifeline-only, ACP-only, and Lifeline + ACP combo plans and through those plans, customers can receive a free government iPhone or another free phone and free monthly wireless services with free talk, text, and high-speed data.
To sign up for these benefits, visit newphone.com. Press ‘Apply Now’ and when redirected, enter your ZIP code. If the company’s free services are available in your area, you will be able to select a plan that you qualify for. Once you press ‘Apply Now’ once again, you will be redirected to the online application form. Fill it out and submit it.
What Else Can I Get With a Free iPhone if I’m Lifeline Eligible?
You may not be able to receive a free government iPhone 11, however, you may be able to receive another free iPhone model from the government. Moreover, the government also offers several other benefits, including:
- A monthly Lifeline discount on phone, wireless, or internet services of up to $9.25 and $34.25 for eligible Tribal households.
- A monthly ACP discount on broadband services of up to $30 or $75 for eligible Tribal households.
- Certain ACP providers (including the three listed above) also offer a discount on internet-connected devices.
- Free monthly services with:
- Free talk minutes
- Free text messages
- Free monthly data
How Can I Get a Free iPhone 11 if the Government Doesn’t Give Free iPhones 11?
In case your heart is set on receiving a free iPhone 11 or you are unable to participate in the Lifeline and ACP assistance programs, there are still other ways to receive a free iPhone 11 or another iPhone model, including through a carrier or retailer’s promotional deal, by participating in online surveys, Amazon Vine, or giveaway contests, by becoming a reviewer or a free marketing agent, opting for used or refurbished devices, etc.
Currently, the following carriers and MVNOs are offering a free iPhone 11:
- Verizon. The carrier offers certified pre-owned Apple iPhone 11, Apple iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max for free if you add a new line and select a specific plan. This is an online-only deal.
- T-Mobile. The carrier offers a new Apple iPhone 11 with a 50% discount via 24 monthly bill credits when you add a new line.
- Metro by T-Mobile offers a new iPhone 11 for just $49.99 when you switch to Metro and select a specific plan.
As the carrier deals and discounts tend to update regularly, make sure to check the provider’s website for up-to-date offers.
Apart From the iPhone, Does the Government Offer Any Free Smartphone Models?
In addition to the free iPhone models listed above (ranging from iPhone SE to iPhone 8), Lifeline and ACP providers also offer many free Android smartphone models, including:
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel 2XL
- Google Pixel 3XL
- Google Pixel 4
- Google Pixel 4XL
- LG Aristo 4 Plus
- LG G8 ThinQ
- LG K51
- LG Stylo 6
- LG V50 ThinQ 5G
- LG Tribute Empire
- Motorola G Fast
- Motorola G Play
- Motorola G Stylus
- Motorola Moto G7
- Motorola Moto G8 Power
- Motorola Z3 Play
- Motorola Z4
- OnePlus 6
- OnePlus 7T
- OnePlus N10 Nord 5G
- OnePlus N200 Nord 5G
- Samsung Galaxy A01
- Samsung Galaxy A20s
- Samsung Galaxy A21
- Samsung Galaxy A32
- Samsung Galaxy A50
- Samsung Galaxy On5
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Samsung Note 8
- Samsung S9 Plus
- Unimax U693CL
Note: Most Lifeline and/or ACP providers do not reveal which phone models they offer in advance.
Free Government iPhone Related FAQ
Does Apple Offer Free iPhones?
Apple rarely offers free iPhones. Perhaps the only way to receive a free iPhone from Apple is by having a huge social media following and promoting the device to thousands if not millions of people.
Is iPhone 12 Available for Free From the Government?
No, the government does not offer such advanced, new, and expensive devices for free.
Is iPhone 13 Available for Free From the Government?
No, the government does not offer such advanced, new, and expensive devices for free.
Is It Possible to Get iPhone 14 for Free?
As the newest iPhone 14 model just got released, some major carriers already offer the device free of charge. However, in order to get it, you must meet some strict conditions.
Can I Get a Free iPhone 11 Without a Scam?
Definitely. There are many ways to receive a free iPhone 11 (as well as other others) for free without a scam, including through a carrier or retailer’s promotional deal, by participating in online surveys or giveaway contests, by becoming a reviewer or a free marketing agent, etc.