Die-hard Apple fans will tell you that iPhones are by far the best phones in the world. Android fans, on the other hand, may praise Samsung, Motorola, and other Android smartphones and criticize iPhones for their closed system, incompatibility with other devices, and high prices. However, no one can deny that iPhones truly are some of the most high-quality, reliable, and durable phones of our time.
Apple does its best to provide customers with a new model each year – a model that has even more powerful performance and advanced features. While the company has recently launched the brand-new iPhone 14 models, last year’s iPhone 13 models remain some of the most popular iPhones of all time.
Yes, it is true that Apple iPhones tend to be very pricey. But isn’t it also true that the government offers phones for low-income people completely free of charge? Indeed!
In this article, we will find out everything there is to know about free government iPhones, including whether or not it is possible to receive a free government iPhone 13.
Is It Possible to Get Free iPhone 13 From the Government?
The government offers free phones to people who are unable to afford one through their Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) initiatives.
You may have heard of the Lifeline phones referred to as the ‘Obama phones’. President Obama may have popularized the program, however, Lifeline was actually already launched in the 1980s. Lifeline is a government assistance program designed to help make communications services more affordable. It offers eligible low-income customers discounts on monthly phone, wireless, or internet services, and in certain cases, it also offers free phones.
The Affordable Connectivity Program, on the other hand, is a brand-new government aid program that provides discounts on monthly broadband services and in certain cases, internet-connected devices.
Before the ACP program was launched, Lifeline providers had limited government funds, therefore they were unable to offer their financially-struggling customers iPhones. They could only offer entry-level flip phone to mid-range Android smartphones. Ever since the government launched the ACP program in 2021, wireless providers that participate in both government programs have more resources, therefore, a handful of them has decided to start providing qualifying customers with iPhones as well.
So, to return to the question – no, it is not possible to get a free government iPhone 13, but yes, it is possible to get a free iPhone from the government, even though Lifeline and ACP providers do not offer the latest iPhone models, such as iPhone 12, 13, or 14. Instead, you can get an older iPhone model through the government assistance program.
List of Free iPhones Currently Offered by the Government
As we have established above, Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program government assistance providers do not offer a free government iPhone 13. The reason for that is that the financial support that Lifeline and ACP providers get from the government is not high enough to provide eligible customers with the most expensive devices. Instead, the funds are only high enough to offer customers some slightly older iPhone and Android smartphone models.
Until recently, Lifeline providers were only able to provide basic Android smartphones. Nowadays, the wireless providers that participate in both government aid programs have enough funds to provide more advanced phones, including iPhones. However, the exact offer depends on each individual provider. Currently, there are only a few Lifeline and ACP providers that are generous enough to offer iPhones. These providers offer the following iPhone models:
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- Apple iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8
These may not be the most recent iPhones, however, they are all packed with great features, powerful technologies, and advanced options. Moreover, they all remain popular and very relevant today.
For example, the latest iPhone model that you can receive from the government free of charge is the Apple iPhone 8. It was released in 2017 and it runs on iOS 11, up to iOS 16. The phone has 64GB to 256GB of storage with no card slot, 2GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch 750 x 1334 Retina IPS LCD display, a 12MP main camera, a 7 MP selfie camera, a 1821mAh Li-Ion battery with an endurance rating of 66 hours, a fingerprint scanner, face detection feature, and other advanced options.
Best Provider That Offers Free Government iPhone
Even though no companies offer a free government iPhone 13, currently, there are three Lifeline and ACP providers that offer other Apple iPhone models. All of these companies are affiliate companies by the same owner, therefore, they offer very similar devices (iPhones as well as Android smartphones), and services, and have the same application processes. Therefore, we can safely say that all of these three companies are equally good. In fact, it is also safe to claim that these same three companies are among the best Lifeline and ACP providers overall. If you are lucky enough that any of these companies offers its services in your state of residence, then you will be able to receive a free government iPhone and other amazing benefits.
AirTalk Wireless is one of the best and most popular Lifeline and ACP providers. It offers a free government assistance program that includes a free unlimited plan with high-speed data, talk, and text, a free smartphone, and even a one-time ACP discount on tablets. AirTalk (as well as its affiliate companies, Cintex and NewPhone Wireless) is also one of the very few Lifeline and ACP providers that enable qualifying customers to choose the free phone they wish to receive themselves. Most providers don’t offer this option. Instead, they tend to provide a phone that happens to be available at the moment without notifying the customer in advance.
AirTalk Wireless provides its benefits to eligible low-income residents of California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
You can sign up for a free government iPhone and other benefits at AirTalk by following these simple steps:
- Step 1: Go to airtalkwireless.com.
- Step 2: Press ‘Apply Now’.
- Step 3: When redirected, enter your ZIP code in the provided box. Press ‘Apply Now’.
- Step 4: If the company’s services are available in your area, you will be redirected to your state’s offer. There, you can see which plans are available in your area and the exact list of benefits that you can expect to receive. Typically, there are three types of plans – Lifeline plan, ACP plan, and the most valuable Lifeline & ACP Combo plan. The last one is the only one that enables you to choose the phone and receive a free government iPhone. Select the plan by pressing ‘Apply Now’ underneath its description.
- Step 5: You will then be redirected to the company’s online application form. Fill it out by providing all the required data, including personal information, household information, eligibility information and proof, and the selected plan and phone you wish to receive.
- Step 6: Submit the application. If your application gets approved, you will be notified via email.
- Step 7: Expect to receive the free device and other benefits within a few days.
Cintex Wireless is a Lifeline and ACP provider that is just as popular and truly great as the previous one. After all, they are affiliate companies. This company also offers a free monthly wireless plan that provides customers with high-speed data, talk, and text. Moreover, qualifying customers can receive a free government iPhone or Android smartphone, and ACP customers can even get a one-time ACP discount on tablets.
Cintex offers its benefits and discounts to eligible residents of 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.
If you wish to apply for Cintex Wireless’s free government benefits, make sure to visit cintexwireless.com and then follow the exact same steps that are described under the AirTalk Wireless enrollment process (steps 2 to 7).
In addition to AirTalk and Cintex Wireless, NewPhone Wireless also offers a great government assistance program with amazing benefits, including a free unlimited plan with high-speed data, talk, and text, and a free government phone (you can choose between an iPhone, Android smartphone, or a basic flip phone). The company sometimes also offers discounted ACP tablets, however, these discounted devices are currently not available.
NewPhone Wireless offers its benefits, services, and free devices in many U.S. states, including 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 and receive a free government iPhone, visit the company’s official website at newphone.com. Then, follow the same steps (steps 2 to 7) that are described under the AirTalk Wireless enrollment process.
What is the Process of Getting a Free Government iPhone?
As mentioned before, currently, there is no way to receive a free government iPhone 13, as the device is simply too new and expensive for the government to offer for free. Nevertheless, there are some older iPhone models available. In addition, in a few years’ time when the iPhone 13 model will already be older and cheaper, customers will perhaps be also able to receive a free government iPhone 13. Until that happens, however, let’s focus on the devices that are available.
The process of getting a free government iPhone through one of the Lifeline and ACP providers that offer free iPhones is relatively simple, yet just as strict and important. In order to successfully apply and enjoy the benefits, you must follow these exact steps:
- Step 1: Make sure that you qualify for both the Lifeline assistance program and the Affordable Connectivity Program, as only customers who participate in both programs can sign up for a plan that offers free government iPhones. See the eligibility criteria in the next section.
- Step 2: Claiming that you qualify for the program is not enough. You must also be able to prove it, otherwise, people would be taking advantage of the program. To prove your eligibility, you will have to provide certain valid official documents that include all the vital information. See the list of acceptable documentation in the section ‘What Documents Are Required When Applying for a Free Government iPhone’ below.
- Step 3: Apply for a free government iPhone and other benefits. In addition to applying directly through the provider, you may also be required to apply for the Lifeline and ACP programs through the corresponding support centers. You can see how to do so in the section ‘How to Apply for a Free Government iPhone’.
- Step 4: If approved, enjoy the benefits!
How to Qualify for a Free Government iPhone
Only Lifeline and ACP subscribers can apply for a free government iPhone and other benefits. In order to qualify you must meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:
Your household is Lifeline-eligible if your annual household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. The guideline depends on your household size and state.
Your household is ACP-eligible if your annual household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The guideline depends on your household size and state.
Program Participation-based Eligibility
Your household is also Lifeline-eligible if one of the household members participates in one (or more) of the following qualifying government assistance programs:
- Medicaid / Medi-Cal
- Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) / CalFresh
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
Your household is also ACP-eligible if one of the household members participates in one (or more) of the following qualifying government assistance programs:
- Any of the Lifeline-qualifying programs listed above
- Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
- Or if the household received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
In addition, the applicant must be a resident of one of the states where the selected provider offers its services and at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. Moreover, as both government assistance programs are limited to 1 benefit per household, make sure that no other member of your household has applied.
What Documents Are Required When Applying for a Free Government iPhone
In order to successfully apply for Lifeline and ACP to receive a free government iPhone, you will need to provide copies of certain valid official documents that prove your eligibility. To ensure a fast and smooth enrollment process, prepare and provide one item for each section below:
Proof of Identification
- Passport (unexpired)
- A valid government, military, state, or Tribal ID
- Driver’s License
- Birth Certificate
- Certificate of Naturalization or of U.S. Citizenship
- Permanent Resident or Resident Alien Card (unexpired)
Proof of Address
- Government, State, or Tribal Issued ID (unexpired)
- Driver’s License
- Current Income Statement, Paycheck Stub, or W2
- Statement of Benefits from a Qualifying Program Which Contains Name And Address
- Current Mortgage or Lease Statement
- Utility Bill
Proof of Income
- Current income statement from your employer or paycheck stubs
- Prior year’s state, federal or Tribal tax return
- Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Divorce decree or child support award
- Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance
Proof of Government Benefit Participation
- Current or prior year’s statement of benefits from a qualifying state, federal or Tribal program
- Notice letter of participation in a qualifying state, federal or Tribal Program
- Program participation documents
- Another official document evidencing the consumer’s participation in a qualifying state, federal or Tribal Program
You may also be asked to provide a duplicate address, your Social Security Number, proof of life, or proof of emancipation (emancipated minors only).
How to Apply for a Free Government iPhone
You may be able to apply for a government iPhone solely directly through the provider. To do so, choose the provider and follow the enrollment process described in the section ‘Best Provider That Offers Free Government iPhone’.
However, in certain cases, you may also be required to apply through the Lifeline and ACP Support Center first. You can do so online or via mail.
To apply for Lifeline and ACP programs online through the Lifeline/ACP support center, follow these quick and easy steps:
- Visit nv.fcc.gov/lifeline (Lifeline online application form) or nv.fcc.gov/lifeline/?id=nv_flow&amp;amp;amp;amp;ebbp=true (ACP online application form).
- If prompted, choose your state or territory and press ‘Get started’. You may be required to log in or create a new account.
- You will be redirected to the online application form. Fill it out by providing the required information and copies of proof 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 recommended to include a Household Worksheet, which can be found at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf.
- Fill out the forms and add copies of your proof documentation.
- Send the package to Lifeline/ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
List of Other Phones Besides the iPhones That the Government Offers for Free
Lifeline and ACP-participating wireless providers may not offer free government iPhone 13, however, they do offer various other Apple iPhone models. But the story does not end here!
Lifeline and ACP providers also offer a large variety of Android smartphones, Google phones, and flip phones. While most government assistance providers do not disclose which phone brands and models they offer in advance, as their offer depends on the client’s plan, state, and phone availability, some providers (including the three that offer free government iPhones) do disclose this information in advance. These companies currently offer the following Android, Google, and flip phones:
- Alcatel Go Flip 3
- Alcatel Go Flip 4
- Coolpad Belleza
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel 2XL
- Google Pixel 3XL
- Google Pixel 4XL
- LG Aristo 4 Plus
- LG K51
- LG Stylo 6
- LG V50 ThinQ 5G
- Motorola G Play
- Motorola G Stylus
- Motorola Moto G7
- Motorola Moto G8 Power
- Motorola Z4
- OnePlus 6
- OnePlus 7T
- OnePlus N10 Nord 5G
- OnePlus N200 Nord 5G
- Samsung Galaxy A01
- Samsung Galaxy A21
- Samsung Galaxy A32
- Samsung Galaxy A50
- Samsung Galaxy On5
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Samsung Note 8
- Samsung S9 Plus
- Unimax U693CL
- And many others
Is There Any Other Way to Get Free iPhone 13?
Unfortunately, Lifeline and ACP providers do currently not offer free government iPhone 13. Instead, they offer several other free government iPhone models.
Nevertheless, if your heart is set on getting an iPhone 13 (and if so, we can’t blame you, as the device truly has some amazing features) but you don’t have enough money to pay for it upfront, fret not! There are still numerous other ways to get a free iPhone 13. You can try the following:
- Enter an online giveaway (watch out for scams)
- Participate in Amazon Vine or online surveys
- Become a reviewer or marketing agent
- Find a retailer or carrier’s promotional deal. Keep in mind that these types of deals always have some special requirements and conditions, such as paying for the device in installments, switching to their services, adding a line, purchasing a select plan, trading in an old device in good working condition, buying another device at a full price, etc. Currently, the following wireless providers offer a free iPhone 13:
- Verizon. You can get an iPhone 13 mini for free if you add a new line and purchase a specific plan.
- AT&T. You can get an iPhone 13 or an iPhone 13 Pro for $15 a month 13 (you pay in 36 monthly installments) if you purchase a select plan. You can get the iPhone 13 mini for $17.50 a month and the iPhone 13 Pro Max for $20 a month.
- Mint Mobile. You can get an iPhone 13 mini for $60 a month, an iPhone 13 for $94 a month, an iPhone 13 Pro for $83 a month, and an iPhone 13 Pro Max for $100 a month, all with 6 months of free Mint Mobile service.
- Visible. At Visible you can get a $150 gift card if you switch to the carrier.
- Xfinity Mobile. Xfinity currently offers considerable discounts on Apple iPhone 13. Customers who activate a new line, transfer their number, and agree to pay the device over 24 months, can get the phone with 128GB of storage for as low as $13.75 per month. If you trade in an old phone, you can get an additional discount.
Note: As the carrier deals and special offers tend to update and change regularly, make sure to check out their websites before purchasing the device.