• High-end iPhone models are currently in short supply.
  • Experts say you must be persistent in searching online retailers and local stores to find certain iPhones. 
  • If all else fails, consider buying a refurbished model or an Android phone.

An iPhone 14 in the box.

Finding a high-end iPhone in stock this holiday season may be challenging, but there are ways to make the search easier. 

The supply of iPhone 14 Pro and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max models is reportedly limited and unlikely to meet demand in the United States. Experts say that the shortage is due to manufacturing issues. 

“The majority of the iPhone’s manufacturing is based in China,” Biju Nair, an executive at Assurant, a company that provides phone insurance and refurbishing, told Lifewire in an email interview. “A few weeks ago, China’s government enforced a hard lockdown for its citizens based on its zero-COVID policy. Employees at the manufacturing and parts companies there were unable to go to work. As a result, production slowed down. This resulted in the current shortage of available inventory globally.”

No iPhone for You?

Apple said in a post on its website that COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly facility located in Zhengzhou, China. The company said the facility is currently operating at a reduced capacity. 

"We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models," Apple wrote. "However, we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated, and customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products. We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker."

Suhel Rana, the co-founder of the iPhone site techiaid.com, said in an email interview with Lifewire that it’s hard to find an iPhone Pro or Max in stock because of the high demand for the latest models of the iPhone. “This is especially true during the busy holiday season when sales are high,” Rana added. 

Find an iPhone, or Go Android

If you want to find a Pro model of iPhone right away, you may have to be flexible. Alaa Negeda, an IT expert and CTO for Alxtel, said in an email to Lifewire that certain colors of iPhones are less popular than others and therefore tend to be more available. 

"Some models are only available in certain colors, so it's important to find one that's available before making a purchase," he said. "Additionally, be sure to compare prices and find the best deal for the iPhone that you're looking for."

If you can't find an iPhone, some of the best alternatives would be to purchase an Android phone or a refurbished iPhone.

Regularly check the stock of online stores such as Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers to see if they have the new models in stock, Rana said. You may also try calling stores to see if they have the models in stock.

Apple makes it easy to check the shipping times and availability of iPhones on its website. Click on the company's Buy iPhone 14 Pro page and choose a model, color, storage, payment option, and carrier. The online store will display the phone's price, the estimated delivery date, and the option to pick it up in person at your nearest Apple store. 

"If you can't find an iPhone, some of the best alternatives would be to purchase an Android phone or a refurbished iPhone," Rana said. "Refurbished iPhones are usually cheaper than new ones and can offer a great alternative if you're on a budget."

Nair agreed that refurbished devices are an excellent alternative for people who can't find the latest smartphone models. He said the refurbished iPhone 12, iPhone 11, and iPhone XR are most likely to be available as they ranked among the top five mobile devices traded in during the third quarter of this year. 

Closeup on the top of an iPhone 14, showing the Dynamic Island.

"These devices look and operate as new, support the latest iOS upgrade, and offer great value to those looking to save money," he added. "In some cases, refurbished iPhone 13's are also available."

If all else fails and you can't find the iPhone of your dreams, you might want to consider an Android smartphone, Negeda said. 

"Android phones are available in a variety of price points and offer a variety of features that the iPhone does not," he added. "Android phones can be customized to look and feel like an iPhone, so if you are looking for an iPhone-like experience, an Android phone might be a good option."

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