Preordering a new iPhone brings no end of anxiety. Most people only do this every two years and, at the most, we might do it once a year. So, when the minute hand clicks into place at 5:00 AM PDT/ 8:00 AM EDT, we're all full of anxiety and stress, hoping to be one of the first to get our iPhone delivered on launch day.
We've been through this process many, many times and, thanks to our experiences, have a list of best practices for preparing for your iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro preorder, as well as, the things you should do during the ordering process. Here is everything you need to know to get through the preorder process the absolute fastest possible.
- Decide which method you're going to use to preorder your iPhone
- Pick your iPhone model ahead of time
- Pick a backup option
- Double-check your personal information on file with Apple
- Have your credit card nearby
- Have your carrier account information on hand
- Use the Apple Store app, but have a second device ready as backup
- If possible, choose delivery (not in-store pickup)
- Do a test run
Decide which method you're going to use to preorder your iPhone
iMore recommends using the Apple Store app on your iPhone or iPad as the fastest way to preorder your new iPhone. The reason we suggest going through Apple is that the company has more stock than a carrier like AT&T or Verizon, as well as electronics sellers like Best Buy and Walmart. The reason we suggest using the app is that it seems to be able to better handle the influx of orders that hit the servers the second it goes live.
I actually recommend having both the Apple Store app and Apple.com up and ready so that, if one fails, you've got the other right in front of you.
That being said, if you've had a smooth experience with your carrier, by all means, use that method instead. It's more important that you feel comfortable with the process than it is to do something unfamiliar and get flustered along the way.
Pick your iPhone model ahead of time
Don't wait until midnight to pick your model, color, carrier, and capacity. Apple provides a handy favoriting option so you can keep the iPhone of your choice tucked away and ready to purchase.
You can pick your iPhone via Apple.com or through the Apple Store app on your iPhone or iPad. Whichever method you use to pick your model, make sure you're signed in with the same Apple ID in both places so your saved information carries over.
- Select the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro.
- Select your carrier.
- Select your finish.
- Select your capacity.
- Select your payment option.
- Select which AppleCare+ policy you want if you want to add it.
After you've selected a payment option, the ability to favorite the device will appear. On the website, scroll down to the section that shows the device availability and tap the heart. On the Apple Store app, tap the heart in the upper right corner of the screen.
Your favorites are saved in your account section. On the website, click on the bag in the upper right corner, then click on Favorites. On the Apple Store App, tap yourAccount profile in the upper right corner. Your favorites will be listed under your payment and shipping sections.
Pick a backup option
Don't assume that the model you want will be available to ship on launch day. If you want your iPhone as soon as possible, and color options and capacity are not totally significant to your life, choose at least one backup second-choice option.
I actually have three choices, one for each color. My carrier is the only thing that isn't different across my favorites.
Double-check your personal information on file with Apple
This step is very important, and can sometimes be the singular issue that trips a person up during preorder. Check to make sure that all of the information on file with Apple is correct and up to date. Make sure your credit card expiration date is correct, your shipping address is correct, and your billing address matches your credit card account information.
You can find this information on Apple.com or via the Apple Store app on iPhone and iPad.
On the website, click on the bag in the upper right corner, then click on Account. On the Apple Store app, tap your Account profile, then tap Primary Payment to check your payment information. Tap Primary Shipping to confirm your shipping address.
Have your credit card nearby
I recommend keeping your credit card close by during the preorder process. Even though your card information is on file with Apple, you might have to manually enter the three-digit security confirmation code that is on the back of your physical card. Most of us don't have that number memorized, especially in the middle of the night.
Have your carrier account information on hand
When preordering, you'll be asked to select whether you want to buy your iPhone on an existing wireless carrier account or replace a phone on your current carrier account. Whether you're replacing a phone or adding a phone, you'll need your carrier account information if you're not purchasing your iPhone SIM-free.
Note: When selecting an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro on the Apple Store app, your two options will be, "Replace this iPhone" or "Buy a new iPhone on an existing wireless carrier." If you are purchasing a SIM-Free iPhone, select the latter. You'll be able to choose the SIM-Free option on the next screen.
Make sure to have handy your wireless phone number, your billing zip code, and the last four digits of your social security number.
Note: If you don't already have a PIN set up with your carrier, do so ahead of time to speed up the confirmation process with Apple. If you don't already have a PIN enabled, Apple will send you a one-time passcode to confirm.
Use the Apple Store app, but have a second device ready as backup
If you don't already have it, download the Apple Store app to your iPhone or iPad and sign in with your Apple ID. Make sure everything is set up and ready to go. Double-check to see that your iPhone model choices are saved in your favorites. The Apple Store app is still faster than ordering via a web browser. This should be your first pathway to preordering.
You should, however, have Apple.com up and running on your computer just in case something goes wrong on your device and you have to quickly switch over. Do the same check on the web as you did on the Apple Store app; make sure you are signed in and your iPhone model choices are saved in your favorites.
If possible, choose delivery (not in-store pickup)
You might think that in-store pickup is the best way to get your iPhone right away, but that's not always the case. Think of direct delivery as a giant warehouse where millions of iPhones are stacked up, waiting for you to buy with hundreds of employees ready to bring one to you. Think of your local Apple Retail store as a small building where only a limited number of iPhones can actually fit and where there is only so much room for smiling Apple employees. Choosing delivery is going to offer the highest chance of getting your iPhone to you the fastest.
If delivery is absolutely not an option (if you won't be around when the delivery is made and you don't want to pre-sign to have it left on your doorstep), you're not totally busted if you choose in-store pickup if it's available during preorder in your area. There's still a chance that, if you're fast, you can be one of the first to pick it up in person.
It's important to note that, if you do choose in-store pickup, Apple will only hold your iPhone for 20 days. After that, your order might be canceled. You can call Apple and request a specific pick up window, which should help if your schedule is tight.
Do a test run
It's a good idea to do a test run purchase via whichever method you will be preordering your new iPhone. Pick something small, something you want anyway, like a case or Qi wireless charger. Save it to your favorites, then complete the order process so you know for sure that everything is as it should be (your address is correct, your credit card on file is up to date, etc.).
We know how stressful it can be to preorder an iPhone, hoping to have it in hand on launch day, but remember: it's just a phone and you'll get it eventually, even if it is a little late. Take a deep breath and try to relax.
Do you have any questions about our method for the fastest way to preorder the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro? Put them in the comments and we'll walk you through it.
Updated September 2019: Update for the latest iPhone launch.
The iPhone 11 is the new normal. It's got nearly all the bells and whistles, but for $300 less. It's not the low-end iPhone. It's thee iPhone.
With a triple-lens camera, 4 or 5 extra hours of battery, and new Midnight Green, the pro level iPhone comes in two sizes: 5.8 and 6.5.
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