iPhone 11Source: iMore

Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program allows you to get an unlocked iPhone without paying for the whole thing up front. Instead you pay for it monthly. You also get AppleCare+ for your device thrown in as well, just part of the monthly cost. But one of the other benefits of the iPhone Upgrade Program is the pre-approval system, which Apple uses to make ordering your iPhone as fast as possible.

Available both for returning Upgrade Program customers, as well as those just signing up, pre-approval is just what it sounds like: Apple and Citizen One (who actually supplies the loans for the iPhones) will approve you ahead of when orders for the new iPhone actually start. In this process, you'll also select what model, color, and storage capacity you want for your new iPhone.

Note that, at this time, you can only receive pre-approval through the Apple Store app on your iPhone, not on your iPad.

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Pre-approval availability for iPhone pre-orders takes place within the week of preorder dates. If you don't see the option to get pre-approved, it is not yet available and you'll want to check back at a later date.

How to get pre-approved for the iPhone Upgrade Program

  1. Launch the Apple Store app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap View pricing.
  3. Tap Get Started at the top of the page under Get ready for pre-order now with the iPhone Upgrade Program.
  4. Tap Get ready for pre-order now if you are enrolling for the first time or Get a head start on your upgrade if you are currently enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program and follow the instructions to check your eligibility.
  5. Select the iPhone model you want to preorder.
  6. Tap Get Ready.

    The Apple Store App showing how to get preapproval for iPhone  preorders in the iPhone Upgrade ProgramSource: iMore

  7. Select your carrier.
  8. Select your finish.
  9. Select your capacity.
  10. Select the AppleCare+ coverage you want (if you want to upgrade to AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss).
  11. Tap Confirm iPhone Preference.
  12. Tap Continue to go to the next section.
  13. Confirm your carrier. You'll need the wireless number for the phone you would like to replace and your 4-digit account PIN.

    The Apple Store app showing the pre-approval screen and a carrier screen for iPhone preorder preapproval of the iPhone Upgrade ProgramSource: iMore

  14. Tap Continue.
  15. Tap Continue to go to the next section.
  16. Fill out the personal information needed to get loan approval for the iPhone Upgrade Program. You'll need to enter your Social Security Number, your billing and shipping address, credit card payment method, date of birth, and total annual income.
  17. Tap Continue to get pre-approval.

    The Apple Store app showing a carrier PIN and the personal information form for iPhone preorder preapproval for the iPhone Upgrade ProgramSource: iMore

Your pre-approval will last three days after iPhone preorder begins. Once the preorder ends, outstanding pre-approvals will expire.

Getting pre-approval for an iPhone pre-order does not reserve an iPhone for you. It is still a first-come, first-serve basis. Going through the pre-approval process allows you to select the model you want for faster checkout than starting from scratch.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to get loan pre-approval for the iPhone Upgrade Program? Put them in the comments and I'll help you out.

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