Best way to buy a set of AirPods — and quickly

Apple's AirPods snuck onto the scene in late December 2016 — where they've pretty much stayed backordered. Currently, if you attempt to grab a pair from Apple's online store, you'll be waiting a few weeks for in-store pickup or home delivery.

But don't despair: Ordering from Apple isn't the only way to grab a set of AirPods. We've got a few ways you can still snag a set before the fall.

Check the big box stores

Many chain retailers and carrier stores now have AirPods in stock with only a few days' wait before they ship — or even same day in-store pickup! Here are the websites we've seen that currently have AirPods available:

Check out AirPods Is In Stock or iStockNow

If you'd prefer to buy directly from Apple, helpful AirPods fans have built an email notification system in "AirPods Is In Stock" to help alert you when AirPods are in stock at your store. Input your email address and your preferred store, and the web app will ping you with a notification. If you desperately need to be the first to know, you can even sign up for "preferred" notifications by throwing the developers a few bucks.

iStockNow also has a full live-tracker that lists every store as it goes in and out of stock, along with a notification service.

Visit an Apple Store today

Apple has confirmed that AirPods often get restocked in retail stores across the country in limited supplies. This is a separate stock from the company's pre-orders, and goes directly to store shelves. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't offer any sort of reservation system for these, so if you plan to pick them up from a store, here's how you do it:

Apple often enters new retail stock into its computers either the night prior (after 7PM) or in the morning, usually on Thursdays. Though you won't be able to find out online if there's new stock, calling the store or visiting when it opens can get you a set at the door. (This is how I picked up a set for both my fiancé and my best friend.)


Visit an Apple Authorized Reseller or carrier

Apple Stores, carriers, and chain stores aren't the only ones getting regular AirPods deliveries: Your local Apple Authorized Reseller may have them, too. Depending on your store, their policies on calling to reserve products may be different than the Apple Store, so it's worth giving them a call to find out whether they're getting AirPods in, and if so, how they plan to put them on sale.

Other suggestions?

These are the primary options I'd currently rely on, but do you have other suggestions for snagging a pair of AirPods? Let us know in the comments.

Updated August 21, 2017: AirPods are now in stock across a number of chain stores and carrier outlets!

AirPods: Ultimate Guide

Main