Preordering the iPhone X? Tips to avoid a backorder


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If you’re dead-set on pre-ordering the iPhone X, you’re not alone. The biggest four US carriers have hinted that iPhone 8 sales are weak, suggesting that people are either hanging on to their old devices or holding out for the iPhone X. And even those who did purchase an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus might be experiencing some buyers remorse — trade-ins for the iPhone 8 are high just weeks after the phone began shipping.

That puts anyone who wants to score an iPhone X in a precarious situation; it’s widely expected that the iPhone X will be in very, very limited supply when Apple begins taking preorders on Oct. 27. In order to have one in your hands on launch day, well, it’s going to take a bit of luck and a lot of planning ahead.

1. Set an alarm (or three)


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Be prepared to stay up late, or wake up really early, if you’re in the US. Apple’s preorders typically start at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET/8.01 a.m. UK/6 p.m. AEDT. Set multiple alarms to ensure you don’t sleep through the preorder. (Probably not a problem in Australia.)

2. Pay your wireless bill

Make sure your wireless bill is paid up. There’s nothing more disappointing during the iPhone order process than being told you need to pay your bill before the order can go through.

3. Confirm your upgrade status


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Just because you’re on a payment plan for your current phone doesn’t mean you’re eligible for an upgrade. Sometimes another payment toward your device needs to be paid; other times your carrier may ask for a bigger payoff before you’re eligible to upgrade.

In other words, log into your account through your carrier’s website and ensure you’re able to upgrade. Make any payments that will be required now, not on Oct. 27.

4. Get preapproved for the iPhone Upgrade Program


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Starting Oct. 23, members of Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program can take all of the necessary steps to complete the upgrade process, short of actually ordering the iPhone X. According to Apple’s upgrade site, members can use the Apple Store app to prepare for the preorder between Oct. 23 and Oct. 26. After that, apparently, you’re on your own. 

5. Consider a variety of models

The worst thing you can do in a competitive preorder situation is commit to a single model. Increase your odds of getting an iPhone X by considering a variety of models. For instance, the 256GB model (which is the most expensive) might be the least popular. Likewise, unlocked models are often very popular, so consider a carrier model. Generally speaking, the Verizon model can work on Sprint (after being unlocked); the AT&T and T-Mobile models can work on any GSM network (after being unlocked).  

6. Use the Apple Store app


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

By far the best way to order previous iPhones is through the Apple Store iOS app. The past few preorders I’ve placed have been through the app without a single issue. Most of the time the app is the first thing to come back after Apple takes the store offline.

Download the Apple Store app, then be sure to log into your Apple account.

One last thing: Go in right now and “heart” the iPhone X model you want. By doing so you can quickly pull up the exact model when it comes time to order through the Account tab.

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7. Multiple tabs

Despite the ease of use and success rate of the Apple Store app, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. Have a computer nearby with multiple tabs open.

I typically have one tab pointed at my carrier’s website and another at the Apple Store. Using Chrome, I use this Auto Refresh extension and set it to refresh each tab every 5 seconds. Once the preorder goes live, I then quickly disable the extension.

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8. Unfreeze your credit

Interacting with a carrier or Apple and taking part in one of the many iPhone upgrade programs typically requires some sort of credit check during the checkout process. And following the Equifax hack, you may have put a freeze on your credit.

With that in mind, you don’t want to miss out on a launch day unit just because you forgot to remove the freeze on your credit. In fact, you can do this right now through all three credit monitoring services, schedule a temporary freeze removal, and have it go back in place on Oct. 28. Below are direct links to each company’s respective page for doing just that:

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