If you’re an iPhone Upgrade Program customer, you don’t have to wait till 8 AM ET (5 AM PT) on Friday, September 15 to start your iPhone 15 pre-order process. You can do everything, from checking your eligibility, to choosing your new phone, to getting pre-approved for your iPhone 15 loan right now.
Current iPhone Upgrade Program subscribers that have paid at least 12 payments on their plan, can get pre-approved right now for their contractually promised upgrade without having to spend an extra cent.
Why do you want to do this? Because filling out all the paperwork and getting loan approval takes time. It will take even longer on Friday morning when Apple’s site is melting down from pre-order traffic. With the tedious application process out of the way, you get to jump to the front of the line and just pay for the balance due on your pre-order without having to do anything else.
It can make the difference between getting an iPhone 15 or 15 Pro series device on the first day it’s available at the end of September or sometime in October when the second wave of hardware arrives.
The window to order is short
You have until 4 PM PT on Thursday, September 14 to get your pre-approval processed. Once you do, your actual ordering process will be quick and easy. If you can’t get in right now, don’t panic. As long as you get your order squared away before the window closes, the actual ordering part should only take about 30 seconds. Processing your upgrade now doesn’t save you a place in line on Friday.
One word of advice, if you’re using an Apple Card for your purchase (a wise decision because you’ll get 3% cash back), make sure you have a backup card ready. In previous years Apple Card transactions have sometimes failed under the increased pre-order traffic. If it does, just process it with your backup card, then reach out to Apple Card support later. They’ll be able to work things out.
Step 1: Check your eligibility
This step is simple. For iPhone Upgrade Program Customers, open the Apple Store app and click the Your phone is eligible for an upgrade widget. You can also click the For You icon where there will be a similar banner prompting you to check your upgrade eligibility. Apple starts checking as soon as you click and will let you know if you need to pay anything in order to upgrade (for those who haven’t completed 12 payments).
Unlike previous years where the app would walk you through a status verification of your current iPhone to make sure it was free of defects, this is now covered by an informational banner. The assumption is that you’ll be on the hook for any major cracks, dents, or dysfunctional hardware.
Keep in mind that Apple uses third-party evaluators for their trade-ins and they sometimes log incorrect issues with devices. I’ve had several trade-ins that required a call to Apple to get sorted out to ensure I got my full value. Your trade-in doesn’t have to happen before you receive your new iPhone, so you can wait till after the initial craziness of launch has died down. You may want to wait and turn your device in at an Apple Store. They mark the condition of your phone immediately.
If you do avail yourself of a mail-in trade, take pictures of your device before you turn it in so that you can prove its condition.
Ready to continue? Click Upgrade Now.
Step 2: Choose your device
Select either the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro model line. They range in size from 6.1″ for the standard iPhone and iPhone Pro to 6.7″ for the 15 Plus and Pro Max.
There are other differences as well between the standard and Pro modes. The Pro models all have more muted, darker colors (some would say “boring,” luckily there are phone cases) due to their new titanium coating and sport an advanced camera kit, more memory, faster chips, and in the Pro Max, a telephoto lens that uses internal hardware to give you even better zoom.
You’re then taken to the standard ordering screen for the iPhone you selected. Here you’ll choose your color, your memory options (the Pro models also go all the way up to 1TB). Then, select your carrier. Your monthly payment will be clearly displayed for each option (minus any AppleCare+ add-ons).
Before you move on to the next step, make sure that it’s exactly the iPhone that you want to pre-order. You won’t be able to change your pre-approval until five days after pre-orders go live.
Step 3: Select (or skip) extra protection
The cost of AppleCare+ is built into your purchase agreement. This gives you replacement and repair protection, letting you get minor damage fixed for free or a whole new iPhone for $100 if the damage is severe enough.
But if you’re worried about losing your new iPhone or having it stolen, Theft and Loss coverage can give you peace of mind at an extra $4.19 a month. It requires you to have the Find My app enabled on your phone at the time of loss (but you should be using that already). Other than that caveat, the Theft and Loss program will let you pick up a replacement device for a $149 premium (considerably cheaper than buying a new iPhone).
Whether or not that’s worth it is up to you, but if you’ve ever lost your iPhone or had it stolen, it might be worth considering.
Step 4: Wake up early on Friday morning
Once you confirm your device options, the Apple Store app walks you through confirming your wireless carrier and getting qualified for the loan. If you have multiple phones you’re upgrading on the same account, you may run into trouble. I wasn’t able to assign pre-ordered iPhones to any number but the main number on my T-Mobile account. Thankfully, an eSIM reassignment is an easy thing to do once you have your new device in hand.
If you have an Apple Card, make sure that you use your card’s number (located in the card details in the Wallet app) if it isn’t automatically filled in. Doing so will get you 3% back on each payment.
Once you’re done, click the option to add the pre-order event to your calendar! After all, it would be a shame to get this far and then forget to set your alarm. The landing page of the Apple Store app will reflect that you’re pre-approved. On Friday at 5 AM PT (8 AM ET) that will change to a link that you can click to go directly to the pre-order for the iPhone that you chose during pre-approval.
See you bright and early on Friday morning!
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