If you’re an iPhone Upgrade Program customer, your dedication to Apple is about to pay off big time. How big? How about being able to purchase the latest iPhone 12 in minutes without ever having to set foot in an Apple store.
If you’re current on your account and have paid at least 12 payments on your iPhone Upgrade Program plan (which you should, since the phones came out a month later this year), you can get pre-approved right now for your contractually promised upgrade without having to spend an extra cent. This lets you get your loan approval paperwork out of the way early so that you’ve got a leg up on everyone else that’ll be scrambling to pre-order an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro on Friday morning.
Looking for an iPhone 12 mini or iPhone Pro Max? Sadly, you can’t get pre-approved for those yet, but you can start working through the process below in the Apple Store app and sign up for reminders that will ping you when you can continue your pre-approval next month.
You have until 4 PM PDT on Thursday, October 15 to get your pre-approval on the books. But once you do, your ordering process will be quick and easy. If you’re planning on upgrading this year (I mean, you’re allowed to upgrade every year, so why wouldn’t you), there’s no excuse to not get pre-approved today.
Check Your Eligibility
This step is simple. For iPhone Upgrade Program Customers, when you open the Apple Store app, you’ll see that Apple has already checked your eligibility for you and determined what you need to pay in order to upgrade. Click Start now and the app will take you to the pre-approval screen.
The landing page for the pre-approval process outlines the steps that you have to follow to get your new iPhone. Just keep in mind that if your iPhone has a busted screen or major damage, Apple will charge you the $100 AppleCare+ premium for a replacement iPhone.
An interesting wrinkle is that Apple recommends right on this screen that you complete your preorder by 5 AM PDT on October 16, instead of previous years where the floodgates opened at midnight PDT (3 AM on the east coast). The pro is that you get to sleep in a little bit. The downside is that there will be a lot more people awake.
Choose Your Weapon
Select either the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 12 Pro. Honestly, other than colors and a couple of camera upgrades, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two models this year. They both have the same design and use the same 6.1-inch screen.
The iPhone 12 Pro gets a telephoto lens, which enables further image optimization. It also has a portrait camera capable of taking night mode photos. The iPhone 12 Pro also starts at 128GB of memory. So, essentially, you’re paying an extra $300 for two cameras, more muted colorways, and the option to add the most possible onboard memory. Choose wisely.
Once you select which iPhone you want, you’re taken to the standard ordering screen for the selected device. Here you’ll choose your color and your memory options. If you’re OK with 64GB, then the standard 12 is a good choice. The Pro models start at 128GB and have 256GB or 512GB options. Then select and confirm your carrier. Your monthly payment will be clearly displayed for each option (minus any AppleCare+ add-ons).
Once you’ve selected your iPhone of choice, you can opt to either keep standard AppleCare+, which is built in to the cost of 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.
However, if you’d like additional coverage, you can opt for Theft and Loss coverage at an additional $4.16 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 if your iPhone 12 is snatched or is lost at sea (for example).
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.
Before you move on to the next step, make sure that it’s exactly the iPhone 12 or 12 Pro that you want to pre-order. You won’t be able to change your pre-approval until pre-orders begin and you’ll be stuck in the pre-order scrum with everyone else.
Verify your carrier (make sure you have your device handy for a one-time code). Once you confirm, the Apple Store app walks you through getting qualified for the loan. All of your information from previous years is already filled into the application (finally!). What’s even nicer is that, if you have an Apple Card, the information will automatically be filled on the loan applications. Using your Apple Card gets you 3% back on each installment 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 PDT (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!