Apple isn’t allowing pre-orders on the iPhone 5s this year, but if all you want is the colorful new iPhone 5c, Sprint and Verizon have already confirmed pre-orders will begin by 12AM exactly… the same time iPhone 5 preorders started last year.
The iPhone 5c is likely to be one of Apple’s most wildly in-demand phones ever, thanks to its cheaper price and variety of colors, and while Apple is attempting to balance the crush on their website by starting pre-orders in the middle of the night, it will, in all likelihood, still be a madhouse when Apple starts selling iPhones later tonight.
Hence this guide. We’re going to walk you through the the most efficient ways to absolutely ensure you get your iPhone 5c pre-ordered at the stroke of midnight so you can get back to sleep and enjoy your device on Friday.
Know What Time iPhone 5c Orders Start In Your Location
The world’s a big place, and while iPhone 5c pre-orders kick off at midnight Cupertino time, depending on where you are, that could be quite a bit later.
Make sure to double check before you set your alarms. I find the easiest way to check the time zone difference is with the iPhone’s World Clock feature. Simply tap the + sign, type in Cupertino, and you’ll see what time it is on the west coast relative to you.
You can also use Wolfram Alpha for a quick calculation. Just go over to the link and type:
When it is midnight in Cupertino, CA what time is it in [Your City, State and/or Country]
For example, when if you do that search with the results for Boston, MA, it tell sme that when it is midnight in Cupertino, it is 3:00AM in Boston. Easy!
Set Your Alarm For 20 Minutes Ahead Of Time
We don’t really care what kind of alarm you use — the iOS app, one of the fancy ones in the App Store, or even one of those loud bedside speakers — but whichever one you pick, make sure to set it twenty minutes before pre-orders go up.
Why? A couple of reasons. One, chances are, you’re going to have to wake up early for this, and you want to give yourself enough time to rise from your groggy slumber, power up your computer, grab your credit card, and maybe make a midnight snack while you’re at it.
Second? Apple’s been known to push things out a little early from time to time. For the iPad 2 pre-order they said the page would go up at exactly midnight Cupertino time. However, the page was actually up a good five or ten minutes earlier than that, giving the early birds a first crack at the worm. Considering how hard it was to get an iPad 2 at launch, that ten minute window was enough to mean an extra few days delay in getting an iPad 2 delivered to your door.
So be there early. Apple might not put up the iPhone 5c pre-order page early this time, but better safe than sorry.
Load Up The iPhone 5c Apple.com Page
Not much more to it than that. When midnight hits, this page will change to show a big ‘Buy Now’ link underneath the iPhone 5c header. That’s what you’re looking for.
Refresh, Refresh, Refresh
Look, there’s no way around it: you’re going to have to refresh a lot when it gets close to midnight. Luckily, there are browser extensions that will do this for you. Here are some of the ones we like.
• Google Chrome: Chrome Refresh
• Safari: Autorefresh
• Firefox: ReloadEvery
• Opera: Offers auto-refresh abilities by default. Just right click on the iPhone website and select the Reload Every option.
Once you’ve installed the add-on or extension for your browser, set an interval, telling the browser how often to reload the iPhone 5c page. We suggest every twenty seconds, or three times a minute.
That’s a small enough interval that you’ll be sure to see the link go up as soon as Apple pushes it live, but not so often that you’ll bring Apple’s website to its knees.
Consider Pre-Ordering From A Site Other Than Apple.com
This one is optional, but for the second year in a row, Apple won’t be the only site offering iPhone 5c pre-orders starting at 12AM PST. Verizon and Sprint will also be offering the iPhone 5c starting at midnight, and presumably AT&T and T-Mobile will also follow suit, meaning that if Apple’s servers are being crushed, you may very well be able to order your iPhone with your carrier directly.
Here are the pages on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon where you’ll be able to find the iPhone 5c available for pre-order starting at midnight:
Set Up Your Default Shipping And Billing Info On Apple.com And Enable Express Checkout
When the iPhone 5c becomes available for pre-order from Apple.com, you’re going to want to get through the checkout process as quickly as possible. Every second you delay increases the chance of the load on Apple’s servers being so great that when you make your order, it won’t go through.
If you’re ordering through Apple.com, the easiest way to make getting a new iPhone 5c sent to you as much of a “one-click” affair as possible is to go to your Apple.com Account Settings Page and make sure your payment information and shipping information are up to date, then scroll down to the Express Checkout field and turn the toggle to “ON.”
Now, when it’s time for you to buy an iPhone 5c, you should have most of the fields populated for you automatically, including your payment info.
Extra Tip: If you don’t want to wait around all-day for UPS to deliver your iPhone, you can choose to have it shipped to the Apple Store and pick it up whenever you want without waiting in line.
Set Up Some Text Shortcuts To Make Filling In The Order Form Easier
If you’re not ordering your iPhone 5c from Apple’s official site (and therefore can’t follow the steps above in enabling express checkout), you’re still going to want to fill out your order as quickly as possible. Why not set up some text shortcuts, then, to enter the information your carrier needs to get your iPhone to you as quickly as possible?
If you’re using a Mac, it’s super easy. Just go to Applications > System Preferences > Language & Text and click on the Text Tab. From there, you should make sure “Use symbol and text substitution” is ticked and press the + symbol at the bottom of the window to add a new substitution.
What you want to now do is come up with text shortcuts to fill out common fields as quickly as possible. You want to fill out the “Replace” field with an easy to remember shortcut you’re unlikely to type by accident. For example, I set up [address1] to be replaced with “19 Whatever Street”, [city] to be replaced with “Somerville” and [credit] to be replaced by my credit card.
Now, when the iPhone 5c pre-order pages go live, you can just enter these shortcuts instead of doing a lot of typing.
Keep Your Fingers Crossed
In the past, iPhone pre-order and launch days have been pretty stressful, but we’re hopeful Apple will manage to satisfy iPhone 5c demand now that it Apple has two smartphones. We know they’ve been building iPhone 5c for months. We know that customers will be able to pre-order the iPhone 5c from give different sites, instead of the Apple.com bottleneck of recent years. And judging by the last iPhone and iPad launches, Apple has finally figured out how to build enough of a new device to go around. Still, there’s a lot of elements here beyond your control… everything from your alarm not going off, to the demand being much higher than anticipated. So a little prayer and superstition never hurts, does it?