Preorders of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are set to open tonight at 12:01 a.m. Pacific. Apple’s certainly made a ton of improvements to the preorder process over the years, but as the Apple Watch recently taught us, taking an extra few minutes to get your preorder in could cause your shipment to be delayed.
Demand for the new iPhone 6s is expected to be greater than ever, so we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you get the iPhone you want and get back to sleep before Apple’s servers get absolutely crushed.
Here’s what to do:
Know which iPhone you want
Big or bigger? Gold or rose gold? 16GB or 64GB? Choosing between iPhones this year is no easy task. There aren’t any hardware differences between the two iPhones, but settling on a screen size can be tough. If you haven’t made up your mind yet the time is now.
Check your upgrade eligibility
Before you can even start thinking about buying a new iPhone you need to check if your lording carrier will permit you to upgrade without tacking on an astronomical upgrade fee. Luckily, checking your eligibility is easier than ever this year with the Apple Store app.
Once you load up the Apple Store you’ll see a big Get Ready To Upgrade banner at the top that lets you see the pricing of each iPhone for your account. Tap the check eligibility pricing link and you’ll be taken to a page with to verify your phone number, billing zip code, and last four digits of SSN.
If you’re not eligible for the $199 introductory price, the Apple Store app will also tell you when you’ll qualify for a better subsidy. You can also check your eligibility from Apple.com or your carrier’s site, but the process on the iOS app is much easier.
Sell your old device
The nice thing about Apple devices is they maintain their value much better than other smartphones, making them an easy source of cash when you’re looking to buy a new device. There are myriad ways to sell or trade in your old device. So many, in fact, we covered it in detail here.
You can also sell your old device to us! Cult of Mac just launch an iPhone buy back program that cuts out the middle men so you can get even more cash for your old iPhone.
Know what time preorders start in your location
The world’s a big place, and while iPhone 6s and 6s Plus preorders 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 Wolfram Alpha. 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 I do that search, the results for Boston, MA tell me that when it is midnight in Cupertino, it is 3:00AM in Boston. Easy!
Set your alarm 20 minutes early
We don’t really care what kind of alarm you use — the alarm app that comes with your iPhone, one of the many ones on the App Store, a bedside speaker dock or even a good, old fashion clanger — but whichever one you pick, make sure to set it twenty minutes before preorders 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 get to the computer if you’re groggy or hit the snooze button by force of habit.
Second? When Apple put up the iPad 2 order page, they said they’d put the page 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.
So be there early. Apple might not put up the iPhone 6s preorder page early this time, but better safe than sorry.
Load up the iPhone 6s 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 6s 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 6s 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.
Preordering from a site other than Apple.com
This one is optional, but now days, Apple’s website isn’t always the best place to order from. The Apple Store app is much more streamlined and adds your information into areas automatically that Apple.com can’t.
Apple.com won’t be the only site offering the iPhone 6s for preorder starting at midnight Cupertino time either. Verizon and Sprint will also be offering the iPhone 6s starting at 12:01AM, and presumably AT&T 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, or grabbing it from Best Buy, which is offering in-store preorders.
Set Up Your Default Shipping And Billing Info On Apple.com And Enable Express Checkout
When the iPhone 6s becomes available for preorder on 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 6s sent to you in 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 6s, you should have most of the fields populated for you automatically, including your payment info.
Set Up Some Text Shortcuts To Make Filling In The Order Form Easier
If you’re not ordering your iPhone 6s from Apple’s official site (and therefore can’t follow the steps above in enabling express checkout), and you don’t use iCloud keychain, 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 6s preorder pages go live, you can just enter these shortcuts instead of doing a lot of typing.
Keep Your Fingers Crossed
We know that customers will be able to preorder iPhone 6s from more sites than ever before, so hopefully the Apple.com bottleneck won’t be a problem like in recent years. Apple really smoothed out web issues on the last iPhone launches so we have every reason to believe everything will go smoothly.
Still, there’s a lot of elements here beyond your control… everything from your alarm not going off, to Apple having an iPhone 6s Plus shortage. So a little prayer and superstition never hurts, does it?