How to buy iPhone XS on Apple’s Upgrade Program if you already have an iPhone X

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iphone xs upgrade
The iPhone Upgrade Program lets you pay off your balance for an early upgrade.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone Upgrade Program is Apple’s equivalent of a carrier’s monthly contract. You can upgrade your handset every year, and pay a monthly fee instead of buying the handset outright. Usually, the upgrade path is simple — there’s a new iPhone every year, and you can upgrade every year. But the iPhone X came out on November 3rd 2017, so you still have two months left to run on your contract.

So how do you get an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max on launch day?

12 months

Apple probably sent you an email already.
Apple probably sent you an email already.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The short answer is that you can pay that two-month balance early. Do so, and you’ll be eligible to order the new iPhones X on Friday 14th September 2018, for delivery a week later. The iPhone Upgrade Program spreads the cost of your iPhone over 24 months, but you are eligible to upgrade 12 months after you got your latest handset.

If you want to upgrade early, then you can just pay the difference. The actual amount you have to pay will depend on your individual contract. And the really good news is that you can take care of this all ahead of time.

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program pre-approval

The Apple Store app is the best way to pre-order a new iPhone XS.
The Apple Store app is the best way to pre-order a new iPhone XS.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple will let you get pre-approval for an iPhone upgrade using the Apple Store app. Pre-approval is available to existing and new Upgrade Program customers. Open up the app, find the iPhone you want, and tap View Pricing. You’ll see the option to Get ready for pre-order now. You’ll be prompted to enter all the required info to get your pre-approval set up. This includes:

  • Choosing your new iPhone
  • Confirming your carrier (if you have one)
  • Upgrade loan preapproval

Then, you use the Apple Store app to do the ordering on launch day. If all goers well, your order should go through right away, with no glitches. Pre-approval is available until 4PM on Thursday, September 13. Pre-orders start the next day, at 12.01 PT on Friday , September 14.

Get ready now

Taking a little time to set this up now may mean the difference between getting an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max on launch day, and having to wait weeks for Apple to fill back orders.