How to buy iPhone XR on iPhone Upgrade Program if you own 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 iPhone 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 3, 2017, so iPhone Upgrade Program participants still have at least a couple of weeks left to run on their contracts.

So how do you get the colorful iPhone XR you’re craving on launch day?

iPhone Upgrade Program: Get a new iPhone every 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 iPhone XR when preorders start on Oct. 19 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, you can just pay the difference. The actual amount you must pay will depend on your individual contract. And the really good news is that you can take care of this all ahead of time.

Get Apple iPhone Upgrade Program preapproval

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

Apple will let you get preapproval for an iPhone upgrade using the free Apple Store app. Preapproval is available for existing and new iPhone Upgrade Program customers. If you want things to go smoothly when iPhone preorders begin, getting preapproved is essential.

To do so, just open the Apple Store 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 preapproval set up. This includes:

  • Choosing your new iPhone
  • Confirming your carrier (if you have one)
  • Getting your upgrade loan preapproved

Then, you simply use the Apple Store app to place your preorder on launch day. If all goes well, your order should go through right away, with no glitches. Preapproval is available until 4 p.m. Pacific today. Preorders start the next day, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Friday, October 19.

If you’re feeling extra-fancy, you can even set up and use a Siri shortcut to order iPhone XR in the Apple Store app.

Get ready for iPhone XR upgrade now

Taking a little time to set this up now may mean the difference between getting an iPhone XR on launch day and having to wait weeks for Apple to fill backorders. If you have any more questions about preapproval for the iPhone XR, Apple has a page with all the details.

Note: We updated this post, which we initially published on Sept. 13, 2018.