How to preorder your iPhone XR the right way

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iPhone XR portrait mode
Thinking the iPhone XR would have been worth the wait?
Photo: Apple

Preorders for the iPhone XR start tomorrow at 12:01 a.m. Pacific. If you want to be sure of getting a new handset — in the color you really want — on day one, you probably need to be quick with your preorder. If not, you could be faced with waiting for Apple to fill the backlog of orders before you finally get a new iPhone sometime near Christmas.

Luckily, we have a guide that will help you preorder your iPhone XR the right way when on October 19.

How to preorder iPhone XR

Every year, there’s a bit of a frenzy as Apple fans set out to preorder the latest, greatest iPhones. Some models inevitably sell out within minutes.

Taking a moment right now to follow the steps below will ensure you get your best shot at snagging the iPhone XR that’s perfect for you.

Trust us — you don’t want fumble around doing some of these things in the middle of the night.

There’s an app for that

The new iPhone XR goes on sale tomorrow. Are you ready to preorder iPhone XR?
The new iPhone XR goes on sale tomorrow. Are you ready?
Photo: Apple

The best way to preorder is to use Apple’s free App Store app. This will walk you through the steps you need to take to be ready for iPhone XR preorders. If you’re just buying a handset outright with a credit card, all you need to do is choose your iPhone model, including the color and the storage capacity you want. (Here’s a handy iPhone XS versus iPhone XR comparison that lays out the differences between the two new models.)

After you select the exact model you want, just tap the little heart icon to save it as a favorite.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can set up a Siri shortcut for preordering iPhone XR. That should make everything go even more smoothly when zero hour arrives.

Make sure your Apple Store account is up-to-date

Then, make sure your Apple Store account details are up-to-date. This is absolutely crucial. Check that your credit card is valid, and that your shipping address is current. You don’t want to be filling these out against the timer just after midnight, when iPhone XR preorders commence.

Unfreeze your credit if needed

Unfreeze your credit before iPhone xs pre-orders begin.
This creature represents the evils of credit.
Photo: Apple

If you have your credit frozen as protection against fraud, then you may need to unfreeze it to make a big purchase. The iPhone XR will cost you a minimum of $749, so make sure you have the credit available, and that you’re all set for a credit check when you place the order.

Here are links to the three major credit companies so you can unfreeze your credit:

Check carrier eligibility

Check carrier eligibility before iPhone XR preorders start.
Something something, rainy day, something.
Photo: Apple

If you have a contract with a cellphone carrier, you may or may not be eligible for an upgrade. Make sure of this ahead of time to avoid disappointment on iPhone XR preorder day. You may have to pay a balance in order to get an upgrade. This is especially likely if you have an iPhone X. Because that handset launched in November 2017, you almost certainly have at least two months left to run on a 12-month contract.

Also, you might need your carrier PIN and other info — make sure you know all that.

Check your iPhone Upgrade Program status

If you use Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program to get a new iPhone every year, you should also check your eligibility. Luckily, we just published a how-to on that exact subject. In short, if you got an iPhone X on the iPhone Upgrade Program, you’ll have to pay off the outstanding balance before you can upgrade.

If you’re not already in the iPhone Upgrade Program — which basically amounts to an annual subscription to the latest iPhone, with AppleCare+ insurance included — you might want to consider it. If you want to join, you should start this process now. In fact, anything related to the the iPhone Upgrade Program should be done ASAP — the deadline for getting your loan preapproved for an upgrade is 4 p.m. Pacific today.

Set your alarm

After you’ve got all that squared away, set an alarm for just before the iPhone XR preorder time. Orders begin at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Friday, which means 3:01 a.m. on the East Coast and a leisurely 9 a.m. in Europe. With all the above preparations made, you just need to open the Apple Store app, tap the little head icon to access your account, and then tap the iPhone you picked out in your favorites list. You’ll be taken to the product page, ready to place your order.

Good luck!

P.S. Want to sell your old iPhone?

If you don’t want to pass along your old iPhone to a family member or friend, you can sell it to us via the Cult of Mac buyback program. We’ll give you a fair price for your old iPhone or Apple Watch — and take all the hassles out of selling your old Apple gear.

Note: We originally published this article on Sept. 13, 2018. We updated it for the iPhone XR presales.