Needless to say, the last few days have been both frustrating and exciting. Exciting because I was among the first to order my iPhone 4S on Friday morning; frustrating because Apple’s order status page still reads “Preparing for Shipment”.

This wouldn’t be so annoying if it weren’t for the fact that most of the iDB staff received shipment notifications a while ago.

I know, first world problems indeed, but a problem it was. Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy way to gather accurate results about the whereabouts of your new iPhone 4S. I show you how in this video tutorial…

As you can see from the video, UPS’ and FedEx’s track by reference is a great tool to have, not just for the iPhone 4S, but for any item that you’re anxiously awaiting.

Using this method, you can instead use referential material in a way that allows you to pin down the location of your new iPhone.

And Apple, I understand that your servers are bogged down from your 1 million plus pre-orders, but you just can’t play with a man’s heart like this.

I can’t guarantee this will work, especially if your item hasn’t actually shipped, but it did work for me.

Did track by reference help you? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Note: A reader points out that it’s also handy to click “Request Status Updates” on the UPS page, to get text alerts about the whereabouts of your iPhone 4S. I did this, and indeed, it’s a great way to keep tabs on your device, without visiting the website every five minutes. Thanks Christopher!

  • Anthony

    Ordered through AT&T, tried mobile number and order number, no luck on UPS and FedEx. 🙁

    • It might not have shipped then, or maybe an alternate shipping provider. I’m sure you’ll get it on the 14th. I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

  • Kevin

    What do I put in shipment reference? You should add subtitle

  • Steven Malnati

    I tried both, but neither of them worked. Any suggestions?

  • Max

    Worked for me thanks i was freaking out alittle also which i know is crazy but CMON’ they cant mess with us like that! Thanks for the tip!

  • Kevin

    Thanks Jeff– Tried that pulled up nothing.

  • rock

    I was notified by apple that it shipped, but mine works by phone number and by my last name. If you have a fairly common last name, you may have to include the zip code. Like Jeff said, if it’s not working, then it probably hasn’t shipped yet.

  • Thomas

    Tried it and it worked

  • Juwaisri

    I advice to you “Deliveries” from the app store is more wider than the UPS

    Good Luck for all 😉

  • omgoozles

    Tried it and it worked great for me! Shipped out via UPS on 10/10. Arrived in Honk Kong today. Left Hong Kong a few hours later! I hope it gets here before the 14th like the iP4 did!

  • Gal

    Worked for me on UPS – after I deleted the zip code…

    Shows delivery on Friday the 14th… I had my order in at 3:45AM EST assuming and kind of hoped that the order will be in the first batch and that I get it before Friday (Last year got it a day early)

  • Bil

    Jeff, why does your thing now say Jeff Benjamin? Gotta say it honsetly doesn’t look as badass as just “Jeff”

  • helpit

    this method worked for me @ UPS site- i used the “Track by Reference” tab. i only filled out the destination country and my phone #- gave me results right away.

  • ic0dex

    Can anyone confirm that their iPhone 4S has been shipped that they purchased it through AT&T?

    • Anthony

      I would like to know this as well.

      • ic0dex

        They will ship on the 13th overnight from the US.

    • veda

      AT&T ships on 13th…hopefully receive it by 14th(not sure)!!!

  • Mastotron

    Thanks for the tip you guys are iGods!

  • taz

    any chance of this working in the uk

  • Sassisbored

    I had to try it a million times last night, but it finally worked! (I guess it really hadn’t shipped the first 999,999 times I tried). Mine just today says it arrived in Anchorage, but apple’s site still says it’s preparing for shipment. I wouldn’t care so much about the apple site, but I need that presign form, and I can’t get it until the status updates as shipped. Grrr! At least it’s on it’s way! :)))

  • MarkItEight

    No bueno. I’ve tried all the above suggestions on both sites but nothing works…yet. Apple’s order tracking page still reassures me it “Delivers on October 14th by Postal Mix” so I will continue drumming fingers and tapping feet and try to keep the faith.

  • Gal

    I ordered 2 via (both on AT&T) – first one is now in Hong Kong. Second one that was ordered later in the day still doesn’t show any results – both are “preparing to ship” on

    Sassisbored – what time did you place the order? I wonder if they send by the time you placed the order? or is there some other logic?

  • DChillin

    Well I tried my cell phone number on ups and nothing so I check my Apple account to see what phone number I put when I first signed up for apple , and turns out I have my home phone number , placed it in the reference put USA and boom order is in hong king ready to leave!

    • AAA

      Thanks!! That worked for me.

  • DChillin

    before someone corrects me Kong* lol

  • Sassisbored

    I ordered my phone on the day it was released, the 7th @ around 730am. I tried at midnight for two hours to order but gave up. Also, I’m in California–I wonder if it matters where you are. Also, try different phone number combinations. Or you can type your apple order number, minus the last two digits. Hope that helps….

  • ic0dex

    Just confirmed that AT&T will be shipping the pre-orders on Oct 13th overnight from the US.

  • Danny

    Awesome!! That worked for me…. It’s in Chek Lep Kok, Hong Kong at the moment!!! Thanks man!!

  • Sassisbored

    Yay my Apple account page just now updated to shipped! Now I can stop the obsessing haha

  • Anthony

    AT&T order page showing it shipped with tracking number however number not showing up inside FedEx system yet. Yay!

  • gabby

    i tried a bunch of times yesterday…and this morning it worked! thanks :0)

  • Doughboy

    Awesome! This works great. I even used it to track a different package through FedEx.

  • MysteryMan

    In the same boat as Anthony. AT&T says it shipped on the 9th, Sunday(?) and gives a FedEx tracking number but no info on FedEx… Patience young grasshopper… Patience…

  • Cris

    I used the phone number on my Apple account as the reference number and it showed two packages headed our way and one of them was my wifes whose tracking number I had already received so the other must be mine. Thanks for this post!

  • Morgan

    I ordered mine on AT&T on friday morning and AT&T isn’t even showing that I have an order… from their website or the automated phone tracking thing… -_-

  • Chris

    Now if I could get the authorization form to sign so they will actually leave my iPhone at my doorstep while I’m at work! Any tricks there?

  • I’m no where near one of the first to order my 4S, as I just ordered it 3 days ago, November 11, but it has said ‘Preparing for Shipment’ for well over 24 hours so I decided to try this method and nothing shows up for me. I’ve tried my phone number and order number on both, UPS and FedEx sites, and nothing. So I don’t know. I really do hope it ships soon.

  • I’m no where near one of the first to order my 4S, as I just ordered it 3 days ago, November 11, but it has said ‘Preparing for Shipment’ for well over 24 hours so I decided to try this method and nothing shows up for me. I’ve tried my phone number and order number on both, UPS and FedEx sites, and nothing. So I don’t know. I really do hope it ships soon.

  • I got my Shipping Notification today at 11am. It’s being shipped by FedEx. 🙂 Should be here on the 18th when it wasn’t scheduled to be here until the 28th. WINNING!

  • No one can provide you accurate location. I suggest you to use the StealthGenie for tracking your iphone. There GPS location tracker is better than others.