iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Unlike last year, Apple will let you pre-order your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus tonight, starting at 12.01 am PT. If our recent poll is any indication, it seems that almost twice as many people will pre-order the phone rather than wait in line next Friday to buy it directly from an Apple Store or one of the authorized retailers.

Pre-ordering has both its advantages and its drawbacks, so you should carefully weight your options before making a decision. To help you out, we’ve created this survival guide to pre-ordering your iPhone 6 where we share some simple tips on how to prepare for tonight.

Why pre-order

Why would you want to pre-order in the first place? While some of us have good excuses such as having to show up at work on time, the main benefit of pre-ordering is that you won’t have to wait for several hours in line when the iPhone 6 becomes available in stores on September 19. If your pre-order goes through, you’re assured to secure a device which will be delivered to you on September 19.

That is of course if you’re able to pre-order on time. It is not unusual to see pre-order delivery times fall from the actual launch date to several days. Typically, if your pre-order goes through within a few hours of the kick off time, you’re likely to receive your device on September 19. If you wait too long, you risk to see that delivery time pushed back. Time is of the essence, so the sooner you can place this pre-order, the better your chances.

No matter what happens, you’ll know when you will receive your device as pre-order confirmations always show an estimated delivery date, which is fairly accurate.

Assuming you’re able to pre-order and get confirmation that you will receive your device on September 19, you’ll have to make sure that you’re home to receive the package from FedEx or UPS, or that you sign up a waiver allowing the carrier to leave the package at your door if you’re not present to sign. When your iPhone ships, you will receive a tracking number with instructions on how to let the delivery guy know it is ok for him to leave the package at your door.

Pre-ordering and having your iPhone shipped to you is all great, but from my experience, it’s also been pretty nerve wracking and frustrating. I used to pre-order my devices because of the convenience, but because my area is last on the delivery route, I would always get my package at the end of the day, making me wait all day for the precious device to arrive. First world problems, you might say, rightfully so. Still, I specifically remember the year the iPhone 5 launched. I walked by my local AT&T store and realized only a handful of people were in line. I could have lined up with everybody else and most likely get my phone in an hour or so. But because I had pre-ordered, I had to go back home and wait for FedEx to come. The FedEx guy didn’t show up until 4pm that day. Since that day, I have said no to pre-orders.

I’m not trying to convince you pre-ordering is not a good option. I’m merely trying to warn you it has some downsides too. If you decide to go ahead and pre-order, then read on for more tips.

Check your eligibility

Before you get too excited about pre-ordering your iPhone 6, you have to make sure you find out what price you’re going to pay for it. If you bought your previous iPhone (or other smartphone) two years ago, then you are eligible for an upgrade. If you bought last year’s iPhone 5s, then you’re probably not eligible for an upgrade. Either way, you want to make sure what your status is before tonight so that there is no surprise when time comes to pre-order.

Earlier today, we published a short guide on how to check your iPhone upgrade eligibility where we highlight several options for you to check your status. Unless you’re positive you’re eligible for an upgrade, I’d advise you to check it out to make sure what your options are comes midnight tonight.

Figure out what device you want now

The pre-ordering start time is a pretty hectic time and you don’t want to waste precious seconds figuring out what model, what finish, and what storage option you want. If you’re going to be pre-ordering your device tonight, you must figure out all the details of your pre-order now. It means you must make up your mind about either getting the iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus. You must make a decision about the finish of the device, and finally, you must make sure you know exactly how much storage space you want for your iPhone.

It sounds like a non-issue, but again, you don’t want to waste time weighting your options when pre-orders go live. When they go live, you must be ready to click as quick as possible to select what you want and wrap up your order. Remember, a few seconds can make a big difference in the end, and those 30 seconds you took to decide between silver or gold could mean you will receive your iPhone 6 on September 22 instead of September 19.

Staying awake or setting an alarm?

Depending on your sleeping habits and where you live, you’ll have two options when it comes to making sure you’re behind your computer at 12.01 am PT tonight. You can either decide to stay awake, or go to sleep for a few hours and set an alarm to ring a few minutes before the T time.

I live in California, so in previous years, I would simply stay up until midnight and go to bed once I had pre-ordered. But if you live on the East coast for example, 12.01am PT is 3.01am ET for you. It might be a little hard to stay up that late (again, it also depends on your sleeping habits). If that’s the case, I would definitely decide to go to bed, set an alarm for 15 minutes before pre-orders start, and get up then.

Once again, only you can make that decision. If you’re anything like me, also keep in mind that the excitement of the pre-order launch might actually prevent you from sleeping anyway.

When and where to pre-order?

As previously mentioned, pre-orders will go live at 12.01 am PT. That’s 2.01 am CT, and 3.01 am ET.

As far as we know, only Apple and carriers are taking pre-orders for the iPhone 6 at this time. Although Best Buy, RadioShack, Walmart, and other retailers are authorized Apple retailers, there is no indication on these companies’ website that they will be taking pre-orders. Target, who’s also an authorized retailer notes on its website that pre-orders will be available “in stores” on September 12. This means you won’t be able to pre-order from Target’s website, but you’ll be able to pre-order from a physical store.

This leaves us with only a few options to pre-order: Apple, or the carriers.

Going through Apple’s site is a no brainer for most people. After all, who better than the maker of the iPhone itself can better serve you? And that’s mostly right. The experience of pre-ordering a device on Apple’s website is much better than that of a carrier’s site. However, from previous experience, I’ve found that Apple’s site gets slammed with so much traffic that it can make it for a terrible experience too, with pages taking forever to load, or simply returning errors. While this was more true a few years ago than it is today, pre-ordering a device from Apple’s site from day one can prove to be a rocky road.

In the past, when Apple’s site was buried under massive amounts of traffic, I’ve found AT&T’s site to be more reliable. If I was to pre-order tonight, I would most likely go through AT&T. Fanboys might scream “blasphemy,” but it doesn’t matter. What matters is getting your pre-order in as quick and as reliably as possible.

For your convenience, here is where you can pre-order your iPhone from tonight:

It appears that pre-ordering via Apple’s website will give you the option to pick up your device in store on September 19. Although most stores might not participate, you will see an option to pick up your device in an Apple Store at the time of your pre-order. That could be a definite plus, compared to waiting for the FedEx guy. But keep in mind that you likely won’t be the only one having chose this option, and you’ll probably have to wait in line to get your device anyway.

Don’t let that cache fool you

I clearly remember last time I pre-ordered an iPhone. I was frenetically refreshing my browser, waiting for the pre-order screen to go live, when all the sudden, I saw a river of tweets telling pre-orders were live. A bunch of refreshes later, and I was still not seeing the pre-order screen. As it turned out, my browser had cached the web page and was serving me page that was a few minutes old. I could have cleared the cache, but I decided that opening a different browser would probably be quicker. I launched Chrome and went with my pre-order. These were a few seconds that I could have saved. It didn’t have an impact of the final pre-order, but it could have, so be prepared.

My advice is to use your main browser, and if things don’t show on time, try launching a different browser as I did.

Get your payment and shipping info ready

One of the most annoying things about buying online is that you have to fill out forms. Fill in your name, address, email, credit card number, expiration date, security code, etc… This is something that Apple Pay will most definitely fix in the future, but unfortunately we aren’t there quite yet, which is why you must be prepared.

I personally use TextExpander where I created dozens of shortcuts for my personal information and my credit cards details. This way, when I buy something online, I can fill out the forms more quickly than I would if I had to type it all in. Typing a credit card number can be tedious, so be ready.

If you don’t use TextExpander, what you can do is open a text editor and type in your details prior to the pre-order launch. This way, you could quickly copy/paste some of your information  (ie. credit card number) without losing too much time. Once again, every second counts!

Sit back and relax

Now that you are ready for tonight, it is time to sit back and relax. However you decide to place your pre-order, you are now equipped for the T time.

Before the pre-orders go live, make sure to keep a close look on Twitter, because you never know what can happen. A few years ago, pre-orders accidentally went live a few minutes before the scheduled time. It was a nice surprise indeed, and those who were keeping a close eye to their Twitter stream were able to rip the benefits of it, with their pre-orders going through before everybody else.

Because Apple and carriers have been having issues with pre-orders in the past, I assume that they have worked out many of the reasons why sites would crash or return errors due to heavy traffic. I’m confident that this year will be the smoothest pre-order launch to date. See what I’m doing? I’m being positive here because stressing out won’t change a thing.

Congratulations on your pre-order

Yippee! Your pre-order went through. Congratulations. Now it’s time to go to bed. I know it’s hard because your head and belly are filled with excitement, but it will wear off.

If you are pre-ordering your iPhone, please make sure to come by iDB and share your experience with us. We love to hear your anecdotes!

  • Krutik Quiran

    can anyone confirm if its midnight for UK people to pre-order or will it be 8 am as it will be midnight in the US

    • Abbas

      i think it’s 8am for you folks in UK

      • Krutik Quiran

        thanks

    • Benjamin Lopez

      I asked myself the same question for France, so i will be ready at 0:00 and 8:00 AM.

      Good luck everyone.

      • Krutik Quiran

        yeah i was thinking the same

      • Xavier du Coudray

        going to do the same thing as well! 00:00 and 8:00 – the time I usually go to sleep, and the time I usually wake up at, perfect!

      • Xavier du Coudray

        By the look of it, midnight is a miss, see you at 8am, pre-order.

    • Terry

      I was on chat with apple and they said that they did not know but to check back at midnight UK time, just under 3 hours!!!

  • veda99

    Oh Yeah! I have it all ready! Never missed a pre-order till now! Hope it continues!!!

  • Manor

    Can I preorder an unlocked iPhone 6?

    • veda99

      contract-free with t-mobile. But no guarantee if it’s unlocked

      • Manor

        okay, thanks. I think I’m going wait a bit…

      • Rowan09

        It is the unlocked version I confirmed this last year when I purchased the 5s. No one would pay full price for a locked device. If you join t-mobile and pay the month by month financing it’s locked but if you pay full price it’s unlocked. Apple only sells the full price iPhone for t-mobile which is the unlocked version.

      • veda99

        I guess last year, it said unlocked/contract-free for t-mobile. I got it last year as well. But now time will say. Hope its the same this year

      • Rowan09

        It is the same.

      • Krash

        Hey if i pick up the T-Mobile version, will it have to be unlocked by T-Mobile? Because I’m not going to be using it in USA. So will it work fine on any network internationally?

      • Rowan09

        Unless they’ve changed from last year, the t-mobile phone is already unlocked. If I purchase a phone from t-mobile as a t-mobile customer I can get the phone unlocked once I pay it off, so since I’m already paying full price I don’t see why it would be locked.

      • Krash

        Okay that clears it up pretty well.
        But to confirm, if my relative buys it from an Apple store and brings it with him to my country, it should work flawlessly?

      • Rowan09

        Yes that’s the case with my current 5s.

    • Anthony Antunez

      As long as you order it from Apple’s website or in a Apple Retail Store, it should be unlocked. Ordering from T-Mobile’s site or T-Mobile store it’ll be locked.

  • Madhu Renduchintala

    Funny, I’ve already done most of this!

  • JustReboot

    I’m going to preorder at BB tomorrow night. Assuming all goes well, and there are still pre-orders avail, otherwise I’ll simply wait it out… no biggie

  • Alexa21

    I’m pre-ordering mine through RadioShack because you get a $50 iTunes gift card along with your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus purchase.

  • Tobias9413

    If I buy an iPhone 6 from ATT will I be able to unlock it using one of those online websites? And if so anybody know a safe one? I want to use tmobile instead of ATT

    • Vighnesh Manick

      I’m pretty sure that ATT can unlock it for you

    • Rowan09

      Why not buy the unlocked version which is the t-mobile version on the website?

      • Tobias9413

        It’s too expensive. My dad has an upgrade with ATT so I can get the it for that price.

      • Rowan09

        Ok but that will mean he’s locked into 2 more years.

      • Tobias9413

        Yup I know. He’s not switching anytime soon. He has unlimited data so he’s fine with att

  • wonderboydave

    what time is pre-order in hawaii?

  • Fanyboy 

    TIP: Apple said to be offering in-store pickups for pre-orders as well. Preorder tonight and pick it up locally at 8am the 19th.

  • Charles

    I have a question. You said if you ordered an iPhone 2 years ago then you will be eligible for an upgrade. I preordered the iPhone 5 when it came out and got it on October 16th. So do I have to wait till then because I remmebr back with the iPhone 4 if your contract ended within 2months that you can get a new iphone before your contract. Is that still true.

    • Check the website of your carrier, i’m on att and I can order one tomorrow and my contract runs out in October. I confirmed this with their customer service. As long as your online account can order an upgrade right now then it’s good to go. I’m not on the next program so I just do the 2 year contract.

      • Charles

        Ok awesome. I’m not on the next program so hopefully I can upgrade early. I still have unlimited data with att. I’ll make sure with customer service before going to bestbuy tomorrow. Thanks Tony

      • I too am on unlimited data. If your website account doesn’t show you can upgrade using a 2 year contract, give a call to customer service today and see what they say about it. Mine just happened to already show I could order one. Good luck and here’s to hoping! 🙂

  • walmart is taking preorders but it isn’t till 9am, not sure if that’s eastern or central. And I forget how many who are the first to preorder get a 15.00 walmart giftcard. Doesn’t matter cause I’m ordering at 2:01am online on apple/att website.

  • Juan Genao

    All the pre-order times are the same (12:01 PST) So here on the EST it will be 3 am our time.

    In my past experience with pre-order you should be ok if you wait until early next morning. the backlogs usually start to develop 12-18 hours after the initial ordering time.

  • Isaac

    What if I don’t have an upgrade available and want to purchase the 6 Plus? (I’m not the account holder)

    • Rowan09

      Which company? If it’s a GSM company you’ll pay for it full price. (T-mobile version is the unlocked version).

      • Isaac

        Sprint. I just want to buy the phone . But I don’t have any account info

  • Chris

    Will you be able to buy it off contract on verizon tonight?

    • Isaac

      I want to know the same but for Sprint!!!!

    • Shan

      I want to know the same thing! Or are we able to buy it off contract on Apple’s website?

    • Rowan09

      I only see that option for the unlocked t-mobile contract free version. I believe you will have to purchase it from Verizon store or the Apple Store directly.

      • Chris

        Well that sucks

    • Tim Savil

      I would like to know this answer as well. I have verizon unlimited data I don’t want to lose and would like to buy contract free. Is it possible to order the T-Mobile contract free on Verizon?

  • abdullah575

    Blah blah blah ….

  • DopamineAddicted

    “I’m confident that this year will be the smoothest pre-order launch”

    – if the event is any indication i have my doubts but like you said Be Positive. I will be awake with my finger on the trigger ready to order. Yay Yay!!!

  • Bob

    Very well thought out and written post. Nice one.

    • Maxim∑

      quick tip! download cache killer on the chrome webstore and turn it on when you refresh the apple web page. Once it updates turn it off and you’ll be good to go

  • Louie

    Would the tmobile one be unlocked by default?

    • Rowan09

      Yes because it’s contract free and full price.

      • Louie

        thank you

  • Brandon Weidema

    “I assume that they have worked out many of the reasons why sites would crash or return errors due to heavy traffic”

    Remember the Apple keynote just a few days ago? i doubt it.

  • CS

    Anyone ever had issues using the Apple Store to buy the preorder? I’m getting the 6 Plus so I don’t expect it to be sold out as fast, but you never know.

  • Tom

    What time is it in California? (Sorry I don’t live in the US)

    • Humberto

      right now 8.40pm 🙂

  • JulianZH

    4.7 or 5.5. I can’t decide… Uncomfortable pocket or better camera and battery life?

    • Steven Honey

      Time to buy some bigger pants..lol

  • James Gunaca

    TextExpander to save those precious milliseconds to do a pre-order. Kind of hilarious!

  • George Santis

    Hey guys. Just wondering. I haven’t decided between the 6 and the 6 Plus yet. I’m going to the UK in early October and ideally, would like to buy the iPhone (6 or 6 plus depending) from the store. Will there be stock available or will I have to wait for new stock to arrive? How was it last year with the 5s and the year before with the 5? Do the stores stock enough new iphones?

  • GzyOnline

    How about COSTCO? I believe they’re the latest big box store to be (re)added to Apple’s Authorized Retailers list..

  • MatD97

    Anyone know what the chances will be to get one the 19th? I don’t think I’ll have the money to preorder so I’m going to wait until the 19th to get it, do you think they will run out in stores by the afternoon? I usually don’t buy on launch day but I am this year, also @seb481:disqus you guys should do an article on how to survive launch day if you don’t plan on pre ordering!

    • Rak S

      “you guys should do an article on how to survive launch day if you don’t plan on pre ordering.”
      Hmmm…

  • Jamessmooth

    Ahhhh love this time of year! I totally lucked out this time around cause I’m flying to California from Hawaii. Having been three hours behind for the last few weeks, I’ll have nooooo problem staying up! Good luck everyone!!!

  • Manny

    still not sure if I’m going to set my alarm or just stay awake… I haven’t been this hyped for an iPhone release since well the iPhone 5…….

  • RA

    Don’t forget guys. If you are with at&t and have the mobile share plan, if you upgrade with a 2 year contract, your bill will go up $25 for that line.

  • Ben

    I want to preorder through T-Mobile. I’ve heard that it’s easier to use the Apple Store app than the Apple website, since the website gets slammed … But it seems the app doesn’t have the option to buy for contract-free/T-Mobile. The website does. So I guess I won’t use the app.

    What do you think I should do… try the Apple website, or use the T-Mobile website? I don’t know much about preorders on T-Mobile’s site. I guess they haven’t even guaranteed that preorders start at 3 am ET… just that it’s sometime Fri, and we’ll get an email when preorders are available. Lol.

  • Charles

    Does anyone know if Besbuy is gonna have preorders online at midnight?

  • Charles

    Does anyone know if bestbuy will have preorders online at midnight?

    • Matt

      no, best buy is all in store… and at least where i live, you can only order a 6, no +…

      • Charles

        California?

  • Fabio Rodrigues

    it is funny to imagine how frustrated we could be at the pre-order for our new iPhone, I mean, I read the article in a funny way while imagining the this situation

  • James Ursini

    Ordered mine via ATT and got a confirmation number but did not get an email yet. Probably because they are slammed but still…

    • Yeah, same here. Happened to me back when I pre-ordered my 4 from AT&T, too. It still showed in time. 🙂

      • Lauren Felty

        anyone know what a 4g sim card is for verizon and if i should get it when ordering my iPhone 6 plus if I’m using someone else’s upgrade?
        also what is decline equipment

    • A$AP SAMUEL L.

      Wheww I keep refreshing my email looking for it.

    • Dan Freeman

      I ended up pre-ordering mine 3 separate times because my account still said an upgrade was available. I assume I’m caught in the lag as well because I have no emails and my account still says upgrade available.

  • In EST Apple website does not work, I’m refreshing every moment and shows me “wi’ll be back”

    • anybody please?

    • Kristin Johnson

      also EST here, got one line upgraded on ATT site, now it’s crashing, Apple isn’t working and neither is the Apple App. VERY frustrating.

      • Well that sucks, Thanks!

  • Jon

    got up at 2:55 am ET and went on to Verizon and I was able to start the preorder at about 2:58! Initial order screens said delivery date of 9/19. BUT by the time I was done clicking through the whole process, about 3:04 am, the delivery date had already changed to 10/14! Oh well at least I got one

    • Joe E

      I ordered mine (verizon space grey 6+ 64gb) at around 3:05 and everything seemed fine for 9/19. I got my confirmation email and everything checked out on that for the 9/19 launch date but when I checked the order status it came up for 10/17! Did anyone else have this problem?? I am not going to wait another month for Verizon…

      • chris gsell

        I ordered mine at 7am EST. Went with the 6+, 128 GB in Space Grey. My ship date is no later than 10/14. Oh well….hopefully that window closes over the next week!!

  • Greg W. Stuart

    I pre-ordered through Verizon this morning at 6:31 EST. I actually was supposed to get up and order it at 3:01 AM, but slept right through the alarm. However, I called in and got the iPhone 6 Space Grey 64 GB with no issues and a delivery date of 9/19. Super excited, good luck to everyone else.

    • Jon

      Congrats Greg, not sure why I have to wait until 10/14 to get mine when I did get up at 3AM. Also I just received an email from Verizon saying I have to call anyway to verify my order. For some reason the fraud protection people are double checking my order. I suppose that’s a good thing. At least they are protecting me.

  • No.

    Ordered the 128gb gold (non plus) . Went through and finished at 3:35am hopefully I get it the 19th

  • chris gsell

    I ordered mine at 7am EST today. Went with the 6+, 128 GB in Space Grey. My ship date is no later than 10/14. Oh well….hopefully that window closes over the next week!!

  • JackBoy

    I order the iPhone 6 with sprint the confirmation page says “we will do our best to get it to you by 9/19 so will I get it on the 19th or will it ship out on the 19th meaning I might get it around the 20th-26th

  • Sara Kay

    On my order status email it says I am being charged one amount and when I log in to view my order on tmobile it says a completely different (higher) number!

  • Alan Tellez

    I wish I had this my iphone 6 plus gold isn’t getting here until October 14-27