line at apple store over night

We’re almost there, folks! After months of rumors, speculations, and leaks from “sources familiar with the matter,” iPhone 6 will be launching tomorrow Friday at 8am. For many of us, this is arguably one of the most exciting days of the year. If you have pre-ordered your iPhone 6, then you’ll likely be waiting for it from the comfort of your home, or maybe it will just be waiting for you at the door when you come back from work.

But for those of us who haven’t pre-ordered and opted to get in line to pick up an iPhone 6, some decisions have to be made, and a game plan has to be drawn. Today, I’ll share with you some of the things I’ve learned from waiting in line for an Apple product several years in a row. This is not rocket science, but it might as well be.

Apple Store, retailer, or carrier store?

The first thing you must figure out is where you’ll be getting in line. The Apple Store usually appears as the safest bet, but it is also where most people go, guaranteeing to have a line longer than any other location selling iPhones. From my experience, getting in line at the Apple Store is the worst idea because everybody goes there. Sure, you’ll be with like-minded people who share your love of Apple, but this isn’t the main goal. The main goal is to get home with an iPhone as soon as possible. If that is your goal too, you’d probably be better off waiting anywhere but at an Apple Store.

Several retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc, will also open early to allow customers to grab an iPhone 6. While those stores usually have a shorter line than the Apple Store or carrier stores, they also usually have much less inventory, which means you could be waiting in line for a few hours, just to be told that they’re out of stock minutes after opening their doors. If it’s a risk you’re willing to take, a retailer store is not a bad place to wait.

Your last option, and definitely my favorite, is to wait in line at your carrier’s store. Carriers have much less people queuing up in front of their stores, and they usually have larger inventory than retailers, making it one of the safest options to get an iPhone 6. My advice is for you to search carrier stores around you and locate one that is in a not too busy area. One more reason to wait in line at your carrier’s store is that if there is a problem with your line for whatever reason, they’ll be the only one able to help you (Apple and retailers won’t).

Scout the area

Let’s assume you’ve decided where you’ll be waiting in line. For the purpose of this post, I will be taking the example of me deciding to wait in line at my local AT&T store.

The next step is to start scouting the area by driving by on a regular basis the day before the launch to make sure not too many people are lining up. For the launch of iPhone 5s last year, I must have drove by the AT&T store a dozen times the night before just to make sure no one was in line yet. If there were people there, I would have probably thought my plan over and looked for a different location.

If you don’t want to burn a tank of gas just by driving around the parking lot, at least make sure to drive by the store at about 8pm the night before. You’ll see if there is any activity there. If there is, decide what you want to do: you can either find a better location, go home and get up early, or camp there.

Getting up early vs camping

Now you have two simple options. You may decide to go home and sleep though the night, and set an alarm to wake up early. Or you can decide to camp in front of the store. The decision might be dictated by the amount of people already in line.

If you drive by the night before and see no one in line, it might make sense to just go home, sleep and get up early. If that is what you’re going to do, make sure you set an alarm early. I’d suggest setting an alarm for 4am at the very worst. Obviously, the earlier you go, the better your chances. This being said, my plan for last year was to get up early, but when I got in bed, I was so excited about the launch of iPhone 5s that I couldn’t fall asleep. I then decided to go wait at the AT&T store at about midnight.

Of course, if there already are people in line, and you feel like camping, sleeping in front of the store could prove to be a very effective solution as you’ll pretty much be guaranteed a top spot. This is pretty hardcore, but as I always say, “you gotta do what you gotta do”.

Bring comfort

Whenever you decide to go get in line, you have to be prepared to wait for a while, which is why you have to make sure you bring every possible piece of comfort with you. Camping chair, blanket, pillow, sleeping bag, ear plugs are some of the basic items you should load in your car. If like me you want to take it a notch further, bring a lounge chair. You’re going to be there for a while so you might as well be comfortable.

Comfort isn’t only found in physical items. Because you’re going to be out there for a while, you should make sure you have plenty of water and food with you. Sandwiches, snacks, water (and a beer or two) should be in your survival bag.

Bring the power

As part of your comfort plan, you should make sure that all the electronic devices you’ll bring along with you are fully charged. It’s going to be a long night (or day), so it would probably be wise to also bring a portable battery pack along to recharge your devices if necessary (I use this one).

Make friends

You likely won’t be the only person in line, so this is the occasion to make new friends. Again, it’s going to be a long night and the only way to make the best of it is to embrace and enjoy every moment, no matter long each moment might seem to be.

If the people around you are in line too, it’s because they love Apple products, just like you. Engage in conversations with them. Interact with them. The later it gets, the more tired you are, which means the less sense conversations will make. It’s actually fun! No matter what you do, please, oh please, don’t be that guy who’s just refreshing his Twitter feed all night to avoid physical human interaction with others.

In and out

Before the store opens, employees might be able to give you a tip about what they have in stock. They won’t tell you the exact numbers, but they could tell you they have more silver than gold iPhone 6 for example. This is important information that might dictate your final decision.

Because you’ll have so many hours to think about it, you should know exactly what model, finish and storage option you want as soon as you get in the store. This is of course assuming that there is plenty of stock for each model. You should also have a backup option just in case they don’t have the specific iPhone you want.

If you play your cards right, you could be in and out of the store in 10 minutes.

What’s your plan?

What I described above are simple common sense tips that I hope will help you find the right spot and be in a comfortable situation where waiting for hours won’t be that bad. At the end of the day, only you can make the decision about where you’ll be waiting in line, what time you’ll get there, and how the waiting time will pass by.

Waiting in line for an iPhone is a privilege that the vast majority of this planet will never be able to experience. Make the best of it. Have fun. Hey, you’re getting an iPhone!

Now what’s your game plan? Make sure you share your tips with us.

  • ZeRoLiMiT

    Got the day off and waiting at home playing XBOX One ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Terry

    Pre-Order, enough said ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Andre Vieira

      Same here! Playing PS4 thou!

  • Jason Baroni

    There is an only tip: look for any sponsorship.

  • paynis

    my plan is waiting until it dies down a little ;). im happy with my jailbroken iphone 5 lol

    • Bugs Bunnay

      might as well wait for an iPhone 6s!

      • Damian

        i think it would be smart to wait for another year if you have already iphone 5

      • andy

        Should i get a pS4 or iphone 6?
        What u reckon is better, long lasting, enjoyable, im getting it in the holidays or xmas ๐Ÿ˜€
        need suggestions.

      • I don’t really understand this logic. If you wait another year for the S model wouldn’t it be the same as waiting an additional year for the Newer model with the new design?

  • Tommy Gumbs

    I live in Jacksonville Fl. Every year on release day I go to one of the hundres ATT stores we have in this city and walk out minutes later with the phone I want. I usually have them before my friends that order. Lol.

    • Its funny people forget Stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Radio Shack, Target, and Carrier Stores also have them in stock on launch day.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        I know right. It makes no sense to me at all. When it comes to going to the physical Apple store, most people are like moths to flame.

      • Caty Littlefield

        Hey I am in Jax too… I’m looking to do this tomorrow… Do you have any tips on whether it is better to go to a bigger or smaller att store?

      • Tommy Gumbs

        I usually go to the corporate store on Southside by the Home Depot, or the store on San Jose by across from Wallmart.

      • Rowan09

        They usually have very limited quantities.

      • True but they are still there.

      • Rowan09

        People preorder their and usually they only get like 10-20 phones max. Last year I saw the line instead the store with people who preordered through Best Buy.

      • ic0dex

        Just a heads up on Best Buy… No iphone 6 plus so don’t waste your time.

      • iPhone 6 Plus is like the Golden 5s. I can’t even imaging how hard its going to be to get a gold 6 plus. Luckily I was never a gold fan..

      • I’ve read that Walmart only carries the lowest end models. So, unless you want a 16GB iPhone 6, I’d avoid them.

      • Caty Littlefield

        Hope you all had better luck than me. No 6+ at Att avenues.

    • Chris

      When T-mobile was getting their first iPhone launched, I thought i had to be there early morning. I was there a couple hours late and thought I missed my chance. but what do you know i didn’t even have to wait in line lol

  • seanodotcom

    Would have pre-ordered if this was a known entity, but these brand new form factors demand a hands-on test, to see which belongs in your pocket for the next 2+ years.

  • Guest

    Well i dont know about the usa but her in Canada we were able to reserve for in store pick up

  • doorsunopened

    I’ll be setting my alarm early to go hang at the local AT&T store. I wasn’t able to preorder this time because of Apple’s website freaking out on me.

  • veda99

    Any one getting their iPhone 6+ unlocked or contract-free tomorrow (pre-order for delivery)?

    • Rowan09

      My brother is getting his tomorrow for delivery.

      • veda99

        Unlocked?

      • Rowan09

        No through AT&T. My version is unlocked and being prepared to ship.

      • veda99

        Delivered by end of day on tuesday!

  • veda99

    Picking up iPhone 6 contract free tomorrow morning!!

    • Lauren Tenembaum

      Hi could you let us know if you got it and how was the line?

      • veda99

        I got it and line was so long in Philly (Walnut st.)..They had some issue with servers or something like that, even for people who ordered online for pickup had to wait in line till 10 20

      • Lauren Tenembaum

        oh my thanks..did they have all the colors available? I’m planning on going tomorrow 4 am

      • veda99

        Yes, all variants (colors n memory)

  • Mohammed Sahib

    The problems of 1st world countries! Sigh.

  • Tony G

    Pre order and delivery is the best survival guide.

  • blu

    My plan, wait a few months, then get one.

  • Adam

    For those planning on buying in a T-Mobile store: they’ll only have 16GB models on stock nothing else, all you’ll be able to do is preorder there if you want more capacity.

    • Steven Honey

      I hope you’re wrong. Damn that sucks. What a waste of time if that’s true.

  • butterfield

    My strategy is no longer being a slave to the next shiny new model! I hung onto my iPhone 4 for 3 years cause it still worked great and just sold it and bought a brand new iPhone 5s (with no contract) for half of what I would have paid normally, which for ME is a shiny new toy that I am enjoying and will keep enjoying for a couple of years…

    • archer14

      Seems like you’re very salty. Otherwise you wouldn’t post this shitty story here.

      • mlee19841

        some people are content with what they have. He might have the money to purchase a new one but doesn’t want to. People still have hard times choosing between want and need. This day and age people have to be more fiscally responsible. Rather then running out and spending money they could be saving on a bigger screened iphone if they have a perfectly working iphone. But yea he might just be salty as you say….

  • Jeffrey Feuerstein

    Anyone have any tips for me, I’m going to pick it up because I reserved one. Do I have to wait in the same line or another line, and is the other line very short or do I still have to wait in line for 3 hours?

    • archer14

      You can keep standing in every line you see, because you don’t have a life.

    • Stephen Dickson

      There should be a reservation line, well there is at my local Apple shop.

      • Jeffrey Feuerstein

        Hey, thanks for the info man! I just got back and there was indeed a reservation line of around 50 peope. After that I had to get in another line of 20 people and it all took me about 1 and a half hour to get in the store:)

      • Stephen Dickson

        Great!! I’m glad you got sorted. I ended up leaving my reservation of a 64gb gold 6. Think my heart is set on a 6+

      • Jeffrey Feuerstein

        Thanks man;). That’s too bad though, I personally think the iPhone 6 Plus is too big but it seems a pretty popular choice among the iPhone customers. There aren’t a lot of plusses though. Where I was were 3500 people in line and there only were 100 plusses and I think about 2500 normal 6’s…

  • Bugs Bunnay

    hey how about creating a survival guide for those who ordered online?? I am now hyperventilating and I do not know what to do! anxiety left and right I cant take it anymore. should I wait out at the front lawn starting now?? lmao

  • Anonomous.TECH.man

    Where I live I can just let walk in to best buy(I don’t have a apple store) and just walk right out no lines lol.

  • Chang in Charge

    Love the battery pack I haven’t come across this brand before

  • Byron C Mayes

    I prefer to just order online. But come on, people, give them a break. It’ll be the last time they actually interact with real humans until the next phone comes out.

  • Chindavon

    I need to go get a Vending cart and hit up as many lines as I can.

  • Charles

    I’m going to Bestbuy tonight. Gonna have a tent, sleeping bag, chairs. Snacks

  • Tobias9413

    Preordered three iphones from target and can pick up in store tomorrow morning. Can’t wait.

  • f96lrs

    ios 8 jb is out

    • mlee19841

      Where

  • mike

    Gotta love Sebastian’s articles. Never a disappointment.

  • marco1993

    Already got it
    The only time it pays to live in Australia

  • Shingo

    selling my 1st in line queue for 1million dollars hahahahha

  • Mark R Medina

    Coming by UPS for delivery, yet I’m asking neighbors to sign for package for me due to I get home in mid-afternoon. I’m stoked because its my first of ANYTHING on a launch date.

  • Blip dude

    Was gonna show up at 5am as usual to still get what I want but seeing as 10 to 15 were already in line at the 2 Apple stores that are next to each other, I think I might get up an hour earlier to make a line. In the past, some mall forbade people from lining up in the parking lot overnight. That seems to no longer be the case at the location I was planning on lining up. I will check out the AT&T store that is across the street from the 2 Apple stores I normally go to and see if there is a line, probably now.

  • Erin Kelley

    There is one person in line at the store I want to buy from. What time do y’all suggest I get there? It’s a free standing AT&T carrier store

  • Brian Cummings

    People in third world countries are camping for food What are we camping for useless over priced materialism .

  • Eman pani

    Already have my iphone 6 + space grey 128 gbs… Just waiting on the jailbreak lol.. My bro works for ATT ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Eman pani

    Wow… Ok, iphone 6 + !! Yaayy!!

  • 1st in line

    I went by the AT&T store tonight and it said typed on a piece of paper “we will have no iPhone 6 plus’ s on launch day”

  • Soto

    Wow this is sad, pathetic, and disturbing. The heard is real, no doubt.

  • ic0dex

    Post at the Sherman Oaks Mall Apple Store in Los Angeles. Waiting for the iPhone Plus in Space Gray 64/128. Anyone else out here with me?

    Oh and my plan is if Apple does not have for me Target is 5 min away. If Target does not have one Radio Shack is 8 min away and if they don’t have one Verizon is 10min away. Lol I have my route already pland out.

  • Jason Masters

    I go to Puerto Rico on the 25th I’m just gonna wait and buy my iPhone there I’ll get it with no line and have fun with it on the island oh yeah it will be unlocked I have friends and family there and they always hook it up I love getting tech there you wouldn’t believe an island would be the place but it’s true.

  • JS3

    i wouldnt be caught “camping” out in from of an apple store if my life depended on it… either pre order like a normal person or get up and go early, but camping out for a day or more is ludacris

  • gc8

    Just hire the homeless to line up for you.