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If you’re thinking about pre-ordering a new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, purchasing the device outright is a viable option. I always buy my iPhones outright because I don’t want to be tied to lengthy carrier contracts.

In the past, Apple wouldn’t sell you the latest iPhones contract-free (at its full, non-subsidized price) unless at least a few months have passed following their introduction. As it turns out, you can now pre-order an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus contract-free, straight from Apple—here’s how.

Before we get to it, keep in mind that Apple will start accepting online pre-orders for the new iPhones beginning on Saturday, September 12, at 12:01am Pacific Time.

iPhone 6s/6s Plus pricing

iPhone 6s

In the United States, new iPhones can be pre-ordered from Apple at the following price points:

iPhone 6s:

  • 16GB — $649
  • 64GB — $749
  • 128GB — $849

iPhone 6s Plus:

  • 16GB — $749
  • 64GB — $849
  • 128GB — $949

These are U.S. prices, tax excluded.

Apple has raised international prices of new iPhones in certain countries due to fluctuating currencies and strong American dollar. For instance, the baseline iPhone 6s Plus model with sixteen gigabytes of storage costs AU$1,229 in Australia.

By the way, fully unlocked iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus should be available a few months later.

How to pre-order iPhone 6s/6s Plus contract-free from Apple

Step 1: Visit Apple’s Buy iPhone 6s webpage in Safari or other web browser on your Mac or Windows PC.

Step 2: Choose your model: either the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s or 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus.

Step 3: Now select your preferred finish: Silver, Space Gray, Gold or Rose Gold.

Step 4: Select the storage capacity: 16GB, 64GB or 128GB. The 64GB and 128GB models increase the handset’s price by a hundred bucks each.

Step 5: You must now select your carrier: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile. Even though you won’t be buying the phone on-contract, you must select any carrier in order to reveal the purchase options.

Step 6: With your carrier selected, the purchase options are revealed. Select the Pay in Full option as shown below. Other options may include carrier installment plans such as AT&T Next.

Preorder iPhone 6s web screenshot 001

Tip: If you are purchasing previous iPhone models, click the SIM-free option which is literally the same as Pay in Full.

Before checking out, you can select other options on this screen to view Apple’s financing options, chat with a support representative, check out what’s in the box, read the FAQ, compare different iPhone models and add a Lightning Dock or an Apple-branded Leather or Silicone case to your purchase.

You can also change your iPhone model, choose a different finish or change the storage capacity at any time.

Step 7: Hit the Select button to add the chosen model to your shopping bag. Again, this option will be greyed out until pre-orders for the new iPhones have kicked off on Saturday, September 12, at 12:01am Pacific Time through Apple and most major carriers and retailers.

Tip: You can also buy a new iPhone outright from Apple using the official Apple Store shopping application for the iPhone and iPad. Download the free app in the App Store and open it. Now tap on the “Get ready to pre-order iPhone 6s” option at the top of the screen to get started.

Preorder iPhone 6s Apple Store app screenshot 001

Again, you’ll need to provide some information for your wireless account, including your existing phone number, the billing ZIP code and the last four digits of your Social Security number (or a PIN code).

You cannot buy an iPhone, subsidized or not, unless you provide some information about your wireless account as this information is required to perform a credit check.

Things you should know

Because some people are confused about the differences between buying their phone outright and subsidized, we’ve answered some of the commonly asked questions by customers.

Are these unlocked iPhones?

No. While an Apple support representative originally told us pre-ordered and paid in full iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are unlocked, this isn’t the fact. These are contract free phones, but still locked to a carrier.

Do I have to sign a carrier contract?

No. Paying your phone in full from Apple comes without a wireless contract commitment or carrier financing, unless you choose otherwise.

Haven’t U.S. carriers done away with two-year contracts already?

Most major U.S. carriers have. For example, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile no longer sell two-year contracts in their stores. AT&T is rumored to ditch long-term contracts later this year. Interestingly, buying an iPhone from the Apple Stores still gives you the option to buy your device with a wireless contract with Verizon and Sprint, but not AT&T.

Is my phone tied to a carrier?

Yes. As stated before, buying an iPhone outright from Apple gets you a device locked to a carrier. Fully unlocked phones are typically available a few months after the launch.

Will Apple ship my phone with a nano-SIM card?

No, a nano-SIM card isn’t included when you pay an iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 5s in full. But you can get a nano-SIM from any supported carrier worldwide, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint in the United States.

Why should I pay my iPhone in full?

Because you won’t be tied to a multiyear service contract with a carrier.

Which carriers have certified their LTE network on iPhone?

For a list of carriers that have certified their LTE network on iPhone, refer to Apple’s chart here. For more details, contact your carrier.

Am I still qualified for lower iPhone carrier pricing if I paid my phone in full?

No. Purchasing a SIM-free iPhone from Apple means you will not qualify for the lower iPhone price associated with a contract or a carrier installment plan.

When will walk-in purchases be allowed for new iPhones?

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are scheduled to launch across Apple Stores and major carriers and retailers in the United States and elsewhere on Friday, September 25.

Is buying an iPhone from Apple outright the best option?

Looks like it is. Carriers like AT&T won’t sell you a new iPhone off contract right off the bat. What you can do is purchase an iPhone with the AT&T Next financing option and then pay off the full remainder of the phone price on the second installment. In addition to AT&T, zero-interest installment plans are available from T-Mobile, Sprint and other carriers.

Can I use a Verizon or Sprint iPhone with AT&T, and vice versa?

The short answer: not quite yet as Apple still hasn’t engineered a worldphone iPhone. The long answer: you can use a CDMA iPhone from Verizon on AT&T and T-Mobile’s GSM networks if you replace Verizon’s nano-SIM card with one from AT&T or T-Mobile.

But there’s a catch: while you should be able to enjoy the speedy LTE network, your iPhone won’t work over AT&T or T-Mobile’s GSM-based voice and text messaging network. In other words, your Verizon iPhone will only work on AT&T’s network where there is LTE coverage.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus support more LTE bands and faster LTE-Advanced networks, but they’re still provided in two cellular flavors, one with support for CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and the other with LTE Band 30 support.

Will Verizon sell me an unlocked iPhone?

All Verizon 4G LTE devices are unlocked out of the box.

Why aren’t LTE networks interoperable?

Because in the early days of LTE deployments, LTE carriers used different spectrum frequencies. But as major U.S. carriers expand their networks, they’re now using common spectrum called AWS. If a device wants to connect to such networks, it must support LTE band 4. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile (but not Sprint) all use AWS spectrum and their devices also support LTE band 4.

So for example, while AT&T and T-Mobile versions of the iPhone 5s are identical, Verizon’s version also includes CDMA support (model A1533) which the AT&T and T-Mobile GSM versions (model A1533) do not. And Sprint is selling the CDMA edition of the iPhone 5s (model A1453) that supports only LTE bands used by Sprint.

So, while 100 percent interoperability between different flavors of LTE deployment is still unfeasible, we’re slowly but surely getting there. All iPhones from the iPhone 5 onward are dual mode and support both CDMA and GSM/LTE.

About iPhone Upgrade Program

In a major change, Apple has begun offering the so-called iPhone Upgrade Program, making it easy for its U.S. customers to spread out the cost of a new iPhone with interest-free installment plans and the added option to upgrade their iPhone to the latest model every year.

iphone upgrade

Other perks include the extended AppleCare+ protection for your device (a $129 value) and getting a completely unlocked iPhone.

As an example, purchasing a 16GB iPhone 6s Plus with Apple’s monthly payment plan will set you back $36.58 per month over the course of 24 months for an unlocked device.

All told, your monthly payments will be as follows:

iPhone 6s:

  • 16GB — $32.41 per month
  • 64GB — $36.58 per month
  • 128GB — $40.75 per month

iPhone 6s Plus:

  • 16GB — $36.58 per month
  • 64GB — $40.75 per month
  • 128GB — $44.91 per month

The iPhone Upgrade Program requires a 24-month installment agreement.

Though the iPhone Upgrade Program will be limited to online reservations and in-store pickup in the United States, your options and supported markets should expand at a later stage.

You will be able to make a reservation online starting at 12:01am Pacific Time on Sunday, September 12, to buy in store.

So, in addition to buying your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus outright or paying over 24 months with the iPhone Upgrade Program straight from Apple, you also have options to buy the device subsidized with a carrier contract or choose carrier financing.

The iPhone Upgrade Program is available to qualified customers only with a valid U.S. personal credit card. A 24-month installment loan is required with Citizens Bank, N.A. and iPhone activation with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon.

It’s worth mentioning that the extended AppleCare+ protection provides coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage from handling, with each incident subject to a service fee of $79 for the iPhone 6 or earlier models and $99 for the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus.

AppleCare+ terms and conditions are available here.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly stated that these iPhones are unlocked whereas they’re tied to a carrier even though you’re paying the full price of the phone upfront, and paying it directly to Apple. If history is an indication, unlocked iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus should come a few months later and should be clearly labeled on the webstore as unlocked. And as Apple noted, new iPhones bought via the iPhone Upgrade Program are definitely unlocked.

Will you be pre-ordering an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus on Saturday?

  • Robert McElwee

    Just got off the phone with a knowledgeable Apple rep and was told no unlocked iPhones are being sold at this time, period. She said purchasing a T-Mobile at full price would get you a phone with a T-Mobile SIM installed. HOWEVER, if you remove the T-Mobile SIM before using the phone and insert your own carriers SIM it should activate and work ok on other USA GSM networks. The difference is T-Mobile LTE bands start at 1700. She also said if it did not work just return it. I am a messenger here and this lady knew her stuff. Bottom line according to Apple there are NO truly unlocked iPhone 6s phones for sale at this time. So look before you leap. I am going to try the T-Mobile myself.

  • Edward

    I called iphone customer rep, spoke to two different reps and they say that unfortunately the unlocked phones are not available to the US customers as of right now for the preorder. And I read this article with conflicting information. One thing I did notice when I tried to select an iphone to be picked up at the local store, when I select different carriers, the quantities available are different for each color. That makes me think that the phone are still locked to each carrier or at least a carrier logo on each phone.. that will not make it an unlocked phone.

  • Does not seem like that ATT pay in full iPhones are Unlocked

  • He George

    can i use it in china?

  • Aaron

    Iphone 6S and 6S plus are NOT unlocked at launch. This information posted is wrong. Coming for an Apple Sales Rep. It is unlocked in the sense that you can hope between each of the 4 major carriers, but your out of luck if you think your putting it on straight talk or something.

  • Markus Tammia

    This was not the information that I got from the Apple support. I asked if the paid in full phone (T-Mobile selected) through their website would be unlocked to use with SIM cards from other carriers. They said that I would have to contact T-Mobile to see if they would unlock it. I did so, and they said that I would have to use it for 15 days and then I could unlock it for a fee of $100. After one year of use, they unlock it without any additional charge. If it would be a deal-breaker for you to have the phone SIM-locked, as it is for me, then double check this before buying.

  • Britvolante

    I just spoke with Apple support and they said the only unlocked phones are with the upgrade programme. Paying full price means it is still locked to a carrier.

  • Diego Ayala

    If I pay full price, will I be able to use the iPhone 6s with carriers in Mexico or use it in Mexico?

  • Discreto

    I don’t think the above information is correct. I pre-ordered a 6S online from Apple on 9/12, paid in full using the T-Mobile option. The next day I called Apple Customer service with my pre-order number, they told me the 6S I bought was tied to T-Mobile so it wasn’t unlocked. Later called T-Mobile and they confirmed I had to use their service for 40 days before they would unlock it.

  • PHL

    Apple store reps (in store, online and on phone) have all told me the phones would be locked to carrier, even when buying the full price/contract free model. It would be nice if Apple made this clear (whichever is the case) on their web site.

    • Discreto

      Maybe they did make it clear omitting purposely the word “UNBLOCKED” which they had used in previous sales, probably to help carriers make their sales.

      • PHL

        I called ATT and they said they can unlock a contract-free 6S after 14 days.

  • Francis Wernet

    This isn’t correct as I’ve spoken with an apple representativ, and they told me that the iphone I bought, and it was from t-mobile isn’t unlocked it needs to be unlocked through tmobile…so I had to cancel my order

  • englishmike

    I will post for sure. But I have a friend who is an Apple Store Manager and as he confirms T-Mobile iPhones that are purchased full price are not locked. Who would pay $800 in full for a phone and be held to a carrier?

  • Ori Maor

    Can anyone answer?, if it is SIM FREE but still NOT UNLOCKED, will it work with an overseas carrier’s sim?

  • Rosanna

    I live in London, but will be in the USA when the iPhone 6s releases, and am hoping to purchase the Sprint/Verizon iPhone 6s and pay full price for it, as it is the GSM LTE compatible phone (model A1688) and should work in the UK. Will I need to have this unlocked by either Apple or Sprint in the USA for my UK SIM? If so, is this possible? Thank you.

  • Daniel

    Will the iPhone work overseas with other carriers?

  • encargado

    Hello folks,

    I am trying to purchase an unlocked iPhone 6s to be used in overseas. ‘Paying in Full’ is really confusing. Will I be able to use this ‘paid in full’ contract phone overseas with a sim card inserted from that country? Thanks for your help!

  • jstene

    I pre-ordered an iPhone 6s T-mobile (full price), but ended up cancelling my order. I decided it’s proably best to get the 6s that’s optimized to work with the carrier (AT&T) I will likely remain with for the foreseeable future. I’ll request a carrier unlock if/when I should ever decide to switch, but I like the satisfaction in knowing my iPhone is optimized to work with the network I’ll be using it with.

  • Mike

    Hi, is there a second pre-order ? I really wanna the Rose Gold … But it all sold out. Thanks.

  • iphonenoob

    So Verizon phones are always unlocked? Does that mean I can use it in a different country? How about ATT phones?

  • CelinaS

    Hi everyone, I have a question about purchasing the new Iphone 6s. I live in The Netherlands and I’m visting my brother next week in LA. I wanted to preorder the Iphone 6s online but I’m not sure if it is possible to buy a carrier free, unlocked version. Does anyone know how to get one? Otherwise I can’t use the Phone in Europe.

  • academy28991

    so what you just said that i can pay in full price for an iphone 6S with any carrier . And then i can use that iphone as international version . free-contract ? im just a tourist in USA .

  • Liran Ben Avi

    will it work outside USA? i’m from israel and coming for a visit.. will the “contact free” version will work outside america?

  • Mike Scalora

    FYI

    • Mustafa Bayrakdar

      You forced the rep to say it is unlocked. I guess she has no idea what she is saying.

      • Mustafa Bayrakdar

        My experience, you need to get it unlocked by ATT.

      • Mike Scalora

        I wouldn’t say I forced her to say it was unlocked but I did strongly suggest she choose between “locked” or “unlocked” to answer my (not unreasonable) question.

  • Penguin man

    If i wanna go with a party such as Cricket, would buying a Iphone through this method allow me to active the phone on a carrier such as cricket?

  • Oren Soriano

    i don’t understand: it says that it’s not possible to get an unlocked iPhone that’s not connected to a carrier and then that Verizon sells unlocked iPhones.

  • Mustafa Bayrakdar

    I got my tmobile iphone 6s, removed the sim and replaced cricket sim. It has worked like a charm.

    • Britvolante

      Did you do as englishmike said then?

      • Mustafa Bayrakdar

        Yeap

      • Samuel

        Awesome! Mine will be delivered any minute. I was so worried about this. I’m on Cricket too and picked the T-Mobile one. Thanks for posting this.

      • Big Time

        Please let us know when you try out the cricket sim. I order a T-mobile 6s and I want to use a straight talk ATT tower sim

      • Samuel

        Will do. I’m sure it will work. It worked for Mustafa. I’m thinking Apple reps didn’t know what they were talking about. I mean if you pay for a phone outright, it should be unlocked anyway. Even if mine wouldn’t have been unlocked, I just would have went to T-Mobile and had them unlock it.

      • Samuel

        Got my phone and removed the T-Mobile SIM. Put in my Cricket SIM and presto. Unlocked. No problems whatsoever. Again to confirm I purchased a T-Mobile 128 6s contract free, paid in full FROM APPLE. NOT from T-Mobile.

      • Rohith S

        @Samuel Did You tried connecting to Itunes before switching it on?? or how you did??

      • Samuel

        No. Here’s what I did:

        1. Opened phone
        2. Removed T-Mobile SIM (did NOT turn on phone.)
        3. Put in my Cricket SIM
        4. Turned on phone
        5. Setup phone as normal. Worked fine on Cricket

        Later I connected to iTunes.

      • Rohith S

        Thanks Buddy:)

      • Big Time

        I can testify that I bought 2 64gb iPhones 6s Tmobile today in apple store, walked to car and took my Straightalk ATT Sim out of my iPhone 5 in the 6s turned it on and activated it in the parking lot using the apple store’s wifi. These phones are unlocked!! Tmobile is the only one you can walk in the store and buy without a plan. The rep didn’t even bring up a plan. I reserved them online walked in and was out in 10 minites. Thanks for all of your help! This is a great relief! I would’ve waited 3 weeks if ordered online.

    • Florencia Carbone

      Hi. What is a cricket sim!? Do you know how can i get it!?
      Should I turn it on with that sim or can I put just my international sim!?
      Did you try with an international sim!?

      Thank you so much. Best regards

  • Safferjay

    Has anybody tested if the full price AT&T iPhone 6s ordered directly from Apple is unlocked?

    • the_ahj

      I called Apple because I’m with T-Mobile, but reserved the AT&T model and was told they won’t sell it to me. Apple Rep said I’ll need to have an AT&T account in order to purchase it, even at full price. I checked with two different stores and both Reps said the same thing.

  • Florencia Carbone

    Hi. What is a cricket sim!? Where can I get one!? Do I need that can of sim or can I put my international sim!???
    Did you try it with an international sim!?
    Thanks

    • Samuel

      Cricket is a prepaid carrier in the U.S. They are owned by AT&T. I did not try an international SIM.

      • Florencia Carbone

        Hi Samuel. Thank you so much. So you purchase a T-Mobile and put an AT&T sim!? Is that correct!?
        Thankssssss

      • Samuel

        Yes

      • Big Time

        Does it supposed to switch to 3G on calls? It shows LTE on everything else but .3G on calls.

  • Digesh Patel

    What’s the difference in unlocked iphones ( tied to a carrier) and sim free iphones ? Both are supposed to work globally with any international sim, right ?

  • Christian

    So I have a question guys, if I buy the iPhone 6s (16gb) paying the full price which is $649 with AT&T, will I be able to use it with another carrier in another country for instance Venezuela?

  • grammar_nazi

    if the verizon 4g lte phones are unlocked out of the box, how are they tied to a carrier? in other words, why can’t you just get a verizon iphone immediately and then switch the sim to ATT if they come unlocked? this seems directly contradictory. also, what you say about verizon iphones not working on ATT 3G voice networks is incorrect. they do in fact work on ATT 2G and 3G (I can confirm this personally plugging my ATT sim into my wife’s old verizon 5S)