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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?