line at apple store over night

It’s the same dilemma every year. You want the new iPhone as soon as possible, but don’t want to spend the night waiting in line to get it. As much as I love Apple crowds, I’d rather spend the night in my bed.

Even if you ordered your iPhone for delivery, there is always a chance the UPS guy won’t come by your house until later in the day, which means you could still be left hanging there for several excruciating hours. First world problems indeed!

Thankfully, if you’ve ordered your iPhone for delivery, we have a trick that may help you score your iPhone first thing in the morning, as soon as 8am.

Pre-requisites: for this to work, your iPhone must be shipped via UPS or FedEx. If you’re planning to go to an Apple or carrier store to get your iPhone, then I’m sorry but this won’t work and you’ll have to get the line like everybody else.

How does that work?

If like me your house is towards the end of the UPS driver route, you might want to put your iPhone on hold at the main UPS hub (or a store) and go pick it up yourself early that day when it opens at 8am, instead of waiting all day for the driver to deliver the package.

The trick is to get in touch with either UPS or FedEx and ask them to hold your iPhone at one of their locations. Depending on where you live, you might have a UPS/FedEx warehouse not too far from you (I know the main UPS hub for San Diego is about 30 minutes away from my house). If you don’t have one of these warehouses nearby, you might still want to look at UPS or FedEx stores, which can act as a drop off location and still be able to pick up your iPhone there sooner than it would be delivered at your house.

In this post, I will show you how to use UPS My Choice to put your iPhone on hold at a specific UPS location. Note that FedEx has the exact same system in place called FedEx Delivery Manager.

Step 1: If you don’t have one yet, create a free UPS My Choice account. Note that the verification process can be a bit tedious and tricky as the company will ask personal information related to your previous addresses and employers. This is required to ensure you really are who you say you are. If Apple is shipping your iPhone with FedEx, you can create a FedEx Delivery Manager account instead.

Step 2: Login to your UPS My Choice account and you should be presented with a calendar view, showing all UPS shipments scheduled to be delivered at your house. The shipment from Apple says “AI.” As you can see on this screenshot, my iPhone is scheduled to get here by the end of the day, which is much later than I would want.

UPS My Choice Plan Deliveries

Step 3: Click on the “AI” link and select Change Delivery.

ups-my-choice-change-delivery

Step 4: Select “Pickup my package at a UPS location.”

ups-pick-up-at-location

Step 5: You will now be presented with a list of UPS locations around you. As mentioned before, there are actual UPS warehouses (or hubs) and UPS Stores. Hubs are usually located around larger cities. UPS Stores are pretty much available everywhere around the country. If you don’t have a main hub nearby, my advice is to call all UPS Stores near you and ask them what time they usually receive shipments. I personally called several around town and they had delivery times that vary greatly. Ultimately, going straight to the main hub is my best option, but you might find a UPS Store near you that get deliveries early morning. Once you’ve figured out what the best option for you is, select that location.

select ups location

Step 6: Verify the information and click Finish to proceed.

On Friday morning, go to that location and make sure you have a valid ID with you. If everything goes according to plan, you should be able to get your iPhone first thing, as soon as 8am when the UPS location opens.

If you have had bad experiences with UPS in the past, I can see how you would be worried to purposely put a package on hold at a specific location, but after speaking to a half dozen UPS employees, it seems to me this is a basic service they complete thousands of times a day. Having done that last year for my iPhone 6s, I know the process works and is indeed better than waiting all day for the delivery guy.

What’s your strategy for launch day?