Everything you need to know about upgrading to the iPhone XR via Apple’s Upgrade Program

Last month I upgraded to the new iPhone XS Max using Apple’s Upgrade Program. It was my first time upgrading this way, and although it went fairly smoothly, there were a few things I picked up that I felt were worth passing along to folks looking to use the Program to pick up the iPhone XR that goes up for pre-order later this week.

What is the iPhone Upgrade Program?

The iPhone Upgrade Program is essentially a leasing program provided that allows you to divide up the full retail price of an iPhone into 24 monthly payments. These payments can be anywhere from $35-$70, depending on the model, and include free AppleCare+ protection and the ability to upgrade to a new iPhone after 12 months.

How to get pre-approved before ordering

Starting Monday, October 15, both new users and current members of the iPhone Upgrade Program are able to get pre-approved for the iPhone XR pre-order. I recommend using the Apple Store app, as I’ve found it to be the most seamless. Just click the ‘Get ready now’ link in the Discover tab, and follow the on-screen instructions.

The process is fairly straight forward, and took me less than 5 minutes. Be aware you’ll need a valid U.S. credit card and your Social Security number for a credit check (heads up: even as a returning member, I was ask for my SS number), as well as your carrier information. You’ll even be able to customize the iPhone model you’ll be ordering.

And that’s about it for the pre-approval process. Again it took me less than 5 minutes to complete, and then when it came time to pre-order, I was able to do so with a couple of clicks. Just note that you’ll have to pay sales tax on the full price of the device up front, as well as an upgrade fee—if you haven’t had your current device a full year.

Get your new iPhone and return your old one

I pre-ordered my iPhone XS Max as soon as it became available, and received it 1 week later (this can vary, depending on availability). Because I did everything online, Apple sent me a return kit via mail and gave me (I believe) 14 days or so to return my old iPhone X. The kit includes a return box and label, and super simple instructions.

What happens if you don’t return your old iPhone? This is definitely an option! If you decide to keep your old phone, you’ll just continue to get billed the same monthly fee you were before. You also have the option to pay off the remaining balance of the loan in full, allowing you to resell the device or gift it to a friend or family member.

Still have questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments below! Pre-orders for the iPhone XR begin October 19.