Preordering the iPhone X? 7 tips to avoid a backorder

Preorder day for the iPhone X is here. Follow these tips to increase your chances of getting one.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
4 min read
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If you're dead-set on preordering the iPhone X, you're not alone. The biggest four US carriers have hinted that iPhone 8 sales are weak, suggesting that people are either hanging on to their old devices or holding out for the iPhone X. And even those who did purchase an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus might be experiencing some buyers remorse -- trade-ins for the iPhone 8 are high just weeks after the phone began shipping.

That puts anyone who wants to score an iPhone X in a precarious situation. The iPhone X is in very limited supply, with shipping estimates almost immediately slipping to 5-6 weeks once the Apple Store came back online on Oct. 27 when preorders went live. Don't stress too much, though -- there's still a chance to have an iPhone X in your hands on Nov. 3. 

1. Check carrier websites

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple's website currently shows all colors and storage models will ship in 5-6 weeks, regardless of carrier. That's a long time to wait. However, if you go to your carrier's website you may have better luck.

At the time of this writing, AT&T and Verizon both have silver iPhone Xs with a shipping estimate of Nov. 3, or just a few days after. Sprint, for some reason, shows all models will still arrive on Nov. 3. And T-Mobile is forcing customers to call to preorder. 

2. Pay your wireless bill

Make sure your bill is paid up. There's nothing more disappointing during the iPhone order process than being told you need to pay your bill before the order can go through.

3. Confirm your upgrade status

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Just because you're on a payment plan for your current phone doesn't mean you're eligible for an upgrade. Sometimes another payment toward your device needs to be paid; other times your carrier may ask for a bigger payoff before you're eligible to upgrade.

In other words, log into your account through your carrier's website and ensure you're able to upgrade. Make any payments that will be required now.

4. Wait in line

Apple has said its retail stores will have stock of the iPhone X on Nov. 3, but advises customers should line up early. Reading between the lines, it's likely stores won't have many units. But hey, if you have some vacation time you can take at work, and feel like having a story to tell your friends a few years from now about the time you camped out for an iPhone X, start lining up now. Carrier stores will likely have limited stock as well, but you should probably check with your local stores to verify if it's worth setting up camp. 

5. Consider a variety of models

The worst thing you can do in a competitive preorder situation is commit to a single model. Increase your odds of getting an iPhone X by considering a variety of models. For instance, the 256GB model (which is the most expensive) might be the least popular. Likewise, unlocked models are often very popular, so consider a carrier model. 

Generally speaking, the Verizon model can work on Sprint (after being unlocked). The AT&T and T-Mobile models can work on any GSM network (after being unlocked).  

6. Use the Apple Store app

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

By far the best way to order previous iPhones has been through the Apple Store iOS app. The past few preorders I've placed have gone through the app without a single issue. Most of the time the app is the first thing to come back after Apple takes the store offline.

Download the Apple Store app, then log into your Apple account.

Watch this: Get the iPhone X ASAP

7. Unfreeze your credit

Interacting with a carrier or Apple and taking part in one of the many iPhone upgrade programs typically requires some sort of credit check during the checkout process. And following the Equifax hack, you may have put a freeze on your credit.

With that in mind, you don't want to miss out just because you forgot to remove the freeze on your credit. In fact, you can do this right now through all three credit monitoring services, schedule a temporary freeze removal, and have it go back in place after you've placed your order. Below are direct links to each company's respective page for doing just that:

Update, Oct. 27: Added information on carrier availability after preorders went live.

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