iPhone X Pre-Orders: 5 Tips for Beating the Rush

You won't have to fight off Steve Wozniak to get your hands on an iPhone X in just a few hours — the Apple co-founder announced to anyone who will listen that he's not upgrading to the new smartphone — but he may be the only person you won't have to muscle aside to get your order in now that iPhone X pre-orders are about to begin. And from the sound of it, there may be fewer iPhones than expected to go around.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Nikkei Asian Review reports that Apple is going to have to settle for half its expected iPhone X shipments of iPhones this year, as production delays have slowed output. The culprit appears to be getting the Face ID components to work, but that's of little consolation should you be left high and dry without an iPhone X.

Report of limited iPhone X supplies combined with earlier reports that iPhone fans were holding off on buying the iPhone 8 in favor of Apple's flashier smartphone all add up to one conclusion: A lot of people will be clamoring for the iPhone X this Friday, and a not insignificant chunk of those people are going to come away empty-handed.

MORE: 6 Reasons You Should Skip iPhone X and Just Get iPhone 8

Successfully pre-ordering an iPhone has always come down to a little bit of luck, but as the saying goes, luck is the residue of design. Before the clock strikes midnight tonight, there are steps you can take to remove some of the variables out of the pre-order process, upping the odds that you'll soon get the iPhone of your dreams.

1. Set Your Alarm Now

Pre-orders start at 3 a.m. ET on Friday, October 27, or right at midnight if you're in the Pacific Time Zone. Have Apple's order page queued up and ready to go once Apple starts taking orders, and you'll up the chances that your order will get through.

2. Turn to the Apple Store App

You can certainly try Apple's online store to place your order — it's the traditional spot, after all. But a less welcome tradition is slow performance brought on by heavy iPhone pre-order traffic.

You've got another option for pre-ordering from Apple, and it's right there on your iOS device. The Apple Store app takes pre-orders, too, and Apple says it's the fastest way to place an order. Credit Apple Pay for that, as all your payment information is already there right on your phone for Apple to access — that is assuming you've set up Apple Pay. Speaking of which...

3. Set Up Apple Pay if You Haven't Already

We'll show you how.

4. Take Advantage of Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program if You Can

Speaking of breezing through the line, if you're a part of Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, you can already select your model and carrier and enter in your personal and credit card information long before pre-orders begin. This ensures a speedier checkout.

You can check your eligibility at Apple's website or on the aforementioned Apple Store app. Even if you're not eligible — and you would have had to enroll in the program the last time you bought an iPhone — take a page out of your fellow iPhone fans' book, and have all the information you need at the ready for Friday, so that your checkout process goes smoothly. Pick your model, capacity size, color and carrier ahead of time, so that you can punch in that information on Friday when prompted.

5. Consider Trying Your Favorite Carrier Instead

It's natural to want to get your iPhone from Apple directly, but the four major carriers are taking pre-orders starting Friday, too. And while their supplies may be more limited than what Apple has on hand, they also won't face quite the crushing demand. You might luck out and get a model, while being able to take advantage of some of the iPhone trade-in offers that the likes of Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are dangling.

What Happens If I Get Shut Out

While the above steps can increase your chances of finding iPhone X happiness, there's no guarantee that you'll wind up with a pre-ordered phone this Friday. There is a Plan B, however: the iPhone X arrives in stores the following Friday, Nov. 3. And Apple has said its retail outlets will have phones on hand for walk-up purchases on that day. What it hasn't said, it just how many phones it will have in stores, though the fact that it's encouraging customers to "arrive early" suggests you better be prepared for a long line on Nov. 3.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.