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How to Get the iPhone 5S on September 20th



With the important iPhone 5S release details now known, those looking to buy the iPhone 5S on its September 20th release date are making their final preparations. Many of those buyers are likely planning to buy the iPhone 5S on release day and if that’s the case, we have some helpful tips that should make the experience a successful one.

Earlier this week, Apple took the stage and announce two brand new iPhones that will be coming out later this month. The iPhone 5C, which just went up for pre-order today, will be joined by the iPhone 5S, the true successor to the iPhone 5. Those devices will push out the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4, meaning Apple’s lineup come September 20th will be the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and iPhone 4S.

At the time, the company did not announce iPhone 5S pre-orders, something that was a bit shocking considering they had been a staple of the past. Last year, Apple offered up the iPhone 5 about a week ahead of its release date, offering those who wanted the device on its release date a chance to make that happen.

Read: iPhone 5S Release Date: When You Can Order Revealed.

The iPhone 5S will go up for order at midnight, September 20th.

The iPhone 5S will go up for order at midnight, September 20th.

This time around, there are no official pre-orders for the iPhone 5S, only some flimsy reservations that are being taken at places like RadioShack, Target, Walmart. Apple and its carriers are not taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5S.

Apple also didn’t specify when the iPhone 5S would go on sale on September 20th. It said that Apple Stores would open early at 8AM but did not say when the device would appear online. Today, it answered that final question.

The iPhone 5S will go on sale at 12AM PST on September 20th, meaning, 3AM EST and 2AM CST. This is not surprising given that this is how past iPhone launches have played out.

Those who have stayed up late to order an iPhone know that getting a new iPhone on release day isn’t easy. Last year, we saw the iPhone 5 sell out within hours of going on sale and while the iPhone 5C still hasn’t sold out, we expect the iPhone 5S to be in high demand come September 20th.

Ahead of September 20th, we wanted to share some tips that we’ve learned over the years, tips that should help to make the iPhone 5S order process next week be a fairly smooth one.

Be Ready to Go

Simply put, those looking to get the iPhone 5S on September 20th are going to have to be willing to wait up until pre-orders start in order to secure an iPhone 5S. There is no telling if there will be a sell out, or how fast the iPhone 5S will sell out if there is one, but those who want to ensure one on day one need to brave the night just to be safe.

Many who didn't stay up late for the iPhone 5 didn't get an iPhone 5.

Many who didn’t stay up late for the iPhone 5 didn’t get an iPhone 5.

Last year, the iPhone 5 went on sale promptly and millions of people were able to place an order in the hours after it went on sale. However, once the morning arrived, the iPhone 5 was gone and shipping times didn’t return to normal for quite some time. Many of those who pre-ordered on day one saw their iPhone 5 arrive way past September 21st.

Those looking to get the iPhone 5S as soon as possible won’t want to risk it. So, buy a palette of energy drinks, a couple pounds of coffee, whatever it takes to stay up until pre-orders begin.

Anticipate Site Issues

The iPhone 5C pre-order didn’t have the site issues that iPhone pre-orderers are accustomed to. However, don’t expect the demand for the iPhone 5C to be the same as the demand for the iPhone 5S.

There will be more people looking to buy Apple’s top-shelf iPhone. And in the past, thanks to those numbers, we’ve seen carriers sites and Apple’s site crumble under the pressure.

So, on top of being online right at midnight or 3AM or whatever, iPhone buyers who are looking to get an iPhone 5S on day one need to anticipate site issues. With that in mind, there are a few things buyers can do.

iPhone 5 AT&T Shipping Times

Expect site issues when orders first become available.

One, be patient. Things might not load extremely fast, but that doesn’t mean that pre-orders are going to sell out. It typically takes a few hours for that to happen. So stay calm. And two, we recommend taking a tour of the site ahead of time so that if and when site issues do occur, buyers will know exactly what to do, something that will speed up the process.

Those who are truly crazy about getting an iPhone 5S as soon as possible may even want to fire up a separate laptop, computer or iPad to act as an secondary device. Last year, when buying the iPad 3, our MacBook wasn’t able to get through. However, for whatever reason, our iPad 2 was able to get in to pre-order. Something to consider for those that have multiple devices.

Have Your Account Information Ready

There are several other steps that Users will want to take in order to ensure a swift ordering iPhone 5S process. on release day.

One of those things is having account information ready ahead of time. What we mean by that is, have an Apple ID ready if ordering through Apple, have the last four digits of the primary account holders social security number handy, and have any and all payment options on hand.

Apple ID

Have all pertinent account details on hand.

Having these things readily available will ensure a smooth ordering process so track them down well in advance. Those who are scrambling to find them once orders start will likely incur a massive headache and unnecessary stress.

Make Sure You Can Log In Ahead of Time

We also highly recommend that iPhone 5 buyers log into their accounts ahead of time. That means, track down log in information, make sure that everything works, and make sure that that phone upgrade that was supposed to be available around this time is, in fact, available.

At this point, whilst logged in, users can browse the different data plans, check usage to see just how much data might be needed, effectively compare costs to other carriers ahead of the ordering process and so on.

Most importantly though, make sure that the log in works. It’s not going to feel good if pre-orders begin and the password that worked a month ago suddenly isn’t working.

Keep Your iPhone 5S Options Open

There is a very good chance that we’ll see the iPhone 5S sell out on day one. Even if it doesn’t completely sell out, there is a one hundred and ten percent chance that at least one model will completely sell out. For instance, we typically see the 16GB models go first. That said, iPhone buyers will want to keep their options open if they’re looking to snag one on day one.

You may not get your first choice so keep your iPhone 5S options open.

You may not get your first choice so keep your iPhone 5S options open.

Put some extra cash away right now in order to buy a larger storage variant should the 16GB model sell out immediately. Having extra space isn’t a bad thing, it’s just going to be a matter of fitting it into the budget.

It’s also possible that the 32GB model could sell out first given how big app sizes are these days. If that’s the case, be open to buying a 16GB or 64GB model because those might just be the only devices available when it’s time to order.

Can’t Stay Up? Head to a Store

Those that simply can’t stay up to order early in the morning on September 20th, but still want to buy an iPhone 5S on September 20th, will need to head down to a physical retail location. There is a slim chance that we could see stock emerge from the smoke in the morning but again, those chances are slim.

Instead, particularly for those that are on east coast time, it’s probably worth just waking up a bit earlier than normal and heading down to a physical retail location to try and pick one up before work or class.

Lines for the T-Mobile iPhone 5 in New York City on launch day.

Lines for the T-Mobile iPhone 5 in New York City on launch day.

Apple Stores will be opening early at 8AM to cater to those that want to get the device early and we expect carrier stores to open early as well. And we highly recommend showing up well before that.

Last year, in a small town in Ohio, there were people who lined up 10 hours in advance to snag the iPhone 5. This is going to be the case at many, if not most retail locations. So unless heading down to the store when pre-orders start sounds like a good idea, try heading down to a store about three hours ahead of time.

For most people, this will ensure a great spot in line, and it should net an iPhone 5S on release day.

Avoid Flagship Apple Stores

Apple Stores are going to have the most stock and thus, they will be appealing to those that are looking to buy an iPhone 5S on release day. However, Apple Stores will also boast the longest lines which means that those who are fortunate enough to live in proximity of multiple Apple Stores, should head to the non-flagship location for the best chance at getting an iPhone 5S.

Apple wants you to buy your new iPhone at an Apple Store, not at Verizon, AT&T or Best Buy.

Apple’s iPhone 5S goes on sale on September 20th. And there will be lines.

For instance, Apple has a flagship location in downtown San Francisco, but there is also a location that is at the Stonestown Mall out near San Francisco State University. The safer of the two is the Stonestown Mall as it is less visible and therefore will likely be less populated. And yes, it will likely still have a bunch of iPhone 5S devices in stock.

Avoid Flagship Carrier Stores

On that same note, those looking to buy on the iPhone 5S release date will likely want to avoid the most visible carrier stores as well. Flagship stores will likely boast considerable stock as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon look to peddle their wares but be warned, they will also likely be packed full of iPhone buyers.

Instead, we recommended trying carrier kiosks in malls or locations that are a little more tucked away than those located in city centers. These are more likely to have shorter lines and thus, buyers will have more of a chance to have their first crack at the iPhone 5S that they want.

Avoid Third Party Retailers

Those that haven’t placed an order ahead of time should avoid heading into third party retailers like Best Buy, Target, RadioShack or Walmart. For one, they historically have not had the same kind of stock that Apple and carriers provide. Certain models will likely be sold out within minutes, particularly because they are taking reservations ahead of time.

The Best Buy iPhone 5 pre-order was a disaster.

The Best Buy iPhone 5 ordering process was a disaster.

If all else fails, they are worth a shot as a last resort but don’t head there first as their stock is generally wiped out pretty quickly.



  1. dulce1021

    09/13/2013 at 4:06 pm

    “There is a slim chance that we could see stock emerge from the smoke in the morning but again, those chances are slim.”

    What does this mean? That if you stand in line all night at an Apple store, they might open in the morning only to say that they already sold all their stock online?

  2. K. McNamara

    09/13/2013 at 5:41 pm

    Are you saying that if you purchase via the Apple pre-order site in the early hours of 9/20 that you can pick up your phone at an apple store later that day? I’ve always pre-ordered a week before so I’ve never had to go somewhere to get my iPhone – it’s always been shipped.

    • D

      09/13/2013 at 6:37 pm

      That wouldn’t be a “pre-order”–that would just be a regular online order, and your phone would ship, or if you picked it up it probably wouldn’t be there until some days later.

      • K. McNamara

        09/14/2013 at 6:36 am

        I found this on IGN’s site: “Many of the same options are available to those who want Apple’s new flagship smartphone, but unlike the iPhone 5C, Apple isn’t offering pre-orders for the iPhone 5S. Instead, users can place an order from Apple’s online store at midnight on September 20th and pick it from their local Apple store in the morning.”

        So they seem to think you can do as I suggested. I hope they’re right because I don’t have time to wait in line for a phone. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just have to have them ship it to me.

  3. Brent

    09/14/2013 at 6:10 am

    So does that mean 3am Friday Australian time? I’m still confused as to exactly what time here they will go on sale on the Apple online store :/

    Can someone please clarify this for me?

  4. pauyyd

    09/14/2013 at 9:21 am

    If you’re in an overnight line waiting for the 5S, you really need to get a life. I actually got in line the morning when the 3GS was released, and swore I’d never do it again.

  5. Dhruv Bhagat

    09/15/2013 at 5:06 am

    The iPhone 5S is a real beauty with all the amazing features. Also, the all new iOS 7 has AirDrop which will let users to share data files. So, there’s no need of NFC chip. :)

    This is a must buy phone :)

    I have iPhone 4S and I will upgrade it when the 5S will be there in India.

  6. J

    09/18/2013 at 6:00 am

    Really the most helpful & practical article I’ve read about HOW to get your hands on the 5S. Thanks!

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