Everything you need to know before preordering Apple's iPhone 6s tonight

in iPhone edited September 2015
Apple's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will go up for preorders in just a few hours, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, or 3:01 a.m. Eastern. To help, AppleInsider has compiled a checklist so you can snag your phone of choice on launch day.

As Apple notes on its website, iPhone 6s preorders start a minute after midnight Pacific time on Saturday, when the inevitable crush of shoppers is likely to clog servers around the world as people try to secure launch-day bragging rights.

Which iPhone 6s is for you?

The preorder process can't begin until you decide which phone you're willing to live with for the next 12 months or more. This year, Apple made things a bit more difficult by adding a new rose gold color option for both the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus. Silver, gold, and space gray colors are still available.

Being "s" models, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are almost identical in shape, size and weight compared to Apple's 2014 iPhones, meaning those looking to get a new handset tomorrow will probably familiar with the design. The updated models are just slightly larger, with the iPhone 6s coming in 0.2 millimeters taller, 0.1mm wider, 0.2mm thicker and 14 grams heavier than the iPhone 6. The 6s Plus is 0.1mm taller, 0.1mm wider, 0.2mm thicker and 20 grams heavier than last year's 6 Plus. This may affect whether or not you can use an old case, though some should fit.

As with every annual iPhone refresh, the 6s series is the recipient of a healthy boost in speed. Apple outfitted both phones with 64-bit A9 chips sporting a new internal architecture, which the company claims chews through CPU and graphics tasks a respective 70 percent and 90 percent faster than last year's A8 system-on-chip. Built into the A9 is a M9 motion coprocessor that powers, among other things, always-on "Hey Siri" activation for Siri voice commands.

Screen sizes and resolutions have stayed the same, though the new iPhones include a "Retina flash" function for illuminating dark selfies.

Cameras are greatly improved, since both 6s models come with a 12-megapixel rear units, capable of capturing 4K video at 30 frames per second. Once again, Apple is restricting optical image stabilization to the larger 6s Plus, though that device can now use the technology to smooth out video. The phones' front-facing FaceTime cameras have jumped to 5MP, up from 1.2MP on the iPhone 6.

In addition, a new Live Photos feature captures full-resolution images in the seconds just before and after a user presses the shutter button, creating a simulated high-resolution video clip. Live Photos can be viewed with a 3D Touch gesture.

Speaking of 3D Touch, the 6s series are Apple's first iPhones to incorporate pressure-sensitive input, based on Force Touch from the Apple Watch. The feature allows "peek and pop" UI interaction, handy for previewing email, photos and more with a light press, or diving into that content's host app with a firm press. The Taptic Engine, a powerful vibration mechanism, is part of the new system and provides users with haptic feedback sensations.

In terms of wireless connectivity, Apple has added support for more LTE bands -- now up to 23 -- along with LTE Advanced, a nascent standard which should allow people on compatible networks to hit speeds up to 300 megabits per second. On Wi-Fi networks the phones should be up to twice as fast as before, 866Mbps, using 802.11ac with MIMO. Apple has also added support for Bluetooth 4.2, ensuring future accessory compatibility.

Perhaps the biggest decision involves storage capacity. 16 gigabytes is the cheapest option, but with growing app and media sizes, only practical if you stream most music and video and don't expect to play more than a game or two. For many people, 64GB may be the sweet spot. 128GB is likely overkill, but the option to go for if you can afford it and absolutely have to have all your media, games and documents with you.

Pricing & carriers

Pricing has become a little more complex this year. While costs for a U.S. phone on a two-year contract are unaltered, starting at $199 for the 6s and $299 for the 6s Plus, carriers are increasingly pushing subscribers into lease programs. Based on a set of 24 installments, shoppers can expect to pay at least $27 a month for the 6s or $31 a month for the 6s Plus -- on top of regular service fees.

As usual, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are the only carrier choices for preorders at Apple's American website. Smaller companies like U.S. Cellular are offering preorders at their own sites.

For some people, especially those who want to change carriers later, the best option may to buy a phone outright. In that case prices begin at $649 for the 6s and $749 for the 6s Plus. With one exception the company isn't yet offering carrier-free models, but any fully-paid device should be unlockable later by the host carrier.

That exception is Apple's freshly-launched iPhone Upgrade Program, similar in concept to Sprint's iPhone Forever plan. The Apple deal offers an updated, unlocked iPhone every 12 months, covered by an AppleCare+ warranty. Costs range between $32 and $45 per month depending on hardware configuration. For those who don't plan on looking outside of the Apple bubble and demand the latest hardware every year, this may be the best option.

Prepare your order

For 2015, Apple has introduced a new tool for iPhone preorder preparation accessed via a link on the iPhone 6s product purchase page. In the U.S., buyers can check upgrade eligibility and handset pricing from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint by following this link and filling out the necessary information. You'll need your wireless number, billing ZIP code, and the last four digits of your Social Security number for AT&T and Verizon. Sprint customers need only their phone number and last four digits of their SSN or account PIN to continue.

Once upgrade eligibility has been confirmed -- or denied -- Apple provides an option to save this information so you can avoid repeating the time-consuming process when preorders go live. To log your eligibility data, first download the official Apple Store app and tap on the blue banner reading "Get ready to pre-order iPhone 6s." Select the "Get ready now" link, enter your carrier account information and toggle the "Remember Me" button on, then tap "Continue."

The next page that pops up is the Apple Store's iPhone order page, but the 6s and 6s Plus will remain unavailable until 12:01 a.m. Pacific.


If you set up "Remember Me" in the Apple Store app, navigate back to the iPhone purchase page, which should automatically retrieve your account information, and select your preferred size, color and capacity. Alternatively, orders will be accepted through Apple.com, though AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers will need to enter in carrier account information to proceed.

Once again: preorders for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are slated to go live at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Sept. 12. People who are quick on the draw should see their phones ship on Sept. 25, but delivery estimates could rapidly extend by days or weeks, so get your order in as soon as humanly possible.


The best way of taking the edge off the cost of an iPhone is selling an old smartphone. Direct sales via eBay and Craigslist usually return the most money, but aren't guaranteed and carry a risk of being scammed.

AppleInsider partner Gazelle is offering up to $395 for a used iPhone in perfect condition. The company offers a 30-day price lock for offers, which should enable people to pick up their new phone before having to mail in the old one.

NextWorth is giving AppleInsider readers a $10 bonus for devices from the iPhone 5 on with the promo code INSIDER. Like Gazelle, trade-in values range up to $395.

BuyBack World is offering as much as $400 for an iPhone, though its rates are more likely to fluctuate.

Apple's own reuse and recycling program may be the most convenient option, available both online and at retail. The downside is that the company not only pays less than dedicated trade-in services, but exclusively in store credit.

Amazon and Best Buy also pay only in store credit, but far more than Apple. Best Buy, for example, is giving as much as as $487 for a 16-gigabyte 6 Plus. Less lucrative alternatives include Walmart and Target.


  • Reply 1 of 85
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member

    I was just wondering this morning if the decision to start the pre-orders on Saturday 9/12 was intentional to avoid a lot of pre-order publicity on 9/11. 

  • Reply 2 of 85
    Use the Apple Store application on iOS instead of the website to order, it usually works better.
  • Reply 3 of 85

    The "Remember Me" function seems to accept, by default, ONLY the phone number of the actual handset you're using to pre-order. In other words, even though I was trying to order an upgrade for my wife (say, #2345) with my phone say, #1234), it would not accept it! It would only let me upgrade #1234 (i.e., mine).


    This, despite the fact that my wife's (and my kids') phone is part of  family plan, a plan with my name, credit card, and SS# attached to it.  


    Very annoying. Did anyone else run into this issue?


    I'll try with my iPad when I get home and see if I am able to get it to do a "Remember Me" for both. Or else, I'll have to order hers only by using her phone. Notifications have to be turned on, on top of that. Not a great solution, if you're trying to surprise someone!

  • Reply 4 of 85
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,541member

    I haven't seen much forum activity discussing how this holiday season is going to see poor old Sammy - and anyone else in the higher end Android phone business - crying the blues.  Is this the thread to start it on?  Apple is going into last bit of its Q4, and its Q1 (holiday) with the absolute strongest iPhone lineup ever by far.  The 6s/6s+ have enough great features on their own to command the premium above the 6/6+, to draw upgraders from last years purchases, and of course to bring in those Android switchers (all aided by a new switcher app - love it).  The iPhone 6 & 6+ both remain (I didn't see the 6 plus remaining - clearly Apple is confident in the 6s/6s+ features), and that will help those looking to shave a few dollars but get into the Apple ecosystem (or upgrade more cheaply) with still a great phone.


    Never mind that Apple also has its strongest iPad lineup ever - from the new Pro, down to the lowest iPad Mini 2 (so all retina), with both Mini 4 and Air 2 with great matching features & solid for all use cases.  Revenue should be up YoY with the Pro (even if units not so much).


    Honestly - how does Samsung combat that for the next couple of quarters?  They have already introduced their new phones, and just announced a few weeks ago their premium upgrades (and not yet shipping).  They have already fired all of the bullets in their gun before Apple's announcement.  They got nothing until maybe late Q1 2016.


    Apple is bound to have an absolutely monster quarter this coming holiday, with just about every product line firing on all cylinders.

  • Reply 5 of 85

    Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

    Use the Apple Store application on iOS instead of the website to order, it usually works better.

    In my case, the Apple Store application in OSX asked me to do it via iOS to be able to activate 'Remember Me.' It does not let me complete the pre-order on my Mac.

  • Reply 6 of 85
    Ordering 4 tonight. 6S Plus for me and my older daughter and 6S for my wife and younger daughter.

    Then 2 more iPad Pros for the girls for Christmas along with Pencil and keyboard cases. Damn piggy bank is going to be empty this holiday season. :(
  • Reply 7 of 85
    i just want to buy a sim-free version to use on either my work number at&t and home number t-mobile, why don't they offer a sim-free unlocked choice?
  • Reply 8 of 85
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,474member

    Most likely to prevent scalpers sending them overseas.

  • Reply 9 of 85

    That's my question too.  If I'm just buying an unlocked phone and paying full price up front why do I need to provide carrier information?

  • Reply 10 of 85
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,050member
    64GB Rose Gold will be Gone in 60 min. I can bet you on that. Chinese and the rest of Asia are all about this color: unique!
  • Reply 11 of 85
    mgzmgz Posts: 26member

    The "Remember Me" option only saves your carrier info (number, billing zip, last 4 of social, etc). It doesn't save your phone preference.

  • Reply 12 of 85

    Originally Posted by mgz View Post


    The "Remember Me" option only saves your carrier info (number, billing zip, last 4 of social, etc). It doesn't save your phone preference.

    Moreover, it remembers only the phone number of the handset you're calling from: that appears to be hard-coded, and can't be changed!


    So how is one supposed to pre-order for others in the Family Plan?!

  • Reply 13 of 85
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

    64GB Rose Gold will be Gone in 60 min. I can bet you on that. Chinese and the rest of Asia are all about this color: unique!

    I'm very curious to see how quickly the gold options sell out. My prediction is that the 16GB model is available mainly to accommodate those customers who want the gold phone option, and it will sell out fast. Because otherwise, who would only get 16GB with a phone capable of 4K video, and 12MP photos? In other words, it's a Gold premium to prevent the 6 from cannibalizing the 6S.

  • Reply 14 of 85

    I've been on the phone with Apple for 2 1/2 hours. They finally admitted that tonight when pre ordering starts you will NOT be able to purchase or reserve an iPhone IF you plan on using apples new upgrade program where you get a new iPhone every year paying monthly payments. You WILL however be able to make a reservation to come in and "talk about it" while they run your credit check there on the spot.

    This is very misleading and even Apple management was not entirely clear on this, so they had to go to the legal department and ask then called me back.

    I asked them why the credit check can't be done in advance just like they do now for Barclays bank financing and they said because this deal was put together so quickly at the end that all of that has not been worked out yet it's going to take them all the way till September 25 to devise how the plan will even work so at the moment at 12:01am tonight all you'll be able to do is make a reservation to come in and talk to Apple - nothing more.

    In addition, I've been screaming at ATT since May 28th when the story broke what a disastrous situation they're going to create to the people who spent 7 hours waiting in line, come in to renew their 2 year commitment only to find out ATT has taken that option away from Apple to force more people to go to ATT to purchase their iPhone.

    I warned the VP of ATT "you are going to get people so pissed off they will jump to another carrier just to spite you". I know because that's how I felt on May 29th. I went to Verizon's web site with the attitude "anyone but ATT" (remember the presidential tee shirts that said 'anyone but Bush'?" Here we go again but this time it's ATT)

    Since then I've had 7 top management phone calls with ATT about this telling them "you have my service you are NOT going to dictate where I buy my phone. You have 7 plans to pick from it's not fair to cherry pick the worst ones and restrict Apple to selling those only. Offer them all or offer none!".

    I've devoted 30 years to Apple promoting, alpha and beta testing product and software. I buy from Apple not just because I respect them but if something goes wrong with your product on more than one occasion they've gone in the back came out with a brand new replacement and said "will this help you leave with a smile on your face?" That's customer service BUT ONLY if you bought it from the Apple Store. If you buy elsewhere they send you back there.

    I'm off topic sorry...

    The main thing is if you're planning on preordering you better make sure you're doing it without their upgrade program in mind because it is "reservation to talk at the store only" not to order or save a spot in line to get one. For that you'll literally have to wait in line.

    I hope this helps at least some of you. If it dies then my three hours of phone call will be with it to get the story right.

    One last warning... They told me point blank "if you want you order to go through immediately to avoid last years mess USE THE APPLE STORE APP not the website to order." Many people were locked out for two hours last year like me because the web site had problems. The APP was working just fine so no website purchases APPLE STORE APP ONLY!
  • Reply 15 of 85

    I'm wondering about the Apple Upgrade Program, you get AppleCare, the cost works out about the same, Then add in the AppleCare.. But it says make a reservation, it seems like its not an ordering option, you either wind up selecting Full Price, or your carrier's payment plan for the carrier you are currently on.


    So it seems like you can reserve a phone, which raises into question, can you get it on launch day if you wanted to use the Apple upgrade program?


    There are always a few details that never get enough clarity or details it seems when they role these things out..

  • Reply 16 of 85
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,821member

    Originally Posted by mervynyan View Post

    i just want to buy a sim-free version to use on either my work number at&t and home number t-mobile, why don't they offer a sim-free unlocked choice?

    They usually start selling these a month or two after the launch.



    You can just buy the T-Mobile version which the app says is unlocked IIRC.

  • Reply 17 of 85
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,821member

    My biggest quandary is selecting color.


    I wish I could see the Rose Gold color in person.  In the pics and videos it looks nice.


    I was set on Space Gray (my last two generations of phone being Gold) but now am not sure. 


    I waffle back and forth.

  • Reply 18 of 85
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,821member

    Would be nice if the iOS Apple Store app would remember which phone you want too so it was already in your "bag" when you go in at midnight

  • Reply 19 of 85
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,133member

    Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post


    I was just wondering this morning if the decision to start the pre-orders on Saturday 9/12 was intentional to avoid a lot of pre-order publicity on 9/11.

    Good point. Wouldn't surprise me a bit.

  • Reply 20 of 85
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    64GB Rose Gold will be Gone in 60 min. I can bet you on that. Chinese and the rest of Asia are all about this color: unique!

    I a black phone now and am debating whether to go white or not this year. I really like the case colors this year. More muted tones and they match the new ?Watch bands. And especially digging the lavender and turquoise colors.
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