How to Get an iPhone 5 in Just 12 Hours

Apple is currently quoting 3-5 weeks delivery on an iPhone 5 in the U.S. But I was able to order two and pick them up the next day. Here’s how.

  • Log into the Apple store website and almost complete the purchase process. Do everything except the final checkout.
  • About two minutes before 10pm local time, go to your shopping cart and change the delivery option from “ship” to “pickup at an Apple store”.
  • Enter your ZIP code when asked and scroll through the nearby stores. You probably won’t find any phones available.
  • Keep trying. At some point just before or around 10pm, you should see a phone or two show up as available at an Apple store near you. At this point they’re only getting a few of each model each day at each store. Don’t hesitate. You have only seconds to grab it. Click on a store you’re willing to drive to and complete the online ordering process.
  • Early the following morning you’ll receive email from the store, saying your new iPhone 5 is ready for pickup.
  • Go and get it.

This worked for me on Thursday night 9/27 for a 32GB black Verizon model, which I picked up in Palo Alto, CA. Last night I did it again for 16GB black Verizon model for my wife. Picked that one up this morning closer to home at the Corte Madera, CA store.

One word of warning: If you’re like me and are simultaneously switching form AT&T to Verizon, be prepared to spend 1-2 hours at the Apple store completing the provisioning process. Verizon is totally f*ed up on this. Two hours yesterday, even though I had answered all the questions, etc., online. Today I just had to switch my wife’s phone from AT&T and add it to the family Verizon plan. Still took an hour. If you’re not switching carriers, it should go much more smoothly.


BTW, the phone is great. I skipped a model and upgraded from an original iPhone 4. The camera is awesome. Same as the 4S. But the phone’s CPU is much faster than the 4. It’s just much more responsive. And I love LTE. No more 3G for me, let alone the dreaded Edge network. Luckily I have decent LTE coverage in my neighborhood.

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