Category Archives: Apple

How to pre-order iPhone X

The iPhone X is expected to be the most in-demand phone ever, relative to supply, when pre-orders begin at 3:01am eastern U.S. time on Friday, October 27th. If you want the phone early, here are suggestions, assuming that you are upgrading from an existing iPhone:

  1. Make sure that your existing iPhone is paid off to ensure that you own it completely and are eligible to upgrade.
  2. Log into apple.com to ensure that your account shipping address and credit card are up-to-date.
  3. Use the Apple Store app on your existing iPhone and go through all the purchase steps you can. Choose “Pay In Full” option so that you don’t need additional time getting credit approved for payment plans.
  4. On the last page of the Apple Store app, you will see a heart at the top right which will allow you to favorite this model and configuration.
  5. Set your alarm to wake you up 15 minutes before the pre-order time, just to make sure that you’re awake enough to not accidentally order an iMac instead of an iPhone.
  6. Make sure to use the bathroom and be properly hydrated prior to the purchase. It’s possible that the system could be overloaded and you won’t be able to make the purchase for an hour or so.
  7. Use your existing iPhone’s Apple Store app when you purchase the phone at on Oct 27th. You should be able to go to the Account tab at the bottom and see your favorited items listed there. You could have a few phones listed at favorites. This is just a quick way to reach that configuration.

It’s unfortunate that the few extra minutes needed to go through a purchase program could cost you weeks in waiting for the phone.

You could try using the apple.com website as well, but in past years the Apple Store app was the fastest method.

Don’t order anything else at the same time as the phone as that would also delay things. If you want a phone case, go in later to place that order.

And yes, this is all excessive consumerism and no one “needs” this phone. But if you’re going to get it, you may as well get it first.

UPDATE: For my future reference, the carrier still needs to verify the account, needing the last four of the social and the zip code of the account. Constantly killing and restarting the Apple Store app appears the best way, although this year the website started up soon after.

When to Upgrade to a New Computer

New iMac

Clients regularly ask me when they should upgrade their computers. Most businesses upgrade desktop computers every 4-6 years and laptops every 2-4 years. But how often should you upgrade? Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Computer Release Cycles. It is typically best to buy a new computer model early after it is released. This can give you the latest technology and a longer product life. If a new model is just around the corner and you aren’t in dire need, consider waiting.
  2. CPUs. The Central Processing Unit is a key component and is usually made by Intel. A new model will often be released to coincide with the latest intel CPUs (and associated motherboard, RAM, etc). Buying the latest CPUs can mean that the computer will typically allow operating system updates for a longer period.
  3. Hard Drive (HD) versus Solid State Drive (SSD). I strongly recommend SSDs over traditional hard drives. SSDs do not have a spinning platter. They’re more energy efficient and super fast. Many people will find this gives the greatest perceptible difference in speed. Most new computers and all new Macs have an option for an SSD or a hybrid option that uses both an SSD and HD for improved performance (Apple refers to this hybrid option as a Fusion drive).
  4. Usage. Heavy computer users such as graphics designers and developers will find it more useful to upgrade quickly than people who mainly edit documents and use a web browser. Consider if the efficiency of your work would improve enough to warrant an upgrade.
  5. Hassle. Upgrading, especially on PCs can be annoying and take a great deal of time to configure the computer as you like. Macs are easier to upgrade, especially if you have an Apple store nearby. They will upgrade you for free and move over all your files.
  6. PC or Mac. A sad situation that I regularly see is a PC user upgrading after their computer has been infected by a virus. This makes some sense. If the computer has been compromised and is already a few years old, it could be considered “totaled” if the money and time spent on wiping the computer and reinstalling the operating system would be better spent on a new machine. Because of this, I often recommend that people consider Apple computers (Macs) if their needs don’t include Windows specific software. Macs in my experience don’t get viruses, don’t need additional antivirus software, and tend to have higher quality parts that last longer than the typical PC. Because of these factors, Macs have a lower total cost of ownership in my experience, despite having a higher initial cost.
  7. Security. If you have a Windows 95/98/XP PC or a Mac that is around 8 years old, you should consider an upgrade for security reasons. If your computer can’t upgrade to the latest operating system or latest web browser, then it won’t have the latest security patches and could be vulnerable to attacks.
  8. Deals. PC deals come and go all the time from Dell and others. Apple has one sale a year on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. Apple does offer Education and Refurbished deals. Some Apple resellers offer minor deals, especially on older products.

Preparing for New iPhones

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing color, the air is crisper, and the new iPhones are almost here. If you’re a crazy upgrader like I am, that means it’s time to get ready to sell your old iPhone.

Unlocking

You should try to unlock your old iPhone. Unlocking allows the phone to be used by different cellular carriers by changing SIM cards. It makes the phone more valuable as a result. Outside the US, phone locking isn’t even legal. And the fact that a US carrier can keep a phone locked after you have paid off the contract for the phone and sold it to someone else makes no sense. Unfortunately, it’s up to you the consumer to know that unlocking is even a thing.

If you’re with AT&T, you can follow these instructions:
https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/

You need to fill out all the info, get an email, then click on a link. Oddly, you then are instructed to backup your phone to iTunes and then perform a restore. All the steps take hours if you have a lot of data. And you’ll need to re-setup Apple Pay if you have cards on that.

For more information on how to unlock, look at this post from Gazelle:
https://www.gazelle.com/thehorn/2014/01/29/unlock-phone-carrier/

Backup to iTunes

When you get your new phone, you can restore from your iCloud backup or from your computer’s iTunes backup. I always use the iTunes backup because it will backup more information if you have it encrypting your backup (see image below from iTunes). It will back up your passwords, Health, and HomeKit data. I suggest backing up to iTunes prior to getting the new iPhone since this takes a while.

iTunes iPhone Backup

Turn Off Find My iPhone

Before you sell your iPhone to someone, you also need to turn off Find My iPhone. This allows someone else to use the phone.

You get to this from Settings – iCloud – Find My iPhone

Reset iPhone

Finally, before you sell your old phone, reset it by going to Settings – General – Reset – Erase All Content and Settings. This will put the phone back in startup mode.