Since Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program was launched in 2015, last year was the first go around for users of the program to experience the yearly upgrade process. Let’s take a look at some of the fine details of the program in light of possible iPhone 8 supply constraints and/or a possible delay.

With a rough first year, hopefully Apple has a solid plan in place to make 2017 a better experience for those using the company’s iPhone Upgrade Program. Last year, readers using iUP quickly shared the difficulty they had trying to upgrade to an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. After Apple heard customer feedback, it made more iPhones available for iUP customers specifically, along with a few other tweaks to help out.

However, part of the difficulty was the fact that iUP customers had to reserve an available iPhone and then make a trip to an Apple Store to trade-in their current device and get their new iPhone.

Luckily, Apple is now offering the option to do it online and with its Apple Store App in addition to in-person at an Apple Store, which is a big improvement over last year. Let’s take a look at what iUP users can expect in preparing to upgrade to Apple’s latest iPhone(s).

If your yearly upgrade is in (or around) September

A guaranteed yearly upgrade (and 50% trade-in value) is likely a major factor for many iUP customers choosing this option. With that in mind, a majority of folks using iUP will have their upgrade cycle occur with the launch of new iPhones. But what if you can’t get one immediately due to low supply or a delay?

If you happen to do your iUP trade-in after 12 months has passed, the good news is that Apple will refund any payments you have made up to 30 days before upgrading. So there is a month buffer built-in, and it’s possible that Apple could extend that period for iUP customers if there happens to be a more serious delay with the iPhone 8. (Note, while this doesn’t appear in Apple’s iUP T&C, we’ve confirmed this with multiple Apple Store employees).

Amid the difficulty for iUP trade-ins last year, Apple was hit with a class action lawsuit last year over not following through with “yearly upgrades” for iUP customers. This history could also influence how flexible Apple will be with iUP customers and how it allocates iPhone stock.

If you’re still a bit away from a year

Another nice option if you happened to start your iUP after the iPhone 7/7 Plus launch last year is to upgrade early. Here’s how Apple describes this option:

At any time six (6) months after the date of enrollment, you can become upgrade eligible by making advance payments so that you have paid the equivalent of at least twelve (12) installment payments under your Installment Loan plus any taxes and fees paid at the time of enrollment.

We won’t have to wait too much longer to see what the new iPhone(s) shipping times will look like with Apple’s event coming up on Tuesday and pre-orders likely starting on September 15. But no matter what, after a rough first anniversary for Apple’s installment plan, it’s likely the company will put more measures in place to make sure it’s dedicated customers are taken care as best as it can.

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.