iPhone Upgrade Program members in the US were able to set everything up in advance to pre-order their new iPhone 12 on day one. Not so UK members, however, as upgrades could only be processed in physical Apple Stores – and those were closed by the coronavirus lockdown .

Non-essential stores could remain open for click-and-collect, but that didn’t permit the in-store paperwork needed to begin or renew an iUP membership …

Non-essential stores have now been allowed to fully re-open in England and Wales today (though not yet in Scotland, which has a separate lockdown system).

You do still need an appointment for the iPhone Upgrade Program, but 9to5Mac reader Paul Hudson told us that his local store has wide open availability.

One iPhone Upgrade Program member who had already taken advantage of the opportunity said that the process took just a few minutes.

The stores feel super safe too. My upgrade took a matter of minutes, with masks, temp checks and plenty of cleaning going on.

Interesting to note that it appears iUP members can get their hands on new phones today, despite no pickup availability when placing online orders, and online delivery dates several weeks away. It may be that Apple has reserved specific stocks for the upgrade program.

A survey back in October suggested that the program has been a big success for Apple.

iPhone Upgrade Program popularity has hit extremely impressive levels, suggests a survey of US iPhone owners. It found that 36% of them were already members, and a further 25% plan to join it.

This could suggest that Apple is well on its way to addressing one of the biggest challenges facing the company: lengthening upgrade cycles […] Solving the problem was the purpose of the iPhone Upgrade Program: giving consumers a reason to upgrade either annually, or every other year.

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