Update: Readers report getting two different stories from Apple – either the same as below, or that you instead have to buy via a specific iUP link. Might be best to have that link open as a plan B.

If you want to join the iPhone Upgrade Program in the UK, you have to visit an Apple Store in person in order to present documents and sign the paperwork. Which raises the obvious question: How does the process work if you want to pre-order the iPhone 13 online or in the app to ensure you get it on day one … ?

That was the question I faced, when admitting to myself that I have now been fully assimilated. While I used to buy iPhones every two or three years, lately the company has been making enough camera improvements to hook me every year.

That being the case, I decided I might as well just join the iPhone Upgrade Program. But while you can prepare your pre-order in the Apple Store app, there’s no option there to indicate that you want to do it through the iUP.

I spoke to Apple to find out how to do it, and it’s a slightly convoluted process but can be done.

First, set up your pre-order in advance, for now selecting either “Pay in full” or Barclays finance – it doesn’t matter which, because you’re going to change it later.

Tomorrow, when pre-orders go live at 1 p.m. UK time, you will be able to activate your pre-order, and at that point, I’m assured, there will be an iUP option. You simply change your payment method to this.

For delivery, you’ll need to select “Store pickup” and choose your preferred store. Book a collection appointment, and then once you arrive at the store, you’ll be taken through the iPhone Upgrade Program process.

Here’s what you’ll need on the day:

You will be asked to provide your date of birth, employment details, and UK home address(es) from the last three years for a credit check. You will also need your bank account number and sort code to set up a direct debit.

Make sure you bring along your UK driving licence, or your passport and debit card.

(I suspect there’s a missing comma there, and that you’ll need your debit card with whichever form of photo ID you provide.)

If you’re trading in an existing iPhone, you’ll of course need to ensure your data is backed up, ready to hand over your old phone on the day.

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