Today is the day. The iPhone 6S is officially launching in stores and people are lining up around blocks all over the world outside of Apple stores to purchase theirs. We know all the swoon-worthy details of the new phone including the hot rose gold color option, the game-changing 3D Touch, Live Photos, the practically unbendable exterior and the feature-packed new iOS 9. Some of you might be toying with the idea of signing up with Apple鈥檚 iPhone Upgrade Program, which promises to give you a new iPhone every year without contracts, carriers and the like. Sounds pretty excellent, doesn鈥檛 it?

We-ell, not exactly. There鈥檚 some fine print you should probably know about before you sign up.


First of all, you DO need to sign up with a carrier when you purchase your phone through the Apple Upgrade Program 鈥 and not just any carrier, but one of the Big Four (that鈥檚 Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint). Once you walk out of the store, however, you鈥檙e free to cancel the plan. Having a carrier 鈥渦nlocked鈥 phone gives you the freedom to sign up with any network that supports the iPhone 6S, including pre-paid carriers like Cricket Wireless (AT&T-owned) and Virgin Mobile (Sprint-owned). And yes, it also means that when you travel internationally, you can pop in a foreign sim and use your phone overseas. AHHH!! However, if you end up signing a two-year contract with a major carrier, there聽is a possibility they will disable this option, so double-check before you sign.


Here鈥檚 the monthly price breakdown of what you鈥檒l pay for the iPhone Upgrade Program, which is contracted through Citizen鈥檚 Bank. You鈥檙e eligible to upgrade after 12 monthly installments of varying prices depending on the model and storage tier you select 鈥斅however, you are locked in for a 24-month agreement. That means when you鈥檙e finished with the Program and you鈥檝e skipped the latest upgrade, you鈥檒l still be paying installments on your last phone for a year before you鈥檙e done. Clever, Apple.

Upgrading to the plan will have some serious perks, like AppleCare+ tacked on within your monthly fee. What鈥檚 that, you ask? It鈥檚 Apple鈥檚 specialized聽iPhone AppleCare聽support plan that provides you with phone support, software tips and even two years of insurance for accidental damages incurred on your handset. Of course, there鈥檚 always conditions for what kinds聽of repairs and coverage this plan actually covers, so be sure to read the fine print on that as well.


While you聽are聽going to be leasing a phone, it鈥檚 just like leasing a car. You鈥檙e going to want to keep the phone in relatively decent condition in order to have a seamless trade-in. According to the Program鈥檚 Terms and Conditions, the financed phone must:

A few things to note. To take part in the plan, you鈥檒l need to be at least 18 years of age, have a valid US credit card (debit cards and pre-paid cards like the Visa gift card are NOT聽accepted), an SSN for your credit check, two forms of ID as well as your current phone + wireless plan info. You鈥檒l need to apply for the plan in-store (obviously based on this exhaustive list of what you need to bring).

You can reserve your phone for iPhone Upgrade Program starting tomorrow morning.

All in all, it鈥檚 still a pretty great deal but you should always know the details before you sign聽up for anything!

Will you be using the iPhone Upgrade Program? Tell us in the comments below!

(h/t CNET, photos via Apple)