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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

With iPhone X delivery estimates now at five to six weeks for all carriers, colors, and capacities, customers who want an iPhone X but didn't pre-order will need to wait until well into December to get their hands on one of the new devices.

There's still one way to get an iPhone X on launch day - waiting in line. Apple says there will be iPhone X models available for walk-in purchases, but if pre-orders are any indication, supplies are going to be tight. Stores are opening starting at 8:00 a.m. local time for iPhone X sales.


If you're planning to try for an iPhone X this Friday, make sure to check out these tips to maximize your chances of success.

Pick Your Store

Strategically choosing where you're going to wait in line for an iPhone X is the most important part of the process. If you're in a more remote area without a lot of options this isn't up for debate, but in urban areas where there are a range of Apple Stores, carrier stores, and big box retailers to choose from, it takes a little more thought.

Apple Stores are going to have the most available iPhone X stock, but will also have more people waiting in line than carrier stores or major retailers. In the United States, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile stores will have the iPhone X available for purchase, as will Target and Best Buy locations.

The Palo Alto Apple Store​

If you've waited in line for an iPhone before, you probably have insight into some of the better locations. In the Bay Area, for example, we have dozens of stores to choose from, but Palo Alto and San Francisco tend to get the most stock. Flagship stores like San Francisco are often well stocked, but draw a lot of customers, while indoor locations like Valley Fair are popular. Smaller Apple Stores like Oakridge and Los Gatos are often more overlooked, and I've picked up several launch day items at the former.

These examples are limited to my area, but the same thing goes for every location. Think about how populated an area is, what the waiting conditions are like, and how many iPhones are likely to be available to try to find the best spot. There are hidden gems out there.

If you haven't waited in line before, ask around for suggestions. The MacRumors forums are a good resource to get tips and chat with others who are going to be waiting in line.

Apple Store employees aren't going to give out details on the amount of stock that will be available, but sometimes you can get lucky with a third-party retailer, so if you're going to choose a carrier or a big box store, it's worth calling ahead just to check.

If the location you're planning to visit is at an indoor mall, make sure to check the mall policies. Some malls won't open up overnight and will be closed until the early morning hours.

Go Early

Once you've decided on a location, the best advice I can give is go early. iPhone X pre-orders sold out in minutes, so it definitely looks like stock is low. The last thing you want to do is line up at 4:00 a.m. and wait for hours just to not get a new device.

If you can manage it, this is one of those launches where going the night before or even earlier is going to give you the best chance of getting an iPhone X.

An iPhone 7 line on the Wednesday before launch, via Olaenglund

Again, though, this is going to depend on location. Starting the morning before the iPhone X launch, go scout your target store. Drive by to see if there are people waiting outside. It's best to do this a few times during the day, if possible. Once you see a line start forming, that should give you an indication of when you need to be there.

For some launches, I've gone early in the morning and been okay, but for others, I've waited overnight and still not gotten a device. It's better to wait a few additional hours and get a spot closer to the front of the line.

Bring a Friend

Waiting in line is better with a friend because if you need to step out of the line to use the restroom or grab a bite to eat, there's someone to hold your place. It also gives you someone to chat and commiserate with as you stand outside for hours on end. MacRumors readers often plan iPhone launch day meet ups on the forums, and that can be a good way to find someone to wait in line with.

Bring Supplies

If you're going to be waiting for several hours or camping out overnight, supplies are essential. You're going to want a comfortable chair to sit in first and foremost, so bring something that's portable but not uncomfortable, like a beach chair.

Dressing for the weather is important, so check the forecast. Dress warmly in layers so you're prepared for the cold overnight or in the early morning. A jacket, warm boots, gloves, and a scarf will make standing in the cold more bearable if you're waiting someplace chilly. If it's going to rain, bring a raincoat and an umbrella.


Make sure you bring snacks and something to drink, along with entertainment. Charge your iPhone and iPad and bring a battery pack or two if you have them.


Some people bring tents to camp out overnight, but that's a lot of equipment to deal with when it comes time to pack up. Still, if you're waiting for more than 12 hours, it's worth considering.

Apple employees will often provide drinks and snacks in the morning, but employees aren't out overnight so you should bring your own supplies too.

You can't bring a bathroom with you, so make sure you scout out the nearest bathroom locations.

Get to Know Your Line Buddies

When you're waiting in line, make friends. Get to know the people you're with, and get a feel for how many people are ahead of you. Lines will undoubtedly swell as it gets closer to the 8:00 a.m. launch time as people who have been saving spots have more people join them.

Line swelling can be super frustrating, so it's worth being aware of ahead of time. Find out if the people around you are saving spots so there are no surprises. If you make line friends, you also have someone to save your spot if you need to step out of line.

Know What You Want

Before 8:00 a.m., store employees will likely come out, suss out the line, ask what color and capacity you want, and let you know if there's enough available supply to fill demand. Make sure you know what you want and what your backup plan is so this process goes quickly and smoothly.


Make sure you're an authorized user on your phone account if it's a shared plan, and have your payment method planned out and ready. You don't want to run into any hiccups with ordering after waiting in line.

This is also about the time that you should start packing up your supplies and getting ready to head into the store to make a purchase. Most stores will let customers in a few at a time, but from here, the checkout and purchase process should go smoothly.

Article Link: Waiting in Line for iPhone X? Check Out These Tips


macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2012
Preorder for launch wasn't even hard to get. Getting the 7 plus in jet black was way harder than any version of the X. Props to everyone who is waiting overnight, but you could have preordered easily and gotten it on launch.
Except if you were among those for whom the online store only went up 10 min late. At that point the (silver 256GB) X was already 2-3 weeks.:(


macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2015
Manchester, UK
I’ve been in Apple Stores on launch days. Never again! It’s full of excitable children. My life and my time is way too important to me to have to queue for a phone, never mind camp outside. Really is this even a thing this day and age of the internet connected world? I’m happy to wait until it’s brought directly to my door thanks very much!

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
I would say after you pick your store and before you go early to check with the store to see what the mall's camp out policy is. Many malls do not allow camping out and won't allow lines until 5-6 am
Last edited:


macrumors member
Sep 15, 2010
This was – genuinely – a lot of good, straightforward advice. (I preordered. 11.3!)

It reminds me of back in ’97, when I slept overnight in Central Park to see Patrick Stewart in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of The Tempest. The best part of the overnight odyssey was getting to know the neighbors.

You really can make this a fun and memorable experience!


macrumors 68000
Jul 6, 2012
Except if you were among those for whom the online store only went up 10 min late. At that point the (silver 256GB) X was already 2-3 weeks.:(

True, happened to me as well (although Apple moved the delivery date up after the order was placed). It was interesting that the browser based store became reachable before the iPhone / iPad Store App this time.

Good luck Friday - being in line and visiting with fellow "waiters" is much of the fun.


Managing Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
I would say after you pick your store and before you go early to check with the store to see what the mall's camp out policy is. Many malls do not allow camping out and won't allow lines until 5-6pm.

This is a really good tip. I'll add it to the post.
  • Like
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macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2015
It is about the event itself as well. It's ok.
Just keep in mind that we may permit us that luxury and appreciate the fact, that you can do it, while others are struggling with really important things of life.
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macrumors newbie
Jul 6, 2017
Let’s hope these tips are better than the ones suggesting the fastest online pre-order method is the Apple Store App. Cause for dang sure the only reason I have to wait in the freaking line at the store on Friday is because of the ridiculous app debacle by Apple.

Surely there is a problem at Apple when VERIZON WIRELESS CAN HANDLE PRE-ORDERS better than Apple can themselves.



macrumors regular
Sep 14, 2012
I agree with these tips. Years ago, I camped out for a PlayStation and all night the guys were going through eBay to see how much money they will make. Best Buy allowed us 45 minutes to leave the line and use the bathroom at the Walgreens in the same strip center. 5 minutes before opening, a guy’s gf came to the store and when the manager came out to start the buying process, his friends said I left all night and just returned. It was 5 on 1 and the manager believed them and gave my PlayStation to the guy’s gf. At least there were so many scalpers that eBay prices bombed on release day. People were barely making $5 it that.


macrumors 65816
Jul 10, 2003
still remember sleeping on stockton st. for the opening of the SF apple was cold...the sidewalk was hard (duh)...but did meet a lot of very cool and interesting people, most notably a disabled gentleman from scotland who had flown to SF on a day's notice to be at the opening. that's fandom, folks.

have also stood/waited in line for multiple iphone/ipad events...yeah, they're not for everyone, but they are fun for those of us who enjoy commiserating w/like-minded fanatics about all things apple.


macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2017
Gulf Coast
I would say after you pick your store and before you go early to check with the store to see what the mall's camp out policy is. Many malls do not allow camping out and won't allow lines until 5-6 am

This is good advice. AT&T is a tenant of ours at an outdoor shopping center and while it hasn’t been an issue in the past, we definitely wouldn’t permit people to camp out overnight. The store manager still doesn’t even know if they’re getting any X’s. Hopefully he has to crush people’s hopes and not me.
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