iPhone online ordering process

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , ,
screenshot of apple store iphone 5 preorder page

Source: Apple.com

Holding out on upgrading your phone to see if any issues crop up?  Or maybe you’re just waiting for your previous 2-year contract to expire before you upgrade.  Well, if you decide you want to get the iPhone 5 and would like to make sure you’ve prepared everything needed to get through the online ordering process without a hitch, here is a step-by-step of what to expect*:

1.  In  the Apple Store’s iPhone section, choose your color (black or white), storage capacity (16, 32, or 64 GB), and carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or get an unlocked phone for a higher price point).
2.  If you chose one of the three carriers with contract requirements, you’ll then need to indicate if you are creating a new account with the carrier or already have one.  If you have one, you can either replace a current phone on your account or add a line.  (Sprint options vary slightly.)
3a.  If you create a new account: you’ll go through and pick out the details, including minutes, data, and text messaging options.  Then you can choose to get a new number or transfer your current one.
 If you get a new number, you’ll enter your billing info, birthday, and SSN.  The carrier will do a credit check on you, you will have to pay an activation fee, and you’ll be signing up for a 2-year contract.  Here Sprint also asks for you to create a PIN.
 If you transfer your current number, they will ask for your current phone number, account number, and password for the carrier (if applicable).
3b.  If you have an existing account (either replacing a current number or adding a new one): you will then be prompted to enter your wireless number, billing zip code, last 4 digits of SSN, and billing password, if you have one.  At that point, see 3a if you’re adding a line, otherwise Apple will check your eligibility for an upgrade, which will determine how much the iPhone will cost you.  You’ll then want to confirm the monthly plan you want, either keeping what you have already or changing it.

Note:  With Verizon, upgrading to the iPhone 5 means changing to LTE service, which voids any grandfathered plan you may be on (i.e. an unlimited one).  Therefore, you will automatically have to choose a different plan if you currently have unlimited data with them.  With AT&T, you get to keep your grandfathered plan, but you will not be allowed to use the FaceTime on cell service feature.  If you want to FaceTime while on the go, you will have to get a shared data plan, which means you forfeit your grandfathered plans.

4.  Then you will be directed to sign in with your Apple ID.  If you’re a new customer, you’ll need to create one.
5.  You will now be able to review your order, including the phone model and phone plan that you chose.  Confirm the shipping address and shipping method are the ones you want.  During pre-orders, you will not be allowed to edit the shipping address at this stage, but you can do so once the order is placed.  The shipping method for pre-orders defaults to standard free shipping and cannot be changed.
6.  If you want to edit your cart, you can do so here.  Otherwise, go ahead to checkout to complete your order!

*Note that some instructions may not be complete since I didn’t have the appropriate information to go forward.  I will update if I do get access.

The ultimate guide to upgrading your iPhone

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , ,
white and black iphone 5 as seen on apple site

Source: Apple.com

Is it just me or is there not enough information out there about exactly everything you should prepare when you want to upgrade to the latest iPhone?  Since I’ve been stuck with a 3GS for a few months (and constantly find it way too slow for my liking), I’m extremely eager to pre-order the iPhone 5 as soon as possible.  I’ve scoured the web and found tons of sites talking about what it will be called, what hardware and software features it will include, how much it will cost, and when it will be available.  (This was in the pre-announcement days.)

That’s great and all, but what about the nitty gritty details?  When I pre-order the phone, what’s the difference between doing it online and going to a store?  Will they be available to pre-order only at Apple.com or will other vendors offer them too?  What information should I have ready to make sure my order goes smoothly?  What can I expect when I get the phone?  How do I make sure the setup process goes smoothly?

Well, in an effort to help streamline things for anyone else as eager to upgrade as I am, I’ll put together what I know and update it as we go along, until I have phone in hand, with the same phone number, same phone plan, new contract, and all my apps in place.  Hopefully this can serve useful for anyone searching in the future for the next next iPhone, the next next next iPhone, etc.

Let’s start from the beginning: Apple will always announce an event to the media and a simple search for that will clue you in as to when to expect the next iPhone.  In this recent example, the purported iPhone 5 was unveiled Sept 12th!  From there, they will officially announce when pre-orders will begin and when the first wave of devices will arrive in stores or at your doorstep.  Of course, there has been plenty of speculation about this and you can expect a certain amount of accuracy with reports leading up to the actual dates as given my Apple.  As it turns out, iPhone 5 pre-orders will go on sale online this Friday, the 14th (no time given initially, but we knew it would probably in the wee hours of the morning to help alleviate congestion on their site… by Thursday the 13th you could find information online confirming that it would be 12:01 AM PST).  Those pre-orders will ship to consumers the following Friday, the 21st.

Ok, so if you’ve decided you want to order this new phone, what’s the difference between doing it online and going to a store?  Well, actually, if you want to be one of the first to order, then you have to do it online.  Online pre-orders started Friday the 14th a bit past midnight PST while in-store orders won’t be available until Friday the 21st at 8 AM (same day that the online orders arrive at people’s doorsteps).  As for other differences, if you decide to do it online you might encounter pages not loading and might even have to restart the ordering process a few times before finally getting through.  Meanwhile, if you decide to go to a store, you’ll hit huge lines, no doubt.  And in the store, they might also have the same issues with technology keeping up with incoming orders, though so far the online experience seemed to work fine.  If you’re into the hype, going to the store might be a good option.  You can also ask questions while you’re there and get a better understanding of what exactly you’re getting into.  If you just want the new device pronto, then you probably want to stay home and battle it out online.  See here for a separate post on the online ordering process.

Now will they be available to pre-order only at Apple.com, or will other vendors offer them too?  AT&T and Verizon also started offering pre-orders through their sites at the same time as the Apple Store.  In fact, AT&T even started a little before 12:01 and the site was live as early as 11:48.  As far as I know, Sprint was lagging and didn’t seem to have the capability as of 1:00 AM PST.  Just to safe, you’ll probably want to have more than one browser open and try your carrier’s site if Apple’s store is lagging.  Also, for those who already own some sort of iDevice, don’t forget that the Apple Store app on your phone takes orders too!  In fact, it was up and ready before the Apple Store loaded this time around.

What information should I have ready to make sure my order goes smoothly?  Now this is something I actually was able to find.  A few key things to note: you have to have the device shipped to you, and Apple will only send it to the billing address on file for your credit card.  Either update the billing address for your credit card or find someone who has the appropriate address for billing already and convince them to help you order.*  😛  Also, sales tax in CA and RI is charged on the unbundled price of the phone (so they base it off of $650 vs. $200), so if you happen to be able to get your phone in any other state, you can save some money!  As for the information you’ll need: color of device, storage space, carrier (these are things I’m assuming you’ve figured out).  If you have an existing account with the carrier you want, you’ll need the wireless number, billing zip code, last 4 digits of the primary account holder’s SSN, and password for your carrier.  If you are new to the carrier, you’ll go through and pick out the details of your phone plan so it’s wise to decide on that ahead of time.  After all the phone plan stuff is settled, you’ll be asked to log in with your Apple ID.  Then of course you’ll need the credit card info, including CC number, expiration date, security code, billing address, phone number, and email.  That should cover it!

*As a friend pointed out, you can actually update the shipping address after your order goes through.  Do this as soon as possible since you can no longer make changes once your order is in the “preparing for shipment” phase, which occurred as early as the night of Saturday the 15th for iPhone 5 orders.

What can I expect when I get the phone?  I went into the AT&T store the other day and was told that when you get the phone, there will be instructions on how to activate it.  You basically turn it on and go through the on-screen directions.  Silly me, only when I was leaving the store did I realize that in the checkout process you already told Apple which carrier, what plan, and what phone number you’re going to have on the new device.  Of course they’d be prepared!  So if you like doing things over the phone, you can activate it right at home.  But if you don’t feel secure in doing that or just prefer face-to-face contact, you can always stop by the carrier’s store and they can do it there for you.

Originally I thought that you could opt to have it shipped to you or sent to an Apple Store for pickup (which you usually can do).  As it turns out, pre-orders ONLY ship to your billing address.  Figure out where you’ll be the day it arrives and make sure it ships there, since it’ll need a signature.  Shipping it to you means you can go ahead and do everything from home/work, or wherever you ship it to.  In the future, you can go pick it up in an Apple Store or one of the carriers’ stores, but be ready for long lines and low quantities of stock in any given store.  The associates there will be able to get everything set up for you and help troubleshoot any issues.

How do I make sure the setup process goes smoothly?  This should be relatively easy, assuming there are no glitches associated with your carrier getting set up.  The one thing you’ll likely want to do is backup your current phone if it is an iPhone, so you can easily load all your apps and data to the new device.  You can do this via iCloud or iTunes, whatever your preference is.

Oh, and one last thing – when you create a new account, add a new line, or upgrade your current line, you are agreeing to a new 2-year contract with your carrier.  They will also charge you a upgrade/activation fee around $35.  Just make sure you know what you’re getting into!


So what do you think?  Are there any other burning questions you have about the process/preparation?  I’d be happy to try to figure it out with you.

thank you message from apple store after successful iphone 5 purchase

Yay, I got one!

How to: Link Social Media Accounts

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

With the ventures I’ve been working on, much of my time and effort have been spent figuring out the nuances of social media.  I think these issues are pertinent to many people, particularly business owners, so I’ve decided to put together some of the lessons I’ve learned and tips for how to improve your experience and avoid pitfalls.  These will be filed under the “social media lessons” category, so you can filter by category to sort by relevant posts.  Hopefully you’ll find these things useful in optimizing your own social media strategy!

social media icon buttons: facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, vimeo, etsy

Icons courtesy Brandi Girl

Today I’ll cover how to link your social media accounts to offer consistency across social media platforms.  It can be quite time-consuming to post content across platforms, so why not link them and get more bang for your buck?  Most sites will allow you to connect with Facebook and/or Twitter to post your activity and updates; just check the settings and look for something like “Sharing Settings” or “Connect Accounts.”

First, you can interlink your Facebook Page and Twitter accounts.  That way, any post on Facebook gets updated to Twitter, and any update on Twitter gets updated to Facebook (except @replies and direct messages).

Link Twitter to your Facebook Page

  • You will be prompted to use Facebook as yourself (instead of as your Facebook Page) if you aren’t already.
  • Your personal Facebook account and any Facebook Pages that you are an admin of will be listed.
  • On the right side, click “Link to Twitter” for the account you want to link.
  • On the next page, make sure you’re logged in to the correct Twitter account and click “Authorize app.”
  • You will be returned to the previous page, where you can choose what to share (Status Updates, Photos, Video, Links, Notes, & Events). By default, they will all be checked so all updates will be shared on Twitter as well.

Link Facebook Page to your Twitter account

  • Scroll down to the Facebook section and click “Sign in to Facebook and connect your accounts.”
  • There will be a pop-up prompting you to allow Twitter access to your personal Facebook account. Allow it.
  • Now your account is connected to Facebook and you can choose to allow Twitter to post to your personal profile page, or one of the Facebook Pages that you are an admin of.


For all the rest, make sure you are signed in to the correct Facebook and Twitter accounts first.

Link Facebook* & Twitter to your Pinterest account

  • Scroll down to the Facebook section and click “Login with Facebook.”
  • There will be a pop-up prompting you to allow Pinterest access to your Facebook account.  Allow it.
  • Now “Login with Facebook” will be ON and you can choose to also turn “Publish activity to Facebook Timeline” to ON. If you do, another pop-up will prompt you to allow that type of access to your Facebook account.  Allow it if you want Pinterest updates to show up in a box on the right side of your timeline.
  • In the Twitter section, click “Login with Twitter” and authorize the app.

Link Facebook, Twitter, & more to your Instagram (instructions for iPhone app – Androids may vary)

  • Open up the Instagram app on your device and click on the icon that shows you your profile (bottom right).
  • Tap on the settings icon in the top right corner.
  • Scroll down to “Sharing settings” under the Account header.
  • Tap on that and choose the accounts you want to link. You’ll be prompted to log in and allow access.
  • For Facebook, your personal profile will be connected by default, but you can change it to a page by clicking on “Facebook,” then “Post to.” This will take you to a page in the FB app. Allow access here to then be able to connect Instagram to one of the Facebook Pages that you are an admin of.


  • Click “Connect” next to the account you want to link.
  • You will be prompted to allow access. When you accept, your account will be linked.
  • For Facebook, you will automatically be connected as yourself, but you can choose to link to a Facebook Page that you are an admin of instead by clicking on the dropdown.
  • Note that Vimeo will only send updates when you ‘like’ a video. When you upload a new video, you will need to manually choose “Share” in the top right corner of that video.

Link Facebook* & Twitter to your Etsy account

  • Click on “Connect with Facebook” and/or “Connect with Twitter” under the Connected Accounts section
  • You will get a pop-up prompting you to allow permission. When you do, your accounts will be linked.
  • For Facebook, you have the option of sharing your Favorites from Etsy on Facebook. Check the box if you’d like to, otherwise leave it alone.


*Pinterest and Etsy don’t appear to allow you to link your account to a Facebook page – right now you can only post updates to your personal timeline.


Is there another social media platform you’d like to see here?  Did I miss a step anywhere?  I’d love to hear some feedback.  Let me know if it worked for you (or what happened if it didn’t).

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