One-handers, rejoice. Apple is set to begin taking preorders Thursday for its latest 4-inch handset: the iPhone SE.

On the surface, the company’s latest device is very familiar, sporting a similar design to the 2013 iPhone 5S. But it can also stand alongside its larger siblings, with features like a faster chip, upgraded camera and support for the Apple Pay mobile payment system. Customers looking to get their hands on it can get in line at Apple retail stores on March 31. But if you’d rather skip the line on release day, preordering may be the better option. Before you do so, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Preorder Time

Apple has pegged Thursday as the start date for preorders. What it didn’t say is exactly what time they’ll begin.  But if they follow the trend of previous launches, they could start as early as 12:01 a.m. PDT/3:01 a.m. EDT, which means you may want to stay up late or take a power nap if you’re planning to be one of the first people to call dibs on the iPhone SE.

Where to Preorder

If you want to get an iPhone SE reservation for launch day, the first place to look is Apple’s website. But if you want to increase your chances of grabbing one of the first units, consider having the Apple Store app ready on your iOS device as well.

Alternatively, customers can keep an eye out for iPhone SE preorders at Apple wireless carrier partners and authorized retailers. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are among some of the carriers that have confirmed their preorder plans for Thursday, the latter of which will begin taking reservations at 12:01 a.m. PDT, according to its website.

What to Have Ready

During the preorder process, Apple typically asks shoppers for some information about their wireless account if they choose a carrier-specific iPhone model. This typically includes a ZIP/postal code, mobile number and the last four digits of the primary account holder’s Social Security number. Or if you’d prefer, you can also purchase an unlocked iPhone and provide your own SIM card.

Following preorders, the iPhone SE will launch on March 31 through the Apple Store, wireless carriers and retail stores in several markets such as  Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, U.K., U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.S. Apple is expected to roll the smartphone out to additional countries and markets in April.


The 16GB model of the iPhone SE can be purchased for $399 in the U.S. and is available in gold, rose gold, silver and space gray. For those looking for extra storage space, a 64GB model is also available for $499. Depending on your carrier’s plan offerings, it may also be possible to get the handset for free with a two-year contract, or $0 down, followed by monthly installments for 24 months. Apple also offers a financing plan of its own, which offers lower monthly payments for the iPhone SE if customers trade in their old iPhone. However, this option is only available when the device is purchased at an Apple retail store.

iPhone SE An attendee inspects the new iPhone SE during an Apple special event at the company's headquarters on Monday in Cupertino, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images