So, the new iPhones are almost upon us, and pre-orders go live tomorrow (September 13) ahead of their official release a week later (September 20).

Demand for new iPhones is usually pretty high, and as ever it’s likely there will be plenty of disappointed customers once the launch day stock sells out. In past years delivery estimates have slipped by several weeks within just a few minutes of pre-orders going live.

But careful shoppers rarely miss out – we’ve had years of success picking up new Apple devices on launch day. So, here are a few tips to maximize your chances of nabbing a fancy new iPhone as early as possible.

Know when the window opens

Customers tend to flock to make purchases the second the pre-order window opens, but luckily we know when these products will be available down to the minute – so plan accordingly and get online a few minutes early to beat the digital queues and get in the moment Apple opens the virtual doors.

Pre-orders go live simultaneously all over the globe in the early hours of Friday 20 September: specifically, 12.01 am PT / 3.01 am ET / 8.01 am GMT.  So to stand the best chance of getting something before all the initial stock is snapped up, Americans will need to stay up late while Europeans will need to get up early. Set an alarm so you don’t forget.

Decide exactly what you want

You want to be able to get through the checkout process as quickly as possible – so make sure you’ve decided exactly what it is you want. That means choosing ahead of time which storage capacity, color, and carrier you’ll be selecting.

If you’re not sure how much storage you’ll need, open the Settings app on your current iPhone and press General iPhone Storage. This screen will show how many gigabytes (GB) you’re currently using – use this as a guide to estimate your personal needs. No sense paying for five times more than you’re currently using.

Also, if you’re dead set on getting a launch day device, be prepared to change plan at the last second. Certain configurations may prove especially popular, and thus some of the shipping estimates will start slipping sooner than others.

When demand is high, you sometimes have to compromise to stay ahead of the crowd. Try mixing up the capacity or color until you find a configuration with suitable shipping times.

Use the App Store app

Pre-orders can be made via apple.com, but by far the slickest checkout process is via the official Apple Store app. It’s a free download, so grab it now, log in and make sure your payment and shipping details are up-to-date to avoid any unexpected issues on the day.

You can use the heart icon in the app to add your preferred configuration to a favorites list, for easy access come launch time. This is a good way to get ahead of the pack while other potential purchasers fiddle with the various color and storage options.

The App Store goes offline for a while whenever Apple readies a new product, but as soon as the launch window opens you can tap Add to Bag on your favorite configuration to move straight to checkout and skip the setup stage.

If you’re reading this later than September 20, you’ll almost certainly be out of luck for a launch day delivery. But it’s still worth pre-ordering ASAP to avoid in-store queues and shortages. The App Store app will let you know estimated shipping times before you confirm any purchase.

So, if you’ve had your eye on the latest iPhones, there’s nothing more to say but good luck and happy shopping!