Canadian Apple Retail Stores Overhaul iPhone Purchase Policy


It is unclear exactly when things changed, but it seems that in the last two weeks, Canadian Apple Retail Stores have completely overhauled their iPhone purchase policies.

The Old iPhone Policy

The previous iPhone purchase policy at Canadian Apple Retail Stores was two-fold; either purchasing with a contract or purchasing without a contract/unlocked.

If you were purchasing with a contract, you were forced to make an appointment. You could not just walk-in and receive service. Some stores required customers to wait in line, while others simply turned people away saying to check back tomorrow. Worse, the iPhone contract purchasing policies seemed to vary from one Apple Store to another.

And of course, going to a carrier store was impossible to find inventory.

If you were purchasing without a contract, it was super easy. Just walk in, say what you want, and walk out. Done.

The New iPhone Policy

With the recent changes, it seems that the iPhone purchasing policy has been reversed as compared to the old policy.

Now if you are purchasing with a contract, you can literally just walk-in and say I want an iPhone on contract and the process begins the same day, usually right away. No lines, no being turned away, no inconsistencies.

However, if you want to buy a no contract/unlocked iPhone you need an appointment. While you can still walk in to any Apple Store and ask for an outright/unlocked iPhone, if there are no appointments, you will be denied.

How To Buy An Unlocked iPhone From Canadian Apple Stores

If you’re in the market for an unlocked/outright iPhone, the new process is like this:

1.) Using your web browser, navigate to Apple’s retail iPhone URL:

2.) Select “Reservation” in the top right corner paragraph (hard to find, but it’s there)

3.) Choose your province and desired Apple Store and select “Next“.

4.) Choose your desired iPhone model and select “Reserve“. Note: two per customer.

5.) Sign in with your Apple ID, or create a new Apple ID, and confirm your reservation. Note: Apple ID is now required to purchase an outright/unlocked iPhone (This is going to slow down resellers for sure)

Alternatively, you could walk in to an Apple Store and do the above process on the spot in hopes of getting an appointment right away, but if there is no availability, then you have to book for the next day.

If you are planning an outright/unlocked iPhone purchase, let us know how the process goes for you.


  • I bought an unlocked iphone last friday. I went to the apple store at fairview and I didn’t even ask the employees if they have any iphones. I just went to the back and said I’d like to buy an iphone 4. They said sorry we have none left for today, try again tomorrow. So i was already there, and I knew they had stock, so I said, whats the difference if I buy it today or tomorrow, i’m already here. And i started getting really upset because i knew they had stock, i could tell by the way the employees were talking.

    Anyways to make a long story short, the next day after work, I decide to call before I go to fairview mall for no reason, and ask them if they have iphone 4s. The lady who picks up says “let me check if we have any more iphones left for TODAY (this is friday (no deliveries on weekends, i’m not stupid) ). The lady then tells me sorry please try again tomorrow, so i say to the lady “NOBODY delivers on weekends, i’m not stupid your not stupid whats going on here, do you not want to sell me a phone?”. I got no response for that, and the employee didn’t know how to react.

    I called the apple store in upper canada mall (the emptiest apple store I have ever seen) and ask them if they have iphone 4s, i asked if i can put one on hold, they said no need to we have PLENTY, I drive an hour up there get my phone, waste $20 in gas for no reason.

    Why is apple so stupid? thats not good customer service refusing to sell a product you have in store.

  • Anonymous

    Because Apple is arrogant

  • Kris

    Why wouldn’t they sell it to you if they have the iPhone in stock..?? It doesn’t make sense. And how do you know that they had the inventory on hand..?? You’re not a psychic nor are you the one counting how many they sold. Take it easy, don’t be arrogant. They probably didn’t have it in stock. Or maybe you were rude to them, they way you’ve written, you seem like an arrogant guy. Take it easy…

  • Anonymous

    I guess they changed it so they can make money off contracts.The outright is more efficent but greed takes over.

  • Anonymous

    I guess they changed it so they can make money off contracts.The outright is more efficent but greed takes over.

  • and that it why i prefer Microsoft.

  • Jack

    And what kind of Microsoft phone do you use.

  • Idude

    I feel for you, and that is total B.S that u had to go through all that to buy an already expensive phone.
    If they indeed had the iPhones in stock then , shame on the apple store customer service!

  • Jely

    Can I buy it unlocked even with an American Appled Id?

  • Fragilityg4

    Why wouldn’t apple be arrogant? They got this dude driving an hour to Newmarket to buy their phone!

  • I don’t think its that.
    I think its designed in favor for the people who are contracting it because they intend to use it. Slowing the process for outright purchase so give contractors the upper hand over the large amount of eBay’ers.

    Though this is going to suck for some I agree 100% I don’t want to see a repeat of last year where people waited in line day after day just to throw the phone on ebay and call their friends to do the same.

  • They might have stock… But only for appointements that were already scheduled for the same day and the next few days…

    By the way, some companies deliver on Saturday… Purolator do it…

  • Jeff U

    They reserve stock for customer appointments. No shame in that. I’d be much more upset if I had booked an appointment for a phone and when I arrived I discovered they’d already sold it to someone off the street.

    Why not buy one online? I bought an unlocked 4 online last week and it was easy breezy and arrived 2 days later.

  • I haven’t even seen a Windows 7 phone in the wild yet.

  • Pingback: Canadian Apple Retail Stores Overhaul iPhone Purchase Policy … | Iphone()

  • Laserheart

    Sorry to say, but I think that some of the “facts” mentioned in this article are not accurate.

    I had a contract with Rogers, and went in to the Apple store without an appointment and they sold phones no problem. (long before this supposed policy change).

    You might be thinking store location-specific policies, not Apple Store policies.

  • Ex

    That’s because the store had availability for you at the time.

  • That’s why we announced this policy change. It’s changed as of now.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. It’s just for them to know who bought the phone, to prevent resellers from buying 10 and then resell them overseas like they did with the ipad 2…

  • Gerry18

    May as well just order your phone online and have it shipped to you. Save ya the headaches. I remembered when the Apple Store opened in Newmarket and people who wanted their phones on a contract had to come back the next day to get them activated as compared to the ones, like me, who bought it outright and received it on the spot.

  • Not surprised if they did this exactly for this purpose…

    Last time I went to the Apple Store to order my new MacBook Pro with one
    of the business clerk, at least 3 persons got two full boxes of iPhone 4
    each (10 or 12 iPhones per box??)… So in less than 15 minutes, this is
    at least 60 iPhones that were sold to some sort of resellers…

  • Laserheart

    How would they know that before I got up to the counter?? You mean people have been standing in line for hours for them to walk to the counter and them say they were only taking appointments?? :confused:

  • Laserheart

    OK, I guess I’m confused… the article said the previous policy was that I needed an appointment if I was on a contract, and I didn’t have one. Anyways, I hope the situation is better now…

  • Ex

    If you were able to just walk-in, say last month, and get a contract on an iPhone, that means they had availability.

    Some Apple Stores booked up very quickly even before the store opened, and then had to turn away people that, at times, were in line for hours.

  • Laserheart

    I stood in line for 4 hours, and I was already on contract with Rogers. I guess I’m not really sure what the change in policy is, but that’s ok…

  • Ex

    With the new policy, you don’t have to stand in line anymore to get contract-based transactions.


  • Laserheart

    I guess that’s why I’m confused… the article says the old policy was that we had to make appointments, and now we have to stand in line, which is the opposite of what the author just replied.

    I guess I misunderstand this entire article… thanks anyways! 🙁

  • Vishalr

    ….so I went to the apple store at pacific mall, vancouver to pick up a new unlocked (without contract) iphone 4 and the guy with the earphones and ipad in hand (jerk) asks me if I have a reservation! …and so I look around and say “oh Sorry, am I in a fine dining restaurant?’ f***ing a**holes apple!
    To cut a long story short, a lot of arguments ensued, me blowing my top etc, the manager comes out and as a “special case”, I am ALLOWED to purchase an iphone 4. Oh thank you apple, I feel f***ing special!
    I’m going Android next time around!

  • Shoulda read up on eh? Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Ex

    Hence this post

  • I don’t understand… You are calling him a “jerk” because e was simply doing his job?

    If you “vented” a lot, I’m sure the “jerk was you… Not the poor guy doing his job.

  • ML

    This is just DUMB. It took me less than 5 minutes from “Hi, I want to buy a commitment-free i4” to “Thanks, have a good day” before I walked out with the new phone. There’s no activation, no phone removal, no problems with some folks’ accounts, hence the need to call their carrier, etc.. Buying an unlocked device is a streamlined process. WHY the hell they have to revise the policy? Apple should be interested in getting the full cost of the phone right away. It makes no sense to go through such a hassle just to swipe the card.

  • Michaelv0405

    I don’t understand why Apple store have this appointment policies for, every time I walk to an Apple store they seem to have dozens and dozens of staff geeks just wondering around pretending that they’re busy holding their precious Ipads.

  • kino

    …and read iphoneincanada.

  • Dan

    Why didn’t you say “fuck it” and just go buy a god damned android phone to start with?

    All you did was reward them by making a purchase.

  • Pingback: Apple Stores Remove iPhone 4 Reservation System, Brings Back To First-Come, First-Served | iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource()

  • Jdctruss

    The moron wasn’t doing his job, he was an ass. Don’t be so stupid Mario.

  • Jdctruss

    The moron wasn’t doing his job, he was an ass. Don’t be so stupid Mario.

  • you are replying to a 3 months old post?

    anyway… the rule at this time was that a reservation was needed…
    the Apple “jerk” was simply following the rules… hence doing his job.

    the rule was stupid… not me… not the Apple “jerk”… 

  • you are replying to a 3 months old post?

    anyway… the rule at this time was that a reservation was needed…
    the Apple “jerk” was simply following the rules… hence doing his job.

    the rule was stupid… not me… not the Apple “jerk”…