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When the Apple Store goes down for maintenance in anticipation of a preorder about to go live, if I were to have the Apple Store iOS app open during that time, would the "We'll be back" screen automatically disappear when the time comes to preorder those items, or would I need to force-restart the app for the change to take effect?

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In 2016, I had to force-close and relaunch the Apple Store app for it to show the new contents. I know this because refreshing Safari showed me the updated Apple Store ordering pages, while the app was still showing, “We’ll be right back.” There is no way to force the app to refresh itself, so relaunching it is the only option if you’re in a hurry.

Maybe that’s been fixed since (I didn’t preorder right at midnight for iPhone 8/WATCH 3), but if in doubt, keep force-closing and relaunching (or refresh Safari until you know the Store is back up; however the web version of the site has occasionally come back up after the app version).

Do keep in mind that in 2016, the Apple Store came back online long (15 minutes?) after the carriers went live with preorders. In fact, AT&T (and possibly others) even started a first-come, first-served queue 5+ minutes before midnight.

Lastly, if the iPhone 8 and WATCH 3 launch is any indication, a number of phones will be reserved for local pickup. You should be able to verify that many models that are on delivery-backorder are still available for local pickup on September 22nd. I’m guessing Apple did this to:

  1. Draw larger launch-day crowds to the stores.
  2. Mitigate the advantage of living farther west (and only needing to wait until midnight, as opposed to waking up at 3 a.m.).
  3. Save on shipping?

It is already possible to select an iPhone X model and add it as a favorite in the app. If you want to maximize your chances I would advise you to do this, then set it as the item on display under AccountMy Favorites. Come preorder time, tap on it, then go straight to confirm your order.

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