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Apple developed a way to update iPhones in sealed boxes before they’re sold

Published Mar 25th, 2024 7:27AM EDT
iPhone 14 Pro Max boxes
Image: Jonathan S. Geller

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Apple is expected to launch an innovative program to update iPhones in stores before the boxes are even opened, starting this April. This plan was initially reported last October by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, and it’s now about to spread to all US store locations.

According to him, in his Power On newsletter, Apple developed a proprietary system that allows iPhone software to be updated at a retail store without the need to remove it from the box. Here’s how Gurman describes this technology:

“The system looks a bit like a metal cubby for shoes. It can use MagSafe and other wireless technologies to power up the iPhone without ever cracking open the packaging. It downloads and installs new software and then powers the phone back down.”

While the journalist previously expected this technology to roll out by the end of 2023, Apple has taken longer to ensure everything worked smoothly. What makes this feature so exciting is that users usually take quite a while to update their newer devices to the latest version before transferring iCloud data.

Apple TV app on iPhone running iOS 17.1Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Since Apple offers in-store setups, this could also significantly improve the time customers need to spend at the store to update and transfer all the old data to the new iPhone.

For example, with the iPhone 15 release, users had to update to iOS 17.0.2. If they ignored the process, they couldn’t finish setting up their new iPhone and had to start all over. With that, several users complained that setting up their latest device wasn’t as smooth as it should have been.

That said, if you’re planning to buy an iPhone in the near future, it’s possible that its setup process will be more straightforward, as it will likely have the latest update available with it. For sure, it will greatly improve the setup process for the upcoming iPhone 16 models.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.