How to do a “Cross-line Upgrade” on AT&T

So the new iPhone was announced yesterday. But AT&T recently changed its rules so that the primary line on a family plan can only upgrade every 18 months, compared to 12 previously.

So what to do? Use another line on the family plan to upgrade.

To begin, you’ll need a family plan with two or more lines. One of those lines must be eligible for a full upgrade (it’s been 18 months since their last subsidized upgrade).

  1. Order the new iPhone under the upgrade eligible phone line for the fully discounted price
  2. When the phone arrives, activate it on the line it was ordered on. This is a security feature that is required to prevent phones from being stolen during transport or delivery. Note that this will deactivate the users current phone, so you’ll want them around when you do this.
  3. Once activated then call AT&T and ask for a “cross line upgrade”. They will change the phone’s ownership to the line you request and the other person may be required to reactivate their current phone.
    With an iPhone, because it is SIM-locked to the phone number it is ordered, you have to visit an AT&T store and have them replace your SIM card.

And you’re done!