Apple iPhone Upgrade Program with a Business Account

  • 11 September 2019
  • 73 replies

I am currently on a t-mobile business plan and wanting to upgrade my iPhone using the Apple iPhone upgrade plan. I have done this the last two years with the same t-mobile plan without, however now the app fails to confirm my carrier. I am asked to enter my cell phone number and the last four digits on the primary account holder's social security number (me) but when I do, I get an error that the "feature is not available right now" ... however when I friend did the same thing his worked. He is a regular t-mobile customer, not business.

How can this be fixed?


Best answer by tmo_amanda 13 September 2019, 12:46

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73 replies

I was able to activate a watch on a biz line in 2018.  Still working.  I had this issue and also bought full price with a trade in after paying into the trade up program all year.  Not pleased.

I just did these recently, activate a apple watch on a business account

You have 2 choices, in theory

1. T-Mobile One for Wearables - gets its own phone #, $25/month

2. DIGITS - uses paired iPhone #, $15/month

$5/month discount for prepay on either, I think.

I did 1., but so far can't send/receive text messages, but can phone calls, haven't solved it yet, and t-mobile support has been useless after repeated attempts.

I am beyond frustrated. When neither apple or T-Mobile can help we are helpless. i was so happy to leave AT&T years ago and I’m starting to feel the same with T-mobile. I don’t want to leave to another carrier but if this doesn’t get resolved soon I’ll be looking for alternatives. So many options for us these days. Switching from a business account to a family account while keeping the same plans and discounts would so the trick but I’m not willing to pay more than I’m paying now. Doesn’t make sense.

Here's what helped:

Believe it or not, DM T-Mobile through Twitter. Their "social" department is much more on it than any other customer service reps. They can handle everything, and can even call you if you want. The "cool guy or gal" you see in the pic is actually the person you're chatting with.

Here's what I'm doing: I'm finally leaving the business account. I have three lines, the first two are $100, and the third one is $40. With the Magenta plan, It's $120 for the first two, and $20 for the third. So it's a wash. All services remains the same (actually slightly better). And I'll never have to deal with this again.

I am having the same problem.  When I chatted with business support, the guy just tried to get me to change over to T-Mobile's upgrade program.

Has anyone been able to successfully pre-order a new iPhone through the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program?

I sent hours on the phone yesterday with both T-Mobile and Apple. They said it is because I am on a business account with T-Mobile. The IUP (Apple iPhone Upgrade Program) apparently doesn't support business accounts.

I have been doing the iPhone Upgrade Program through Apple for the past 3 years. Last year I had my T-Mobile business account and I was able to upgrade my phone just fine. I tried doing the pre-approval through the App Store App on my phone before pre-orders started and I kept getting an error when trying to enter my phone number and last 4 digits of my SS number.

Then when pre-orders started it told me I could pre-order but my plan type wasn't supported. I am frustrated beyond belief that I was allowed to participate in Apple's iPhone Upgrade program last year when upgrading to iPhone XS Max when I was on a business account with T-Mobile then.

Also so sort of notice from Apple and or T-Mobile that I am not longer to participate would have been nice.

Does anyone have any insight or help? I really would like to upgrade 2 of the lines on my account to new iPhones.

I'm just like you and have been in Apple iPhone Upgrade Program for the last 3 years and faced the same issue as you. The only solution if you want to pre-order and stay in IUP is to change from a business to consumer account. Be warned that any discounts you had on your previous plan will disappear and no one (at least when I was on the phone for 3 hours) will help you get a better rate than the Magenta plan nor do they seem to care.

Once you get out of a business account, you'll be able to complete your pre-order. Also, make sure that you contact any credit agency to remove any credit freezes if you have any. Not doing this will suspend your order at Apple until CitizensOne gets in touch with you.

I really wish that Apple or T-Mobile at least contacted their customers to let them know what was going on, but it seems that neither side wanted to take responsibility on this one. I don't even know what the benefits of a business plan is. A t-mobile rep asked my wife if we had a business and put our accounts in it when we changed plans 3 years ago. We should have never done it. There are only two of us in the business.

I was hoping that @ @tmo_amanda was going to come back with some info to help folks in this support forum but other than her last post above, it's been quiet. I haven't thought about switching to another carrier, but after this debacle and losing all of my discounts from my previous plan, and no way to get any better pricing even though none of this was of my doing, I will probably start looking come Monday.

Bit of an aside. TMobile is now in the customer Relations mode that I left ATT over. TMo went through a period of exceptional customer service. This was to grab masse aid customers from other carriers. Now they have them. 

What now?  Long wait times on the phone, products that aren’t what was promised, difficult to change or cancel accounts. Same sheit, different carrier.

Bye TMo. Can do better.

I hear you. I just switched back to T-Mobile. I was very disappointed and spent time on the phone with my “team” only  learn they my only option was a far inferior financing arrangement through T-Mobile. To add insult to injury, I acquiesced only when I was promised that they would guarantee me a purchase at exactly at 5am PDT. Not only did I get this assurance orally, it was emailed to me as well. Of course, at 8:30am PDT, 3.5hrs later, I received a call that they needed more information to place any order. Who knows when I will get the phones and I am stuff paying a lot more.  I switched back ONLY because it appeared things had improved. Now I’m wondering if I made a very big mistake. I’m not really price sensitive but also don’t like getting ripped off. My priorities are service (both cellular and Customer) and features. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...???

I got the same reply when I went to the T-mobile store. The plan changes and whatever promo I was on becomes more expensive. Correct me if I‘m wrong, I think all the wireless providers want their customers to join their own iPhone upgrade program so they can lock you in and make money, at the same time this‘ll cause existing IUP customers from upgrading their iPhone. Other then T-Mobile it is also happening to AT&T and Verizon that I know of ( I have friends who has them). After all this back and forth and getting off

the phone with T-Mobile, I left a horrible feedback to T-mobile survey by text, “I have a business account with T-Mobile, because I have a business account and my iPhone was bought originally from Apple, I can't upgrade my iPhone XS Max even though my iPhone is on the Apple iPhone upgrade program. That is BS! No one informed me prior to the migration from Verizon to T-Mobile. It shouldn't have been done at all with my line. With that being said, there should've been a prevention put in place so the customer such as I don't have to deal with this frustration. Because of this, I am willing to transfer all the 5 lines and go to another provider.”

After a hour on sending that, T-mobile called me, a customer relation manager who was really nice to me, came to offer only one resolution. I pay off my full balance with Citizen one loan and then notify T-Mobile it was paid off and they’ll ”credit my statement in one full balance.” Here’s the kicker, join their Jump program and pay a down payment of 1/2 the price of the phone. The representative told me she’ll let me think this through.

After all that, I decided with my my solution, I will NOT join T-mobile upgrade program because my phone will be lock and since I going to pay it full eventually, I’ll just get an unlock phone with Apple and sell my current iPhone with a 3rd party seller. In the end I’ll end up paying the full price of the iPhone in advance instead of the monthly payment and not lose money. I‘ll wait 2 years since all my lines got cheap free phones so I don’t get penalize and pay for them, then jump back to Verizon and join the IUP with a personal account.

Hilariously, T-mobile sent me an email just now about an all-in-one portal for managing your T‑Mobile Business account, Account Hub! Funny, but not at the same time. I guess their systems haven't caught up with what happened just yet.

Super disappointed in this. I've been able to use the iPhone Upgrade Program for the last few years and it's very off putting that it suddenly does not work for me. Would really appreciate some resolution on this.

Sept 25th and still no fix.  It would be nice to get another update from the TMO rep as to what the plan of action is to fix this (if any).  I need to decide soon whether I should switch to a personal account to get the upgrade or move to a different carrier (not sure if that will "fix" the problem because another post said its happening with ATT & Verizon, too).  Is this a Citizen's One issue, a T-Mobile issue, or an Apple issue (or a combination thereof).  In any case, they need to come up with a fix...not sure why a business account would be excluded from using the feature in the first place. @tmobile-admin​ anything??

Hi all.

I have run into the same issue. I joined the apple iPhone upgrade program in August of 2018 with my T-Mobile business account, which has been a business account for almost 4 years. I am now eligible for an iPhone upgrade, and realized while at the Apple store yesterday that I indeed couldn't upgrade because the business plan I have with T-Mobile is no longer supported (even though I am still under the iPhone upgrade program contract for another year). After spending 2 hours in the Apple store yesterday, 2 hours on the phone with Apple this morning, as well as over an hour on the phone with T-Mobile this morning, there is still no concrete answer as to why this has happened. So far, Apple was completely unhelpful (they hung up with me 3 times, then finally advised me to call T-Mobile), and they said that T-Mobile customers can no longer be a part of the Apple Upgrade program (which I don't think is true)?? While on the phone with T-mobile today, the only option they gave me is to upgrade my iPhone through them without having to pay the $300 down payment, which would mean that I would still be paying off my current phone with Apple AS WELL AS the monthly fee for my new iPhone through T-Mobile (two payments per month on phones - say whaaaa??). The other option I've heard of is switching to a regular non-business account, which would make my monthly phone bill go up. There is clearly a huge discrepancy going on between T-Mobile and Apple that once allowed T-Mobile business plan customers to join the Apple Upgrade Program, which has since been discontinued, and contracts aren't being honored any longer. Neither Apple OR T-Mobile are able to give a clear answer of what is going on, and both fail to provide a reasonable solution to this problem. Completely ridiculous and criminal to not alert customers that this was happening, and leaving them to find out when they are eligible for an upgrade.

All in all, phone providers value business account because it locks you in with limitation. The lesson I learn from this is NEVER open a business account, it doesn’t give the freedom for the users to jump from one provider to another. All the phone providers and Apple should come to an agreement because frankly this creates a lot of frustration and unnecessary drama.

Business accounts are often cheaper, which is also why people are drawn to them. Apple and T-Mobile should have never allowed people with business plans to join the iPhone Upgrade Program in the first place if they did not intend to carry out the contract for those who are enrolled. Or, they should at least allow those of us who were enrolled under business plans to be grandfathered in to the iPhone Upgrade Program. Altering their terms and conditions without notifying the customers is what's really causing the issue.

Agree! But unfortunately only solution was to join the T-mobile wanted me to join their Jump program but paying off my phone with Apple Citizen loan, and they credit me what I pay off. Sure it might sound like a good deal but it really isn’t as good as the IUP.

I am thinking a class action lawsuit might be in the horizon. I spoke to Apple yesterday and they told me this was a limitation by T-Mobile for not letting business account customers participate in the IUP program. I agree with you we should have never been able to join to start with and if we were able to, a notice that we were no longer eligible would have been nice.

If you don't need to be on a business account, convert to a consumer account. But if you need to be on a business account, I don't think you have many options except to pay off AIUP and trade in your phone and start all over again.

If you don't need to be on a business account, convert to consumer, but DO NOT do this via T-mobile chat or phone support. As someone who went through this and have finally came out the other end, I have only this advice: Don't waste your time with any of the customer service reps. Go straight to Twitter and contact @tmobilehelp.

I went through countless hours of T-mobile chat and phone support and lost my One Plus plan and all discounts when moved to a consumer plan. None of the T-mobile chat or phone reps helped me to get even close to what I was paying with my business account. The best they could do was offer to switch me to an Essentials plan which has even less features and still doesn't include taxes and fees. It was quite frustrating and I was ready to give up.

On a whim, I contacted @tmobilehelp via Twitter and was not disappointed. I really wish I had started with them to begin with vs. wasting all my time and going through so much stress. Literally days of stress over something that should have never happened.

I totally agree with all of you that we never should have been allowed into the AIUP if they never allowed business accounts, but being left to hang like this was just a horrible experience. Further, T-mobile should rethink the way they treat their current customers. Not being able to carry over your plan when converting plans when it's no fault of your own is no way to treat us.

Also, regarding the whole business plan thing: we got suckered into the business plan. My wife has her own business but she's the sole employee. When we went into T-mobile to add my mother to the account, the rep there asked if we had a business. Not understanding why they asked, my wife said yes and they put us on a business plan. There was no explanation as to what the benefits were but we just went with what the rep said we should do. BIG MISTAKE! We should have never converted our accounts to business. If we simply didn't change to this account type, I could have avoided this whole fiasco. I'm guessing that in store reps get points for getting business customers to sign up or switch over. Never again.

I so agree! It does feel slightly criminal to me.

When I was at the Apple store the other day, one of the associates alluded that there may have been some work arounds being done at some point, which allowed people with T-Mobile business accounts to join the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program. I was first told by Apple that I must have switched my T-Mobile plan to a business plan halfway through my iPhone upgrade contract (not true!). After I told them that I indeed started the program with them with my business phone plan, that's when they told me that they had never seen this issue (I believe this was BS), and I shouldn't have been able to join in the fist place. I went to the T-Mobile store as well, and the sales associate said that he had never heard of the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program before, and was confused why I wasn't able to upgrade my phone through them.

To me, it seems like there are some fishy things going on since NO ONE in either party is able to provide reasonable solutions or answers. I think we are unfortunately stuck in the crossfire of two systems that must be feuding. I've been a T-Mobile customer for 15 years, and an Apple customer for 10 years. It's sad to me that loyal customers are pretty much being screwed over.

As I said previously, the issue is Citizen’s One bank, the financing company. Their terms dictate that the IUP contract must be attached to an active individual post paid line.  Apparently T-mobile wasn’t indicating whether an account was business or personal until this upgrade cycle.  It sucks but it has nothing to do with either Apple or T-mobile’s policies.

Thank you,


I'm also incredibly frustrated with this situation, and already lost 3 hours of my life without a resolution. T-mobile, please create a solution for people in this predicament and make it available clearly to all customer support and store employees.   It looks like it will need to be a conversion of our "business" accounts to "family" or whatever, without changing features and prices.  Shouldn't be so hard to do globally.

I totally understand that this may not directly be an Apple or T-Mobile policy problem, but even when I've tried to contact the Citizens One bank about this, I have been told that I need to speak with Apple directly. So if this is indeed a Citizens One issue, then they should have sent a notice or updated their terms and conditions. They should also not just be directing customers to communicate with Apple if it's not an issue with Apple's policies.