Answered: How long does it take an Apple Store order to move from “Preparing for Shipment” to “Shipped”?

At last!  My iPad Mini has been shipped!

A few weeks ago I ordered an iPad Mini.  We already have two iPads, but we also have two kids, so I hardly ever get to use them – this one will be just for me.  I ordered it on launch day, but rather than getting up at 3am to do it, I waited until noon.  Since I ordered the most popular model (WiFi, 16GB, white), initial supplies were gone, so there would be a fulfillment delay.

It was project to ship in two weeks, but some accessories that I ordered to go with it (a smart cover and an extra charging cable) shipped immediately and arrived within days.  That told me that once it finally did ship, it shouldn’t be too long a wait to receive it.

On Monday evening, I checked my order status and discovered that the iPad had shifted from “Processing Items” to “Preparing for Shipment”.  Hope began to rise…depending on how long “Preparing for Shipment” took, perhaps my iPad would arrive early!

The question was, how long would it take to move from “Preparing for Shipment” to “Shipped”?  I tried googling around on this a bit, but I was never able to find any answer.

For the next several days, I found myself repeatedly (obsessively?) checking the status of my order, but it has stubbornly remained in “Preparing for Shipment”.  Today (Friday), it finally made the leap to “Shipped”.  Based on the projected shipping time, it will arrive one day ahead of the original estimate when I ordered.

So, the answer to the question of “how long does it take an Apple Store order to move from ‘Preparing for Shipment’ to ‘Shipped'” is “four days”.  I’m writing this post so that other people trying to google search an answer might be able to use my experience as a data point.

A couple of details about my order that might potentially have affected how long it took to make the shift:

  • I chose to have the iPad engraved, since it didn’t affect shipping time when I ordered.  It’s possible that an item that isn’t engraved would move through faster.
  • This is a Wi-Fi only device, so there is no SIM card that needs to be registered or installed.
  • This is a brand new device that had already exhausted initial stock, so it is presumably coming hot off the assembly line.

UPDATED: The iPad took less than 72 hours to actually make it from China to my home in Cambridge, MA.  This was actually four days ahead of the original estimate and three days ahead of the the projected timeline when it first entered FedEx’s systems.

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13 Responses to Answered: How long does it take an Apple Store order to move from “Preparing for Shipment” to “Shipped”?

  1. Ajarn Steve says:

    gjkshgdslhglsalkdg I am also obsessively waiting for my ipHone 5 to go from “preparing for shipment” to “SHIPPED!!” Just earlier I got a sms saying that my credit card had been charged. I know that Apple ONLY charges the card when the item has shipped (according to their website) but when I looked it was still in “processing”. A few minutes later it became “preparing to ship”. Now I’m in Thailand, and it took just ONE week for my macbook pro to get from me from the day I ordered it. Really — ONE week — from the day I punched the “place order” button online. The shipping estimate was two weeks. I was super happy. Now, with the iPhone 5 and the enormously ridiculous demand, I am wondering just how long it’ll be to go from “preparing to ship” to “shipped”. Today is Wednesday night. The current estimate is 9 days from now (Friday) to 16 days. I know it’ll be more within nine days… but just… MAYBE… MAYBE I’ll be hearing DHL ring my door bell on Monday (three working days and a weekend)??? I feel spoiled however — receiving it a few weeks before Christmas… and to think I used to be able to easily wait a whole YEAR for my presents when I was a kid!

  2. Chavonne says:

    I ordered the ipad mini on nov 22nd & I recoeved my accessories this past Monday (26th). Monday night (26th) my ipad mini which is being engraved went from processing items to preparing for shipment. It’s suppose to arrive on the 13th. I’m hoping it comes earlier than that so I can stop tracking my order. Lol

  3. Emzi says:

    Thank you for posting this! (I too am guilty of Googling how long that process takes…) Cheers!

  4. Renee says:

    Haha this post is a public service. Thanks 😉

  5. Thank you for this informative post! You wrote this a year ago but not a whole lot comes up in Google when I searched for shipping estimates. On Monday I ordered a MacBook Pro Retina with only one alteration of an i7 instead of an i5 chip. I ordered it through my university so they have all of the tracking info. It’s driving me crazy! Haha.

  6. Shane says:

    The method of estimating ‘2 weeks for delivery’ is popular among high consumer brands such as Apple and Sony even though normally it should take less time if things go smoothly. 2 reasons why it’s used; 1. Helps to quickly fix any changes to order which would in turn prevent delays and 2. Customer Satisfactory. That’s why so many people love these brands. I do Media, Economics and Communications in Univeristy of Brunel, we learn about this stuff. Enjoy your iPad (Y)

  7. will says:

    thanks for your post. using this as a point of reference for my obsessive checking of iphone 6 delivery! made the transfer to preparing for dispatch this evening. no engraving, so I expect to be unboxing over a cup of coffee at 6am tomorrow morning. wishful thinking, but at least hope to beat the expected delivery date of 9th-14th october

  8. Jack says:


    Your iPhone 6 expected delivery date was 9th-14th october. When it did arrived?

  9. Thank you for this post !!!

  10. MK says:

    Thanks for posting this! I am looking and couldnt find an answer either (even though this a bit older at least its an estimate)…appreciated!

  11. Anthony says:

    Now, next question. Why does it take 3 days to get an item from, but a week to arrive at an Apple store?
    It’s strange.

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