What Happens if You Pre-order Something From iTunes?

By Nick Flegg

ITunes can be installed either on Mac or Windows.
i Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The pre-order function on iTunes allows you to keep track of your most anticipated items, with the option to either download them automatically as soon as they are available, or receive a reminder email upon release. When pre-ordering, you will not be charged until the item is downloaded, making it easy to cancel your order if you change your mind.

Pre-order an Item

When viewing an item in the iTunes Store that is not yet available to purchase, the "Buy" button will instead read "Pre-order," along with the price and expected release date. By clicking the "Pre-order" button, you will be given the option to automatically download items as soon as they are available. If you click the "No" option, you will receive an email notification when the item is ready to be downloaded. You will not be charged for the item until it has been downloaded.

Download an Item

When pre-ordering an item, you may not be able to download it the instant it becomes available, but the reminder email will be sent on the same day as the release date. You can access the item either via a link in the reminder email or directly through iTunes. With iTunes open, click the "Store" menu at the top of the screen and choose the "Check for Available Downloads" option to find a list of your released items.

Cancel a Pre-order

Once an item has been pre-ordered, it can freely be canceled without any extra charge. To cancel a pre-ordered item, open iTunes and click the "Store" menu, at the top of the screen. Chose the "View my Apple ID" option and then click "View Account." In your account menu, choose the "Manage Pre-orders" option and then click "Cancel" next to the order you want to cancel.

Partial Payment

Sometimes, a music album you have pre-ordered may contain individual tracks that have already been released and are available for purchase. When this is the case, the available songs will be downloaded immediately and you will be charged for each individual track. You will then be charged the remaining amount upon downloading the released album. If you cancel the pre-order, you will still keep the tracks that have already been paid for, as Apple considers each payment to be final.