Skip to main content

How to pre-order the iMac (2021)

We have been expecting them for months, but Apple has finally announced its new M1 iMacs! Much about the all-in-one desktop computer remains familiar despite the upgraded processor, but they now come in a variety of colors and a different approach to buying options than before. If you’ve been waiting, you’re probably ready to pre-order. Here’s everything you need to know.

Pricing and availability

new apple imac purple

Apple is tweaking how it sells iMacs for this 2021 model. Now the iMac is only available in 24-inch sizes, but you have a choice between three different base models depending on your needs. The first model has less graphical power and is limited to two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. The second improves the GPU and adds extra ports for USB 3 and Gigabit Ethernet, and upgrades the Magic Keyboard accessory. The third model increases storage from a 256GB SSD to a 512GB SSD — still fairly small considering the new iPad Pro can go up to 2TB, but useful for local storage. Each model costs a bit more than the next, and further customization options are available after you pick.

  • 2021 iMac, eight-core CPU/seven-core GPU: $1,299
  • 2021 iMac, eight-core CPU/eight-core GPU: $1,499
  • 2021 iMac, eight-core CPU/eight-core GPU/extra storage: $1,699

Keep in mind pre-orders for these new iMacs only open on April 30, 2021, so you won’t be able to take any action until then. The 2021 iMacs will start shipping sometime in the second half of May, at which point they will also be available for direct purchase depending on inventory.

Pre-order from Apple

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The easiest way to get a new iMac is to order directly from Apple. This will also give you the most customization options, and the process is very simple. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Wait for April 30, 2021. It’s only a couple of weeks away, and there’s not much you can do until then. However, when pre-orders do open, we suggest acting fast: There’s no way of knowing how long inventory will last, and manufacturing woes have made stocking a tricky issue this year.

Step 2: Visit the product page for the new 24-inch 2021 iMac.

Step 3: Pick your preferred model out of the three choices. Choose Select for the model you are interested in.

Step 4: Make your specification choices. Unlike other newly released devices, Apple isn’t releasing much information about what specs you’ll be able to customize for the M1 iMac. You’ll at least be able to pick your preferred color: The seven-core GPU iMac comes with four color choices, and the eight-core version comes with seven. It also appears that you’ll be able to choose from a range of RAM (base models start with 8GB) and storage.

Wait for the big retailers

24-inch iMac at Apple's Spring Loaded event
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You also have the option to wait for the big online retailers to start opening up pre-orders of their own, which they should start doing around Apple’s April 30 date as well. You may not get as many choices from these retailers, but there are other advantages to going this route. You can use any credits or customer rewards you might have, for example. Follow these links below to keep an eye on options for new pre-orders, and watch your emails for their own announcements.

Looking to save money?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you like the idea of an iMac but would prefer to save as much money as possible, there are several things you can try to save money at the time of purchase.

Using Apple’s education deals: Apple offers specific education discounts. These apply to all college students (including those accepted into a college this year) as well as their parents, along with all faculty and staff of all school grade levels, including registered homeschool teachers. Use Apple’s education portal when the pre-order becomes available to start the process. You can save $50 to $100 on your iMac purchase this way.

Trading in old Apple products: You can trade in an older iMac or related Apple product to immediately gain a credit that is applied to purchasing your new iMac. Simply select the Get Started button below Apple Trade In when buying your iMac. Other retailers offer their own trade-in programs, but Apple’s is the easiest to incorporate while you are buying.

Look for specific iMac discounts: Since the M1 iMac is a new model, don’t expect any discounts or deals for some time (probably not until after summer or Black Friday). However, if you are willing to wait, keep an eye on product pages and discount alerts to watch for opportunities.

When you’ve picked out your super-slim new iMac, why not round it off by choosing the best accessories for it?

Editors' Recommendations

Tyler Lacoma
Former Digital Trends Contributor
If it can be streamed, voice-activated, made better with an app, or beaten by mashing buttons, Tyler's into it. When he's not…
How to watch Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ Mac launch event if you missed it
how to watch apples scary fast event if you missed it apple

Apple Event - October 30

Apple revealed refreshed Mac computers and its latest chip at its special “Scary Fast” event on Monday.

Read more
Everything announced at Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ event: iMac, M3, and more
Apple revealing new Macs at an event.

Apple's unexpected "Scary Fast" event has wrapped, and the 30-minute presentation was packed full of announcements. Headlining the showcase was Apple's new M3 chip, which is showing up in a variety of devices in just a week from now.

We have the lowdown on everything Apple announced at its unprecedented fall event, which kicks off the third generation of Apple's silicon with two major product updates.
M3 family of chips

Read more
The M3 iMac is here, but it’s missing its most requested change
Someone using an iMac at a salon.

At its Scary Fast event, Apple announced a refresh to the 24-inch iMac, bringing the M3 to its popular all-in-one desktop. The M3 is a big deal, especially since the iMac was the only Mac to not get an M2 update.

There were some things Apple didn't announce that many were hoping for: new accessories. Rumors leading up to the event pointed to a new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse, but that didn't come to fruition. With the iPhone's recent change to USB-C, some speculated that the Mac peripherals would also move away from Lightning. That didn't happen.

Read more