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13 Things Apple Employees Won’t Tell You

On any given day our tech gadgetry can either provide a glimmering angel on one shoulder or an annoying, rascally devil on the other. We dug up some inside scoop from current and former Apple employees to get the real deal on how to navigate fixes, failures, and fumbles.

HONG KONG - CIRCA NOVEMBER, 2016: inside Apple store. Apple is an American multinational technology company.

Don’t scoff at the word “refurbished”

When researching a tablet, phone, or another gadget, we’re always trying to find the best deal on the newest model. But one former Apple employee suggests not getting too hung up on what is currently considered as the latest and greatest, because refurbished finds can be a real steal. “Apple’s refurbished iPads are always significantly lower-priced with the same warranty,” says Nicole Talercio who used to work at Apple. Check out some other items you should consider buying used rather than new.

HONG KONG - CIRCA SEPTEMBER, 2016: inside of Apple store. Apple Store is a chain of retail stores owned and operated by Apple Inc., dealing with computers and consumer electronics.

Teachers and students, this one’s for you

“Both students and teachers of any age regardless of where they teach (public/private) are entitled to large discounts on Macs,” says Talercio. “Educational discount tends to be similar to the refurb discount.”

New York, September 25, 2017: Apple customers are receiving help at the Genius bar section of an Apple store.
Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock

If it feels like you’re talking in circles to the Genius Bar, you likely are

Snagging a timely appointment at the Genius Bar can feel like a score, but their “fixes” may not be what you want to hear. In a Thrillist interview, one “Lead Genius” explained the issue. “Under no circumstances could we tell a customer directly, ‘No, I cannot help with this issue,'” he recalled. “For example, if a customer had to pay $199 to replace their broken iPhone screen, they’d get very upset. If they say something like ‘So you’re telling me you can’t help me with this, you can’t fix my phone?!’ we were trained to reply with ‘Yes, I absolutely can help you and I’d love to. The replacement is $199.’ This could loop around in circles for quite awhile.” If that phone is a lost cause, here are 11 things you can do with it.

STRASBOURG, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 19, 2014: An Apple Inc. genius employee assists a customer with the purchase during the sales launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Some fixes really are easier than you think

While it may seem like a no-brainer, Talercio remembers that some customers never considered that perhaps their iPhone simply needed a force restart, which can be done easily at home. She encourages users to start there to avoid potentially waiting in unnecessary lines for help at the Apple store.

Bangkok, Thailand - November 23, 2016 : New Apple iPhone 7 - Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter and Earpods. New Apple iPhone acclaims to become the most popular smart phone.

Hey, we’ll trade ya

Try not to be discouraged if your tech accouterment burns out quickly. Your cord and earbuds are under warranty for a year, if you bought them directly from Apple. “You can always swap out your cord within one year if it breaks,” says Talercio. “Earbuds are the easiest to trade in but you must make a Genius Bar appointment. Sales staff is not really authorized to swap out accessories because they need to match it with the iPhone.” Here are some scams disguised as deals you need to know about.

Nakhonratchasrima,Thailand, NOV 27, 2017: A men holding New iPhone X on sale in Apple Store

Know the ins and outs of AppleCare

When you purchase an Apple product, there’s an option to also pay for AppleCare, which some might assume is a type of insurance on a product, but this is not the case. According to an Apple insider who spoke with PopSugar, it’s merely an extension of the manufacturer’s warranty. Does this mean it isn’t worth the extra price? Not necessarily, but make sure you’re clear on what AppleCare does cover because it varies by product. For example, apparently physical damage is not covered for computers. There’s also the option of AppleCare+ which may provide the opportunity to pay a lower deductible for physical damage on a specified number of occasions.

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 24, 2016: close up shot of MacBook Air inside of Apple store. Apple Store is a chain of retail stores owned by Apple Inc., dealing with computers and consumer electronics.

There are some employee perks

“Back in the day, Apple employees used to be able to purchase floor model computers, laptops, and iPods for up to 75 percent off if the item was at the end of its life cycle,” says Talercio about her time with the company. While some employees cite the wages at the retail locations as being lackluster, it’s said that they are getting better.

Apple store staff greeting customers
Ray Tang/Shutterstock

Everybody clap your hands

If you hadn’t already noticed, Apple is a clapping culture. These folks clap… a lot. “There will be a lot of clapping,” a former Apple Store specialist told The Chive. “As a new hire, you’ll get ‘clapped in.’ At the end of every shift meeting, there’s clapping. When someone quits, on their last day they get ‘clapped out.’ Sometimes just for kicks to make a little kid feel good, you’ll clap… there’s just a lot of clapping.”

STRASBOURG, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 19, 2014: A sales assistant scans new Apple iPhone 6 phones boxes at the Apple Store on the first day of sales of the new smart phone on September 19, 2014

The proof is in the training manual

A few years ago Gizmodo got their hands on a copy of Apple’s secret employee training manual and, boy, is it a doozy. For starters, words deemed as “negative” are banished inside their stores. They will never use the term “crash,” rather they’ll say the device has “stopped responding.” You won’t hear the word “bug” either. Instead, an employee will describe it as an issue, condition, or situation.

An employee of an Apple store introduces the Apple's iPad to a customer at the store during the launch of the device in Beijing
Andy Wong/Shutterstock

Honesty really is the best policy

If you’re altering the truth about what happened to the device you brought to the Genius Bar, the folks behind the counter are going to be quick to catch on to you. And they really don’t want to have to call you out on your lies. “Lying is never a good idea at the Apple Store,” advised a former Apple employee named James in an interview with Mental Floss. “We know you’re lying, and we have a lot of control to bend the rules to make things work for you, but if we know you’re lying, we aren’t going to bend the rules.”

STRASBOURG, FRANCE - NOV 3, 2017: City reflection of Apple Store with Apple Watch Series 3 range waiting for the customers

Apple employees don’t necessarily have the best of the best

Back at HQ, it turns out many Apple employees use bug-infested Macs in order to best detect problems in devices that consumers may encounter. “Internally, most devices are running test builds of all the software on them, often updating every couple of weeks with the very latest code from the engineering teams,” code writer Brent Royal-Gordon told Business Insider. “So Apple employees don’t just use Macs—they use really buggy Macs, often with really buggy apps. People on the iOS teams often use really buggy iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, too. This ensures that the company catches a lot of bugs before anyone on the outside ever sees the software.”

LAWRENCE, NJ -22 JAN 2018- View of customers coming to the Genius Bar in an Apple Store to get batteries replaced on their iPhones. Apple is facing delays in changing the batteries.

Set yourself up for success at the Genius Bar

If you have multiple issues to solve at the Genius Bar, make back-to-back appointments so that you have more time with a pro. Appointments are typically set in 15-minute increments, so it’s a good idea request more time if you have a lot on your plate. Additionally, employees recommend backing up your device before you meet with your “Genius.” If they have to back up your device at the store, it will take away from the amount of time they have to solve the problem.

TOKYO, JAPAN - CIRCA MARCH, 2017: Customers at Genius bar inside Apple Store. Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California.

Waiting isn’t easy

If you’re wondering what the secret is to getting your Genius Bar appointment to actually start at the time for which you scheduled it, well, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, at least according to a Wall Street Journal article, there really is no secret as Genius Bar appointments are sometimes triple-booked. Cross your fingers, take a deep breath, and remember that at least by the time you do see your Genius, they’re ready and willing to offer all of the tech support they can muster.