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Surviving the Genius Bar

Genius Bar by Randy Le’Moine Photography, on Flickr

Scenario 1

You got the new iPad to stay current while on the go. It’s your second day of using it heavily, so you take a break from the hours spent customizing it for your upcoming trip to London, and your three-year-old daughter grabs it from the coffee table. You walk back from the kitchen and nearly drop your fresh mug of coffee at the sight of the shattered high resolution screen. Luckily, you smartly purchased AppleCare+ for accidents like these, but unsure of how you to get it replaced before your trip. Your first thought is driving to the Apple Store, but you only have a few. How can you get it fixed in time?

Scenario 2

Your friend gave you his white iMac as a way to convince you to switch from your PC since he got a Retina Macbook Pro. You’re skeptical, but willing to give it a try. It’s day three of playing around and you are really getting the hang of it. Then, suddenly, your fear of Mac machines is justified as itlets out piercing shriek. Reacting quickly, you decide topull the plug in fear of severely damaging your friend’s computer. The noise stops, but now what?

Scenario 3

You have had your Macbook Air for three months now and are finishing an iMovie project due on Monday. It’s bad enough you are stuck working on a Saturday morning, but now iMovie won’t stop crashing. Your first thought is to take it back to Best Buy for help. What should you do next?

In all three scenarios your Apple product needs some serious help, but it’s not always clear how to resolve your issue. Most people react by returning to the place of purchase for help, which can be a waste of time, or calling AppleCare support. You can easily see why AppleCare has such high praise while on the phone with them, but unfortunately not everything can be fixed over the phone. So, they direct you to an Apple Store or offer to ship you a box to send it back in. You may have purchased your product at another reseller to avoid the Apple Store crowds, but now your hand is forced so you grab your keys and start to head to your local Apple Store’s Genius Bar. Did you remember to make an appointment?


  • Always make an appointment to ensure the employees can see you and make your experience as simple and quick as possible. These stores can be overwhelming at times, so getting yourself on a list regardless of what times are available is a huge win. Appointments can be made online, from the Apple Store app, or over the phone.
  • Always make sure you have a current backup. If you are not sure how to backup or how current yours might be bring an external hard drive along for the ride.
  • Plan on spending time at the store; bring a book or your iOS device to kill time. Some issues take longer to address than others, so be open-minded. If you have to reinstall something and it’s taking too long ask to be shown how to install it yourself at home. Trust me, the store employees know you’re frustrated and want in and out as badly as everyone else.
  • Always check in when arriving to the store so they know you are there and waiting. They can always point you in the direction or help find you a place to sit and wait.


  • Be kind, calm, and prepared. Keep in mind this is a free service that Apple doesn’t have to provide, but chooses to as a perk for you, the customer.
  • If things are not going well or you feel the employee doesn’t understand your needs then ask for a manager. Sometimes you may have come in for service, but really needed a business team member or creative trainer’s expertise instead.
  • If you hit a dead end with the store entirely and can feel the blank look from your assigned Genius than ask for a case number. Building a case history will ensure that your basis for frustration is well documented. You can always go home and call AppleCare to plead your case if it’s in their system.
  • Be flexible! Come early and be prepared to wait off the lunchtime rush of people coming in for service.

 Apple, Genius Bar, iMovie, MacBook Pro, Retina, iPad, AppleCare, iOS are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc.