The crown jewel of Apple’s fantastic retail stores is the Genius Bar.Apple’s “Geniuses” can tackle almost any problem you throw at them.
But most people don’t realise that Geniuses can do more than troubleshoot technical problems. They have a great deal of power to act on their own.
We spoke with a former Apple Store employee who worked at a Genius Bar on mobile devices, but was not himself a “genius” (by Apple’s standards anyway).
He passed along some helpful tips for customers to get the most out of their trip to the Genius Bar.
If you know why your device is broken, be upfront about it. An Apple Genius wants to help you, so don't sell yourself out by being deceptive and trying to convince him that your iPhone is still protected under warranty even if you roll over it with your car.
Our source says that people try to conceal water damage all the time, but 'you can't hide water damage so don't lie about it. There's a sensor right inside the 30-pin connector that tells us if your device got too wet.'
There's a system in place at the Apple Store called the 'one-time exception' that lets a Genius replace a device no matter how damaged or how far out of warranty it is.
It's entirely his call, so treat your Apple employee kindly.
UPDATE: We've learned that Apple's Geniuses have lost the ability to grant one-time exceptions since our source worked for the company. But managers retain this ability.
A Genius can make the decision to replace your device up to 45 days after your warranty expires without any manager approval.
If your device is more than 45 days out of warranty, it can still be replaced but you'll have to convince a manager to sign off on it.
If your iPhone battery is busted, Apple won't give you a new battery. It will tell you it's giving you a new battery, and it will charge your $80 for the 'new battery.'
In reality, it's going to give you an entirely new phone. This is good to know if your phone is out of warranty and you want to save money and get a new phone!
For example, if your iPhone 3GS is just buggy, or you've cracked the screen, and you want a new phone, tell the Genius that your battery can no longer hold a charge and you want it replaced. The Genius will probably run a diagnostic check on the phone, but don't sweat it, it won't reveal anything to disprove you. S/he will just end up giving you a new 3GS for $80.
It's not necessarily a secret, but our source says it isn't common knowledge.
Your white Apple earbuds are covered under the same warranty as your iPhone. If they stop working or fall apart after ordinary use, you can swap them out for new ones at an Apple Store. It's a trivial process that only takes a few minutes.
This only applies to the earbuds that came with your device. If you buy standalone earbuds, you can't swap them out.
Outside of the headphones and your device itself, Apple's warranty also covers the accessories that came with your device, like the USB power adaptor.
Our source told us, 'We used to swap them like candy.'
If your iPhone is suffering from an issue that has been widely reported, you'll get a new phone very easily.
'If Apple determines that there's a widespread issue with lots of devices, they'll replace yours for free. When someone's explaining their problem and they even casually mention anything that's a known issue, it's an immediate replacement,' our source told us.
Known issues of the past include malfunctioning home buttons, sticky lock buttons, and dead pixels on the screen.
One of the most annoying things about the Genius Bar (at least in Manhattan) is how crowded it is and how hard it is to get a quick appointment. Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done about this. You can not just walk up and get a quick appointment. You have to schedule one online, or in person. No walk ups!
Apple gives you 15 minutes to check-in to your appointment. If you're late, you don't get your exact appointment time, but your priority position is maintained.
Make sure you have the latest software, and back up your phone before you come to the Genius Bar! Any time you have a problem with your iPhone, the number one question you'll hear is, 'Do you have the latest software?' That will be quickly followed by, 'Do you have the phone backed up at home?' If you can't answer yes to either of those questions, you're wasting your time.
If you know any secrets drop them in the comments for others to use.
And if you're an Apple employee and you'd like to tell us more, email us at [email protected]