Steve Jobs refused to carry an Apple keycard


Steve Jobs
The one guy in Apple who really didn't need an ID badge.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

From refusing to have a car licence plate to wearing one “uniform” every working day of the last decade of his life, Steve Jobs certainly had his fair share of personal idiosyncrasies.

In a post for Medium, Adobe senior director Arno Gourdol adds one more to the list: that Jobs absolutely refused to carry an Apple ID with him.

As one of the most recognizable guys in tech, of course everyone knows who Jobs was — but the refusal to carry an Apple ID badge came with its own problems. You see, ID badges at Apple are used to open automatic doors, with very, very few Apple employees having cards that can open every door in the company.

This means that Jobs, whose job called for him to constantly zip from department to department, was continually locked out of places he wanted to visit. As Gourdol notes:

“Steve has to be escorted everywhere on campus. He refuses to carry one of the access cards that would allow him to open the locked doors that separate the buildings. No one is really sure why, but there’s probably some logic to him for this eccentricity.”

I’ve heard similar stories from Apple employees myself. When I was writing my book The Apple Revolution, one Apple engineer told me that Steve would simply rap on any door he wanted opened, at which point people would run to let him in. “He was the only guy at Apple who could get away with that,” I was told. “He didn’t care. He thought the rules didn’t apply to him.”

To an extent, they really didn’t.

Source: Medium

  • Andy Brooks

    If Steve had a twin brother i bet things at Apple HQ would have been a lot more interesting.

  • Markus Fritze

    Sorry, but he had his card in his wallet. He even opened a door for me once this way. Do you really think he would rely on somebody opening doors for him?

    • Luke Dormehl

      Interesting. Does anyone else have similar stories? If so, I’ll update the article. I thought it was interesting that the Medium post corroborated something I’d heard anecdotally on several previous occasions.

      • timborama

        Yes. I too can verify he had a badge.

      • Jeo Ten

        Why not just delete the article. It’s a non-story, is tabloid in nature, doesn’t help the world in general, and is wasting bandwidth. If you want to write about this stuff, put it in a book.

      • Hummingbird_007

        It’s fascinating; and it deepens the eccentricity.

        Two people have chimed in that he did carry a keycard, but I could write that he never had a keycard on him as far as I know in all the years I saw him.

        You’d need to do background reseach, get people on the record, etc. Best would be to talk to Eddy Cue, Forestall, Ive, even Cook himself. Did his pants have pockets?!

      • Mike

        No. It doesn’t. It’s complete utter bullshit.
        This is just typical modern journalism today.

  • pigknickers .

    Jobs was narcissistic and felt that rules didn’t apply to him as he was a special person. So no license plate on the car (his aesthetic sense felt it spoiled to look of the car – US plates don’t fit the car properly) and no keys for his business (do you know who he is?!). I’m surer there are lots of examples but it’s all narcissistic behaviour. I don’t say this judgementally – the man was a genius in my eyes – just an observation

  • Giovanni Cardona

    He just wanted to make sure that VIP staff were present at the building at all times.

  • Null Static Void

    Speaking as someone who as often been the gatekeeper for setting up ID badge perms and issuing said badges. Screw that guy. Would he prefer retina scans?
    Apple has long been an intensely secretive company. This is in no small part Jobs own doing. To be a petulant brat about security measures, then demand the tightest of security, such that you are compartmentalizing development so that even dept heads cannot know the full details? That is just bratty.

    • Edmundo Oliver

      Bro, no offense, and really in a cool way, but did you read Markus Fritze’s answer?

      • Null Static Void

        sorry no, I don’t always read every other comment before I post one.
        Not here, not on Youtube. And I also dont go around telling people to UTSF either.
        My comment stands. I hate people that think they are too good for security measures they ask to be put in place. I’ve worked under people like that and their egotistical attitudes chip away at company morale.
        btw, bro. ‘no offense’ is basically internetese for ‘suck it’.

      • Mike

        It’s ok. You get a pass (no pun).
        You were fed a line, and you fell for it, because it matched your f’ed up image of someone you (in fact) know nothing about.

  • Daniel

    The reason is Steve knew all along Apple needed him more than he ever had a need of apple. Apple needed a Genius like him to change the world with iPhone and iPads. INSTEAD they fired him from his OWN company for the love of god!

    So when he returned, everyone who was obviously dumb as shit irritated the hell out of him so much and he had to give so much instructions on how to do work. he got so tired that he changed his mindset to “I am the CEO, you better learn how to serve me well and open the god damn door for me!!!”

    If you TRUELY have worked with steve jobs, you KNOW that everything that apple does has to GO THROUGH him and he often CORRECTED people because most of those million dollar employees don’t even know SHIT.

  • jbelkin

    HE invented the company. OMG! He knocked on the door? OMG, who does that? It’s like he was polite when he wanted to be let in. He couldn’ hired a lackey to run before him but HE DID NOT. He invented the company and was the CEO. EVERYBODY knew what he looke like. It’s not a typical CEO that most people have no idea what he looked like. He could show up in China, knock on Foxconn door and they would know. Regardless of whather this story is a lie or not. He IS/WAS Steve Jobs. He is not you.