Genius Bar

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on Genius Bar:

Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store

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Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Photo: Apple

May 15: Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store, with plans to open 25 Apple Stores in the U.S. May 15, 2001: Steve Jobs flips the script on the dreadful experience of computer shopping, unveiling an ambitious plan to open 25 innovative Apple stores across the United States. The first ones, located at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, and the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California, are set to open later that week.

However, this new Apple initiative is about much more than just a couple of retail outlets. It’s a radical reinvention of tech retail that will change the way computers get sold.

Apple extends product return period following store closures

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Apple.Retail.Barcelona.2
You'll have 14 days after stores reopen.
Photo: Apple

Apple is extending product return policies after it made the decision to close all retail stores outside of Greater China amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In its updated Temporary Retail Store Closures document, the company says customers will be able to return items for up to 14 days after stores reopen.

Apple can now repair faulty products in your home

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Right to Repair
Apple's first 5nm chips are expected to ship in iPhone and iPad this year.
Photo: iFixit

If you have a broken Apple product and you can’t make it to the Genius Bar, you might be able to ask Apple to come to you. The company is now offering at-home repairs in select cities throughout the United States.

You can schedule a visit from Go Tech Services, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, through the Apple website.

Take a look at the secret app Apple uses to test iPhone hardware

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iQT
The iQT app is for Apple Technicians only.
Photo: Holt's iPhone Help

Ever visit the Apple store for an iPhone repair and notice the Genius Bar uses special diagnostic apps you’ve never seen before?

Apple keeps its internal-use apps on tight lockdown, but thanks to a forgetful iPhone technician, Apple nerds just got an in-depth look at a secret app called iQT that’s used to make sure every single feature on your iPhone is working properly.

Rudy Giuliani needed Genius Bar’s help to unlock his iPhone

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Giuliani
Giuliani doesn't know how to wear AirPods either.
Photo: Rick Wilson/Twitter

Despite being named Donald Trump’s cybersecurity expert in 2017, Rudy Giuliani is so clueless about tech, he had to go to the Apple Store genius bar for help unlocking his iPhone.

Leaked internal documents from Apple reveal that just a few weeks after being tapped as Trump’s top cyber guy, Giuliani waited in front of a San Francisco Apple store with a very pressing issue: he had forgotten his passcode and couldn’t unlock his iPhone.

iPhone 11 warns you if repair shops install fake Apple display

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iPhonedisplaywarning
Seeing this warning could be bad news.
Photo: Apple

Apple added a new feature in iOS 13.1 that alerts iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max owners when a repair shop has installed a non-genuine display on their device.

In a support document detailing the new warning feature, Apple explains why you should only seek support from technicians who have completed training from Apple and use genuine Apple parts. Of course, Apple parts can be more expensive than knock-off displays, but using the cheap stuff could cause issues with multi-touch, display brightness and colors.

Apple claims scary iPhone battery warning is for customer safety

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iPhone batteries
Be careful on who you let replace your iPhone battery.
Photo: iFixIt

Apple confirmed it added a new “feature” to iPhones last year that displays an ominous warning when users get their battery replaced by an unauthorized service provider.

The iPhone-maker drew heavy criticism from right-to-repair advocates last week when the news of the new battery warnings surfaced. Facing claims that it is trying to funnel customers toward more expensive battery repairs, Apple has finally come out with a statement insisting that the change was made with the safety of customers in mind, but not everyone’s buying it.

Apple will finally repair iPhones with unofficial batteries

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iPhone batteries
Battery brand no longer complicates an iPhone repair job.
Photo: iFixIt

An iPhone powered with a third-party battery can get repaired at all Apple Store Genius Bars, according to a directive issued by Apple.

This is a surprising reverse course for Apple, which strictly forbade Genius Bars and authorized service providers from fixing iPhones with off-brand batteries.

iOS 11.3 breaks some iPhone 7 microphones

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iPhone-7
How’s your iPhone 7 mic after updating to iOS 11.3?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s recent software updates have broken some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus microphones.

Users report that they cannot be heard during calls since updating to iOS 11.3 or later. Apple has advised Authortized Service Providers that they can initiate repairs if necessary — even on devices that are no longer covered by a warranty.

Apple considers rebates for old iPhone battery replacement purchases

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iphone battery
Apple's battery replacement might be bad for upgrade rates.
Photo: iFixit

Customers who purchased an iPhone battery replacement before the price was lowered to $29 might be in for a rebate from Apple.

In a letter sent today to U.S. Senator John Thune, the iPhone-maker revealed that it is exploring the possibility of offering rebates, but it’s unclear when that will happen.

iPhone X owners hit by ‘Green Line of Death’

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iPhone X
Should we call it GreenGate?
Photo: Nate Heagy/Twitter

Apple may have a bit of a screen problem with the iPhone X.

It wouldn’t be an iPhone launch without some sort of “Gate” plaguing devices. Even though iPhone X has only been out for a week, it looks like the “Green Line of Death” is set to be this year’s overblown disaster.

iPhone X repair prices will make your wallet cry

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The iPhone X is water-resistant. Just don't drop it. iPhone X repair costs might drown you in debt.
The iPhone X is water-resistant. Just don't drop it.
Image: Apple

If you are among the millions of Apple fans that just preordered the new iPhone X, here’s one piece of advice: Whatever you do, don’t break it.

Apple updated its webpage for the pricing on out-of-warranty repairs, and the iPhone X shatters the record when it comes to screen repairs and other damage.

Tekserve’s Apple artifacts wind up in Ukrainian museum

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MacPaw Apple museum

Photo: MacPaw

When legendary Mac repair shop Tekserve closed its doors last summer in New York City, Apple fans of a certain age experienced two deaths.

They bade goodbye to the original Genius Bar, technicians that had been servicing their devices for nearly 30 years. Those fans would also never again stare at Tekserve’s impressive Apple computer artifact collection, which was quickly auctioned off to an unknown bidder for $47,000.

The collection returned to a museum display today, more than 4,600 miles away in the Ukraine. Its new home is at the headquarters of software developer MacPaw.

Apple extends service for buggy Smart Keyboards

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You can thank Microsoft for this... apparently.
You can thank Microsoft for this... apparently.
Photo: Apple

Apple says it will service “functional issues” on Smart Keyboards for the iPad Pro for up to three years, according to internal memos sent to Apple stores and service providers recently.

The company, in the memo sent last week, acknowledged that some Smart Keyboard owners experienced stuck or unresponsive keys as well as non-working Smart Connectors. Apple says it will fix any qualifying keyboards free of charge within three years of the date of purchase. The company will also give a refund to any customer who already paid for service on a Smart Keyboard.

Apple tops tech support rankings for third year in a row

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The Genius Bar is one of the best things about buying a Mac.
The Genius Bar is one of the best things about buying a Mac.
Photo: Apple

If you want to get the absolute best tech support for your laptop, pay the Apple tax and get a Mac.

In the latest annual Tech Support Showdown rankings, Laptop Magazine has awarded Apple the number one spot for the third straight year. Apple beat out nine other companies, but it’s starting to get some serious competition from companies like Acer that are focusing more on online service.

Apple must pay $2 million to employees it screwed over

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Apple sign
Gene Levoff is accused of insider trading while at Apple.
Photo: Milo Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple’s former retail employees have come away victorious in their long legal battle against Apple in California.

A jury has ordered Apple to pay $2 million, after the iPhone-maker has found to have illegally denied retail staff meal and rest breaks and took weeks or months to give departing employees their last checks.

Apple store employee: iPhone battery replacement is a mess

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iphone-7
Genius Bar expert says Apple has "no real plan" to deal with problem.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple was quick to rectify the “random shutdown” problem affecting some iPhones by offering in-store battery replacements for affected customers. Unfortunately, it seems that already-busy Apple store employees aren’t too happy about the replacement program.

Given that each replacement takes between 20 and 45 minutes, and staffers are doing 15 to 30 replacements per day, it’s quickly adding up to “more than we [can] replace,” according to a longtime Genius Bar guru.

The new MacBook Pro may have some battery issues

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Luminar
Some owners of the new MacBook Pro report unexpectedly short battery life.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s innovative new MacBook Pro may come with a battery that is a magnet for problems.

Several owners of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar have taken to Apple’s support forums and Twitter to complain that the battery inside the new machine doesn’t last nearly as long as advertised.

How to find out if your iPhone 6s battery is eligible for replacement

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The iPhone 6s has more junk in the trunk.
The iPhone 6s has more junk in the trunk.
Photo: Apple

Apple is offering iPhone 6s customers a free battery replacement for devices that unexpectedly shut down. The problem mostly affects iPhone 6s units made between September 2015 and October 2015.

If you’re not sure when your iPhone 6s was made, you can use a new tool created by Apple to find out if your device has a faulty battery.

Here’s how to check:

Video glitches plague new MacBook Pro

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Apple's new MacBook Pros with Touch Bar should be hitting store shelves by the end of the week.
You might want to hold off on buying the new MacBook Pro.
Photo: Apple

The new MacBook Pro may not have been worth the long wait for many customers that preordered.

Early owners of Apple’s new machine are reportedly encountering problems with the GPU that cause the display to glitch so bad the MacBook Pro becomes unusable at times.