Apple Retail Stores deploy high-tech ‘sniffers’ to combat unpleasant body odor, dangerous carbon monoxide

“With hundreds of thousands of people streaming through the doors of Apple’s retail outlets around the world each day, the company has reportedly turned to high-tech ‘sniffers”‘in an effort to keep the stores’ air fresh and odors at bay,” AppleInsider reports.

“The revelation came from employees of Apple’s Third Street Promenade store in Santa Monica, a shop that opened in 2012. The store is said to reek of body odor — particularly in the early morning — as noted by TheStreet’s Rocco Pendola,” AppleInsider reports. “According to one store employee who spoke to Pendola, the problem is caused by the relatively high locations of sniffers in the store’s walls. The sniffers are sensors which monitor the store’s air — checking for the presence of gases like carbon monoxide — and trigger the ventilation system based on those readings.”

“While the report notes that complaints of foul odors have surfaced in the past in other Apple retail stores, AppleInsider has been unable to confirm any similar cases in existing shops, perhaps indicating that sniffers in those locations are doing their job,” AppleInsider reports. “Recent Visits to the company’s busy outlets in Hong Kong and New York yielded no olfactory offenses.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: People familiar with the matter tell MacDailyNews that Apple recognizes the problem and that newer stores are designed to be able to turning over the volume of air inside with significantly greater frequency.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Does your Apple Retail Store smell like body odor? – January 30, 2014


  1. Sounds more like a problem of calibration for the ventilation system. Any store as busy as an Apple Store with the high volume of people coming and going, and hanging out in the store for sometimes hours, can have odor issues.

    1. The great unwashed masses more like! 🙂
      How about a man wash inset into the entrance? A quick shower, deodorant spritz and blow dry if the you trip the sniffers!

  2. Microsoft have elegantly solved this problem in their stores.

    The odour is proportional to the number of visitors in there at any one time and they have discovered that by filling the store with Microsoft products, the number of visitors is minimised.

    1. They are simply hardwired in the HVAC controls system. Think thermostat or humidistat. It’s just a control. There is a minimum percentage of fresh air per hour required by building code. In some situations as in some areas in hospitals it is a 100% fresh air mandate. No return air allowed. This sensor will work with and override (when needed and conditions allow) the thermostat (which controls the fresh air dampers). Nothing new. Nothing complicated. Could be pneumatic but more than likely it’s just a low-voltage control system : 120 or 24 volt. I’m sure they have taken odor into consideration in their newer stores but perhaps not in the older stores. And you can only have so many air exchanges per hour and keep it comfortable or you may turn it into a wind tunnel. As some readers have suggested, product materials could be a contributing factor? But that’s a lot of people coming in and out of the entrance to an Apple store. That’s a good problem to have if you are a retailer.

      1. I’m no HVAC pro but many systems use activated charcoal filtration systems and it’s possible they’re not changing the filters often enough. I’m sure if they simply bought in a HVAC specialist, they’d have the problem sorted out in no time at all. It would seem to me as though they’re not displacing stale air with fresh air quickly enough or maybe they’re using underpowered HVAC systems in many of their stores. I’d say there could be any number of quick solutions such as ozone generators. I used to have an electrostatic generator in my room that would leave a fresh scent in the air like after a tropical storm. All those anions do something to something to clean the air. Those electrostatic generators can be built into HVAC systems. The smell is somewhat strange but definitely better than BO.

        1. Air exchanges per hour. The more the better. 100% fresh air (no return air) is best obviously. I think you’re talking about negative ions as far as electrostatic air cleaners. Filters are probably not the issue. Simply a lot of people in a small space in a short amount of time. Fresh air is the answer. If possible. Masking the odors doesn’t work in the long run. Can make things much worse. Something tells me that with all this publicity that they’re getting they will certainly address the issue. Fortunately they have enough money in the bank to do whatever they need to do.

  3. My guess is the HVAC contractors used rule-of-thumb in sizing ventilation needs, not talking into account the occupancy levels Apple can drive through any given store. Calling IAQ experts …

  4. Is this smell coming from Android spies? Are these Apple ‘sniffers’ like the dogs that can sniff out a terminator in the movie “Terminator”?

    Doesn’t matter if your store smells Apple. Because like the movie Terminator…

    We’ll all be back!

  5. Dear humans,

    Everyone seems to be avoiding the real issue here…

    Farting in public is sadistic, selfish and not as effective as ass pennies. Here on out, please expel gas and take a shower (in that order) in the privacy of your own home before perusing ANY store.


  6. But, but — I’m an Apple user! My armpits smell like fresh violets and my farts smell like clean linen! You want stinky people, you need to go to the Microsoft Store! In fact, I’ll bet they’re sending some of their people over to wander around and stink up the place!



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