Ex-Apple Store employee explains how to get your iPhone replaced for free

“Walking into the Apple Store doesn’t feel anything like walking into Best Buy. Lines are long and emotions run high at the Genius Bar, but for some reason, scores of people feel compelled to go in there and just hang out on any given day,” Joe McGauly reports for Thrillist. It’s a one-of-a-kind retail experience.”

“But what is it like behind the scenes?” McGauly reports. “Ever wonder how much store employees really know about unannounced Apple products? Or what the trick is to get your phone replaced for free? I got a handful of former employees and ex-Genii to confess some of the best-kept secrets of the Apple Store… Lucas, a five-year veteran who worked his way up the Apple totem pole to Lead Genius; David, a part-time Sales Specialist with four and half years under his belt; and Tony, who finished out his five year stint as a Family Room Specialist. To protect them from the wrath of Tim Cook and Co., we’ve changed their names.”

Lucas: There were a few instances where you could get away with something because of how you presented it. For example, the iPhone 6 had an issue where the camera had a film that would slowly slide over the lens. When I say slowly, I mean very slowly, but eventually it would start to make a weird distortion on your pics. Say you had a cracked phone. If you take the phone in and say ‘I dropped my phone and it is cracked,’ now you need to pay the replacement fee. If you bring a cracked phone in but say ‘I read up and know this film is a defect of the phone and I’m starting to see it slip over.’ Well, now we aren’t replacing the phone for the cracked screen, are we? We are replacing it because of a known issue. So I guess it is always worth looking up issues like this ahead of time to see if you can jump through a loop hole.

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you’re having an problem with any Apple (or any other) product, always do some research (at least know the basics) online before traipsing into your local Apple Store (or any store) looking for help. Seems rather obvious and self-explanatory, but you haven’t been asked the same question a hundred times that’s answered in the first Google result. Go in prepared and you might benefit from it!

[Attribution: 9to5Mac. Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]


  1. I came in for a Genius apt about a battery that I believed was causing my phone to drain faster than liquid drano. But, would still indicate 100% fully charged after being plugged in for recharging for only 5 minutes. Genius indicated to me that based on just looking at my phone, it looked like the battery was “swollen.” So, he replaced the phone with a new one. I did not even notice the “swelling.” But, apparently, he did.

    1. I agree that people should not attempt to scam Apple or any other company. However, if a product has a known flaw for which replacement is the standard policy, then I do not consider that to be fraud, even if there is another issue with the phone that may be user-induced.

      Apple produces high-quality products and has strong customer service. That said, there have been times that I have been disappointed in Apple. For example, my mother-in-law was not treated well when the graphics card failed in her 24″ iMac and, later, the 21.5″ iMac that she purchased to replace it. If she had let me know I might have been able to save her $1200 in repair fees.

      As the Scouts say, “be prepared.” That adage applies to all facets of life.

    1. No need to lie or have a sense of entitlement. I’ve had a few issues that have cropped up after warranty and without AppleCare and the staff in the Genius Bar have either fixed or replaced the device without any fuss.

      Just being nice to them is the secret. A neighbour of mine went in shouting the odds about what he imagined to be his rights and he got absolutely nowhere.

      The staff do have a certain amount of discretion about what they can do and they do want to send customers away happy if at all possible, so if you’re pleasant to them, they will try that little bit harder to send you away happy.

      1. I always go in nice, knowledgable and an Apple stock holder. You make them feel you are one of them. I also makes jokes and make them laugh. As a result I’ve always gotten exemplary service, repair or replacement should the need arise. You are dealing with people so important to have people skills (important for them too dealing with the American consumer). I remember once even solving a technical issue THEY were having. Easy to see if your being difficult or a typically stupid consumer you may not get as far as you might, unless they simply take pity.

        1. I never tell them in advance that I’m a stockholder, but if they’re been really good, I would most likely tell them that as a stockholder, I’m greatly reassured that Apple employs people like them in such vital customer-facing roles.

          1. It’s not the first thing I say to be sure. But I have noticed they seem to take notice in a good way when I do. Since ANYONE can be a stockholder it probably only carries only so much weight. What it says is you are enthusiastic and believe in the company.

        2. The Genius already thought you were a dickhead and by bringing the Apple shareholder thing, you just gave 100% confirmation.

          You’ll probably end up getting what you want because you are a dickhead and they really want to get rid of you.

          Have a nice day dickhead.

          1. Genius is something you’ll never remotely be called except in mocking regard. Moron Troll is more like it. You’re the same doofus no doubt haunting this site looking for every opportunity to look cretinously infantile. You’re suck-seeding beyond your wildest dreams. Does your Mom know you’re posting entries like this junior?

          2. We know you’re a troll (Mac/Frank/Joe, etc.) with a vendetta, like an immature petulant little loser kid who lost. Go away you hillbilly banjo-playing mutant, you’re bothering the adults here dragging your stinky wet poopie diaper around.

  2. You are not going to pull a fast one on the Apple store by saying one thing or another to get something fixed. The devices are checked over carefully, if a defect is found, the vast majority of the time the customer wins and doesn’t get charged for any repair- not because it’s brought to their attention, but because they are trained to make sure the customer is first.

  3. Lucas: “Apple Maps was shit then. It’s shit now. Also I think the Apple Watch is the dumbest thing ever. Who is that lazy?”

    Who cares what he thinks!

    In some ways this dude comes across a conceited , disgruntled smart ass.
    Apple maps has improved massivly and no where near shit.
    Apple watch , i love mine…..And its seems it has the highest satisfaction rate in smart watches.

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