Apple has developed a rather large following for its line of sleek, user-friendly electronics. Unsurprisingly, its stores have become a big draw, too. If you’re a fan, your fondness is bound to grow even more if you know how to shop and when.
We’re here to provide a little guidance for the best possible deals and experiences at Apple.
About the Apple Store
The Apple Store houses a wide range of highly coveted tech products for visitors to test out and buy, such as smartphones, watches, laptops, tablets and accessories.
The Apple Store doesn’t hold sales often, and its products don’t come cheap. This makes it all the more important to know when you’re likely to find a good price.
- Back-to-school deals. During the summer months, Apple offers special pricing on education merchandise like MacBooks and iPads for college students and school employees. Some purchases also qualify for bonus gifts. In 2016, for example, students were eligible to receive free Beats headphones with the purchase of select iPhones, Macs and iPads.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Apple is one of the few electronics retailers that’s moved away from post-Thanksgiving sales, but it still might give you some incentive to shop then. In 2014, it offered a free iTunes gift card with up to a $100 value with the purchase of select items; plus, a portion of the proceeds was donated to charity.
- Refurbished and clearance items. There’s a special deals page on Apple’s website where you can find clearance products as well as refurbished products in good condition for less than the regular price year-round.
- Product releases. Historically, Apple has introduced its latest gear and software at major events like the Worldwide Developers Conference in June and, more recently, annual keynotes that occur in September or October. Following such events, you can expect the prices of previous models to drop. After the iPhone 7 was announced in September 2016, the iPhone 6s was discounted by $100.
- Promotions. Check the website for rebates and other special offers you can take advantage of before you shop.
The Apple Store isn’t just a place to shop. It’s also a destination for learning and maintenance.
- Genius Bar. You can schedule an appointment with a “Genius” for repairs or advice concerning your Apple product.
- Technical experts. Apple recently added the position of “technical expert” to its stores. These employees can help with mobile repairs and device troubleshooting without the need to make an appointment at the Genius Bar counter.
- Workshops. The store hosts free workshops at which experts teach consumers how to use products and applications.
Because Apple products are sold at a variety of other retailers, like Best Buy and Wal-Mart, you might find the same item at different prices. Some companies will match the lowest price as long as the item is identical to the one it carries.
While Apple doesn’t have an official price-matching policy, a customer service representative told us that it’s possible employees will honor a cheaper price on a case-by-case basis. But you’ll have to visit a physical Apple Store location and show proof of the cost difference. There’s no guarantee it’ll work in your favor, but it can’t hurt to ask.
Shipping and returns
Apple’s online store offers free standard shipping on all orders. Certain items are eligible for free two-day shipping, and in-stock iPhones qualify for free next-day shipping. You also have the option to buy an item online and pick it up in-store at no extra cost.
You can make a return or exchange within 14 days of the purchase as long as you have the original packaging, contents and your receipt. You’ll get a full refund in your original form of payment unless you made a purchase of $750 or more using cash or check, in which case Apple will mail your refund to you as a check. If you have a gift receipt, you’ll get your refund on an Apple gift card.
There are some restrictions, so head to the returns and refunds page for more details.
NerdWallet takes you shopping
The Apple Store is a great hub for technology products and any assistance you might need with them. If you can hold off on the newest gadgets, try to time your purchases around one of its media events, which is when older models usually go on sale. And don’t forget to check the website for sales and promotions.