Your local Apple Store has traditionally been an ideal spot for buying, browsing, requesting support, or getting repairs on any Apple product. But with the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, many stores have closed or are limiting their interaction with the public. That leaves buyers and users in a conundrum.
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Maybe you need technical service or repairs on an iPhone, iPad, or other Apple product. Perhaps you’re considering an Apple Watch or other product that you want to physically see and try on. Maybe you need to return an item purchased at an Apple Store before the return deadline is up. How can you handle any of these tasks if your nearest stores aren’t accessible?
How to search for Apple Stores
First, check the status of your closest stores. Apple’s US retail store website helps you search for your local stores by state and city. At the Apple Store List site, you can browse for stores in the US and other countries.
Click the link for your chosen store and check for Store Hours. If the store is closed every day for the week, that means it’s likely shut down temporarily due to the quarantine. A note under the store hours should provide further details.
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Even if the store is open, it may limit certain activities. Typically, walk-in customers are not allowed at this time. Instead, you’ll have to make an appointment. That’s true whether you need to visit the Genius Bar for service or repairs or want to shop for or return an item.
How to get service or repairs for Apple products
If it’s a service, support, or repair issue, first set up a request through the Apple Support website or the Apple Support app. Depending on the problem, you can speak or chat with an Apple rep. If your device is in need of repair, search for nearby certified repair locations. And for this, you don’t need to use an Apple Store. For repair options, Apple certifies Best Buy stores and certain independent repair shops, many of which should still be open and will appear in your search.
If you can’t get an appointment with an Apple Store or another certified store, you can always mail your device to Apple. The main downside here is that the repair can take as many as five business days.
How to shop for Apple products
If you’re looking to shop for or buy an item, your first stop should be Apple’s online store. Here, you can find the exact model and version of the product you want. For an item such as an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or Apple TV, you can easily order it online.
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For an item like an Apple Watch, you can still compare different models, styles, and sizes. To better gauge which size to choose—40mm or 44mm—measure your wrist using a flexible tape measure or tailor’s tape, or print out a paper measurer from Apple.
If you run into trouble or have questions about your intended purchase, you can call or chat with an Apple specialist.
How to return an Apple product
If you want to return an Apple product purchased online, whether you received it at home or picked it up at a store, you can easily do so by mailing it to Apple. Trying to returning a product purchased at an Apple Store is more challenging if the store is closed or unavailable, especially since Apple gives you only 14 days to return an item. Even if your nearby stores are open, all available appointments may be booked.
Of course, you’ll first want to try to schedule an appointment. To do this, go to Apple’s US retail store website and search for your local store. At the store page, click the link to Reserve a Shopping Session. At the next page, click the button for Returns &amp; Exchanges. If you find a local store available, choose a date and time for your visit and then reserve your spot.
If your closest Apple Store is closed or is offering only curbside pickup, Apple allows you to return your product within 14 days after the date the store fully reopens. If your local store is closed, and you bought the item using a credit card or Apple Card monthly installments, you might be able to return it by mail. And what if your nearby stores are open but booked up with appointment slots? In most cases, you would be able to handle the return online. In any of these scenarios, your best bet is to call Apple at 1‑800‑MY‑Apple for help in starting and processing your return.