No one enjoys navigating service repairs. The fact is doubly true for the tech industry, which has earned its reputation for making return merchandise authorization (RMA) and service repair processes nightmare-invoking experiences.

Apple does what it can to ease customers’ pain and simplify the process–you just need to know how to navigate it. So, the next time your Apple device–whether it’s a Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Watch–requires a repair or support, follow these tips to make the experience as smooth as possible.

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First, you should check to determine whether the product is covered by an Apple warranty or extended AppleCare coverage by entering the device’s serial number on Apple’s Service and Support Coverage webpage.

Serial numbers for Macs can typically be found on the bottom or the back of the unit. Confirm an iOS device’s serial number by pressing Settings, tapping General, tapping About, and reviewing the information in the Serial Number section. Apple Watch serial numbers are engraved on the back of the device; a Watch’s serial number can also be accessed by pressing the watch’s crown inward, tapping Settings, selecting General, and tapping About.

After entering a valid serial number and providing the corresponding CAPTCHA information within the Apple Service and Support Coverage page, Apple presents purchase data, telephone technical support status, and repair and service coverage status for the device. The displayed support and service coverage information also confirms whether the device is covered by AppleCare, which extends complementary technical support and hardware warranty coverage for the device (Figure A). For good measure, you can also check eligibility for participating in Apple Exchange and Repair Extension Programs.

Figure A

Apple’s service and support information displays repair coverage status, among other information, within a webpage. Apple customers needing to schedule a repair can use the provided Set Up A Repair link, circled. Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic

Service and Support Coverage information for a specific device also includes links for contacting Apple support and setting up a repair. When clicking Set Up A Repair, Apple directs users to a page presenting several topics. For a MacBook Air, the page includes icons for Startup- or Power-related problems, hardware issues, and other items. You can also request repair and services from Apple’s Support page, which provides specific selections for Macs, iPads, iPhones, Watches, Apple TVs, and more.

Apple describes the repair options available to its customers. Repair requests can also be generated from the Apple Repair webpage, which also lists the repair options available to Apple customers. Apple notes equipment can be returned for repair or service to authorized Apple Repair centers, users can visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider or customers can make a reservation with an Apple Store Genius.

Once Apple has received equipment for service or repair, the project’s status can be viewed using Apple’s Repair Status page. You’ll need to provide the Case or Repair ID and the Postal Code or Serial Number to access the repair or service status.