I’ve always imagined that working in an Apple Store is one of those jobs where you see it all, and a Thrillist interview with three anonymous staff members confirms that – rather literally.

The stuff that would pop up on people’s computers when we would do a data migration… when the photos imported into iPhoto, it would flash each photo on the screen as it was importing. So. Many. ****. Pics. Some things just can’t be unseen.

Not all of the stories they tell sound quite as credible, but one of them did have a great tip if you’re looking to get a free replacement for a damaged product without AppleCare Plus …


One of the less likely-sounding claims in the piece referenced the lengths Apple goes to in order to keep new products a secret even from their own retail staff.

I remember when the iPhone 5 came out, we got a shipment of the newer Lightning Cables a little bit before the announcement. Even something as simple as the design of the new cable was such a secret that when they originally sent them to us, they were disguised inside of a mock enclosure that mimicked the older, 30-pin cable design. When the new cable was unveiled, they sent us instructions on how to pry these enclosures open to reveal the newer connector secretly housed inside of the older ones.

One of our own writers worked in an Apple Store at that time and didn’t see anything like that, but we’ve since had it confirmed from another source.

But Lead Genius Lucas did have a totally valid tip if you’re looking to get a free replacement for a product you’ve managed to damage.

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 loophole.

Attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of Geniuses is, however, unlikely to succeed – especially if you’ve managed to make things worse by an attempted DIY repair …

The most full-of-it customer I ever had was a guy that came in and put a mutated, deformed iPhone in front of me and said ‘My phone isn’t working.’ I politely asked what happened. He explained that he had been talking on it, when suddenly the phone got very hot and started to burn his hand, so he threw it on the counter and it erupted into flames. I took the phone into the Genius Room to open it up… it clearly had been subjected to some type of liquid, and I returned to the Genius Bar to tell him. He responds with ‘Well yeah, it caught on fire, so I threw it in the sink and ran water over it.’ Right… I am quite certain that he dropped his phone in water and thought that the best idea was to dry it in the microwave

Oh, and here’s another fault you probably can’t claim for (queue up to 6:30 minutes for the action)…

If you’re curious about life behind the scenes in an Apple Store, the full piece is entertaining.

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