When the pandemic hit and governments around the world, starting applying restrictions and shutting down businesses, Apple retail stores were among the casualties. They even willingly closed down some stores in some places before they had to protect their staff and customers, and they continued to pay people even amid the stores being closed.
Now Apple retail locations having been opening again and even more stores are said to be reopened in the coming weeks I am starting to wonder if I'll ever go to a retail location again. Not because of the pandemic, but because their online support is incredible.
Software and hardware support online
Pandemic or not, devices can break, glitch out, cause issues, and otherwise need some sort of service, and luckily, Apple offers all its software assistance and hardware service online. This means if you are having trouble setting up a device or something wonky is happening with the software, you can go to Apple's support site and chat with a technician, or you can even call their support line.
Consistently, the wait times for the online chat are usually only a few mins, and every time I have phoned the Apple support line, I have been pleasantly surprised at the speed and efficiency my issues have been dealt with.
Hardware repairs can be a little finicky as they do take extra time to process due to shipping time, but the process is about as smooth as I have ever experienced. I had to send in my iPhone XS Max because the screen had some dead pixels, and Apple shipped me a box to send in my phone in about two days, and after I sent it off, I just had to wait. The entire process took about nine days, and you can get SMS notifications about the status of your repair, so you'll always know where the repair process stands.
Online repairs could be a bit slow for certain issues
While a lot of issues can be solved through online supports in Apple, there are cases where the online hardware repair service might be a little slow.
For example, if you're needing a repair on your main computer and don't have any sort of back up, waiting 7-10 days for a repair would likely be pretty hard. In those instances where the repair needs to be done as fast as possible, going to the Apple retail store is a better option, and hopefully, the Apple store near you is opening soon if you're in that boat.
Would you go back to an Apple Store?
With the ability to buy new items through the online store and the Apple Store app offering a fantastic experience, you don't really need to go to a store to buy anything from Apple. Plus, its online hardware and software support are pretty stellar, meaning unless its an emergency, you can send in that device to get services.
I'm glad that Apple Stores are starting to open with precautions in place to deal with the new world we live in; however, I'm just as excited about the online support Apple provides, and I don't' see myself going into a retail store anymore.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.