Select UK Apple stores end COVID appointments

Apple Princes St
Apple Princes St (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Some UK Apple stores are dropping their COVID appointments.
  • 17 stores now let customers attend by just walking in.
  • The rest remain open by appointment only.

After operating its UK stores by appointment only since the beginning of the year, Apple has now reopened 17 stores to walk-in availability, iMore can confirm.

Scattered reports through the week noted that Apple was possibly planning to drop COVID appointment requirements in all of its UK stores and that this had taken place overnight. However, according to all of the retail listings on Apple's website, 17 stores are now "fully operational", while a further 21 remain under appointment-only conditions. It means certain customers no longer have to wait to get their hands on all of the latest and greatest from Apple including the company's best iPhone, the iPhone 13.

Some store website messages now state:

We're open and look forward to welcoming you. Shop by walking in, reserve a one-to-one session with a Specialist or buy online and pickup in store. Get support at the Genius Bar in store or by making a reservation.

Those stores are:

  • Reading
  • Bristol Cribbs Causeway
  • London Covent Garden,
  • London Regent St
  • Plymouth
  • Brighton
  • Lakeside (Essex)
  • Bentall
  • Stratford
  • White City
  • Brent Cross
  • Basingstoke
  • Southampton
  • Kent Bromley
  • Kent Bluewater
  • Liverpool
  • Bath

The following stores still require an appointment to visit:

  • Aberdeen
  • Belfast
  • Bristol Philadelphia St
  • Milton Keynes
  • Cambridge
  • Cardiff
  • Exeter
  • Leeds
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow (both stores)
  • Manchester Arndale
  • Manchester Trafford Centre
  • Watford
  • Leicester
  • Norwich
  • Sheffield
  • Metrocentre
  • Newcastle
  • Birmingham (both stores)

All of those stores still require an appointment and "are unable to welcome walk-in customers at this time". There is no clear pattern to determine which stores are and aren't now accepting walk-in appointments. For example, one Apple store in Bristol is now accepting walk-ins, while the other isn't. No UK nations currently require appointments as per their COVID guidelines, however, Apple has operated this across all four nations for the vast majority of the pandemic. Given the scattered nature of stores that are now accepting walk-in customers, it seems likely that stores that remain under the appointment system may be dealing with staff absences through either COVID infections or isolation. There is also a possibility that some store websites are yet to update and so more may be added to the list as the weekend unfolds.

All stores regardless are still operating a face mask policy, limited store occupancy, physical distancing, and cleaning measures, while many of the stores still operating appointments are also under special opening hours.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9