Switch to iPhone: For Apple Store and AppleCare

There's never been a better time to switch to iPhone. Whether you're tempted for yourself or looking to help the Android user in your life, the all-new, all-better iPhone 6 and iPhone-6-plus make the move more compelling than ever — especially when you add the value of Apple Stores and AppleCare.

A Genius in every store

Not everyone lives near an Apple Store. If you don't, Apple has really good phone and online support. If you do, however, they have Genius Bars and a lot more. When Apple built-out the Apple Stores they did something unprecedented — they put a Genius Bar at the back of every one. Instead of more shelf or display space, instead of more revenue generating products or money-collecting registers, they spent valuable real estate on a place where customers could come in and, for free, get help with their Apple devices.

A couple of years ago I went to an New Year's eve party. Just as it got close to midnight, something went wrong and one of the fireworks came hurtling at me. Sparks bounced off my jacket and landed on the screen of my iPhone. Yes, I'd been Instagraming some of the pictures I'd taken. I brushed the screen off but it felt funny. It felt rough. I though it was just dirty but no matter what I did, the roughness remained. It was almost as the though the fireworks had melted or mangled the coating on the screen.

A few days later I took it into the Genius Bar at the local Apple Retail Store. The genius looked it over and then said he would swap it out for a new iPhone. I got a stern lecture about how I should take better care of my devices, but the entire exchange was very quick and I was, of course, delighted. I entered my iCloud ID, my backup downloaded, and within less than an hour I was out of the Apple Store with my new iPhone, screen intact.

I then walked over to my carrier store to get something taken care of with my bill. I waited in line behind a gentleman who was having an issue with his non-iPhone. The carrier rep told him he'd have to mail it away, get an estimate, agree to the estimate, wait for the repair, and then have it mailed back. The rep estimated two weeks, and said there weren't even any phones to lend him while it was gone.

The contrast was striking.

I've told this story before and every time I do I'm flooded with responses from people who've had similar experiences — something goes wrong with their iPhones, they take it to the Genius Bar, and it gets fixed. Often, though not always, at no charge.

Every iPhone sold by Apple comes with a one year AppleCare hardware warranty and 90 days of complimentary support. For $100 you can extend that to AppleCare+ which provides for two full years of hardware warranty and support, and includes steep discounts on repairs even for accidental damage.

The peace of mind that comes from knowing that if one of the most important tools for your daily life, your phone, has a problem, you can go somewhere, talk to a real person, and get it fixed is invaluable. And Apple Store Genius Bars do it every day.

It's part of the value you get when you buy an iPhone. You can get cheaper Android phones, but you can also get phones from Samsung and others that cost every bit as much as an iPhone. None of them include the value of an Apple Store or Genius Bar.

That exactly what one of our readers, duncanator, made sure to point out:

The most recent Nexus 5 had a GPS issue that I just ended up fixing myself. I know that with an Apple device that I can just take it to my apple store and they will take care of me. That is a big part of the experience that cannot be overlooked.

Hands-on help

Apple Stores also offer shopping assistance, if you're not sure which model, color, or capacity you want to buy and you want to see all the options and have them explained to you in person. Once you buy, Apple Stores offer free help setting up your new iPhone, including moving data over from your old device.

What's more, Apple Stores offer free workshops on how to use all the basic features of your iPhone, how to use your iPhone with your Mac, iCloud, iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store, iPhone photography, and apps like GarageBand, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

For an extra $100 you can even get one-on-one training sessions for an entire year. My mom tried out One on One out after getting her iPhone last year:

My specialist asked what I wanted to learn, I told her, and we began our session. Her technical knowledge was outstanding and what's more, because I'd said I was a visual learner and because she was an artist, she not only showed me what to do on my iPhone but drew diagrams and notes for me on paper that I could take with me as reminders.

One of our readers, acondax followed up with the tremendous value of One on One, even for the tech-savy:

About 5 years ago I purchased a One To One membership at my local Apple Retail Store and I used it to learn pro apps such as Final Cut 7, Motion and the Logic suite.Whereas similar courses can cost hundreds of dollars when taking into account the number of hours (even online training like Lynda), a full year costs $99. I definitely got my money's worth during that year and I had some of the best trainers who were there to address my specific questions and teach me the apps in and out.Fast forward a year and I landed my first job as a video editor so that money easily paid for itself.

Being able to not only find the perfect iPhone for you, but learn how to use it, all freely or inexpensively, and all from trained professionals whose only goal is to help you get more out of your experience, like AppleCare, is invaluable.

And again, it's something competitors like Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, and others simply can't match, on cheaper or similarly priced phones.

Time to switch!

Apple can be conservative when it comes to things that reduce battery life. When it comes to providing the most advanced technologies, however, especially when they improve performance, power efficiency, and security, Apple races ahead. That's great news for consumers, because it means we can get an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus not only with an incredibly fast Apple A8 processor, but with Touch ID and Apple Pay as well. And those are just two of the benefits of switching to iPhone.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • We have neither here in Finland. Still went for iPhone. Sent from the iMore App
  • There are plenty of reasons. Apple Stores and AppleCare+ are just among them. What made you go iPhone? Sent from the iMore App
  • Here in Finland, Apple offers the poorest post-sales support of all the major phone brands. They are the most expensive, though. A warranty repair will usually take anything from 7 to 14 days, as the phone is always sent somewhere (abroad?) to be fixed or swapped, during which time the customer is without their phone -- so they better have that old Android around as a spare device. And while other brands provide their customers with a 2-year warranty period, Apple only affords theirs with one year, the minimum required by the consumer law. Still Apple phones cost more than any other brand, unless one is willing to go for the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S or 4 models which are more reasonably priced, but, of course, nonetheless ridiculous value propositions even at those price points. Need I even mention that Apple Maps do not work in Finland, or Siri, or dictation, or Passbook, or Pay, or, well, anything that adds any value atop the basic OS? When I still had my iPhone, I found it embarrassing to have to ask a colleague navigate me around with his WP, on my behalf, when driving to do an interview. That is not what one expects to occur with a thousand dollar phone. Should I put here 'LOL'? I guess I should. I still use an iPad. But no more iPhone for me, thank you.
  • For as much as you seem compelled to profess your displeasure with the iPhone on almost every article we write about it, I'm starting to think you secretly miss it dearly and are looking for any excuse to jump back on. (No one spends this much time on effort on something they don't feel passionate about, after all!)
  • Someone wants to make sure they get early-release review devices... ;-)
  • That was a very good article. I knew about Genius Bar because I have used them before, but I did not know about the One - One training. Thanks Sent from the iMore App
  • The One-to-One is generally only sold with the purchase of a Mac product, but you can integrate your iOS device into the learning process. The membership can also be extended each year for a total of 3 years, the same length as the AppleCare on a Mac.
  • Same price as Apple dev program. One To One membership is something I never heard before. This is a clean outstanding stuff from Apple.
  • My comment is the  5s dock but down to excellent customer service. I ordered the dock and because I ordered it early I was advised it would arrive early next day it didn't was after 6 days I phoned to find out where it was they sent a new one out and advised me should the other turn up simply keep it for the fact I waited so long great  service Sent from the iMore App
  • Glad to hear the positive spin on Apple Genius Bar. So often I hear negative or tongue-in-cheek reviews of the Genius Bar, notably, by, supposedly, Apple users.
  • The tongue-in-cheek reviews are not surprising - the very name "Genius Bar" reeks of pretension, which frustrates on that rare occasion when you are served by somebody who knows little more than you do. Apple's surprisingly hamfisted ad campaign to introduce the concept to a wider audience did not help, either. ( http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/28/3197951/apple-olympic-ads-genius-bar-e... ) But the truth is that most often you get somebody who knows what they are talking about and is willing and capable of resolving most problems in-store, for a customer service experience light years beyond the competition.
  • I had an iPod that served me will, battery stopped holding a charge. Made an appointment with Apple store, rushed down there from work before a meeting. Three "Genius's" yapping behind the counter ignoring me. Finally one said can I help you. I said, yeah have an appointment, need to replace a battery they looked at my name saw my appointment was in 5 minutes and said someone would be with me. Went back and continued to chitchat with the other two guys then came forward 5 minutes later. Looked at my device, explained the swap out said he would check the price for the battery swap. Came back and said $200.00. I said how can you justify $200.00 for a $30.00 battery. He smiled and said it's an old device you should buy a new one. Another time went there with an iPhone 4 that I purchased from that store fully unlocked, it had a speaker problem. They swapped it out but gave me a version locked to my carrier. When I realized and went back, they wouldn't swap it out for an unlocked device. Went another time with another iPhone. They said they no longer swap them out, will send it in for repair but if I want to swap it out I can pay a high fee. Haven't purchased another Apple product since.
  • Wow. That's rough. Given the circumstances, I can understand your comment. Sent from the iMore App
  • Well to be fair, there were other times that it was pretty straight forward my experience was postive but it's always the negatives that you remember but they definitely got worse over the years.
  • The genius bars are very less or almost non existent in the country where I reside (India). So may be you can mention the regions to where this article is applicable and the16gb iPhone costs almost 900$ here . Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Shifted from windows to iphone 6.... Feels greaf to be here for first time... A lot fluid and premium and classy.... Though I will miss Daniel Rubino.... Bye bye lumia... Sent from the iMore App
  • The first Apple store in the world, First Tech, had the best customer service I'd ever encountered, but they closed recently. I thought I would miss them more than I do, but the official Apple Store near me is fantastic! I've never had a problem getting devices fixed and my older in-laws (who just switched from Windows to go with OS X and iOS) love their one-on-one training!
  • For me the main reasons were
    -ease of use
    -fast AF and camera startup time
    -correct rendering of websites
    -quality apps Sent from the iMore App
  • This!! I have explained so many times to people who don't use iPhones.. Post sales service is ONE of the core aspect which Samsung, LG, Moto unfortunately don't give much attention to. I will soon buy  care protection plan for my MBA 13" . Thanks for a great article, Rene. Sent from the iMore App
  • Been using iPhone since 2013. I was using an old Sony Ericsson 2G phone before I switched to iPhone. My reasons for switching was for ease of use and the quality of the interface. I'm currently using an iPhone 5s which I love. I remember calling Apple when one of my albums was removed from my iTunes library and they gave me 10 free song credits to restored the album that was removed. The level of service was great and quite frankly unmatched . Sent from the iMore App
  • I literally was thinking of returning my iphone 6 plus and going back to my Note 3..... but this article changed my mind. I will purchase apple care today. I cant' stand the thought of dealing with Sprint's "techs'" telling me I should get my replacement in 2 to 3 days.
  • I will say that the in store assistance isn't exclusive to Apple. Sprint has always been great with any device issue. I take my iPhone or any other device purchased through them and get assistance. Apple is great though for their product support.
  • Sorry. Not a reason here to switch, IMO. There have only been three times I've ever had to take a phone in for repair.
    The first time was with a 3 year old 3GS. The battery swelled so much that the back bulged out. The second time was with that same phone because the mic went. In both cases it was well past warranty and there were no Apple stores here then. A regular repair shop took care of it.
    The 3rd time was with a Nexus 5. I dropped it and the wireless charging stopped working. Everything else worked but I like wireless charging so I paid a local cell shop to fix it for me.
    The rest of the phones that I have had (Nokia, Motorola, Samsung) have never needed repair.
    I have also never needed a genius to show me how to use any of my phones.
    My personal opinion on any kind of extended warranty is that they are a waste of money. That would include AppleCare, if it costs anything above the price of the phone. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • The only thing is the genius bars I have been to basically solve every problem by resetting the phone to factory and saying you should use iCloud. If that doesn't work then it must be something else that either they don't have a problem with or just won't fix. Basically my experience has been if you don't like something then it must be something wrong with you. For me, online resources have generally been more productive. Apple's own knowledgeable isn't half bad either. Sent from the iMore App
  • This is my biggest selling point to people who are considering making the switch to the iPhone. Not only does iOS work flawlessly and sync between my iPad and iPhone and even my MBA without any issue, I do not experience the lag I got after only months of each android device. You will never find another copy that offers the same customer service that apple does. About a month ago I went to Apple to get my phone swapped out. The screen was clicking and it was clearly an issue with the hardware. Apple gave me a brand new phone no problem. As I was waiting to be seen I witnessed a guy walk in to get help with his brand new 6+, still in the box but it had the top of the box off. He tripped walking into the store, shattering his screen. Anywhere else would have told him he was out of luck. The manager on duty was awesome and swapped out the device for him for a brand new one without charge. That is AMAZING service. Sent from the iMore App
  • The closest store where I lived before I joined the military is over 1 hour away so it's like Apple Stores are everywhere. The bigger cities might have one and if they do, it's only one store. I currently live in the OKC metro area and the closest one is up in the north part of OKC which is on the opposite side of the metro than where I live. It takes me about 45 mins without any traffic to get up there. I have also never had Apple Care. Not even really sure if it is even worth the price nor do I really know what it covers. I switched from Blackberry back in Jan 2011. I switched because I'm sure everyone know BB went down hill and is pretty much not relevant anymore. However, I did try Android first before Apple and I didn't care for it. Bought an iPhone 4 and haven't looked back. I also now prefer OS X over Windows as I bought a Macbook Air in 2011 as well. Currently running the newest Macbook Pro 15".