Apple's 2018 holiday return policy: What you need to know

Sometimes, you accidentally get a blue iPhone case instead of a red one, or a bag for a 12-inch MacBook instead of a 13-inch MacBook Pro, or a 9.7-inch iPad instead of an 11-inch iPad Pro. Whatever the case, it's a simple matter to return or exchange the wrong gifts and make sure you end up with the right ones.

First, the rules

Normally, the Apple Store — online and retail — offers a 14-day return policy on any item sold. For the holidays, the company has expanded this window: If an item was purchased between November 14 and December 25, 2018 you have until January 8, 2019 to return or exchange it.

There's no fee to return a hardware gift, even if it's been opened, but Apple does ask that you include all cords, adapters, manuals, and the like in the original packaging.

There are a few things you can't return, including opened software, electronic software downloads from the App Store, software upgrades, Apple Store gift cards, Apple Developer products, and print products.

If you purchased an iPhone for a family member and want to return it, do note that returning the device may not reset your carrier service contract; you may have to call your carrier if you want to cancel the line or reset your upgrade eligibility.

How to return or exchange your gift at the Apple Store

To return or exchange an Apple Store gift, just bring it to any Apple Store and chat with an Apple Specialist. If you're returning the gift, not the recipient, you can get the balance refunded directly to your card. If your family member or friend is returning the gift, they can either get an Apple Store gift card for the amount of the item or exchange it for another product within the store.

How to return or exchange your gift via the Apple online store

If you or your recipient live too far away from an Apple retail store, they can return the item online. Here's how to do so:

  1. Visit Apple's website (opens in new tab).
  2. Click or tap on the Bag icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Account.
  4. Click on Return Items.
  5. Select Gift Return.

You'll need to enter either the product's serial number or the order number and UPC, followed by your contact info. Apple will then send you info on how to return your item; once the company receives your return, they'll email you a refund in the form of an Apple Gift Card.


Let us know below.

Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this guide.

IM Staff

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