This weekend Apple closed all its Apple Stores outside of China till March 27. But as COVID-19 cases skyrocket through Europe and begin to aggressively grow in the United States, the Cupertino company has decided to close them ”until further notice.”
"We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers," reads a statement on Apple's home page. "For purchases with fast and free delivery, shop here on apple.com or the Apple Store app. For service and support, go to support.apple.com or call 800-275-2273 [in the US]. We look forward to seeing your soon.”
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So, what now? You can still buy Apple products through the online Apple Store and the app, but perhaps you need to return a product that you bought at an Apple Store before the closing. Or maybe you need to pick up a device that was in repair at your local Apple Store but now you can’t. Perhaps your MacBook Pro butterfly keyboard just broke once again.
Fortunately, Apple has answered all of these questions in a new FAQ page on its website. However, you may not like some of the answers.
What to do if you bought a product at an Apple Store and want to return it
Fret not, because Apple has you covered on this one. According to the company, Apple will extend the product return period to 14 days after it reopens its stores.
There are some exceptions to this rule, including contracted iPhones in the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia, carrier financing in the United States, and trade-in devices. In the case of the latter, the “value of device can be given in form of a gift card.”
What to do if your Apple device is already at an Apple Store for repair
Apple says that while the stores are closed to the public, its technicians will keep working on repairs until they're done. At least for now, because in some countries around the world there have been more strict rules about not going to work.
But here the company says that it will keep you updated with the status of your repair, whether it's awaiting parts or nearly completed.
If your device is ready for pick up, “you can collect your device on March 15 or 16 between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.” This implies that you will not be able to go pick it up as of today (March 17) and that you will have to wait until the Apple Stores reopen. We have contacted Apple and we will update you when we hear back.
In the meantime, you can check your device’s repair status here.
What to do if your Apple device breaks right now
Your only option right now is to set up your repair online and ship your device to Apple. No Apple Stores will be open to take your device. You can start the repair process here.
What to do if you had an scheduled Genius Bar appointment in the coming days
Nothing. According to Apple, you can’t have it. According to me, you will have to deal with this online or wait until the crisis is over. Your questions about how to make albums in Photos will have to wait until we are all safe from the apocalypse, thank you.
What to do if you had an order for pick-up at the Apple Store
According to the FAQ, “if you received confirmation that your order was ready for pick up, you can go to the Apple Store location on March 15 or 16 between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to pick up your order.“
Again, this seems like you are not out of luck, and will simply have to reschedule the pick-up with Apple or cancel that order and buy again for home delivery.
You can go here to change the order, chat with the Apple Store or call the company
TL;DR: No, you can’t go to the Apple Store under any circumstance, and you will have to deal with repairs and purchases online.