Apple Return Policy: Reasons Why It Sucks & Reasons Why It’s Great

Updated April 30, 2024 by Kyle James

Apple products have connected the world in a very profound way. From the smartphone revolution to the way we take in media, Apple has their hands in a lot of stuff and sells many different products. But what happens when we aren’t happy with an Apple product and need to return it? That’s when things can get a bit murky and it becomes important that we fully understand the Apple return policy. Here’s a full breakdown of the good things about their return policy and the things that aren’t so great.

Apple Return Policy: Reasons Why It's Great and Reasons Why It Sucks

6 Reasons Why Their Return Policy Sucks…

1. You Only Have 14 Days to Return Stuff

Yep, Apple only gives you 14 days to test out a product.

So make it quick and don’t let the item sit around gathering dust or you just might find yourself stuck with something that doesn’t do what you thought it would do.

Apple will refund you back to your original form of payment and I was told it could take up to 5 business days to get your money back.


A 14-day return policy is ridiculous, so OUTSMART Apple and buy your next iPhone or iPad from Costco (if you’re a member). You’ll get a 90-day return window on all Apple devices so you can test it out thoroughly and not feel rushed to make a decision if it’s right for you. All that Costco asks you to do before you return it is perform a Factory Reset and Unlock your device.

2. Gotta Have Your Receipt

Apple claims that you MUST have your receipt to make a return.

But if you find yourself needing to make a return sans receipt, you stand a fighting chance of taking it back to the Apple location where you purchased it and asking for help.

I was told by an Apple Store employee that in many cases they will have evidence of your purchase in their system and can bring up your order history and make your return happen.

You can also call them at (800) MY–APPLE and they can pull up the purchase by gathering some information from you.

See Also: Amazon Return Policy: No More Confusion, Here’s EXACTLY How It Works

3. Some Stuff Can’t Be Return

While the majority of Apple products are eligible for a return, these things aren’t…

  • Opened software
  • Electronic Software Downloads
  • Software Upgrades
  • Apple Store Gift Cards
  • Apple Developer Products
  • Apple Print Products

Not a huge deal, but worth knowing.


I had an employee give me the great tip of downloading a trial version of any Apple software you’re considering buying so you know for sure it’s going to work for you before purchasing.

4. Returning an iPhone or iPad Doesn’t Cancel Your Wireless Account

Just because you return your iPhone or iPad, it doesn’t automatically mean your wireless service provider will cancel or update your account.

So make sure you call Verizon or AT&T (or whoever you use) and let them know so you don’t get charged incorrectly.

5. Apple Limits the Dollar Amount of a Cash Return

Apple has a limit on cash returns of $750.

Let’s say you pay cash for a $950 MacBook Air and decide a week later you don’t like it.

When you bring it back, Apple will only refund you $750 in cash and will mail you a check for the other $200 that will take up to 10 days to get.

Seriously Apple? You’re worth almost $3 trillion and you can’t give me all my cash back on a purchase? Weak applesauce.

6. Apple Pushes You Towards In-Store Return/Exchange

This is especially true when it comes to exchanges.

Several readers have made mention of this to me and the reason is because they DON’T want to pay the shipping charges.

So they tell you that you must return to an Apple Store to make an exchange or return.

Like John said in the comments, “The closest store to me is 80 miles at the price of gas that’s more then what a label costs.”

So do what John did and complain to Apple corporate and they’ll eventually agree to mail you a replacement product.

and Now 7 Reasons Why their Return Policy is Great…

1. You Can Return Opened Stuff

Get your new Apple products out of the box and give them a trial run to make sure you’re satisfied.

Just be gentle and keep that iPad, iPhone, or MacBook in “like new” condition in case you do need to return it.

This is especially important as Apple only gives you 14 days to return products.

Update: This one is probably headed to the “Suck” category as Apple now charges a 25% restocking fee on opened iPhones and iPads, and they’ll even nail you with a 15% fee on never opened boxes.

See Also: 17 Stores That Let You Return Used Items for a Full Refund

2. Stuff Bought Online Can Be Returned for FREE

Apple picks up the cost of returned shipping which is REALLY nice.

Most retailers these days stick you with the return shipping charges which is a real fun suck. But not Apple.

You can also return stuff bought online to your nearest Apple Store.

See Also: Apple Student Discount: What Is It and How Do You Get the Savings?

3. You Can Return a Gift Online or In-Store

To do it online, simply go into your Apple Account Page and select Return a Gift.

All you need to provide is the product serial number or order number to initiate the return which is AWESOME as you often won’t have a gift receipt.

The best part is that return shipping is completely FREE.

Also, it’s important to note that Apple will almost always be able to help you out if it’s been over 14 days since you were given the gift.

Just call Apple at (800) MY–APPLE and they can help you out.

You can either get an Apple gift card for the amount of the returned gift or you can do a product exchange for equal value.

4. You Can Exchange Items at ANY Apple Store

All Apple Stores in the U.S. can process your exchange, doesn’t matter where you originally bought it.

If you do an exchange for an item of lesser value, the difference will be added to an Apple Gift Card OR refunded to the original form of payment…your choice.

5. Extended Holiday Return Policy

Last year, Apple had a cool extended holiday return policy and they did the same in 2023.

It works like this…

Any item purchased between November 3rd and December 25th can be returned all the way up until January 8, 2024.

See Also: All 32 Popular Stores That Offer Extended Holiday Returns

6. Apple Bends Over Backwards for Damaged Items

If for some reason you get a damaged Apple product delivered to you, Apple has your back in a BIG way.

You can either take the damaged item to any Apple Store for a replacement or mail it back (at no cost to you) for a replacement.

Pretty standard stuff, right? But where Apple takes the prize is they’ll actually overnight ship the replacement product for FREE.

7. Download a Crappy App? Not a Problem

Have you ever paid $0.99 (or more) for an app only to have it be a total piece of crap?

Glitches on top of glitches. Or maybe it crashes more than your 81-year old Grandma in her Buick sedan.

I was told on my last trip to the Apple Store that they will actually give you your money back within 14 days of purchase.

To make this hidden gem in their return policy happen, you just need to visit the App Store support page and tell them you want your money back.

Ask the Reader: What’s been your experience with the return policy at Apple? Do you like it or has the 14 day return window been an issue?

By Kyle James


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Ronnie Walker

Just went to Apple Store again today for the fifth time and bought my iPhone December 27 didn’t know I was having trouble till March with calling out while using the speakerphone. Then my wife tells me that I’m cutting in and out and it doesn’t work so since March I’ve been trying to get my phone fixed and they haven’t fixed it and now it won’t replace it and I think Apple sucks


I am “on hold” with Apple now after 2 hours conversation and redirected from one rep to another. I want to return my order one ear pod which I thought I have lost and then I found it after I got my replacement but it was less then 14 (only 5 ) days. I learn on Apple Return web page that I need Label and Order number. But bc my order was not purchase but replacement, I did not have order # and couldn’t print Label by myself, so i called and ask Apple Support, but I still did not get answer! Looks like nobody in Apple knows how to return ear pod. It’s definitely sucks… Still waiting the call as last rep promised.


My issue with Apple lately is they want you to take a return to a store rather then give you a shipping label to return or exchange.

The closest store to me is 80 miles at the price of gas that’s more then what a label costs. I had a Smart Keyboard fail and after several talks with support even advancing to a higher tier they finally agreed.

This is with proof of purchase from Apple own store minds you. Even still, they wanted me to return the defective keyboard to a store instead of shipping it back. I refused sighting cost of gas.

After complaining to corporate they finally agreed to send me another keyboard. After all I had used it only about a month.

Yeah for the price of Apple products, I think a return window beyond 14 days should be more like 30 days.

My advice is check around at other Apple product retailers, which many offer longer return policies.

Joe H Guerra

Just got off the phone with an Apple representative, regarding a replacement for left airpod. I found my lost airpod so was expecting an easy return and refund. I thought! NO. Their explanation, this was a replace order and not able to return if found. So I am out $100 dollars. This is such a terrible way of doing business. Absolutely! Never got it out of the box. No, you cannot return it for a refund! Just unbelievable!


You forgot to mention the 25% restocking fee they charge. The return is not “free” as you said. Maybe they pay for the return shipping, but when they charge you $300 to return an iPhone, nobody is going to give iphone a try that doesn’t already have one.


That’s not true – Apple don’t have a 25% restocking fee.


“A 25% open box fee will be assessed on any opened unit (per unit). A 15% restocking fee will be assessed on closed box returns (per unit).”