Apple allows consumers to return products purchased directly from Apple‘s website or one of its retail stores — including iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models. But that’s only true if you make the return within a limited time frame. Generally speaking, anyone buying an Apple device will likely know what they are getting in advance and can expect to be happy enough with their purchase. However, for folks who are buying an Apple device for the first time or for someone else, then it is worth being aware of the finer points of Apple’s return policy.

For most existing Apple customers, buying a new device is simply a matter of upgrading. Whether it’s updating to a newer iPhone, switching to an M1 MacBook, or making sure their Apple Watch is equipped with the latest technologies and sensors, the customer will know what to expect. After all, Apple not only tends to focus on incremental hardware updates, but it also provides consumers with the option to get hands-on with its devices in stores or use online tools to further customize a product to their exact liking.


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However, there are always going to be occasions when a return is needed. Apple’s standard return policy allows consumers to return a product for up to 14 days after purchase. If the product was purchased online, then Apple specifies the 14-day return period technically starts when the item is received. Providing there are no problems with the condition of the return, and as long as it is within the standard window, consumers should have no issues when returning a purchase to Apple. It is worth noting that the 14-day rule is related to purchases made in the U.S., with the possibility that purchases made in other countries might be subject to different policies and conditions.

Apple’s Return Policy For Hardware

iPhone retail boxes

Regardless of whether purchased online or in-person at a store, products can be returned to an Apple store. However, this only applies to devices that have been purchased directly from Apple. In other words, any purchases made through a third-party retailer will have to be returned to the same retailer. This could also mean the standard return policy for those items could be different. If the purchase is for hardware, like an iPhone or Apple Watch, then there should be no issues with completing the return and getting a full refund, even if opened.

Apple’s Return Policy For Software

Apple Memoi Old Man With A Grey Beard (Old App) Worried Over App Store

The exception to the open return rule is non-hardware-related purchases — such as software, downloads, gift cards, and so on. Apple tends not to accept back these purchases, although a software return might be accepted if the box has been opened, but the internal package remains sealed (indicating the software has not actually been installed on a device). If it is a gift that’s being returned along with a gift receipt, then the recipient will receive an Apple gift card rather than a cash refund. Think about it like this: If you bought a software code from Apple and haven’t redeemed it, you should be able to return it without a problem. But if you already redeemed the code, don’t expect Apple to accept the return.

Limitations With Apple’s Return Policy

MacBook Pro running macOS Monterey

Although Apple’s return policy is generous enough to account for most occasions and situations, it does have its limitations. Essentially, if a consumer is unsure whether the product is right for them, then it is best to return the item within the first 14 days to avoid any issues developing. Likewise, if purchasing for someone else and unsure if the product or style is right, then a gift card for the same value might be the better option. Lastly, if you want to exchange an Apple device for something else, you can always return the device you bought, get the refund, and put that towards the other gadget you’d rather have.