Last week, after Apple announced that that the company was closing all of its retail stores outside of China until March 27th as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, the company has provided additional clarification about what Apple users should do in the event that an Apple device needs to be serviced or returned.
In an FAQ related to the closures, Apple clarified that any Genius Bar appointments made prior to March 28 will need to be rescheduled. If a customer was hoping to return an Apple product during the two-week return window but will be unable to do so before March 28, Apple says it will honor a 14-day return window after its stores reopen in most cases. (Exclusions include device trade-ins, for which Apple will offer a gift card for the value of the device; carrier financing; and some contracted iPhones.)
If an Apple customer needs a repair, they can start one online through its support site, where they’ll also be able to check the status of the repair. It does look like Apple is going to allow for minimal in-store access for some customers. For in-store pickups or repairs that are ready to be collected, Apple said these customers—who will receive a confirmation or be contacted by an Apple employee—can pick up their devices on March 15 or March 16 between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time.
The news follows CEO Tim Cook’s announcement last week that the company was closing the doors of all of its retail locations outside of China, just as the company confirmed it had reopened those stores that had been previously shut-down in the region. In his notice, Cook said that “the most effective way to minimize the risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance. As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers.”
Keep in mind that Apple’s March 28 reopening could be subject to change. Developments around the deadly coronavirus outbreak are changing rapidly, and it’s difficult to know where we’ll be even a day from now, much less two weeks. Store reopenings were delayed in China, and they may very well be delayed here as well.