Apple Store vs Repair Shop – What Are The Differences?

apple store vs repair shop or company

What’s the difference between the Apple Store vs local repair shop?

The main differences between the Apple store vs a repair shop is the cost of the repair (often cheaper due to parts). Apple also won’t repair what they class as retro devices, encouraging you to upgrade instead. You will need to book an appointment to have your computer repaired by Apple. With a local shop or company you can usually just walk in.

We cover more of these points in detail in using the official Apple store versus an Apple repair shop:

Do Apple shops do repairs?

Yes they do, Apple repair all devices that they consider to be new. After 5-7 years they will declare an iPhone, iPad or Mac ‘Retro’ and cease to help fix it. At this point you will need to find a 3rd party Apple Specialist to help with your device.

Apple are capable of doing all repairs and can help with any problems you may have regarding your device. If they do not do a particular repair in store, they may send your device away to be fixed at an Apple authorised service centre.

Does Apple store charge for repairs?

If you have a problem that is covered directly by warranty – like a faulty part – the Apple Store will not charge you for the repair of the device.

Accidental damage, however, is not covered under warranty and Apple charge for things like cosmetic damage, screen repairs and keyboard replacements, as well as also charging for liquid damage.

If you have repairs backed by AppleCare, you will only have to pay a set amount each time, much like an excess on an insurance policy.

Can you just walk into the Apple store for a repair?

The Apple Store’s diary is completely full more often than not, so walking in and getting a same day appointment to see an Apple specialist is either not possible or entails a long wait.

This does depend on the store that you’re trying to get booked into and if you can travel easily, it’s sometimes a better option to book in yours repair with Apple Stores further afield. They could potentially have more technicians available at a time that works with you.

You can check this by finding the online Genius booking page for each Store. If you can find an Apple Store that has a pretty steady amount of free spots for today’s date, there’s a good chance of a walk in appointment.

That being said if you do have a definite window of free time, then its best to book in advance as you’re not guaranteeing a space in a queue.

Repair shops on the other hand do have the advantage of a walk in service. Although you may have to wait in the queue to be served, you most certainly won’t encounter the hordes of consumers that you may come across in a busy Apple Store.

On the other hand you may not be able to book an appointment at an independent repair shop because they have no need for setting up that kind of service.

If you phone ahead in advance they may make a note of you coming in and what your issue is, which will get you in and out in a flash, even if there are others waiting to be seen when you get there.


For the first year, Apple products are under warranty and repairs may be free if they go wrong. After that, your device may be covered under an extended warranty of 3 years if you purchased an AppleCare package for your device.

See our FREE Apple Repair Warranty here.


The reason Apple devices are even listed as ‘Retro’ comes down to upselling for the most part because Apple want to sell you a new device instead of fixing your current one.

Of course there comes a time where you can’t get your iPhone or Mac to update to the latest security updates, or when parts become more expensive than getting that device second hand. But this is usually long after the 5-7 year window that Apple like to apply.

Independent repair shops and even Apple authorised service centres aren’t out to sell you a new device, and repair shops that do, have a stock of devices for sale that are second hand or refurbished. This therefore tells you that your repair is the sole aim of their business as opposed to shifting new MacBooks and the latest iPhone Models.

Apple repair vs replace

The Apple Store, along with all Apple Authorised repair service providers, are under a strict replace policy, meaning all hardware issues they find must be solved by taking it out and installing a new one.

For example if you have a sticky Apple keyboard that needs a good clean and service, they’ll only offer to replace it. If your iPhone works perfectly and just needs a screen repair, then they’ll take a look and if they find your liquid damage indicators have been set off, they’ll tell you to get a new one before giving it back.

These are two examples that make no sense. You can get lucky with liquid damage and never have a problem with a device after a spillage and although it may be time consuming to clean and service a keyboard, it’s certainly better for the environment and your wallet.

This is where independent Apple repair companies like us really come into their own. They are not bound by any corporate rules regarding repairs and parts and can get your device repaired instead of swapping out new parts at every given chance.

Price options on Apple parts

The Apple store and authorised service centres have a different route to source parts than independent shops.

If you’re looking for parts for a new model Mac in a high spec, they will more than likely be the cheapest and easiest way to get the repair done, as independent repair shops struggle at first to get really high spec parts for a good price.

However as time goes on, independent shops start to have the pick of a variety of different parts made by various manufacturers at different prices. Granted some of these are cheap and not of great quality, but some of them have improvements on the Apple originals and can still be cheaper.

Apple has the inside track on parts when they are the only manufacturer making them, but eventually they lose out on flexibility with cost because they can only sell you genuine Apple parts.

Apple customer service

Customer service is always a huge part of any repair, and when dealing with your prized tech devices, its paramount.

Apple Stores always pride themselves on outstanding customer service and apart from potential waiting times, you can be assured the person you speak to will be a great help and very knowledgeable.

The only downside is that the staff numbers in the Apple Store can make it harder to interact with the same great employee every time you get help, as they may not be working.

Third party shops and Apple authorised service centres can be less reliable. For every incredible repair company you come across with amazing customer service, you can be sure to find a shop that, lets just say leaves a lot to be desired.

Click here to see our reviews which show how great our Apple customer repair service really is!

Calling in advance is a great way to make sure you’re happy with the staff in the shop you’re choosing as well as making the whole process easier, by passing on information about your iPhone or MacBook prior to arrival.

Once you do find a great shop with the right customer service for you, you’ve got a higher chance of interacting with your favourite staff member every time you enter or pick up the phone.

Need Apple Repair Advice?

If you have decided that you would like to talk a local repair company instead of going to the official Apple Store for your costly repair, you can talk to us. Hero Tech are the Apple Repair Specialists you can rely on. Call us or complete our website contact form for call back and friendly advice. We’re based in Southampton and collect for free within a 30 mile radius. If you are further afield and have a MacBook which needs repairing we offer free postage via UPS.

We are also now offering Apple MacBook Repairs in Cornwall!

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Greg Doulton

Greg is an Apple repair specialist and has wealth of knowledge within the industry. Follow the blog for more news and tips.

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We are an expert Apple Mac computer repair specialist company based in Southampton, with customers across the Hampshire and Dorset.

We offer free pick up, free diagnosis and free delivery of your Apple device.

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