We all love presents, but sometimes a gift can be given that either doesn't meet our needs, duplicates one we already have, or is unwanted for a number of other reasons. If that's the case, and you've received an Apple product that you want to return, here's how you do so.
What can I return?
While Apple is happy to exchange or refund any purchases made in its stores or online with no need for a reason other than you have decided you don't want it, there's one big exception. If the gift you received has been personalised, such as an engraved iPad, then you won't be able to return it as the device will be unsellable to another customer.
Of course, if it's defective then that's a different matter, as it will be covered under the normal returns policy for faulty goods.
Returning items to the Apple Store
If you want to return a device purchased from one of Apple's physical retail stores then, along with the product, you will also be required to bring the original receipt, packaging, and included accessories. This needs to be done within 14 days of your purchase, and it goes without saying that the items must be in pristine condition.
While Apple is a global company, items can only be returned at stores in the country from which they were bought.
If someone else paid for the product with a credit or debit card then they will need to accompany you, as a refund can only be issued to the card that was originally charged. Exchanges fall under the same category, so the person will still need to make the trip.
Should it be a case of wanting a different colour of the same device, or moving up to a higher-capacity storage option, then we'd recommend calling your local store and discussing it with the staff, as they may be able to arrange something for you.
To find the contact details for the various branches take a look at the Apple Retail Store List.
Software, memory, and other media are slightly different, in that you'll only be able to get a refund if the box remains unopened. Otherwise Apple will offer you an exchange for another unit of the same product.
Returning items bought at the online Apple Store
If you ordered the product online, then you get a little more time to deal with the return. When you've decided against keeping the gift you'll need to ask the person who bought it to go to Apple's Order Status site and log in with their account. Here they'll find a list of all their Apple product purchases, and the option to begin the return process.
So long as they make their intent to return the item known before 14 days has elapsed from purchase, they will then have a further 14 days within which to arrange a collection or drop the item off at one of Apple's Pickup Points. These are scattered across the country and usually take the form of newsagents or local supermarkets.
Once the return has been arranged they'll be able to print off an address label to put on the box. Collections will be handled by a courier, usually UPS in the UK, who allow the scheduling of a four-hour window within which the product will be picked up.
Alternatively, items being dropped off at a Pickup Point need to be deposited within five days of starting the return process.
If you'd prefer to talk to someone, rather than relying on the online portal, then you can contact Apple Store Customer Service who will arrange the return. Just remember to have the Web Order Number for the item to hand.
Apple states that once the goods have been safely received in its warehouse, then the refund will be issued within 5-7 days.
Holiday Return Policy
Due to the frenetic nature of the Christmas period, and people buying lots of presents for each other, Apple offers an extended returns period for purchases.
Items bought between 15 November and 25 December 2019 can still be returned up until 8 January 2020. These need to conform to the normal conditions listed above, but the extra time does make it easier to buy a gift for someone this Christmas safe in the knowledge that it can returned early in the new year.