Interviewing at Apple: Be prepared for anything

When it comes to tech interviews- Apple's is definitely the hardest. This is the definitive guide on what it takes to pass the interview.

Kindra Cooper

If there’s one thing Apple is known for — other than its wildly popular products — it’s secrecy.

Even internally, employees on different teams don’t ask about each other’s work and some staffers report being forbidden to discuss projects with their spouse.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Apple also keeps its hiring process hush-hush, and employees rarely speak about what it’s like to work there, even anonymously on Glassdoor.

Back in 1977 when Apple was a one-building startup, there was a sign in the lobby that reportedly read: “ Loose lips sink ships. ”

As the world’s second-largest tech company by market valuation , Apple has its pick of illustrious candidates. The tech giant’s ‘ Join Us. Be You.’ promotional recruitment video calls on “those unfamiliar with convention, unmoved by rules and reborn with every new discovery” to join its ranks.

With an average salary of $124,000, according to PayScale , reimbursements of up to $52,000 a year for continuing education, and the chance to work with some of the brightest minds in tech, Apple’s allure as an employer is undeniable. If you're a hiring manager at Apple, your biggest problem is volume: choosing between so many talented candidates to invite for a phone interview can be brutally hard.

How long is the interview process at Apple?

Most employees say the interview process at Apple is unstructured (and unpredictable) compared to its peers Google and Microsoft , and the process varies significantly by role. In general, most Apple staffers report waiting 1-4 months between resume submission and receiving an offer, with very little feedback from recruiters in between interview rounds. 

Interview process steps

apple case study interview

1. Application

In lieu of requiring a cover letter, Apple asks motivational questions in the application for certain roles. Questions include:

Demonstrate passion for the company and its products , elaborate on how your skills and past experience make you a perfect fit for the role, and how the role fits into your career trajectory. And yes, you can still work at   Apple even if you’re an avid Android user who owns a PC. However, to sign into Apple’s career portal, you’ll need an Apple ID. 

2. Phone Screen (up to two)

Phone screens for corporate roles at Apple are pretty standard: an informal, 30-minute conversation with a recruiter to assess interest and team fit.

👉 Click here to see recent Apple Interview questions.

3. FaceTime Interviews (up to five)

Apple’s next round of 30-minute 1:1 interviews is designed to assess your technical and behavioral skills . Be prepared for probing questions that require a lot of introspection, such as:

One marketing manager who oversees new hires for Apple stores in the Southwest market asks this question of all prospective retail employees.

4. Apple Assessment Center (if applicable)

Some candidates report being asked to use Apple’s Assessment Center as part of the hiring process. It’s a chance to network with Apple employees and learn more about the company while completing exercises. 

apple case study interview

5. Onsite Interviews

Unlike Microsoft and Google , Apple has not cut back on hiring during the coronavirus pandemic, save for a brief pause between March and April. It is unclear whether or not Apple has resumed onsite interviews. Apple announced in June it wanted employees back in the office and is offering COVID-19 nasal swab tests for staffers returning to work. 

Onsite interviews typically consist of six hours of back-to-back interviews, typically with two people at a time.

Lunch is considered an extension of the interview, and may in fact be the most intense part of the interview process, as the candidate gets quizzed by several team members at once. While little has been publicly shared about the interview process, current and former employees report on Quora that onsite interviews tend to focus on technical questions. Software engineer candidates will be asked typical questions about algorithms and data structures and be expected to code on a laptop and whiteboard, and show an understanding of system design. 

Candidates invited for an onsite interview receive a link to Apple Travel and the freedom to book a return flight and three nights accommodation at a hotel near Apple HQ. 

👉 Click here to see recent Apple Interview questions. ​

Work/life balance is difficult to achieve at Apple.

Apple employees are often expected to work long hours, or even pull all-nighters to meet deadlines, so be prepared to put work first. “I've been in meetings at 4 pm where a dozen people decide we are going to all work all night that night in the office on a problem,” one Quora user writes .

“No discussion about "hey, I have to pick up my kids" or "let me call home first" -- everyone nods and agrees, no hesitation.”

Apple hires for specific teams, not centrally.

Apple corporate consists of 10 different teams, from Design to Marketing and Machine Learning & AI. You’ll need to determine upfront which team you want to join, explain why you chose that team and that particular role, and how you’re uniquely positioned to contribute to the team. 

You will have to answer questions like these ones asked recently at Apple...

apple case study interview

Whether you're a project manager, senior software engineer or even a family room specialist- everyone gets behavioral questions in their Apple interview.

Behavioral interview questions

Problem-solving interview questions

Technical interview questions

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Company Overview

Interview Question

.css-bhrh5{font-size:15px;font-style:italic;color:#20262e;line-height:24px;white-space:pre-line;} They gave me a case study on a Friday evening to complete for my interview, which was the next Monday. I thought this was inconsiderate of my weekend time.

Interview Answers

You don't need to pay $200k and get an MBA to learn how to do a case study. Many are prepared just through their professional experiences. Some prepare through online research on websites like Glass Door. Regardless, sounds like your condescending attitude and unwillingness to gain new skills in a short period of time eliminated your candidacy. For everyone else: the case study is doable. I didn't have much clue on how to attack this problem but I ran my answers against some fellow consultant and supply chain friends. A couple gave me good advice and I eventually landed a planning role. Good luck to all.

Anonymous on Sep 10, 2015

Can you share more about the case study?

Anonymous on May 23, 2016

I did not make enough assumptions. I have never done a case study for an interview before. Sorry I didn't get an MBA and pay 200k+ to learn how to do case studies.

Anonymous on Jul 20, 2015

Add Answers or Comments

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apple case study interview

How to Nail your next Technical Interview

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Apple Interview Process Guide

If you’re a software engineer preparing for Apple’s technical interview, this post is for you. Apple has more than 80,000 employees, and hires more software engineers than any other role. The Apple interview process is a challenging exercise that tests one's programming, problem-solving, and systems design skills. 

Although the Apple interview process may be a hard nut to crack, it doesn't stop engineers from trying their best to get in. The lucrative salary, employee benefits, and the chance of working with the most brilliant minds in the industry have made Apple one of the most popular employers. 

In this article, we’ll understand the apple interview process in-depth to prepare the most efficient strategy for getting a job at the organization:

The Apple Interview Process Timeline

Levels of software engineers at apple, teams that apple hires for, apple interview questions, things to know before your apple interview, how to prepare for apple interviews, tips to prepare for apple interviews, the apple interview process for software engineers.

The apple interview process for software engineers comprises several steps that test the interviewee's technical expertise and determine if they would be a good fit for the company's culture. The process also tests their communication skills to assess their employability.

apple case study interview

The interviews are team-based. You may have to interview with more than one team with whom you will work directly or indirectly if you’re selected. Lunch is considered an extension of the interview, and multiple employees will ask you questions during that time. 

The success rate of Apple on-site interviews is considered to be around 10%. The on-site interview can be tiring with more than 6 hours of interviews, but you have to remain focused as it is a test of your patience and perseverance as well.

How Is the Apple Interview Process Different From Other Companies?

What sets Apple apart from other FAANG companies is its approach to interviewing candidates. The two-on-one approach where two employees interview a candidate is unique to Apple. The interviewee is also expected to be a user and enthusiast of Apple products. 

The timeline varies for roles and individuals. There is no structured time frame for the interview process. Most candidates report that the whole process takes around one to four months. The process is not as standardized as other companies and varies based on the profile that one is applying to. 

Apple has five levels of software engineers based on their seniority. There is no title based on the level, as is the case with other tech companies. Only the rank is added along with the title “software engineer,” such as:

Apple has specific teams that you can choose to be a part of based on your skill seat. At Apple, no software engineer is hired centrally. The divisions that you can choose from include:

Depending on the team you apply to, you will be required to answer specific questions related to that field. You need to answer all the questions during the apple job interview process with clarity and confidence. 

All the candidates applying to the interview are asked some behavioral, problem-solving, and technical questions. Some of the most common of these questions are listed below. You can practice such questions well in advance to improve your performance in the interview.

Behavioral interview questions:

Technical interview questions:

For more questions, read Apple Interview Questions

Along with its countless benefits, working at Apple comes with its challenges. Be prepared to hustle hard . The interviewer expects you to know this before coming in for the interview. Some other points that you need to keep in mind for the apple job interview process include:

Just like other FAANG companies, you need to have a solid grasp of topics like data structure and algorithms while preparing for the Apple interview. The recurrent topics in the interview include linked lists, array, system design, etc. 

You also need to have knowledge of Apple techniques if you wish to secure a job as a coding engineer here. Extensive knowledge of a programming language is also a must for applying to a software engineer position at Apple .

The general trend that is observed in the number of questions asked at an Apple interview can be understood from the table:

Here are some proven tips that will help you prepare for the Apple interview:

"The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena." — Tim Cook.

Above all, you need to have trust in yourself. You can only ace the software developer interview with conviction. Have an effective preparation strategy in place and stick to it. You can get through the interview only with hard work and adequate preparation.

We at Interview Kickstart offer training for your technical interviews . We guide you through your interview prep with a comprehensive curriculum, and unmatched teaching methodologies — all developed with the help of industry experts, who are hiring managers and tech leads at FAANG+ companies. 

To craft an effective interview preparation strategy and grab the chance to work at the world's leading tech companies, register now for our free webinar .

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How To Pass the Apple Interview: A Practical Guide

Apple office sign

Are you a Mac enthusiast? Do you find yourself gravitating toward the sleek and elegant designs of the various and ubiquitous Mac products?

Perhaps you saw Steve Jobs’ Harvard commencement speech and gained a new respect for the Apple company. Or maybe you are more oriented toward the engineering aspects of Apple and marvel at how Wozniak was able to put together the original Apple II?

Whether you are an Apple fanboy, a Mac user, or just an enthusiast, the philosophy behind the company is one that many want to be a part of and identify with. Perhaps owning an Apple product and being part of the so-called “Apple” family is not quite enough, and you desire to play a role in the developer ecosystem of Apple.

Working for Apple also has many of the same benefits enjoyed from working at any of the other large tech companies, including Google , Amazon , Facebook , etc: high salary, free food, Apple swag, prestige, among many others.

Whatever your path for desiring to work at Apple, this post will be a one-stop shop for constructing your strategy to dominate the Apple Interview.

Who Is This Post For?

Apple is a large company and, therefore, hires to fill many different types of positions. Apple has a complete list of teams posted on Apple’s teams page .

This post will center on how to prepare for the software-focused roles, namely the “Software and Services” team.

The Software and Services team is split into a number of subcategories as well. A complete list of categories is provided on Apple’s Software and Services page .

Each subteam is specialized, and covering the subtopics in each goes well beyond the scope of this post.

For instance, if you’re interested in working in the machine-learning division of the Software and Services team, expect specialized questions pertaining to artificial intelligence, algorithms specific to machine learning, and the like.

The common point among most, if not all, of these subservices is that they will require some flavor of technical interview. That is, you will be expected to have a deep understanding of the fundamentals of what is typically taught in an undergraduate degree program in computer science.

This includes a thorough understanding of data structures, algorithms, etc. For more information on what to expect for this style of interview in general, you can consult the list of blog posts provided by Byte by Byte .

This post is going to center on the specific aspects of the Apple Interview. We are going to investigate what makes Apple unique in their interview process and give you an overview of what to expect going in.

In this post, I will show you:

What Is the Apple Interview

Let’s break down the primary components of what the Apple Interview consists of. Getting put in touch with a recruiter is a necessary first step before the interview can take place. There are a few different methods by which this can happen.

Don't do another coding interview…​​

…until you've mastered these 50 questions.

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Getting in Touch With the Recruiter

The first step in the process is to either have a recruiter reach out to you or vice versa.

In the former, it is not uncommon for Apple recruiters to reach out to you if you are graduating from a competitive computer science program, have competed in hackathons, or have a compelling enough web presence to get approached by recruiters through LinkedIn and via other online channels.

For the latter, the most direct method of being put in touch with a recruiter is directly through the Apple Jobs board . The layout of the website is characteristic of Apple’s style in that it is very minimalistic and has a very clean-cut style.

Depending on your experience and their need, you may or may not receive an initial rejection from the automated system. Apple is typically quite good about sending a notification in either case.

If the position is not a fit, you will receive a response, and in the event that it is, a recruiter will touch base with you for further details, some of which are outlined in the remaining part of this post.

Another direct method is to keep a lookout for local job and career fairs where Apple will be present. These tend to be centralized in more densely populated areas, which makes sense from Apple’s perspective in having a high number of qualified candidates.

It may be worthwhile to see if there are any local channels, that is, universities, meetup groups, etc. that may give some location-specific information for your area.

What the Recruiter Does for You

When you are in touch with a recruiter, their job is to help you navigate the logistics of setting up an interview at Apple. They are responsible for coordinating the interview and potentially setting up any travel involved in the on-site interviews.

Apple recruiters will be available to answer questions you may have about the format of the interviews and will often provide very standard preparation material for the technical side of things.

The Apple recruiter will be your point of contact for the subsequent steps of the interview that we cover in the next few sections.

Phone Screen

The phone screen typically consists of two parts.

In the first part, you are contacted by the recruiter to have an informal and nontechnical talk. The recruiter may ask some topical questions, but nothing too far related to anything technical. They are mostly just trying to figure out if you have some idea about what you’re talking about.

The second part occurs assuming the conversation goes well. The recruiter will schedule another interview which is the actual technical phone screen.

This phone screen may be between you and a single interviewer or sometimes a team of interviewers.

In any case, the general format is a shared coding environment where the interviewer(s) can assess your ability to utilize basic data structures and algorithms concepts. Being able to provide a solution and quickly analyze the runtime complexity of your solution are key skills to have going into this interview.

The duration of this interview ranges from thirty minutes to an hour. Once the interview has concluded, your recruiter will reach back out to you with next steps as to whether they have decided to proceed or not.

On-Site Interview

In the event that you pass the phone screen, the next step is the on-site interview.

You will most likely meet the recruiter who you have been corresponding with, and they will elaborate on what to expect in the interview. Prior to your arrival, the recruiter will also provide you with information via email.

There will be roughly around six or eight interviews, each of which will be with the respective teams that you may be working for, directly or indirectly. The interviews themselves will be the standard whiteboard style of technical interviewing.

Each interview will be between you and at least one, possibly two, interviewers. In the middle of the day, you are provided lunch on the Apple campus, and this lunch is between you and your potential future manager.

While this lunch is one of the more informal aspects of the interview, you would be wise not to let your guard down completely here. This interaction is still very much an interview, and it is important to keep that in mind when carrying yourself here.

As is typical for the other Facebook- Amazon -Apple-Netflix- Google (FAANG) companies, the on-site interviews are kept separate in the sense that feedback from one will not impact another one.

If you feel you did poorly in one of the on-site interviews, this feedback won’t follow you into the next.

At the end of your interview, the interviewers will get together and assess whether you are a good fit for the role. If the decision is unanimous, you will have the final interview with the VP of the team you are interviewing for.

According to Gayle McDowell’s excellent book Cracking the Coding Interview (CTCI, this is an affiliate link), making it to the VP interview is a good sign that you did well in the previous interviews, as you would have otherwise been escorted out of the building prior to speaking to the VP.

This will conclude your on-site, and the next steps will then be determined by your interviewers.

After the Interview

Assuming you received the VP interview, all of the interviewers will gather into a room and decide whether or not to proceed with the hire.

Assuming they decide to go “hire,” your recruiter will contact you and let you know the next steps for compensation, logistics, etc. In the other case, your recruiter will still let you know, and then, unfortunately, you will have to start from the recruitment process to interview at Apple again.

How Is the Apple Interview Different From Other Companies’ Interviews?

The “Two Against One” style of interviewing is somewhat unique amongst the FAANG companies. This style is what it sounds like in that you are being interviewed by two Apple employees.

Outside of that though, the content you will encounter here will be very familiar to you, especially if you have read up on the other posts here on Byte by Byte that cover the Google interview and the Amazon interview .

Another difference may be in the enthusiasm that Apple employees have for their products. While it’s not mandatory, being an enthusiast and user of Apple products is a soft prerequisite. Of course, it won’t be a make or break a thing if you are not, but it will probably raise a few eyebrows if you’re enthusiastically against Apple products.

How to Prepare for the Apple Interview

There are a few components that make the Apple interview a unique experience. So now that you know what the Apple Interview consists of, how do you most effectively go about preparing for it?

Pro tip: Spend most of your time on the most important and most likely material to appear in the Apple Interview.

As you would expect from an interview from the tech giants, having a solid grasp of data structures and algorithms is going to serve you well in both the phone screen and on-site interviews.

The types of questions that we spend our time practicing are important, especially if we are targeting a specific company. With this in mind, we decided to gather some data regarding the types of questions that are typically asked in Apple interviews. We combed through the website Glassdoor to find specific examples of what people had experienced in their Apple interview.

Glassdoor has a page dedicated to Apple , and individuals who have interviewed at Apple give a review on their experience. This often includes specifics as to what problems, or at least, what types of problems they were asked during their interview.

After parsing through over one hundred interview experiences from Glassdoor for Apple, I obtained the following distribution of the types of problems that were generally encountered in an Apple interview.

pie graph chart

For a bit more granularity, I also took these larger categories and broke them down into smaller subcategories. For instance, instead of grouping Graphs/Trees together into one item, I broke it down into more specific and separate “Graphs” and “Trees” categories. The corresponding graph is shown below:

bar chart of Apple interview question categories

From both of these graphs, it’s clear that Apple really favors the following topics:

System Design

Protip: Apple generally only asks system design questions to candidates with at least 3-5 years of software engineering experience.

One of the observations I made in parsing through this data is that there were recurrent specific problems and topics that arose in all three of these subcategories.

Let’s break each of these down. That way, you’ll be able to focus on the most likely categories, as well as the most likely specific problems, you may encounter in an Apple interview.

In my analysis, the most common type of problem that interviewers encountered during their Apple interview was one involving trees. While a few of them did have the occasional more exotic tree-like data structure (for instance, a trie), the majority of the tree-based questions were focused nearly entirely on either binary trees (BTs) or binary search trees (BSTs).

It would then stand to reason that understanding these types of data structures at a deep and fundamental level is exceptionally important for your success.

In addition, being comfortable with traversal algorithms on BTs and BSTs is a must-have skill. You should know how to do so in an iterative, as well as recursive, fashion.

Being able to validate that a given BT is in fact a BST is a question that popped up rather frequently in the Glassdoor dataset. This type of question requires both a strong understanding of both the BT and BST data structures in addition to knowing how to traverse both structures.

If you need a refresher on both BTs and BSTs, I have playlists dedicated to both on my YouTube channel:

I go over each of these types of data structures in detail and also provide a number of example questions that you may receive during your Apple interview.

For instance, the question mentioned prior regarding how to validate a BST is provided in this video: Validating a Binary Search Tree

If you want to practice this problem, visit the above link, and listen to the question statement. Once you understand it, pause the video, and attempt to solve it on your own. If you are stuck, or if you think you have a solution to the problem, unpause the video, and see if your solution matches the one that I have.

You can use this strategy for the other videos on the BT and BST playlists as well for more practice.

The same advice for trees applies here for arrays in that you should be very comfortable with the array data structure, as it is commonly used in the majority of problems you will encounter.

One of the primary array-based questions that I observed in my analysis of the Glassdoor Apple dataset was the “Two Sum” problem or some variation on that problem, i.e., “Three Sum,” etc.

If you want to see precisely how that problem is defined in addition to an explained solution, you can check out a video on my channel where I cover precisely the Two Sum problem: LucidProgramming Two Sum Problem

My advice to you would be to listen to the problem statement in the first part of the video. Pause it at this point, and attempt to solve on your own. If you struggle, that’s OK.

If you get stuck or believe you have a solution that works and is efficient, watch the remainder of the video to see how I solve it. While it’s not the only way to solve this problem, it is one of the more efficient ways in which to do so.

Once you feel comfortable with the “Two Sum” problem, I would then advise you to seek out the “Three Sum” problem and further variations, as these variations are arguably not trivial extensions on the “Two Sum” problem.

Being comfortable with this problem and the techniques and data structures used to solve it will serve you well even if you do not receive this problem or any variation of it during your Apple interview.

It’s no surprise that Apple would want to focus on vague design constraints, especially ones that require eventual scalability.

The system design questions found at Apple also have a specific flavor of involving more of a web-based component. Typically, something involving the design of an e-commerce store or URL shortener service were specific questions in the system design category that popped up frequently in the Glassdoor data set.

Check out this Byte by Byte post on system design interviews that covers specific strategies and tactics to crush your system design interviews.

Additional Resources to Master the Apple Interview

Here are a number of additional resources as well as a list of the resources that we made reference to in this post.

– Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle McDowell – 50 Practice Questions for your Coding Interview by Byte by Byte – HackerRank Website – Pramp Website – List of Apple’s Teams – List of Apple’s Software as a Service Teams


...until you've mastered these 50 questions.

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Top 20 Apple Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

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apple case study interview

By Mike Simpson

Apple has long been viewed as a leader in the technology world. As a result, many professionals want to nail their Apple interview questions, ensuring they have a chance to join the revolutionary company.

Apple is undoubtedly seen as an innovator, and many of its devices are considered status symbols. While the world’s first smartphone was technically the Simon – with launched in 1992 – the concept didn’t really solidify with consumers until 15 years later. The release of the iPhone was momentous, fundamentally altering the consumer tech landscape. That’s part of Apple’s appeal as an employer.

Plus, the company has an amazing impact on the economy. It’s total U.S. employment footprint is about 2.4 million jobs. However, only about 137,000 of those are actual Apple employees. If you want to join their ranks, here’s what you need to up your chances of working at Apple one day.

How to Answer Apple Interview Questions

Now, we know what you’re really excited about are the Apple interview questions and example answers. We promise we are going to get to them. But before we do, let’s take a second to talk about something else that’s critical important; how to answer those Apple interview questions.

Why the detour? Well, there are two reasons. First, working at Apple is a dream for a lot of people. What does that mean for you? That you’re going to face a ton of competition, that’s what. Standing out from the crowd is essential, and you’ll need a winning interview strategy to make that happen.

Second, do you have any idea how many different kinds of jobs Apple has? It’s not just tech positions, that’s for sure.

There are retail , accounts payable , marketing , operations , administrative , and a slew of other kinds of professionals working at Apple. The company is huge, so it has a wide range of needs.

Why does that matter?

Because each kind of role comes with its own Apple interview questions. Think about it; does it make sense to ask a programmer the same questions as a receptionist? No, no, it doesn’t.

That’s why knowing how to answer the questions is so important. By developing the right technique, you can craft stellar responses no matter your niche.

Alright, so let’s talk approach. First, research is your friend. It ensures you can answer a broad selection of job interview questions like a boss.

Start by reviewing the job description to refresh your memory about the must-have skills and traits. Review any requirements as well as skim the content to see if any phrases are repeated, as that could indicate that a characteristic or capability is especially important.

After that, it’s time to go the extra mile. Wander over to Apple’s website and get to know its mission and values. It also pays off to scan the company’s social media pages for tidbits about its culture , recent accomplishments , and current priorities.

Why go through all of that trouble? Well, when you can work details into your answers that reference what you’ve learned, you position yourself as a stronger match. Your odds of impressing go way up, so it’s worth the effort.

Alright, but what about those challenging Apple behavioral interview questions ? Isn’t Apple known for asking some doozies?

While all behavioral interview questions can be tricky to navigate, there’s no need to panic. First, most companies are moving away from the brainteaser questions, so there’s a good shot you won’t face any of those.

Second, with the right technique, you can answer this kind of Apple interview question with ease. Take the STAR Method and then pepper it with the Tailoring Method . Together, they give you a recipe for success, ensuring your answers are engaging, thorough, and as relevant as possible.

We also wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions along with their Apple specific questions!

Click below to get your free PDF now:

Get Our Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet!

FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our " Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet " that gives you " word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview .


Top 3 Apple Interview Questions

Now that you have a solid strategy by your side, it’s time to take the next step. By reviewing Apple interview questions and answers, you can put your new knowledge to work.

Like we mentioned before, there are tons of kinds of professionals working at Apple. Every job is going to have a unique interview experience. After all, it takes different types of skills and traits to shine in each position, so it’s doesn’t make sense to use the same questions across the board.

However, that doesn’t mean Apple interviews can’t have a lot in common. There are going to be some questions that nearly any candidate might face. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top three Apple interview questions, as well as example answers.

1. What is your favorite Apple product, and why?

While this question is fairly straightforward on the surface, it accomplishes more than you might think. Along with giving the hiring manager a chance to discover your level of familiarity with Apple products, it also lets them gauge your enthusiasm for your favorite.

But it’s also an exceptional opportunity for you. Along with showcasing your passion for a product, you can showcase relevant skills or traits if you approach it properly.

Plus, you can adjust your answer to align with the job you want to land, which may make you look like a stronger candidate.


“While I’m a fan of several Apple products, I’d have to say my favorite is the Apple Watch. It enables me to be more efficient both in my personal and professional lives. The ability to stay apprised of incoming messages and respond to them without having to dig out another device lets me work faster. Plus, receiving calendar reminders through the watch is great for time management, ensuring I stay on target even on the busiest days.”

2. Have you ever disagreed with your manager about a decision? How did you handle the situation?

When you work for an innovative company, there are often plenty of opportunities to share your ideas. Plus, creative thinking is seen as an asset.

However, that kind of environment also means that disagreements are bound to occur. There are going to be times when you and your manager don’t see eye-to-eye; it’s guaranteed.

The hiring manager wants to know that you can handle these situations professionally. That way, they can continue to encourage innovation without inviting unnecessary long-term conflict.

“In my last position, our team was working on a project when a last-minute feature addition request came in. My manager wanted to adjust the project to accommodate the feature, something that I disagreed with. I was concerned about the impact on the timeline and overall workload, as well as possible reductions in final product quality if we were pushed to meet the original deadline. I discussed my thoughts with my manager, providing an overview of the potential negative impacts of the change based on data. While they choose to move forward with the feature, the data I provided did cause my manager to rethink the original timeline. In the end, the team was given an extended deadline, reducing some of the strain and giving us the ability to deliver a high-quality result.”

3. Do you take any steps to enhance your skills outside of work?

When it comes to change, the tech industry is notorious. In many cases, employees do have access to some training options through work. However, most companies can’t take care of it all.

Hiring managers want to know that you are willing to keep your skills up to date on your own. Not only does that ensure you remain an asset, but it’s an indication that you’re passionate about your field.

“Yes, I do take steps to ensure my skills remain current, if not on the cutting-edge. I take advantage of a variety of online learning resources and sign up for industry publications to ensure I remain aware of emerging trends. Additionally, I enjoy doing my own side projects, giving me a chance to put new skills to work or keep my existing ones sharp.”

17 More Apple Interview Questions

Here are 17 more Apple interview questions you may need to answer, depending on the job you’re trying to land:

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of an Apple Interview

When the sun begins to set on your interview, it’ll be time for you to get in a few questions of your own . Having a few at the ready is a must. Why? Because, if you don’t have anything to ask, you might not seem enthusiastic or engaged. Yikes, right?

Wanting to know more is a sign that you’re really interested in the job. While you can certainly ask questions on the fly if something comes to mind as you progress through the interview, it doesn’t hurt to have a few in your back pocket. If you don’t know where to begin, here are five that can do the trick.

Putting It All Together

For many, working at Apple is the dream, one that starts by nailing the Apple interview questions. Take advantage of all of the information above, and your chances of achieving your goal could go up. Remember, you’re a great candidate. All you need to do is show it.

FREE : Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet!

Download our " Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet " that gives you word-for-word sample answers to some of the most common interview questions including:

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Design thinking, innovation, user experience and healthcare design

Design Thinking Case Study: Innovation at Apple

Apple is one of the leading companies that is renowned for its unique products and brand. A short talk with an Apple user reveals there is an emotional relation between consumers and Apple products , including every “i” product created in the past two decades.

Why are Apple products different from their competitors’ products? How does Apple manage to achieve innovation in its product families? Answering these questions provides interesting insight into Apple’s history and how it survived its most critical time between 1985 and 1997.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple after being fired, the company share was only worth US $5 and its future was uncertain. Today, in 2016, Apple’s share price is around US $108 and the company achieved revenues of US $233.7 billion in 2015 with net income of US $53.39 billion.  This mini case study sheds light on the role that design thinking and innovation played in helping Steve Jobs rescue Apple with his consumer-driven strategy and vision for the company.

The Hard Times at Apple

The early days of Apple (which was cofounded by Steve Jobs on 1976) are characterized by its first personal computer that was delivered with Apple OS. During this time, Apple was dominating the market because there were no other manufacturers of this type of computer as computers were used only by governments or large companies. However, in 1985, Steve Jobs was forced to leave the company. This marked the start of a chaotic era in the company’s strategy and product development.

In the period 1985-1997, Apple struggled to achieve market success, especially after Jobs’s departure and increasing competition from other giants such as IBM, which decided to enter the PC computers market. During this period, Apple faced number of challenges including:

Apple Newton PDA

Design Thinking to Fuel Innovation

Apple is one of the leading companies in the field of innovation and this couldn’t have happened without the company adopting design thinking . Design thinking is a solution-oriented process that is used to achieve innovation with considerations about the consumer at the heart of all development stages. Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO, defines design thinking as follows: “ Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. ”

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs

In previous design thinking articles, we explored the different models of design thinking including the IDEO model, model, and IBM design thinking  model. Most of these models share the target of achieving innovation through three main factors:

design thinking innovation

User Desirability . The product should satisfy the consumer’s needs by solving everyday problems through a user-centered process. This can be achieved through a deep understanding of the user and through an empathic design process, which can only be achieved by putting ourselves in the shoes of our consumers (using tools such as an empathic persona map ).

Market Viability . Successful products require an integrated marketing strategy that identifies the target segment and builds the product brand in accordance with this target segment. Tools such as the business model canvas can help our understanding of the project and create a business strategy for it. Also, tools such as the SWOT analysis allows us to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the specified product.

Technology Possibility . Technology provides state-of-art tools for designers to innovate and build products that meet today’s needs. Technology should be adopted through the development process, including the prototyping stage where a visual presentation of the product is made to the team.

Think Different!

After Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 (upon Apple’s acquisition NeXT), he started to apply the design thinking characteristics discussed above, which reflected his vision for Apple products. The vision discussed below was used to form Apple’s strategy from 1997 until today. Steve Jobs applied design thinking by focusing on:

The vision characterized above can be clearly identified in modern Apple products. Although other competitors focus on the features and product capabilities, Apple focuses on a holistic user experience.  For example, the iMac is renowned for being quiet, having a quick wake-up, better sound, and a high-quality display. This vision was formed in Apple’s development strategy that includes:

Apple iMac

Excellence in Execution

In this part, Steve tended to improve the execution process by closing 2 divisions, eliminating 70% of the new products and focusing on the higher potential products, reducing the product lines from 15 to just 3, and shutting facilities to move manufacturing outside the company. Apple also launched a website for direct sale of its products and started to take an interest in materials and how products are manufactured within a consumer-driven culture.

Platform Strategy

Apple streamlined their product portfolio to a family of products that can be produced  much more quickly while keeping the existing design elements. Also, the company targeted product that require less repair and maintenance.

Iterative Customer Involvement

The consumer experience should be integrated into the design and development stages through participating in usability testing. Also, the design for interfaces should focus on the user experience.

Beautiful Products

In addition to the function of the product, the form should beautiful, which can be achieved through continuous innovation and development. Apple also focused on the materials and manufacturing process and took a bold approach to trying new ideas rather than sticking with the ordinary design forms.

Apple’s history with innovation provides a clear lesson about how design and innovation can turn company failure to market success and a leading position in a competitive market. Design thinking helped Apple to innovate while placing their consumers at the heart of the process. The period that Steve Jobs was absent from Apple demonstrates that copying others and lacking a clear innovation strategy can lead companies directly from success to failure. On the other hand, innovation can definitely help build a successful business.

Dr Rafiq Elmansy

I'm a design academic, author and advisor. I taught for both undergraduate and postgraduate design programmes in three universities: Wrexham Glyndwr University, Northumbria University and The American University in Cairo. I contributed to building four design programmes. My experience includes design management, design thinking, interactive design, evidence-based design and design for healthcare. I'm the inventor of the Adherence Canvas, an evidence-based design tool to improve patient adherence to health tech. Additionally, I wrote several books on design and technology. I am the founder of I am a fellow and mentor for the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), an accredited lecturer from the British Charter Institute of IT (BSC), and an Adobe Education Leader. My industry experience involves 20 years in interactive design and multimedia design.

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Apple Case Study

Executive summary, introduction, measuring capability performance, options, recommendations and implementations, list of references.

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Since Apple was established in mid 1970s, its popularity has become immense especially in computer technology industry. Its full potential was realised when it shifted its focus from marketing and promotion of computer products to development of innovative industrial design in modern electronics, unique hardwares, operation system and application softwares and services. It provides customers with new products and solutions that are easy to use and seamless integration.

The relevant competitive models chosen for this assessment includes the Michael Porte’s five forces such as entry of competition, threats to substitutes, bargaining power, power of suppliers and rivalry, SWOT and Industrial analysis as well as micro analysis in order to assess Apple Inc. strategic capabilities and suggest future directions for the business. Apple assessment also analyses the results of a study presented to examine how it utilises customer satisfaction data obtained from formal feedback mechanism.

Company background

Apple was founded in 1970s by Steven Jobs who then became the company CEO. Apple first started as a computer company in 1976 and was fast recognised for its intuitive adaptation approach of graphical user interface that saw the adoption of the first mouse and first onscreen windows.

Steven Job innovative approach focused more on specialised products and by 2001, its full inventions came into play with the introduction of iPod, a product that ranked top in the market leader in music players. Eventually, iPhone came into play in 2008, followed by iMac, iPad and iTunes which have also been widely successful. This meant that electronic products combined with eminent good customer support throughout its product base were slowly becoming the company’s primary objectives.

Summary of Macro Analysis

Macro analysis also known as PESTLE is an analysis of the external macro environment in which a business operates. PESTEL analysis includes factors such as political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental issues. For a detailed analysis, the following table illustrates the macro environment of Apple Inc:

Apple Case Analysis

Apple ranged top in customer satisfaction with phone-based technical support, feedback, face-to-face communication, email communication, and information exchange in the American Consumer Satisfaction index (ASCI) in the second quarter of 2009. These companies were credited for offering the best technical customer satisfaction service within the Personal Computers category with a base score of 77 on a 100 point scale and earned 83 points in the second quarter of 2006.

Business analysts have argued that the companies’ ability to focus on product innovation and customer satisfaction has won the company loyal customers compared to other PC vendors. Quality of customer service is always the determining factor for success of any company and not its products, and the three companies for this case have gained tremendously from such strategy.

Van Amburg, the managing director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) argues that customers from other service providers were very frustrated with company’s customer service despite the quality of its PC hence loss of loyal customers and the services continued to deteriorate as years went by (Moore & Knight 2010; Keizer 2009).

In ensuring quality satisfaction in information collection, Apple launched Consumer Privacy Policy that ensured the collection, use and disclosure of personal information regarding customer issues are kept at optimum security. The company pledges to safeguard personal information collected when visiting the company’s website, purchase of products and services and when a customer calls the sales team or support associates.

Personal information collected here is aimed at helping the company deliver higher customer service and provide convenient access to company’s products and services. Information collected from customer’s reviews also helps the company implement and post the latest product announcement on special offers, software and events (Apple 2010; Levitan 2004; Prasaad 2009).

Summary of Industry Analysis

Porter’s analysis focuses on the threat of new entrants, bargaining power of suppliers and buyers, power of substitutes and rivals on profitability in an industry.

The following table presents Porter’s five forces analysis of the micro environment of Apple Inc.

The industry analysis of our company in the market displays strong competition in the computer technologies and electronics. Apple maintained its competitive edge by progressively innovating product designs and operational execution.

Its product lines were also diversified and supplied its products to retail stores and eliminated third-party retailers. The company also opened up to 247 stores including 19 internal locations averaging to $29.9 million in sales revenues. The company has numbers of loyal, & the customer base reports the permanent growth (Keizer 2009).

Suppliers have helped Apple diversify their products. Apple entered into a multi year agreement requiring its major key components that included dynamic random access memory DRAM, LCD displays, NAND flash memory and microprocessors that included partners such as Hynix Semi-conductor, Intel Corporation, Samsung, Micron Technology and Toshiba Corporation. It also partnered with other corporations internationally to ensure final assembly of its products are concentrated on quality issues (Keizer 2009).

On market research aspect, Apple was reported to collect personal information on various occasions for market research purposes. This information is aimed at gaining better understanding of customers needs, improve products and determine how best to provide useful information (Apple 2010; Hewlett-Packard Development Company 2010).

Apple partnered with other service vendors such as MobileMe and iTunes stores to help in collection of information by requiring customers to customer’s to create an “phone company ID” before purchase of products.

The ID is strategy is designed to help customers have easier access to web services and saves them time since they don’t have to give their personal information when requesting for services. The procedure requires creation of personal profiles by adding the name, phone number, email address or credit card number together with a suitable password that will be used to access the profile.

Once the signing up procedure is completed, the customer is allocated personal ID and a password that the system generates automatically. Therefore next time the customer enters the website to re-purchases products is welcomed by personal greetings by mentioning his name and is able to access up to date information regarding the product purchased which can be used wherever the client goes (Apple 2010).

In order to survive in the competitive environment, company’s have to device a number strategies to beat their competitors like changing the price of the product-which is in fact a temporary solution, improving product features- key to success, creatively using channels of distribution and exploiting relationship with suppliers. When we look at these examples, brand recognition seemed to cut down costs of advertisements.

On this perspective, Apple diversified to digital consumer electronics such as iPod, iPhone, iMac among others widened its product markets. Apple dominated computer markets introducing itself a premier provider of technology solutions for educators, web designers and graphic artists, to digital entrainment company. The software iPod was later integrated into windows version of iTunes making it easier for everyone one to purchase and use (Keizer 2009).

Apple introduction of feedback system and outreach programs enabled customers to report on defective machines and the company to attend to problems before they occur. For example, one of the Company’s products “iMac” was widely reported for to be giving clients problems and the company responded by giving 15% refund bonuses to all faulty 27 inch iMac in the UK and was also reported to extend $300 apologies to all its aggrieved customers in the US.

In resolving the issue, the company responded quickly by offering free repairs to all the affected machines and launched a support page where it described how minor problems could be resolved and the resulting warranty extension for each affected machine. The company also reimbursed customers who used their own money to repair the faulty machines and advised them take their drives to official Apple repair channels (Moore & Knight 2010; O’Reilly & Anderson 1980).

On bargaining power of suppliers’ aspect, Apple’s primary segments included America, Europe, Africa, Japan and Middle East and other retail divisions Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom. It offered its customers wide range of products and invested heavily on R&D year after year. Apple’s products were distributed all over US retail stores where customers could easily access and report of defective devices (Mank & Nystrom 2000, p.504).

Summary of Internal Analysis

Internal Analysis also known as SWOT analysis determines company’s competitors and develops sales & marketing strategies for the company that allow it to achieve its marketing & strategic objectives.

The SWOT Analysis of the Apple Inc. position in the market is necessary for the development of the marketing plan.

Resources Analysis

Amidst the financial crisis, Apple continued to introduce strongest products lines, with most talented employees and best customers with sales revenue totalling to $10 billion in quarterly revenue of 2009 and $25 billion in cash safety bank with zero debt. Demographic & socio-economical factors like population distribution changes & increase/decrease in income levels of social group also affected the company to a considerable extent (Apple reports 2008; Hesseldahl 2009).

Dynamic Capability Analysis

Dynamic analysis refers to the innovative strategies a firm employs to gain competitive advantage over its competitors. In other words, what Apple is doing different that sets it apart from other companies. For instance, the company has progressively applied technological advancement and business diversification over the years.

Apple continues to diversify its product line from PCs inventions, to iPods, iPhones, iTunes and other peripherals. Also, the 2007 smart phone technology that saw the integration of wireless phone, music player, video player as well as internet browsing demonstrated how the company continues to diversify in our markets (Apple reports 2008).

Strategic Capability Analysis

Apple’s strategy to integrate Intel-based iMac desktop and the MacBook Pro portable softwares increased its company’s market share. Also, the introduction of feedback system and outreach programs that enabled customers to report on defective machines seemed to have gained the company a competitive edge over its competitors. The company also introduced support centre strategically designed to attend to software problems before they occur (Apple reports 2008).

Apple’s recent merger with software developers and leading voice-entry technology providers demonstrated its strong command and reputation in information technology. However, Apple should take adequate time in testing its products before rushing to introduce them to the markets like case for MacBook Air that left many customers disappointed (Apple reports 2008).

Gap analysis and assessment of current strategy

Gap analysis is a methodology that helps a company identify gaps and decide upon marketing strategies and tactics. The company has moved beyond personal computer industry to music, videos, movies, and television. Diversification is in it itself a good marketing strategy, but the company should concentrate on development of quality products to cut down on increased numbers of defective products and recalls.

Apples hiring John Sculley from PepsiCo spearheaded marketing and operations of the company while Steven Job focused on technology that lead to the introduction of more creative products like Macintosh in 1984. The new CEO enabled breakthrough in electronic products in terms of elegant design and easy use. The company should employ the same strategy in future to in employing competent workforce that will turn boost company sales revenues.

How does strategy match the macro environment?

For Apple, there is a large gap between product strategy and socio-economic and demographic changes. Keeping in pace with technology helped the company gain competitive advantage over its competitors and the uniqueness of goods and services offered facilitated the further strengthening of market position. However, its inability to adjust to socio-economic and demographic changes might undermine its market position in future.

How does strategy match the industry environment?

Apple engaged in a head to head competition with Dell in the computer markets with company CEO Steve Jobs claiming that market shares weren’t everything. This statement is in itself contradictory since company’s engage in business activities for profits. Dell was able to dominate the markets due to its efficient supply chain management although Apple outperformed it in inventions and other metrics. Apple should look into fixing sufficient price flexibility and adjustment to socio-economic changes.

Since compatible software were introduced in the markets, IBM prices dropped and Apples costs for R&D were higher industry costs since the company spend a considerable amount of its sales revenue on R&D. Scully innovative efforts were not enough to sustain the company’s poor performance. Apple could have taken time to study its markets demands before heavily investing in unprofitable deals. Since Michael Spindler came into play in 1993 introducing PowerMac, Apple moved to price-performance edge.

The new CEO’s strategy was to let other companies manufacture Mac clones, a strategy that saw many clones stealing 20% of the Macintosh unit sales. For this case, Apple should be seeking a CEO that upholds their key capabilities and strengths, whilst being able to improve in other areas that are deficient (Mank & Nystrom 2000, p.501).

Apple’s current strategy of launching more new products to expand the markets should be sustained. However, the company should also try to promote its products through media advertising and offering products at discounted price to increase the satisfaction level of the customers. Apple never seemed to experience intense competition since it had strong market power and had the ability to introduce new products.

Its strategies to beat the markets severely stretched its budgets that amounted to further losses. For example, when Macintosh was first introduced in the markets quickly became people’s favourite with large graphics but had slow performance and could not be integrated with many softwares in the markets. NeXT Computer introduced after Macintosh proved costly and did not yield the company any profits. For this case, Apple should incorporate through market analysis to avoid sipping in market shares.

Apple., 2010, ‘ Apple Customer Privacy Policy ’. Web.

Apple reports fourth quarter results, 2008. Quarterly results. Web.

Hesseldahl, A., 2009. Apple’s impressive quarterly numbers . BusinessWeek. Web.

Hewlett-Packard Development Company, 2010. Overcoming the no. 1 challenge in data center transformation . Web.

Keizer, G., 2009. Apple still can strive, sans Job. Computer World, 56 (2), pp.1-4.

Levitan, B., 2004. Improving customer loyalty through proactive communication. Consumer Interaction Solution . Web.

Mank, D. & Nystrom, H., 2000. The relationship between R&D spending and shareholder returns in the computer industry. Management of Society Proceeding , 20, pp.501-504.

Moore, C. & Knight, D., 2010. Apple Retains Lead in Customer Satisfaction, iMac Screen Problem Resolved, 64 GB for Mac Pro and More . Web.

O’Reilly, C. & Anderson, J., 1980. Trust and the Communication of Performance Appraisal Information: The Effect of Feedback on Performance and Satisfaction. Human Communication Research , 6, pp.290-298.

Prasaad, S., 2009. Establishing successful customer relationships through effective communication: An Indian perspective. Marketing and Management Communication , 64, pp.1-71.

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Apple Inc. in 2020

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    Today, in 2016, Apple's share price is around US $108 and the company achieved revenues of US $233.7 billion in 2015 with net income of US $53.39 billion. This mini case study sheds light on the role that design thinking and innovation played in helping Steve Jobs rescue Apple with his consumer-driven strategy and vision for the company.

  14. Apple Case Study

    Apple assessment also analyses the results of a study presented to examine how it utilises customer satisfaction data obtained from formal feedback mechanism. Introduction Company background Apple was founded in 1970s by Steven Jobs who then became the company CEO.

  15. Apple Inc. in 2020

    Abstract. After a decade as CEO, Tim Cook is facing one of his biggest strategic transitions of his tenure. While Apple had performed spectacularly well under Cook, Apple's core business was maturing. Sales of iPhones, iPads, and Macs were flat or down. However, Apple's new hardware—Apple Watch and Airpods—as well as services were growing ...

  16. Case Study of Apple's Global Supply Chain

    Apple is a multinational corporation that produces complex consumer products. This piece of writing will study, one of Apples most popular products the iPhone. The Supply-Chain Council defined a supply chain as "the effort involved in producing and delivering a final product from the supplier's supplier to the customers customer" (Kranz 1996).

  17. Case Study 1

    Recorded with

  18. Apple Interview Questions & Answers

    Commonly asked questions, as reported by candidates. During my first interview which was over the phone, it lasted for 13mins and they asked very basic questions. I had a sheet in front of me prepared to give creative and detailed answers to questions I…. Shared on February 5, 2020. Tell me a time when someone else failed and you succeeded.

  19. Consulting Case Interview Prep 4+

    ‎Consulting case interview prep is now on your mobile device. CaseBase features 50+ detailed case pages, automated answer checking, step-by-step explanations, and color graphics. All for fraction of the cost of other consulting guides, and available anywhere you have your phone (full offline function…

  20. Consulting Case Interview Prep 4+

    iPad. iPhone. Consulting case interview prep is now on your mobile device. CaseBase features 50+ detailed case pages, automated answer checking, step-by-step explanations, and color graphics. All for fraction of the cost of other consulting guides, and available anywhere you have your phone (full offline functionality).

  21. 8 Case Study Interview Tips (With Sample Questions)

    Choose the solution that you think works best and demonstrate your analysis of the entire case study. Be open to discussing alternative solutions with your interviewers and understand their points of view. 7. Practise ahead of the interview. Practise presenting to your friends or mentors in a similar industry.