How to Get Help with Your Mac from an Apple Store Genius

By Edward C. Baig

One of the features of the Apple Store is the Genius Bar, where Apple’s in-store experts can answer questions about your Mac and, if need be, install memory and handle repairs (for a fee). These (mostly) young men and women are quite knowledgeable about the subjects you’re likely to hit them with. Judging by blog posts, however, not all of them are ready for Mensa.

Making a reservation

Meeting with an Apple-branded Genius requires an appointment. Go to the Apple Store, click Genius Bar, click Make a Genius Bar Reservation, and choose the Apple Store near you (if one exists). When you make the reservation, you can choose Genius Bar or Workshops. (Choose Genius Bar and then choose Mac as the product requiring help; you could have otherwise chosen iPod, iPhone, or iPad.)

Available appointments are shown in 15-minute intervals; stake a claim on the next opening. Sign in with your Apple ID, or list your first and last names, e-mail, and (if you’re cool with providing it) your phone number.

If you’re already in an Apple Store that isn’t crowded, make a reservation on the spot, using one of the Macs in the store.

If you choose Workshops instead, you can sign up for a general workshop on, say, iMovie, or attend a class that gives you an overview on the machine. Such workshops are an hour long and free. Apple also offers free workshops for kids 6 to 13. (Never mind that the youngsters often know more about computers than their parents do.) If you need more personalized hands-on help, kindly read on.

One to One Training

A $99-a-year service called One to One Training provides face-to-face tutorials on a variety of topics, from moviemaking to digital photography. Training sessions are at your local Apple Store; you can make a reservation online.

In fact, when you sign up for One to One Training, Apple gives you your own web page to make that reservation, and adds tips and tricks and sample projects. The service is available for purchase only at the time you buy your Mac from the Apple Store (retail or online).

Other handholding

Also, don’t forget to take a look at the support options at Apple.com. Click your product type (Mac, Accessories, and so on), click the product area you need help with (such as an unexpected shutdown or restart), and let Apple know how you want to receive help.

You can supply your phone number and have an Apple rep call you; the website will tell you how long the wait time is before you can expect a callback. You can also schedule a call. Or you can provide your contact information and call Apple support later. Apple will ask for the serial number of your product, presumably to make sure that you’re eligible for coverage.