Don't Wait For A Genius: Quick Drop Your Mac And Go

With Quick Drop, we’ll never again wait in line for a Genius.

We love Apple, but fixing a broken computer can be a pain. Too much planning, too much waiting, and none of the instant gratification we love. Now, thanks to a tip from a disgruntled genius, the next time our Mac fails, we’ll know to use Quick Drop:

Basically, it goes like this: you go into an store with your broken computer, only to be told you (a) need an appointment, (b) the next one isn’t for 4 hours, and (c) you can schedule one from home tomorrow morning and come back then. As long as you keep saying no, they’ll eventually run out of things to say, and invoke the mystical Quick Drop.

There’s a form that you fill out, and leave your computer with them. Within 24-48 hours, you should get a call from a Genius who’s diagnosed the issue with your machine, and who gives you a quote.

Read the full letter inside…

Greetings Consumerist!

Many of us who have had to deal with it know how broken Apple’s Genius Bar is. Soon, its about to get more broken, and you won’t be able to make an appointment in-store, only from home.

So then, if your computer’s broken, you’re hosed.

But not so fast! Not too long ago, they started an internal process called “Quick Drop.” Basically, it goes like this: you go into a store with your broken computer, only to be told you (a) need an appointment, (b) the next one isn’t for 4 hours, and (c) you can schedule one from home tomorrow morning and come back then. As long as you keep saying no, they’ll eventually run out of things to say, and invoke the mystical Quick Drop.

There’s a form that you fill out, and leave your computer with them. Within 24-48 hours, you should get a call from a Genius who’s diagnosed the issue with your machine, and who gives you a quote.

One thing to beware of, though. If the computer is out of warranty, or has physical damage, and you decline the repair when they call you, you’re still on the hook for $100 labor.

Just thought you’d like to know…

A disgruntled Genius.

Quick Drop only works if you have AppleCare or your computer is less than one year old. If not, you’ll have to pay $100 or wait in line with the rest of us. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER


Edit Your Comment

  1. one minor clarification… if your computer or iPod is under a year old, its still in warranty, and there’d be no charge. However, if its outside a year, or has accidental damage, then the fee kicks in.

  2. VA_White says:

    I didn’t do a quick drop but I did get the Apple Store to schedule me a Genius bar appointment for the next day even though you’re not supposed to be able to schedule them in advance.

    I needed a new duckhead for my laptop charger; the Apple Store was out of stock. Apple Chick said the Genius Bar had one in their stock but she couldn’t sell it to me. She said I needed to make an appointment. That’s impossible to do because even if you are waiting online at 7:59 am, all the appointments for the day disappear instantly.

    We go back and forth and I point out that the Apple Store is, with traffic, over an hour from my house, their part failed, their appointment system is unusable, so why should *I* pay the price in gas and time and the all-important ass-ache factor for it?

    We end up compromising. She still won’t give me the duckhead from the Genius Bar but she does make me an appointment for the next day at a time convenient to me. I come back the next day, trade out my duckhead, angels sing.

    My other advice is get the AppleCare plan and consider it part of the cost of your machine.

  3. kerry says:

    To add to what ars said, if you have an Apple Care protection plan for your computer repairs are free for 3 years, if you have one for an iPod repairs are free for 2 years. Repairs for Apple Care-covered products that are damaged by fault of the owner are not entirely cut-and-dried and somewhat up to the Genius. A friend of mine stuck his PowerBook charger in the wrong kind of outlet on an airplane and the whole side blew up. He had the Apple Care and they repaired it for free.

  4. emax4 says:

    If you’re willing to gamble between a shorter or longer wait you could always join an Apple forum and post your problem and see how quickly you’ll get a reply too.

  5. VA_White says:

    emax4 said:
    If you’re willing to gamble between a shorter or longer wait you could always join an Apple forum and post your problem and see how quickly you’ll get a reply too.

    This works really well for technical problems but when you need a replacement part under your Apple Care or warranty, you have to suck it up and hit the genius bar or take your chances with either shipping your machine to them or using an authorized service center.

  6. AcidReign says:

    …..That’s why I hate laptops and even towers with lots of built-in stuff. I want to be able to open it, pop out a bad card or drive, and stick a new one in. It’s like the manufacturer thinks a minimum-wage dropout tech is better for their bottom-line than letting a 30-year veteran of computing open the case.

    …..Oh, my bad. They’re probably right. You spend $30 or more on the diagnosis, and they tell you it’s going to cost $500 to fix, you’ll probably buy a new one!

  7. zenmoused says:

    This is flat-out wrong. Sorry, I used to work for an Apple store, and we would flat-out turn people away if they didn’t have an appointment. What makes you so special that you can butt in front of other people who have made appointments and waited patiently for (usually free) help?

  8. mefirst says:

    You are what’s wrong with America.

    This “me-first, I deserve better than the hoi-poilloi” attitude is sickening. What makes you think your computer is more important to be fixed than the other 20 in queue? Do you imagine there is someone twiddling their thumbs in the back waiting to do the paperwork for your computer? The paperwork is the main component of the 20 minute appointment. Parts don’t order themselves.

    If you do this, the person in the back that is working through a queue of repairs and shipments for repair (for which the stores are judged with metrics, like a McDonald’s drive-through) must stop what they are doing, figure out why there is a random computer with a piece of paper with statements of questionable veracity about its faults, enter the information, explore your support history, order parts, label the repair, etc.

    Whichever computer is there from someone who waited in line properly for his appointment is thus fixed slower. Or, if there are too many repairs, the genius that just spent several hours taking on appointments will cut into his one hour lunch break to get your computer into the system.

    I’m sure you’re the same person that assumes they can cut in line elsewhere, too.

    Don’t buy Apple or buy ProCare if you are not happy with the speed of service offered. Apple is the one deciding that you must wait for an appointment. They have cut down on the number and quality of people they employ (vis-a-vis salary level) at the store in order for this to happen. The early days of the genius bar, pre-Concierge, was a more fluid take a number type service, but they didn’t want to employ this level of service any more–instead the system was modeled to give you a much more efficent (on paper) service with strict time increments for the customer and the employee .

    Apple offers ProCare, which you can pay for if you expect this kind service–but, if you expect to be treated better than everyone else, you better expect to pay $99 for the privelege.

    Voting which your pocketbook or telling corporate is the only way to make a change here–doing this is just an asshole way to fuck over someone who barely has time for a bathroom break, much less spending the 15-25 minutes necessary to work around your impatience.

    In short, it’s rude and inconsiderate.

  9. mefirst says:


    Why didn’t she sell that duckhead to you?

    Think about that question for a good long while.

    Was it because she didn’t want to?

    Was it because she wasn’t allowed to?

    Was it because the paperwork for that transaction takes ~10+ minutes, of which she already has 3 20 minute appointments for the next hour, for which less selfish people took the effort to schedule in advance the appointments for, and which your impatience would make those who scheduled wait?

    Ding ding ding.

  10. FLConsumer says:

    Gee.. I just avoid this whole mess with Dell’s corporate service. I pick up the phone, talk with a real live Texan (no phone tree, no offshore support). If he can’t fix it remotely or reasonably over the phone, they send a real, live person to my workplace/home/hotel the next day (sometimes the same day) with all parts & tools in-hand, ready to rebuilt the whole machine if necessary. No waiting, not even a wait on the phone. Oh yeah, and I don’t have to pay 30-40% more for my computer because it doesn’t have an “i” in front of it’s name or a half-eaten fruit on the cover…and it’ll still run MacOS if desired.

  11. willer says:


    Last I checked (I was doing price comparisons), a MBP compared at $200, or 6%, more than an equivalent Dell. It’s also 50% less thickness and about 40% less weight. MacBook Pro’s are Intel now, so you can compare directly.


    I wouldn’t think that I’m more important than th other people waiting for service. It is, however, a waste of my time that I have to go in person to make an appointment for hours later. I should be able to call.

  12. facted says:

    My friend had to send her powerbook off to Apple. It took her 6 weeks to get it back. That’s just a little ridiculous.

    My gf, on the other hand, sent her dell off to be fixed and shipped it on Monday and received it back on Wed. Now that’s pretty fast service…Granted, it only involved tightening a screw on the monitor, but Dell’s customer service is eons beyond Apple’s at the moment.

  13. bademailname says:

    Whether you are under warranty or not, you can also go to any CompUSA that has a certified Apple Tech. 99% of them do, and they actually have to take more certs since they’re not “in-house” techs. Interesting, neh?

    Of course, this is all covered under Apple Care. You may also repair an out-of-warranty Mac, for the cost of parts and labor (labor is usually a $100 flat fee).

  14. BlogWatch says:

    so because of one experience, Dell’s customer service is “eons beyond Apple’s”?

    My MacBook battery wouldn’t charge, so I made an appt. to see an Apple Genius the same day. Brought it in, he did a couple checks, then called to the back for a new replacement battery. I was in and out in 10 minutes. But of course, YMMV.

  15. macbigot says:

    Frick’n whiney liberals.

    When people like you cut in line at the theatre, shopping mall, and amusement park, I point you out to my children so they know not to be like you, or marry one of you when they grow up.

    I’m with facted, above: if you don’t like your experience as a Mac owner, maybe you’d be happier with a nice fresh copy of Vista.

    P.S.: the three times I’ve had to mail Apple laptops in for AppleCare-covered service (I work for a company that supports 350+ Dell laptops on-site, but has no certified Apple technicians) we’ve waited less than a week each. And Apple overnighted us the box, shipping label, and packing materials in advance.

  16. terrymc says:

    You guys act like the only way to get a Mac repaired it to go to an Apple Store. If you go to Apple’s service provider website and it’s very likely you will find an Apple Authorized Service Provider near you.

    Terry McAdams
    MacTech Solutions
    Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider
    Wichita Falls, TX

  17. suckonthat says:

    @mefirst (and macbigot for that matter)
    I am not a line cutter ever. I consistently let people go before me even if I was first if I am not in a hurry.

    However, this quick drop thing would have been fantastic for me had I known about it a month ago. I knew I needed my screen replaced on a few-month-old macbook pro (there were stripes of missing color). I am not a computer expert, but I had done a few diagonistics, like hooking up an external monitor. All I wanted them to do was fix/replace the screen. Brought it in and after asking if I could just drop it off, got “we are booked for the entire day make an appointment online for tomorrow.” I didn’t have time the next day so that Thursday my father took it in. “Sorry there are no appointments today and getting a reservation for tomorrow or this weekend is pretty much impossible. You’ll have to wait until Monday.” Thank god he has a flexible schedule and could see a Genius during the day Monday. The Genius did exactly what I did, hook it up to another monitor, to declare exactly what I had been asking for – a monitor replacement.

    Yes, I realized it’s hard to take people at their word because so many people don’t know what they are talking about, but christ let me just drop off my damned computer. That way everyone is happy; the girl who can’t figure out how to use her ipod can get attention from the genius and I can fill out a form from a salesmen and someone can do the repair (because the Genius on the floor aren’t doing the actual repairs).

    Long story short, calm the hell down.

  18. Legodude522 says:

    Apple sucks. Those lying scamming bastards. Yeah, they screwed me, but the consumerist didn’t let me forget it. So I called them on a once a week basis for 2 months. Then I went to once a day and after the first week, I got through and got a refund.

    Still can never forgive them.

  19. Silly says:

    To macbigot and mefirst,

    Grow up and stop with the insults.

    This is not about cutting in line its about dropping off your computer because you don’t have time to sit with an Apple Tech. Apple needs a drop off system as well as their in-person system.

    When you drop off your Mac it goes in the queue just like everyone else. In fact it takes a few extra days before they get to it. But the advantage is for people who can’t stand around for 45 minutes at the Apple store waiting for in-person service (I have used this service several times and it always takes at least 45 minutes even with an appointment).

    When was the last time you stood around your car dealer for them to tell you what was wrong with your car? You don’t. You drop off your car and they phone you back 4 hours later or even the next day with your diagnosis.

    So please stop with your whining and insults and see this for what this is…a drop off service that should be implemented for all anyways.


  20. r3m0t says:

    Legodude322: Thank you so much for explaining what was actually wrong with their treatment of you. Now I know not to buy a Macbook Pro. (end sarcasm…)

  21. mefirst says:

    Silly and Suckonthat–

    You’re ignoring the reality of the situation and sustaining on your imagined version of what actually happens.

    The Genius Bar is not set up as a drop off service, it is set up as a service involving 20 minute appointments for any action on the Genius’s part. How you want it to be is not how it is. If you want coffee and croissants and stop by when you want service, you’re going to be paying a lot more than $1100 for a MacBook.

    The mere fact of it is–there is one queue for computers at an Apple Store. Someone who waits 5 days for an appointment and then comes in to explain their problem is placed in the same line with the person who assumes they can come 5 days earlier to cut in the line by dropping off their computer.

    If you have facts to back up your assumptions of the workflow at the Genius Bar, please contribute them. I’ve already done so quite thorougly. While bemoaning poor service, your impatience puts those who are willing to take a lower paying job with a higher skillset by working at the Genius Bar not want to work there.

    from suckonthat:
    ” All I wanted them to do was fix/replace the screen.”

    You WANT something. Do you think the other people waiting in line do not WANT to get their computer fixed? How is your fix any more important because “you’ve done some troubleshooting”? I have already written a pretty detailed summary of how this disrupts the workflow that Apple has designed for their employees.

    “But the advantage is for people who can’t stand around for 45 minutes at the Apple store waiting for in-person service “

    Yes, it is an advantage. You’re exactly right. So is not waiting behind 50 people to buy a movie ticket and stepping in front of them. Just because no one can see you be an asshole doesn’t not make you one.

    Answer me this–both of you–how would the bar function if everyone thought the way you did? As I’ve pointed out, Apple employs NO ONE to make up for your impatience. Your impatience is set on the shoulders of those trying to help the customers who waited in the queue for an appointment. If you can argue your way out of that basic fact without blaming Apple (especially considering there is a program in place, ProCare, which you pay for in order to cut in line), then you’re delusional.

    Again, as I mentioned originally–I’m not saying the system Apple has created is not flawed. I quit working at Apple because of it, because luckily I had the skillset to do so. But your solution is to fuck over those who are in the trenches–not the ones making the decisions. Write a letter to Apple or don’t buy Apple, don’t try to find a noble reason in your selfishness.

    When it comes down to it, the Genius team is judged at their job by the speed at which things occur. You slow this process down, making the employees look bad due to the fact you can’t wait for an appointment with the other customers you consider yourself somehow more important than. By your inability to deal with the very simple process Apple has set up to interact with the Genius Bar, you make someone’s life difficult–a person’s life which you don’t probably care much for, because you’ll never meet or see them.

  22. brettschulte says:

    Ran into this today. Sent my assistant to an Apple Store to get a Macbook repaired. I diagnosed it, clearly a hardware issue. I told him to just wait for a “stand-by” appointment as I was directed to do by my Apple Business Sales rep. The stupid Apple Concierge said they weren’t taking “stand-by” appointments. I told my assistant to let me talk to the guy so he’d know the Business Sales Team send me but the Concierge replied he wasn’t allowed to talk on cell phones. Ended up going with a “quick drop”.

    To what everyone else is saying, an “appointment” is really for people with issues that might be resolved by the “Genius”, or for people who don’t know what the exact issues is or if it’s covered. For hardware issues that are obvious and under warranty, it’s really a waste of time to have them confirm what you already know. That’s WHY Apple has the “Quick Drop”.