Apple Interview Questions

The Most Common Apple Interview Questions (with Answers)

The most effective way to prepare for an Apple interview is to practice real Apple interview questions. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cheatsheet for your Apple interview, so you know the answer to questions before they’re asked? Luckily, this cheat sheet exists–Apple published it themselves. Apple outlines common interview questions, the values they’re looking for, and the interview process on their own site. Apple employees and candidates have shared real Apple interview questions and the Apple interview process all over the internet on sites like Glassdoor and LeetCode. But how do you know which questions will actually be asked? We’ve compiled the most common Apple interview questions and answers so you can go into your interview with confidence. 

Types of Apple Interview questions

How Not to Answer Apple Interview Questions

One of the worst mistakes candidates make is just casually scanning Apple interview questions online before their interview. They study questions carefully, but don’t prepare answers–they plan to “wing” their answers. But Apple interviewers certainly don’t have such a casual attitude. They’ll carefully note your responses and meticulously review what you shared. 

While you shouldn’t memorize interview responses word-for-word, you should have a pitch prepared along with common interview responses. As a global supply manager at Apple and a menntor at Pathrise, Fready Mills emphasizes coming to behavioral interviews prepared with examples from your previous experience. “Preparing rough answers beforehand will help you communicate confidently.” Apple excess like Fready Mills at Pathrise landed jobs by acing Apple interview questions, demonstrating their soft skills, technical skills, and cultural alignment with Apple.

If you’re preparing for an Apple interview, don’t just read the questions in this article. Actually write your own response (or modify our example answers), then practice the answers aloud with a friend or in the mirror. You will absolutely be asked some of the Apple interview questions in this guide.

Common Apple Interview Questions from their own website

To help candidates prepare, Apple lists interview questions on their own site. Apple wants candidates to arrive prepared and communicate their experiences as effectively as possible. After all, hiring managers want to hire the best candidate possible–not the candidate who just happens to excel at interviews. To level the playing field, Apple shares common questions to prepare.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with a team to accomplish a goal?
  • Give me an example of when you worked under pressure to meet a deadline?
  • What areas do you think you need to develop further?
  • Explain what you do day-to-day in your latest role, and how it relates to the requirements laid out in the job description — how your skills and experience make you a qualified and competitive candidate.
  • Discuss specific examples from your work experience — important projects, challenges you’ve learned from, and so on.

However, not all of Apple’s interview advice is necessarily in your best interest. For example, Apple says “The hiring team wants to get to know the real you, so don’t worry about saying what you think they want you to say”. That’s not technically wrong. The hiring team does want to get to know the real you. That doesn’t mean they want to hire the real you. Apple is seeking the candidate who best communicates their skills, experience, and cultural fit. While you should never try to alter your personality or pretend to be someone you’re not, you should practice proper interview etiquette. When you prepare an answer to Apple’s “tell me about yourself” questions, highlight skills and experience that fit the job listing. You should also communicate experiences that demonstrate Apple’s values. Of course you can share the “real you”, such as your unique personality and hobbies, when asked. But the “real you” who is interviewing onsite at Apple’s highly exclusive campuses should not be the “real you” chatting with your friends.

These types of questions will come up in almost any interview you will ever have or have had. Understanding these questions and the STAR interview technique (situation, task, action, result) will be the most critical step to succeeding in any interview. But since these questions are so common, we won’t analyze them in-depth here. Check out our full guides on answering “tell me about yourself” questions and “what areas do you need to develop further” questions–these simple questions come up in almost every interview. Instead, we want to focus on technical and behavioral interview questions specific to Apple.

Star method

Behavioral Apple Interview Questions

Apple’s top 3 questions are behavioral interview questions specific to Apple as a company. These questions are designed to assess how you think and relate to Apple. While these questions don’t necessarily require you to know anything about Apple, sharing Apple-specific information will certainly help you prove your genuine interest and culture fit.

1. What is your favorite Apple product and why?

This is your chance to thoughtfully show your familiarity with Apple while also demonstrating your thinking skills. You can take the question in many directions. Some candidates might choose a highly successful Apple product, then share the specific features Apple designed to make the product successful. Others might be more straightforward, sharing the devices they use most often and why they find them useful to their work. While both these approaches are effective, they can be combined:

Our answer:

“My favorite Apple product has to be the Macbook Pro. While I can find more powerful devices, the Macbook is by far the most accessible and easy-to-carry on the market. Its intuitive UX shows off the simple “zen” accessible vision Jobs had for the company. The Macbook Pro’s instant navigation also helps me prevent technical difficulties when presenting to key shareholders and working cross-functionally with less technical teams.”

The most common way to fail this question is to thoughtlessly list a device name and move on. While a casual one-word answer won’t necessarily work against you, it wastes an opportunity to showcase your culture fit and passion for Apple.

2. Why do you want to work for Apple?

This is your chance to demonstrate cultural alignment with Apple and show you’ve done your research. While you obviously shouldn’t lie, prepare a thoughtful answer that’s connected to Apple’s stated values, mission, and history. 

Based on our data, the most effective way to answer is to explain why you’re a good candidate and how you connect to the company mission, values, products, and goals. Check out our full guide to answering “Why do you want to work here” questions because they’ll come up in almost every interview. However, your answer should depend on the company.

Our answer: 

“That’s a great question. I want to work at Apple because I feel that our goals align. I have always been passionate about accessible yet intuitive products that anyone can understand, just like how Apple’s mission is to bring the best user experience to customers.

In my past role as a product manager at Etsy, I worked to build streamlined back-end functionality for creators to easily upload their products, interact with customers, and sell their creations more easily. The intuitive updates and accessible products I managed increased creator NPS by 60% and led to a 45% increase in creator retention.

With my experience working with Etsy creators and my perspective as a frequent small business shopper, I know I can provide valuable input to the team so that Apple can continue to offer the best products with the most intuitive UX and designs. In addition, I know that as a company Apple values accessibility and simplicity, which are extremely important to me in my future role. I am looking to join a mission-driven technology company with first principles with a focus on tech that’s tailored to the end-user.”

3. When it comes to app listings on the App Store, Apple has a reputation for being picky. Is this a competitive advantage or disadvantage for you, and why?

These types of Apple-specific behavioral questions are designed to assess your critical thinking skill and communications. 

However,  Apple-specific interview questions also serve a second purpose: assess your cultural fit and understanding of Apple as a company. These questions don’t mention Apple for no reason. Like the last two questions, the best strategy to answer will be researching Apple beforehand. Understand Apple’s mission, values, and history. While not essential to answering these sorts of behavioral questions, an answer informed by Apple’s values will help you stand out. 

Our answer:

“To me, this is absolutely an advantage. By maintaining a high standard for Apps, Apple ensures that users only engage with accessible apps that enrich their lives, maintaining Apple’s vision. High quality Apps keep Apple’s reputation high. Being picky about Apps also helps prevent potential viruses and malware, solidifying Apple’s reputation for safe devices.”

You can use the same STAR method to answer these other common Apple interview questions:

  • What is your proudest accomplishment?
  • Tell me about your greatest failure and what you learned from it.
  • Describe a time that you went above and beyond for a customer.
  • Have you ever disagreed with one of your supervisors? How did you handle the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision based on a lot of ambiguity.
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you recover?
  • How would you deal with an angry customer?
  • How would you fulfill an unexpected or unrealistic expectation of a customer?
  • Tell us about when you were given some task, and you had no clue how to do it; how did you learn it quickly?

Brain teaser Apple Interview Questions and Riddles

Apple is notorious for asking brain teaser questions and riddles, no matter the role.

1. Why is a manhole cover round?

This open-ended type of brain teaser questions are designed to assess your critical thinking skills under pressure. While there are “right answers” (being round makes the manhole cover easier to move, prevents injury, prevents the manhole cover from falling into the hole etc), the interviewer just wants to hear you think critically aloud. Any thoughtful and well-communicated answer will work, even if it’s not the precise right engineering answer.

Our answer:

“A manhole cover is round because a round manhole cover cannot fall through its round opening. If a manhole cover was square, it could fall through the hole diagonally. The jagged corner edges of a square manhole cover could also be dangerous. A round manhole cover can also be rolled like a wheel, making it easier to transport, especially since manhole covers can be heavy.”

2. If you are in a river, in a boat with a boulder, and the boulder falls into the river, how does the water level of the river change?

This type of straightforward (albeit difficult) riddle, often involving numbers or directions, are designed to assess your critical thinking skills and communication. They usually have one right answer. However, if you give the wrong answer but have a thorough explanation with logical reasoning, you could still get a positive review by the interviewer. But there isn’t as much of a need to draw on external information like world events.

Our answer:

“This is a tricky one… But I think the water level would go down. At first glance, you might think nothing changes because the rock and the boat are both floating on the water… but it’s more complicated than that. When the rock is in the boat, it’s weighing the boat down, displacing its total weight. It makes the boat heavier, which might displace water. But when the rock falls to the bottom of the river, it displaces only its volume. That would mean the water level would go down.”

3. How many children are born daily? 

Like the previous questions, this type of logic questions is designed to assess your critical thinking skills and communication. However, estimation questions in particular ask you to draw on your knowledge of other facts (like the global population, birth rates, hospitals, etc) to help answer the question. These questions also assess how well you can quickly make numerical estimations and generalizations, which are very common on the job.

Our answer: “That’s an interesting question. Well, there are about eight billion people on Earth. And they live to about 70. If we divide 8 billion by 70, we’d find how many people fall into each age (ie how many 1 year olds). 114,285,714 to be exact, so about 115 million 1 year olds. Divide that by 365, we get about… 300,000. Or 313,111 to be exact.

However, this calculation assumes an even population distribution by age, which isn’t accurate. It also assumes a stable 2 birth rate. But birth rates vary tremendously by location and year. I think I saw in the news that South Korea had a birth rate as low as 0.68, while other countries are as high as 6.7. I would guess there are more young people than 70 year olds in most populations, even in low birth rate countries like South Korea or Japan, since people sometimes die early and birth rates used to be much higher in previous eras. And if there are more young people, then there are more births. So the real number is probably higher than 300,000.”

Other brain teaser Apple Interview Questions

  • How many rounds would it take to choose the winner among the 10 teams in a single-elimination tournament?
  • There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?

Technical Apple Interview Questions from LeetCode

In 2022, a Leetcode user curated a list of the 100 most common Leetcode challenges in Apple interview questions based on questions tagged as being real interview questions from Apple. Another Medium user created a 2023 version of this list. While the order of frequency has changed slightly, this list is still highly accurate. We highly recommend using Leetcode and the aforementioned list like this to practice for technical interview questions at Apple. Some of the most common LeetCode style questions in Apple interview questions today include:

Technical Apple Interview Questions for software engineers

Beside Leetcode style questions, here are some of the most common Apple interview questions asked in software engineering interviews.

  •       Reverse words in a given string
  •       Given a distance dist, count the total number of ways to cover the distance with 1, 2, and 3 steps.
  •       Implement an LRU cache.
  •       Given an array of integers and a value, determine if any three integers in the array sum up to the value given.
  •       Determine if two binary trees are identical
  •       Implement an Iterator over a binary tree with integer values. Your Iterator will be initialized with the root node.
  •       Clone a directed graph
  •       Determine if two binary trees are identical
  •       Find all palindrome substrings,
  •       Write an algorithm to find the largest sum subarray
  •       Search in rotated array
  •       Given a linked list, zip it from its two ends in place, using constant extra space. The nodes in the resulting “zipped” linked list should go in this order: first, last, second, second last, and so on.
  •       Given an array of number nums of size n, find an array of numbers products of size n, such that products[i] is the product of all numbers nums[j], where j!=i.
  •       Given the head pointers of two linked lists, where each linked list represents an integer number (each node is a digit), add the linked lists, and return the new linked list.
  •       Given an unsorted set of numbers from 1 to N with exactly two missing numbers, find those two missing numbers.
  •       Design a workflow diagram for a problem
  •       A chessboard problem and it’s variations
  •       System Design, Session management, REST, security and data store questions
  •       Given a function magicNumber() that returns a random integer 1 or 0, write a new function that will generate a random number that uses this magicNumber() function.
  •       Theory behind common software engineering/algo/data structures concepts and problems.
  •       Typical data structures, parsing, flow control, corner case handling
  •       Linked List Random Node
  •       Questions related to integrating interval ranges
  •       What DataStructure would you consider to represent a File Structure (zipped) / Print the fileStructure with indentation B.txt D.txt
  •       Find the least common Ancestor of two nodes in a tree
  •       Level of experience with iOS development
  •       Algorithms questions, architecture/ system design questions, NLP questions
  •       Implement a quadtree
  •       Write a function that can return the number of times that ____ appears in a number.
  •       OS Concepts
  •       Median for a stream
  •         Implement a list
  •       Debug a hash table implementation
  •       Matrix multiplication
  •       Write a code to add/subtract two linked lists that contained a digit each to represent huge numbers (ex: 1 -> 4 -> 4 + 1 ->9 -> 5 1 -> 4 -> 4 – 1 ->9 -> 5)

Apple interview questions for data scientists?

Data Scientist candidates can also expect Leetcode style Apple interview questions, which can be found here or on LeetCode. Beside Leetcode style questions, here are some other common Apple interview questions for data scientists:

  •       Write an SQL query to find how many accounts have performed a login in the year 2016?
  •       How is the value k selected in k-means clustering?
  •       How do you calculate the F1 score and what does it mean?
  •       Design an algorithm to predict customer churn
  •       Count the number of user events performed by MacBookPro users
  •       How is the value k selected in k-means clustering?
  •       Find the index at which the sum of the left half of array is equal to the right half.
  •       What is a propensity model and how are beta estimates calculated by MLE?
  •       What is a time series model and how do you do the calculation of ACF and PACF?
  •       Bias-Variance tradeoff and ways to check overfitting of a model
  •       Loading json, how to store json file, data collection part. Questions regarding quality assurance of design of a product.
  •       What is bias variance tradeoff? How is XGBoost handling bias-variance tradeoff?
  •       Code in Python to find anagrams in a list and print out list of anagrams.
  •       Describe the difference between L1 and L2 regularization, specifically in regards to the difference in their impact on the model training process itself
  •       How do you take millions of users with 100s of transactions each, amongst 10ks of products and group the users together in meaningful segments?

Apple interview questions for design

Design interviews tend to be far less technical. Apple interview questions for designers will usually be more behavioral or based on your portfolio. However, these semi-technical questions have come up in past Apple interviews.

  •       What is an example of a design project you recently completed, and what metrics did you use to measure its performance? How did you track those metrics?
  •       Create an app that simplifies the grocery shopping experience for users.
  •       What would be the most efficient and effective way to design an elevator system for a 1000 floor building?
  •       How you would create an app that provides users with the ability to create their own fonts.
  •       What could Siri do better?
  •       How do you make a double clock cycle?
  •       What’s the most challenging project you’ve ever worked on?
  •       What happens to the temperature of an adiabatic room when a refrigerator in that room is opened
  •       How was this aluminum part on the table made?
  •       What inspires your design?
  •       Draw a strain-stress curve. How does the hardening process influence the curve?
  •       5 ways to reduce the deflection of a beam. Which two of them are the most effective?
  •       How do you compare Al, Ti, Cu, Steel at home?
  •       Several pulleys and two boxes in a diagram, what is the movement direction of a box? Create a free body diagram
  •       Calculate the square root of 38 in your head
  •       Give us more than 5 manufacturing ways to create a line of holes in a tube
  •       How would you assemble the Macbook Pro’s power adapter?
  •       Draw an FBD of a computer monitor
  •       Theoretical applied mechanics questions, like fracture, stress, strain diagrams etc.
  •       Pressure and material questions
  •       What is your design process?
  •       How do you handle a situation when a developer doesn’t create the product the way you designed it?

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Check out our other Interview Questions to prep for your next interview:


Patrick Bohan

Hi, I'm Patrick, I write about the job search. After graduating from Cornell, I became a content lead at UBS where I helped professionals at Fortune 500 companies understand their stock options, salary, and benefits. When I'm not writing about the hiring process, I write novels for teens.

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