Beyond the Genius Bar

The time will come when something goes wrong with your Mac--something you don't know how to fix yourself. That's when you'll likely consider a trip to your local Apple Store. There, at the Genius Bar counter, you'll find Apple-trained experts ready to help for free with whatever ails your Mac. But the Genius Bar is not the only place you can turn. Whether you don't have an Apple Store in your town or you're just not ready to jump in the car and go, you have options:

Try the telephone

You can still find old-fashioned telephone support at 800/275-2273. It's free for 90 days for most products, and for two years if you purchased AppleCare. If you prefer, you can avoid waiting on hold by placing your phone request at the Apple Expert page. Apple will call you at an agreed-upon time.

Choose online chat

Apple offers online chat help for a few products, notably MobileMe.

Check repair options

To find out about your warranty status and what repair options are available for any Apple product, check out Apple's Online Service Assistant.

Learn more about your Mac

If what you need is general tutorial help rather than a fix for a specific problem, the Apple Store can still be of value. Skip the Genius Bar and instead select one of the many free workshops, from an iLife '09 introduction to a session about using Final Cut Pro. Each store maintains its own schedule. Or, for more personal help, spend $99 and get a year's worth of training sessions via Apple's One-to-One program. You'll find details about what's going on at the store nearest you by visiting its Web site (such as this page for the San Francisco store).

Find an Apple authorized service provider

Lastly, you may consider going to an Apple Authorized Service Provider. These providers may be more conveniently located than an Apple Store. They are also typically less expensive and not as busy (so you are more likely to get help as a drop-in visitor).

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