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How to Prepare for and Ace the Apple Software Engineer Interview

Apple is a dream company for many aspiring software engineers, software developers, engineering managers, and tech leads. Apple runs multiple business operations, providing vast opportunities for employees

Apple is not only innovative but also highly profitable. In 2021, Apple stood on top of the Fortune Global 500 Companies as the most profitable business. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! 

Also, read Apple Software Engineer Interview Questions, How to Crack the Apple Onsite Interview, and Apple Interview Questions for specific insights and guidance on Apple tech interviews.

Having trained over 9,000 Software Engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest-ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are Hiring Managers and Tech Leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

Apple follows a relatively unstructured and secretive interview process. However, there are certain aspects and details about the interview process that Apple does share with applicants. 

In this article, we delve into the Apple Software Engineer interview process, what it entails, and how to prepare for it:

  • Role of a Software Engineer at Apple 
  • Difference Between Software Engineers and Software Developers at Apple
  • The Apple Software Engineer Interview Process
  • What Makes the Apple Software Engineer Interview Process Unique?
  • What Does Apple Look for in Candidates? 
  • How to Prepare for the Apple Software Engineer Interview
  • Apple Software Engineer Interview — Sample Questions
  • How to Land Your Dream Job as a Software Engineer at Apple 
  • Apple Software Engineer Interview — FAQs

Role of a Software Engineer at Apple 

Software development processes at Apple are customer-centric. At Apple, software engineers are required to work across multiple teams. 

Responsibilities of a Software Engineer at Apple include:

  • Creating Apple applications and frameworks, such as Ulkit, for the smooth functioning of the developed app. 
  • Deploying high-performing, scalable systems like iCloud and Siri. 
  • Integrating core operating systems; combining software, hardware, and Apple’s applications. 
  • Ensuring high scalability, security, and availability of online services, like Apple Music and Apple Store, every day.  
  • Overseeing various projects and delivery systems (Engineering Management team).
  • Designing and maintaining systems that connect Apple services and corporate functionalities. 

Difference Between Software Engineers and Software Developers at Apple

Software Engineers and Software Developers have similar job profiles. Although their functions sometimes overlap, they are two different roles. Most FAANG Companies offer separate and distinct designations for each role. 

The Apple Software Engineer Interview Process

Apple interviews are very nuanced and difficult, designed to filter and hire only the best talent. 

At Apple, coding interviews are mandatory for these roles: Software Developer, Coding Engineer, Tech Lead, and Software Engineers. 

The Apple Software Engineer interview process stages are as follows:

Pre-Screen HR Interview

If your resume checks the right boxes, HR will reach out to you via e-mail or LinkedIn to schedule your first discussion. During the HR interview, you will be asked questions about your work experience and other general questions. 

Technical Phone Screen

The technical phone screen is usually conducted a week after the HR interview by a hiring manager or member of your prospective team. The phone screen comprises two rounds of interviews and will feature coding problems and questions based on your resume

Coding problems are based on data structures and algorithms, which you’ll need to solve using shared editors. 

Duration: You will have about 30 mins to solve each problem. Each coding interview lasts for 45-60 mins each. 

Onsite Interview

The toughest part of Apple’s interview process is the six-hour-long onsite interview. 8-12 interviewers will conduct the onsite interviews, either one-on-one or in pairs. 

This stage comprises multiple rounds of interviews, each focusing on one of these three areas: 

  • Behavioral Skills
  • Domain Knowledge
  • Coding Expertise 

Duration: Each interview round lasts for 45 mins. The entire interview process is conducted over a period of up to 2 months.

What Makes the Apple Software Engineer Interview Process Unique?

The following attributes make Apple’s Software Engineer interview unique:

  • At Apple, phone screen interviews are conducted via Facetime or Skype to monitor candidates as they solve coding problems. 
  • Interviews at Apple are fast-paced; interviewers will often interrupt you as you answer questions.
  • Candidates can reapply for another position at the company right away if they fail at the software engineer interview. However, you’ll have to wait for six months to reapply for the same position. 
  • During the onsite interviews, candidates are sometimes taken out to lunch with their prospective teams as part of the recruitment process. 

What Does Apple Look for in Candidates? 

Apple looks for the following characteristics in its Software Engineer interview candidates:

  • A passion for learning — Apple believes in hiring for attitude and training for skills. At Apple, the desire to learn is more valuable than other skills. 
  • A strong sense of justice and the confidence to voice opinions — At Apple, feedback and opinion are considered valuable to the growth of teams. 
  • An independent mindset — Apple values individuals who don’t rely on the status quo but believe they can change the world. 

How to Prepare for the Apple Software Engineer Interview

The coding interview is the most challenging part of the Software Engineer interview process at Apple. Your tech interview prep should focus on preparing for this interview. 

Here are some tips to prepare for and ace the Apple Software Engineer coding interview. 

  • Brush up on basics — Fundamental knowledge of data algorithms, structures, and design is essential to clear technical interviews at Apple. Some common topics to prepare on are Linked Lists, Arrays and Strings, and System Design. 
  • Practice numerous coding problems — Ensure you’re well-versed with concepts in the topics mentioned above to be able to solve similar questions at the interview.
  • Don’t memorize concepts — Study concepts with the objective of applying them to solve different problems.
  • Practice mock interviews — You can do this either with peers or experienced tech hiring managers. 

Check out this list of coding problems and their solutions to improve your coding skills.

Interview Kickstart offers a range of interview prep courses and mock interviews to help you land your dream job. Learn all about them by signing up for this FREE Webinar.

Apple Software Engineer Interview — Sample Questions

All candidates for the role of Software Engineers, Software Developers, Engineering Managers, or Tech Lead look for resources to help them along their complex FAANG interview journey.

Listed  below are frequently-asked Apple Software Engineer interview questions: 

Apple Software Engineer Technical Interview Questions

  • How would you build a user interface for Apple’s iOS home screen?
  • Why can’t primitives be used in hashmap?
  • Two Sum array problems
  • Questions on Binary Search Trees.
  • How would you explain, in simple terms, what a router is to a 9-year-old?

Apple Software Engineer Behavioral Questions

  • Describe a time you had to make a decision without your supervisor’s assistance.
  • How would you resolve conflict with a co-worker?
  • How can a perfect work-life balance be achieved?

Recommended Reading: Behavioral Interview Questions for Software Developers

Apple Software Engineer Problem-Solving Questions

  • You’re in an elevator with the company’s CEO; how would you impress him to hire you?
  • You’re rowing a boat in which there is a boulder. How will the water level change if you put the boulder in the lake?
  • If there are 25 teams in an elimination round, how many rounds will it take to eventually pick a winner?

How to Land Your Dream Job as a Software Engineer at Apple 

Our team at Interview Kickstart is here to help you land your dream job as an Apple Software Engineer.

Professional guidance and a structured interview prep plan can help you land a software engineering role at a reputed FAANG company.

Interview Kickstart can help you along this path with our in-depth knowledge and understanding of tech interview processes.

Since its inception in 2014, Interview Kickstart has helped over 9,000 engineers achieve their dreams. 

Our exclusive, holistic courses empower engineers to upskill in their chosen field. We also provide the right guidance needed to clear tech interviews at reputed companies. 

Want to know more? Sign up for our FREE webinar on How to Nail Your Next Tech Interview.

Apple Software Engineer Interview — FAQs

1. What educational qualifications does one need to apply for the role of Software Engineer at Apple?

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s/master’s degree or Ph.D. in Computer Engineering or related Sciences.

2. What is the average salary of a software engineer at Apple?

The average annual salary of a software engineer at Apple is $121,083. This varies according to the job level.

3. What are the Software Engineer levels at Apple?

Levels for Software Engineers at Apple begin with ICT-2 (Software Engineer I) and go up to ICT-6 (Software Engineer V).

Interview Preparation
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Ashwin Ramachandran

Head of Engineering @ Interview Kickstart. Enjoys cutting through the noise and finding patterns.

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