Apple
3.9 of 5 3,106 reviews
www.apple.com Cupertino, CA 5000+ Employees

Apple Hardware Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Feb 28, 2014
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47%
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Interview Experience 

65%
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Interview Difficulty 

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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – Quick-paced. Some interviewers were more respectful than others. Overall a good experience to be able to interview with some of the brightest engineers in industry.

Interview Question – Why is there a null for a dipole antenna along its vertical axis?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Apple in December 2012.

Interview Details – Three different phone interviews, each with one or two engineers on the iPhone systems integration team. They asked several questions about basic circuit design, no curve balls. Otherwise they'd ask more open ended questions, things like the future of interfacing with devices or the theory behind capacitive touch. There was very little time to chat about other things (such as personal projects), but when we did, it was usually technical. They're a sharp bunch of guys, and great interviewers.

Interview Question – How else could you design a touch interface for a device (besides capacitive touch)?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Negotiation is difficult until you're actually working there. Until you're in the lab on your first day, good luck trying to sort out anything.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Apple in July 2013.

Interview Details – A recruiter called me and set up an interview with the hiring manager. He liked me and wanted me to speak with 2 others on the phone. They flew me out to Cupertino for some onsite interviews: 7 back to back whiteboard interviews. The phone interviews were mostly about debugging skills and programming, while the onsite interview questions were thoughtful design questions.

Interview Question – Block diagram a schematic to interface 1000 sensors and collect information from them at intervals while minimizing CPU usage.   View Answer

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Durham, NC

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Initial "informal chat" that was actually an interview on campus. Asked a mix of technical questions (stress/strain diagram, necking, etc) and design questions based on an example in my resume (they asked me to redesign a project I'd worked on based on fake client feedback). And a brain teaser. Some discussion about finite element analysis work that I'd done after my freshman year and some in-depth questions on how FEA works.

Second interview was 30m phone interview with 2 hardware engineers. I expected technical questions but got none. The interview was all about how my design process works, and was rather ambiguous.

Interview Question – Advantages/disadvantages of tetrahedron and hexagonal FEA elements.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Hardware Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – On site interview

Interview Question – It was the first round. Nothing special, just normal FSM, and simple C questions   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer

Interviewed at Apple

Interview Details – Interview was long, deeply technical, and challenging. I found it fun. Wish I had studied up on analog circuitry beforehand - was vastly unprepared for that discussion and that's what lost me the interview. Oops! Some questions were detailed design questions that required 30-45 minutes to completely answer in detail. This was perfectly acceptable.

Interview Question – Design questions on analog op amp circuits. Should not have been difficult or unexpected, but I'd been doing nothing but pure digital circuits for years and needed a review.   Answer Question

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8 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Cupertino, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Apple in March 2013.

Interview Details – Engaged via an unsolicited LinkedIn request for interview. While I'm happily employed already, I thought I'd see what they had to offer. The initial phone interview was somewhat technical, lasted about 50 minutes (scheduled for 30), with the first 25 being the interviewer asking questions about my experience and resume. Nothing tricky, just what I'd put on the resume. T This interviewer was an electrical engineer with an iPad / iPod team. There weren't any technical questions except those derived from my resume.

Next I did an in-person interview with 8 people, each for around 30 minutes, except for the lunch slot which was 1 hour (including a trip to the Apple cafeteria.) These interviews were highly technical, involved a lot of white-boarding, and are designed to see how a candidate thinks as well as what they know. It was clear that all the interviewers were very intelligent, and they came off as friendly and able to mentor other engineers. I would be please to work with them (except 1, who arrived late and was completely unprepared. He asked me for a paper copy of my resume (which I didn't have! Who brings paper to an interview these days? Every other interviewer carried an iPad and iPhone.) In summary, they will find the limit of your knowledge: be prepared for that, and answer their questions to the best of your abilities, but know your limits and state when you don't know an answer. Remember, they want to know how you THINK too. They will encourage you think and try and solve it on the spot given tidbits of knowledge.

There was also one really excellent "scenario" question. I've elected not to share it. However, the majority of questions were on technical concepts coming out of my resume (tradeoffs in synchronous buck regulator design, I2C pullup sizing, bandwidth constraints, DRAM estimation) and my ideas of product development (describe the product design flow.) I also whiteboarded the exact same block diagram of a previous design I'd built for 3 or 4 of the reviewers, each who asked their own questions about design decisions, implementation, tradeoffs, testing, etc.

In summary, I found the interview process challenging but enjoyable. I came away feeling like I could work with these guys and really learn something. However, I did get the impression that, without years of background in product development, one would be stuck at a "junior" level for several product development cycles.

Interview Question – Instead of hiring you to be a hardware engineer, we'd like you to build a house. Ask me all the questions you need in order to build me a house.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer

I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Telephone interview first, technical questions related to your projects. Then onsite interview in cupertino. 90% technical questions, 10% behavior and brain teaser. Make sure to be familiar with your resume cause you will spend most of your time talking about your projects. Review the basics of circuit, device and probability.

Interview Question – No very hard questions. All basic models and calculation. Just be sure to prepare fully, and present yourself in confidence.   View Answer

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer

I applied through college or university and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Apple.

Interview Details – Master student - 1 round interview - after the university career fair.
I heard that Apple came to our university because of the career fair. After I submitted my resume, a week later, they send me an e-mail to schedule the "1vs1 interview". But, they want to hire verification engineer which is not match to my major. So, i didn't get the job offer.

Interview Question – They try to ask a lot of questions related verilog language.   Answer Question

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8 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Hardware Engineer Interview

Hardware Engineer
Cupertino, CA

I applied online and the process took 8 weeks - interviewed at Apple in September 2012.

Interview Details – The phone interview with the senior engineer and manager had several technical and supplier management questions. I answered every question even to my surprise with a 100% score. The senior engineer was so excited he said at the end of the conversation he was going to recommend me highly. A few days later I received a message requesting me come for an on-site interview.

The first on-site interview was mostly meeting with engineers, the manager, and one of the director level managers.

After my on-site interview a few days went by and then HR called and said they want me to work on a design presentation. There were 5 pages of typed technical questions, 2 design problems, and a third part requesting a portfolio of my past engineering work. I spent 4 long days preparing everything they wanted. After returning 30 pages the engineer scheduled a teleconference to go through the presentation. We went line by line (A is also for An#l). One question out of the five pages I did not get close enough even though I had a correct answer. On the design projects they were impressed with my out-of-the-box (his words) clear thought approach.

A few weeks went by and I did not hear anything. I thought I did everything they asked to at least 98% correct and had impressed them on my design ability. I sent the HR person an email asking if they had made a decision. I did not hear anything for another week, and then they said they wanted me to come for a second on-site interview with the upper management. I was excited.

On the second on-site interview, I remember walking up the stairs with the HR manager and saying to her that the Apple process is really different. She says “we try to explain well about the Apple interview process”. I wanted to say something at that point because I would like to know at what point did she ever explain anything about the interview process. In fact they will not confirm the interview plan until the day before the interview. They will not let you know who you will meet in the interview until you arrive for the interview. They will not even give the schedule for the day to have for reference.

OK now to the second on-site interview with upper management. First interviewer is 20 minutes late because he has to drop off his kids to school. I am thinking it is 9:30 when he was supposed to be there he should be able to make it on time especially for an interview. I spent a lot of time preparing and I got there early. Next interview is a VP with an attitude. He only has two questions one is why it took 3 years to get my master’s degree 20 years ago. I explain I was going part time since I was working as an engineer at the time. Wow I did not know that mattered that long ago. All the other questions were over his paranoia over whether I might be a security issue for Apple. Good work VP, you are really going to find creative people for new products with your approach.

The third interviewer also came late. Once he arrived sat there for a little while trying to think of questions to ask and then said he was filling in for another person who was supposed to be there. He spent the next 15 minutes texting the person that was supposed to be there. Then after a while the person he was texting showed up. That person then sat there trying to gather himself together and asked me two questions that must be a standard because previous interviewers had asked me the same exact questions. The remaining time I just tried to keep the conversation going.

Next interview was a director level and the first thing he asked was what the VP asked me. I went over the questions and he was proud to say the he and the VP think alike. All I could think was great here we go again. He had more questions at least, but spent a lot of time going over security concerns in Apple. One thing I did learn is that they don’t even let the IPod, IPad, and IPhone engineers interact to ensure secrecy and internal product competitiveness.

OK I finally think I am done and all there is to do is wait for a decision. A week goes by and no idea yes or no. Then I received an email saying that the person who had the replacement come in place of himself then came later to the interview and could not think of questions needed to interview me again. So I said fine schedule it as soon as possible. Another week went by and I did not hear anything. So I asked the HR person. Apparently that person is now in China getting ready for the IPhone 5 launch. Another 2 weeks went by. By this time I gave up on Apple. Then one day out of the blue they said they were going to offer me the job. I declined as I had another job offer at the management level, and I was annoyed with Apples interview process.

Interview Question – Actually all of the questions were standard interview questions that any company would ask. That is something that surprised me, I was expecting more brain power questions. The only challenge was the amount of people needed to interview and how unorganized the process was. The biggest challenge was all the waiting and the amount of work requested for design project. It was a horrific waste of time for both me and Apple.   View Answers (2)

Reason for Declining – I had another job offer that promoted me to a management position.

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