Get Prepared for Apple Software Engineer Interview Questions

        2 yearss ago

It's not easy to prepare for coding interviews. Thus, it's all the more difficult to prepare for interviews at top tech companies. Apple is a highly sought-after company, especially for Software Engineers. The firm is well-known for its rigorous technical interviews, and the competition is fierce. To succeed in this interview, you must stand out from the crowd.

This post will cover some common questions asked in the Apple software engineer interview process. We'll also provide tips on how to answer them effectively.

Software Developer Vs. Software Engineer

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Several aspects distinguish them, although they do have certain similarities. Let's look at the responsibilities and job functions of a Software Developer vs.Software Engineer to understand better the role you are interviewing for.

Software Developer

  • A software developer designs applications, software, or systems that meet the specific needs of their employer.

  • The main job functions of a Software Developer are to design, develop, test, and maintain software applications.

  • Software Developers use readily accessible tools to create applications. Their work focuses more on frontend development and less so on engineering principles.

Software Engineer

  • A Software Engineer writes code to create software products. They usually work on bigger problems with a team of engineers, using various tools and frameworks to create software.

  • A software engineer handles all aspects of the SDLC. They work on backend development, using engineering principles to code and solve problems.

Generally, Software Engineers are more well-rounded than Software Developers. Their skillset covers various topics, including software engineering principles and coding (algorithms, data structures). So don't get confused with these terms.

Apple Software Engineer Levels

Every Apple software engineer is addressed as "Software Engineer" and is given a rank that reflects their seniority and experience, as shown below:

  • Software Engineer I:  You will be expected to have a solid grasp of fundamentals like data structures and algorithms and some understanding of object-oriented programming.

  • Software Engineer II: You will be expected to have a deep understanding of software engineering principles, object-oriented programming, and design patterns. You will also need excellent coding skills.

  • Senior Software Engineer III: You will be required to have an in-depth knowledge of Apple's platforms and APIs, as well as experience leading or mentoring other engineers.

  • Software Engineer IV: You will need to have an exceptional understanding of Apple's platforms and APIs, as well as in-depth knowledge of software engineering principles.

  • Software Engineer V: You will be an expert in all aspects of Apple's platforms and APIs, as well as software engineering principles.

Employees who start at the entry-level are referred to as "Software Engineer I." However, the role increases in seniority and responsibility as you move up to higher levels.

Apple Software Engineer Interview Process

The Apple software engineer interview process is fairly straightforward. From submitting your CV/resume to receiving the offer letter, the application process generally takes 1.5 to 2 months. The procedure is as follows:


If your resume is selected, a recruiter will contact you via LinkedIn or email to arrange a phone interview about a week after submitting it. This session will last approximately 15-30 minutes. The questions will not be too technical.

The Apple recruiter will assess your background and experience to confirm whether you are a good fit for Apple. You may expect interview questions that focus on your professional experience, as well as questions like:

  • What Apple Product is your favorite?

  • What is your motivation for wanting to work for Apple?

  • If Apple were to hire you, what would your first project be?

Technical Phone Interview

They'll schedule the next technical phone interview a week later if you clear the prescreen. You'll have 1-2 technical phone interviews, during which you may expect questions about your resume and a coding problem on Algorithms and Data Structures. The Coding Interviews will last for about 45-60 minutes, with 30 minutes set aside to complete the coding problem.

Onsite Interview

An onsite interview will take around 6 hours (typically conducted by two interviewers at a time). You'll meet with several Apple employees, and the interviews will include a combination of coding challenges, behavioral questions, and domain knowledge. Typically, each interview will last around 45-60 minutes.

Technical Interview

In this round, you'll be given a coding problem to solve on a whiteboard or laptop. The interviewer may ask you to code from scratch or make modifications/additions to a codebase you are given. The interviewer will also ask about your understanding of algorithms and data structures.

Behavioral Questions

The behavioral questions are meant to assess your soft skills. Apple wants to know if you will be a good fit for their culture and how you handle difficult situations. Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Give an example of when you had to deal with a difficult issue and how you addressed it.

  • What is your experience working in a team environment?

  • How do you deal with stress while working?

Domain Knowledge

Apple will ask questions related to the domain of your expertise. For instance, if you apply for a software engineer position in Apple Maps, they may ask about Apple Maps and Navigation SDKs. If you have experience working on an Apple platform relevant to your role at Apple (for example, iOS), be prepared to answer questions about it.

Apple Technical Interview Topics to Prepare for

Most of Apple's technical questions are concerned with algorithms and data structures. Here are the possible topics you may be asked about:


In Apple's technical interview, you may be asked questions on the following algorithm topics:

  • Divide and Conquer

  • Dynamic Programming

  • Merge Sort

  • Quicksort

  • Binary Search

  • Breadth-First Search

  • Depth-First Search

Data Structures

Apple will ask questions on the following data structure topics:

  • Hash Maps

  • Hash Sets

  • Heaps

  • Graphs

  • Trees

  • Queues

  • Stacks

  • Linked lists

  • Arrays

Apple Interview Questions for Software Engineers ( Coding )

Apple will also ask coding questions to test your ability to write code on the spot. The following are some possible questions you may be asked by category:

Searching and Sorting

The process of finding a search key in the data is called searching. Arranging data in descending or ascending order according to a certain sequence is sorting.

Let's look at a few Searching and Sorting-related questions:

  • Find two missing numbers in a given range

  • Find the only element in an array that appears only once (the rest appear twice)

Dynamic Programming

It is solving complex problems by breaking them down into simpler subproblems. Apple may ask Dynamic Programming questions like:

  • Equal Sum Subset Partition Problem

  • Longest common subsequence

  • Various methods to cover a distance


A tree is a non-linear data structure. A tree may be empty, with no nodes, or it can be defined as having one node called the root, one, zero, or more subtrees. In Apple's interviews, you may be asked about the following three topics:

  • Tree Iterator Problem

  • Determine if two binary trees are identical

Linked Lists

It is a linear data structure that consists of nodes pointing to the next node through pointers. Apple may ask questions like:

  • Reverse Linked List

  • Find Middle Node in Singly Linked List

  • Add two integers


It is a data structure that contains several elements. Typically, these items should be the same type, such as "string" or "integer." Arrays are frequently used to organize information to be readily sorted and searched. Apple may ask questions such as:

  • Array Product Problem

  • Determine the sum of three integers

  • Find a pair of elements in the array that adds up to the given sum

These are some of the technical interview questions. Apple will ask behavioral and domain knowledge questions as well. If you want to apply for a software engineering role, it is recommended to prepare for these topics to have a smooth Apple software engineer interview process!

Apple Software Engineer Interview Tips

There are no shortcuts to interview preparations. However, some best practices can help you stay ahead of the competition:

  • Don't Memorize: While it is important to know the answers to Apple's questions, trying to memorize them will only take you so far. An excellent way to prepare for interviews is by practicing and rehearsing potential questions and scenarios with a coach/recruiter. It will help you to be comfortable with the interview process and better focus on your responses.

  • Practice with different tools: Apple could ask software engineering questions in various ways, such as whiteboard coding or video calls. It's important to get used to these tools and practice for an interview by using them with your coach.

  • Learn the Basics: Apple will also ask questions on the basics of data structures, searching, and sorting. Make sure you are familiar with these topics before your interview.

Ready to Ace Your Next Apple Software Engineer Interview?

If you're looking to land an Apple software engineering role, then make sure you're prepared for their tough interview questions. You can practice with a recruiter or coach who can help you hone your skills and give you the feedback you need to succeed.

Recruitmently has top-rated recruiters who can help you prepare for the Apple software engineer interview process. They provide mock interviews, interview tips, and one-on-one coaching sessions. Sign up today to get started!

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