All 511 international Apple Stores are now open after 17 months of closures
Sometimes it felt like we'd never get here.
After 17 months of closures, June 15, 2021, marks the first day that every single international Apple Store is open at the same time.
The number was collated by 9to5Mac and Michael Steeber, arguably the man to talk to about Apple Stores. And if he says 511 Apple Stores are open, then 511 Apple Stores are most definitely open.
All 511 active Apple Stores globally are operating today in some capacity, many offering in-store shopping and browsing without an appointment and others open for pickup of online orders only, according to a check of every store location on Apple's website conducted Tuesday morning. Cross-referenced with extensive store hour data compiled daily since early 2020, I can verify that June 15 marks the first day every current store has been collectively operational since at least January 4, 2020.
That's good enough for me!
What makes this so interesting is the fact that there are currently no Apple Stores closed for refurbishment which, at the rate Apple likes to refresh its stores, is no mean feat. But, obviously enough, the main reason we've seen so many Apple Stores closed in recent months is the COVID-19 pandemic, with Apple being more proactive than most in closing retail outlets to both protect its team members and limit transmission of the virus. All Apple Stores outside mainland China were closed on March 14, 2020, for example. The first Chinese store closed on January 28.
Since then, it's been a constant run of closing, re-opening, and then re-closing of stores around the world as local restrictions have come into place.
The rest of 2020 was a whirlwind of store closures, reopenings, new service models, and cycle after cycle of closing and reopening again — up to four times for one store. Every Apple Store had reopened at least once by October 25, 2020, but never at any point was the entire fleet operational. Every location in the US was simultaneously open on March 1, 2021.
There is no denying that Apple closing its stores was the right thing to do, and many will see their re-opening as a sign that things are finally beginning to get back to normal. The reality of it is that we're still quite far away from that being the case, especially in countries where there simply are no Apple Stores to re-open.
It's also worth remembering that even though Apple Stores are open, many are still operating under restrictions. Those include people being required to wear masks when entering, something that is reportedly coming to an end this week across the United States. Here in the UK, that isn't likely to happen for a little while yet.
All of that said, the return of Apple Stores must be seen as a positive across the board. Especially after a year and a half of closures. At more than a few points throughout the last year I wasn't sure we'd get here in 2021, let alone in June. And it's good to know that every Apple Store will be open when the best iPhone yet goes on sale this fall!