Apple Hardware Engineer

DifficultyhardRounds6-7 interviews across 3 rounds

The role of an Apple Hardware Engineer

Hardware Engineering is a field that relates to designing, developing, testing, and producing systems as well as their physical components. It requires extensive knowledge of electronics-related hardware such as sensors, processors, and controllers.

Hardware Engineers at Apple work with various teams like Acoustic Technologies, Analog, and Digital Design to develop systems for the next-generation Apple products. They hold the responsibility of testing computer hardware models, overseeing manufacturing processes, and creating blueprints to design computer hardware.

Hardware Engineer at Apple must have - 

  • Relevant technical knowledge in the department they’re working in. 
  • Enthusiasm to improve current hardware elements and create new integrated designs.
  • An understanding of software engineering principles.
  • As a Wireless Firmware engineer, you must have experience with communication protocols and working knowledge of computer architecture.
  • As a Cellular 5G/4G Firmware engineer, you should have an in-depth understanding of computer networks, experience in firmware test case planning, design and development, and a strong understanding of automation tools and languages such as Python, C, C++.

Interview Guide

The Apple Hardware Engineer interview consists of 3 rounds.

The Recruiter phone screen is the first round of the interview process, which will be a general discussion about your resume and the role. The second set of interviews will be the technical phone screens, in which hardware engineers will test your analog design, digital design, and other topics related to the fundamentals of hardware engineering. The third and final round will be the Onsite round, which will consist of 5-6 interviews and will test your technical knowledge as well as assess your compatibility in working with teams.

Recruiter Phone Screen

Overview

The Recruiter phone screen is the first round of the Apple Hardware Engineer interview process. This is a short call (around 20 minutes) with the recruiter where they will discuss your resume, experiences and discuss the role in general. If they believe you are a good fit for the role, they will schedule a technical phone screen. HR will update you on the interview process on a weekly basis.

Interview Questions

  1. Why Apple?
  2. What will you bring to Apple?
  3. How would you go about researching for a project? 
  4. What is your greatest weakness?

Technical Phone Screen

Overview

The second round of the Apple Hardware Engineer interview process is the technical phone screen round. This is a 45-minute round with members of different teams that you may work with in the future. Technical questions based on your resume experience are often asked. You will be tested on the following topics - 

  1. Analog designs like Op-Amp.
  2. Digital design
  3. Fundamentals of Hardware Engineering

Interview Questions

Apple Coding Interview Questions - 

  1. What is the difference between LDO and DC-DC?
  2. What is the difference between AC coupling and DC coupling?
  3. What is the use of feedback in an amplifier?
  4. What is a comparator?
  5. Describe the capacitance sensing method.
  6. How do transmission lines work?
  7. Write the code used in the Meltdown attack and explain how it works.
  8. Draw an op-amp circuit and derive the gain formula.

Note - Questions related to relevant lab equipment/experiments may also be asked.

Onsite Round

Overview

The final round of the Apple Hardware Engineer interview process is the onsite round, which is generally considered the toughest. This round consists of about 5-6 interviews in which you are tested on the following topics -

  1. Analog design
  2. Digital design
  3. Optical design
  4. Control of hardware
  5. Hardware engineering fundamentals

One of the rounds will be a behavioral round in which you will be asked scenario-based questions. Through this round, the interviewer will assess your collaboration skills and how you work in a team. 

Interview Questions

Sample Behavioural Questions - 

  1. Tell me about a project you worked on, which turned out to be more challenging than you had anticipated.
  2. Tell me about a time you had to collaborate with a coworker who was difficult to work with.
  3. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation with a team member differently.
  4. Tell me about a time when you managed a difficult project?

Apple Technical Interview Questions - 

  1. How would you detect hardware faults in memory in C?
  2. What happens when an inductor in a DC-DC converter saturates?
  3. How would you calibrate ADC/DAC?
  4. How does ethernet connection relate to communication protocols like SPI, I2C, UART, and USB?
  5. What are LiDAR systems?
  6. What is the Time of Flight principle? 
  7. Walk me through the analysis of any given circuit.

Salary

The salary of a Hardware Engineer at Apple varies with the department. An ICT3 level Hardware Engineer working in Embedded Systems earns around 168,000 USD, while one working in SoC Design earns around 215,000 USD. An ICT5 working in the Analog department gets a total compensation of 445,000 USD, and an ICT4 in embedded systems gets 490,000 USD. ICT6s in most departments earn more than 650,000 USD, with those working in FPGA Design earning as much as 790,000 USD.