Apple Software Engineer Salary

How much does a Apple Software Engineer make? Well, there are lots of, shall we say “speculative” answers to this question online. The goal of this page is to cut through the noise and provide the real data based on our experience with 100s of tech negotiations and 1000s of submitted offers. Below, we’ve listed the top of band compensation for multiple Apple SWE levels. There is also a bonus section at the bottom with info on negotiating Apple Software Engineer offers.

Apple Software Engineer Offer Components

  • Apple base salary:

    Apple’s base salary bands are slightly lower than top paying companies like Facebook and Amazon. Payment cycle and other base salary details are all standard
  • Apple equity (RSUs):

    Apple RSUs vest (i.e. you receive shares) evenly (25/25/25/25) over a 4 year period. These shares will be distributed every 6 months (slower than industry standard 3 months). The actual number of shares you receive will be calculated by dividing the dollar value by a "share value". The share value is the closing price on the grant day (15th of the month after you join)
  • Apple signing bonus:

    Apple can offer large signing bonuses. The standard is to only have a year 1 signing bonus, but there are some scenarios where it is split over 2 years. Sign on bonuses at Apple are paid within 30 days of your start date, though they reserve the right to clawback part of it if you leave within 12 months
  • Apple performance bonus:

    Apple performance bonus targets are smaller than most big tech companies and less "guaranteed". Recruiters will quote a wide range of numbers that aren't reliable and this is made worse because Apple doesn't actually list target numbers in the offer letter (unlike Goole and Facebook). Each level has different bonus target which you will see listed below. These are not negotiable
  • Apple stock refreshers:

    Apple is known to have one of the best stock refresher packages in the industry. However in typical Apple fashion, they often avoid sharing target numbers. That said, employees with good reviews should expect more than 25% of their initial grant (though this does vary by team) as the new refresher grant each year, which will also vest over 4-years. You are only elible for refreshers if you join before April 1st. These are also not negotiable.


Note: levelling is critical to understanding compensation bands. If you aren't familiar with Apple levels, skip to the bottom to read this.

ICT3 Apple Software Engineer Salary

2021 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$175K

Equity (4 years)

$300K

Signing Bonus

$50K

Performance Bonus

10%

We've seen some 2021 offers with above band equity (e.g. $360K) but this is very hard to achieve especially outside of ML/AI teams.

ICT4 Apple Software Engineer Salary

2021 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$205K

Equity (4 years)

$600K

Signing Bonus

$75K

Performance Bonus

10%

Since Apple will frequently down-level candidates from ICT5, these comp bands are fairly wide. Above band offers with more than $650K equity and $100K signing can also happen in rare circumstances.

ICT5 Apple Software Engineer Salary

2021 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$240K

Equity (4 years)

$1.2M

Signing Bonus

$120K

Performance Bonus

15%

Apple will very rarely hit $1.2M in equity at this level. It is in range but requires all the right variables (experience + interviews + negotiation).

Apple Software Engineer Negotiation

So now you've got the comp data, are you ready to negotiate? Not quite.

First off, comp data is constantly changing. 2022 numbers were initially coming in higher than the 2021 numbers listed above (though we've seen some pullback with the recent market downturn), and it’s critical to know the full range for each component to choose the right strategy for your negotiation. That said, many people think knowing the compensation data is the most important part of a negotiation, but it’s not. If you simply go tell your Apple recruiter that you saw an offer online with $X and that you want that number, it won’t work 90% of the time. So, what does work?

Companies negotiate when they believe you won’t accept their offer. But, since you just finished a long and arduous interview process with them, they know you are likely to accept the job unless you have higher competing offers from other great companies.

This is why you need to create justification/leverage to make it believable that you are considering other options but would prefer Apple if the compensation is similar. This is simple in theory, but quickly becomes challenging if you don’t have other offers or if your other offers aren’t higher than the top of band comp numbers you are targeting.

Apple also has its own unique set of challenges even if you are in a perfect situation where you have a competing offer with comp just slightly higher than the top of band numbers you are  targeting. Apple will try to find any differences in the offers (location, level discrepancy, comp components) and use that to justify not matching the offer. Sometimes this is very illogical (e.g. not matching an offer from a lower cost of living area), so you have to be very careful how you share your information. Knowing exactly what to say and not say on a recruiter call is key to optimizing your Apple negotiation.

Apple Software Engineer Levels

Apple Levels

ICT2

ICT3

ICT4

ICT5

ICT6

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Google Levels

L3

Junior L4

Junior L5

L6

Senior L7

Google is a useful point of comparison as its levelling system has become the industry standard. Apple's levels unfortunately don't line up cleanly with Google (e.g. ICT3 is senior L3 or junior L4 at Google). This often presents challenges where incoming Apple candidates are down-levelled. However, it can also present opportunities where you can jump a level if you play your cards right.

1:1 Salary Negotiation Support

We've negotiated more than $20M in Apple offers. Our largest Apple increase was $415K.

Negotiation strategy

Step 1 is defining the strategy, which often starts by helping you create leverage for your negotiation (e.g. setting up conversations with FAANG recruiters).

Negotiation anchor number

Step 2 we decide on anchor numbers and target numbers with the goal of securing a top of band offer, based on our internal verified data sets.

Negotiation execution plan

Step 3 we create custom scripts for each of your calls, practice multiple 1:1 mock negotiations, and join your recruiter calls to guide you via chat.