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How Much Does Apple Pay?

By George Paul

Last updated: Feb 15, 2023

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Apple is a global tech brand supported by thousands of employees. We took a look at the numbers to see how much the tech giant pays its employees at each level.

Apple's One Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California. Editorial credit: Uladzik Kryhin /
Apple's One Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California. Editorial credit: Uladzik Kryhin /

Salary has been traditionally a taboo subject for most Americans to discuss. Most people would rather describe the most embarrassing moment of their lives than tell a coworker how much they make. But that is changing.

New regulations across the country, like New York City’s pay transparency law, are forcing employers to publish salary information for jobs publicly. While the information might not reveal an exact paycheck, it lets workers know where they stand relative to each other.

The average U.S. tech worker earned a record high of $104,566 in 2021. While that sum doesn’t take into account other forms of compensation, like stock options and equity, it does paint a picture of how lucrative working in the industry can be—by comparison, at the end of 2021, the average U.S. salary was just $1,010 a week or approximately $52,520 a year.

Apple’s pay scale

Apple’s internal technical and engineering hierarchy doesn’t value job titles, and instead relies on ICT levels, which stand for Individual Contributor Tech. The ICT pyramid starts at ICT 2 for entry-level employees and reaches ICT 6. Elsewhere in the organization, the company has instituted a separate job level system for its white-collar employees. These non-technical levels start with IC (Individual Contributor) to provide a slight distinction between the two worlds and follow a similar pattern.

As employees progress through the levels and are identified as leaders, they can be promoted to managers (M1, M2 and M3) and eventually a director (D1 and D2). Beyond that, Apple’s designations get murkier and seem to revert to traditional job titles—for instance, in an internal business conduct handbook, the company refers to “vice president-level” employees.

Apple also has a DEST (Distinguished Engineer Scientist or Technologist) designation, but not everyone can earn the rank. DEST-level employees are nominated by a manager or VP and approved by a committee of five or six high-level engineering executives. Nominees typically show prominent technical achievement and a proven track record with Apple. These elevated workers generally are assigned to secretive internal projects and solve complex technical challenges.

Software Engineer

Software Engineers can enter Apple on a level as low as ICT 2. Although the entry-level role is at the bottom of the pyramid, it still commands a hefty average salary of $163,000 per year, according to data from As a programmer gains experience and moves up the corporate ladder, their base pay grows exponentially. They can expect to earn an average of $207,000 as an ICT 3, $319,000 at ICT 4, $536,000 at ICT 5 and $768,000 at ICT 6.

Hardware Engineer

The minds behind Apple’s consumer products such as iPhones, MacBooks and AirPods share a fairly similar pay scale as their peers on the software side. Typical ICT 2s in Apple’s hardware unit can expect $159,000 per year on average. Compensation jumps to approximately $216,000 when they graduate to ICT 3, $308,000 at ICT 4, $528,000 at ICT 5 and $747,000 at ICT 6.

Product Designer

Apple’s Product Designers are responsible for creating the aesthetic behind all iOS and macOS devices. This career track starts as an ICT 3, earning $240,000 on average and tops out as an ICT 5, bringing in $418,000 on average each year, per


Recruiters at Apple make a wider range of potential salaries. Glassdoor’s data reveals that the majority of the tech titan’s recruiters typically make between $87,000 and $162,000, with $134,138 being the average. places this number closer to $220,000, but that is for the recruiting team as a whole. This salary data doesn’t break down pay by IC level but should provide applicants with what they can generally expect for their base pay.


The Cupertino giant’s marketing team has been responsible for its most iconic ads, including its 1984 commercial, iPod silhouette campaign and “Get a Mac” ad series. The salaries of the minds behind Apple’s marketing strategies can typically range from $59,000 on the lower end and $126,000, with the average marketer earning a base salary of $80,286, per Glassdoor.


Reliable data on Apple’s sales team is hard to come by, but Glassdoor places the typical team member’s base salary somewhere between $42,000 to $61,000, but it can stretch as high as $170,000. This salary range is largely backed up by data from Indeed, which pegs an Account Manager’s base salary at around $46,000 per year and a Business Development Representative at almost $51,000 per year on average. While these numbers seem low compared to other roles within Apple’s global organization, these salaries are supplemented with commissions that can bump them up significantly.

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