Learnings from Working at Apple

Based on Sebastiaan de With’s Interview on Youtube

Iosi Pratama
2 min readNov 20, 2023
Sebastiaan de With. A photo from his Twitter.

Sebastian de With is the designer behind the Halide app, which happens to be my favorite camera app for mobile photography. The more I research him online, the more I find something to learn.

In this short article, I want to share some of the key points from his interview on The Outliers Channel, where he specifically talks about the lessons he learned while working for Apple. You can also listen to his full interview here.

Sebastián de With has shared his experience of working as a freelancer at Apple for two years. He explains that the design process varied for each team member and depended on the company they were working with.

At Apple, complete polished designs were expected, rather than concepts or sketches. Feedback was often blunt and direct, leading to reworked designs. However, de With suggests that this process taught him the value of exploring various ideas and taking a more deliberate approach to design.

De With also uses his experience at Apple to explain why exploratory design is not as crazy as it may seem. According to him, the benefits of this approach become more apparent once one has gone through it.

In terms of design, de With discusses how Apple encourages exploration from multiple angles, staying on the surface level for a long time. Although it may be uncomfortable, this approach results in better work.

If you are thoughtful about making something, and take your time to make a thoughtful product, it will be received well. — Sebastiaan de With

De With also shares an anecdote of working on the Find My Friends app, where Steve Jobs was not on board with the concept. They had to create funny designs to make it less creepy.

Last, he reminded us that the visual design was crucial in making the app stand out and disarm users.