Apparate Guide

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To apparate is a means to transport oneself from one place to another in the magical world. The use of apparition and disapparation is regulated by the Ministry of Magic. It doesn’t require any incantation or wand, but it is something you can only do with a license once you are of age and have completed classes offered to anyone turning 17. Multiple magical creatures have the ability to apparate and disapparate, who are not held to the same restrictions, complications, or preventative jinxes. 

Apparate Quick Facts

Full Name Apparition
Incantation None
Type Magical Transportation
Hand Movement Turn on the spot
Light or Sound None
Effect Instantly transports user to/from location
Age Requirements Must be 17
Other Requirements Must complete apparition course
Possible Complications Splinching (where part of the body is left behind)
Last Updated May 3, 2022

Apparate Description

Apparating was a form of magically disappearing and reappearing instantly. It was difficult to do and was only something that fully qualified, licensed adult witches and wizards or magical creatures were allowed to do. It could be performed without a wand. This form of transportation usually resulted in an audible pop or crack sound similar to a car backfiring.

Apparition is when someone appears, while disapparition is when someone disappears from a location. There is a range limit, and most people only use apparition locally. Intercontinental apparition was only something done by highly skilled Wizards because it requires a familiarity with the place that someone is visiting.

In most cases, a witch or wizard needs to clearly visualize where they want to go, so it stands to reason that someone who has visited another place would be more likely to successfully visualize it compared to someone who has only heard about it that place. 

Witches and wizards could only apparate to places they had seen or been. It had to be places that were familiar to them. Throughout the books and the films, Hermione Granger is able to apparate herself, Ron, and Harry to places she has visited in the past. Similarly, when Dumbledore takes Harry Potter for Side-Along Apparition, they go to a home Dumbledore has visited before. When Harry successfully apparates himself and Dumbledore out of the Horcrux cave, he brings them back to Hogsmeade, a place he has visited before.

Apparate Feeling

Dumbledore noted that most people vomit when they apparate for the first time. Harry Potter described the feeling of apparition as being squeezed through a tight rubber tube. 

Apparate Age and License Restrictions

You cannot apparate without permission. The Ministry of Magic grants this permission through the Department of Magical Transportation. You must be 17, take an apparition class successfully, and prove yourself capable of it before you can get a license. This license is similar to a driver’s license. 

In order to get a license, one has to prove that they can apparate flawlessly. For this reason, students in their six-year who would turn 17 before the first apparition test date was able to sign up for apparition lessons taught by the Ministry of Magic. People whose birthdays took place after the first apparition test date could still take a class but would have to take their test later. Even a minor mistake during the test, like splinching part of your eyebrow or missing your target location, was grounds for failure.

While it is not a requirement, people do not typically apparate directly into someone’s home. There is a polite code of conduct that dictates you apparate within somebody’s street or town, giving them enough time to know that you are coming. Dumbledore says that apparating directly into someone’s home would be just as rude as kicking down their front door. However, Fred and George Weasley regularly apparate directly onto Ron’s bed.

Apparate Class

Apparate Class

The class offered at Hogwarts was a 12-week apparition class for 12 Galleons. The lessons started in February and took place in the Great Hall. In order for them to work, the anti-apparition charms that were ever-present at Hogwarts were lifted for one hour. 

The apparition classes were led by Wilkie Twycross, a very old wizard who taught them that the keys to successful apparition were: destination, determination, and deliberation. 

Their lessons began with a hula hoop on the floor, and they were each taught to visualize where they were moving, which was meant to be inside the hula hoop they were standing next to in the Great Hall.

Every Saturday morning, the students would try to focus on the hula hoop and spin around, appearing inside the hoop. After 12 weeks, anyone who was 17 could take the exam and receive their license. The exam took place in Hogsmeade, and all children were given leaflets from the Ministry of Magic on Common Apparition Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When Charlie Weasley took his test, he apparated 5 miles south of his intended destination and actually landed on a woman who was shopping. Fred and George Weasley passed with Distinction on their first try. Ron Weasley splinched half his eyebrow and had to retake the test. Hermione Granger passed with no problems. 

Apparate Complications

Technically people can apparate and disapparate without a license, but it leads to serious complications like flinching. Splinching happens when someone doesn’t have the right level of determination to reach their intended destination. So, only part of their body arrives at their destination, and the other part remains behind. Susan Bones splinched herself during an apparition lesson, leaving behind one of her legs. Ron Weasley lost half an eyebrow during his initial apparition test because of splinching. 

Apparate Modifications

Side-Along apparition is a modification where someone who knows how to apparate (or is legally old enough) takes someone else with them. This method is only permissible between adults and underage wizards if someone is injured, in danger, or the circumstances are otherwise dire. 

In order for this modification to work, the able-bodied individual apparates while the other party holds onto their arm. The other party had to hold on as tightly as possible unless they knew how to apparate, in which case the apparator was basically guiding them. The Ministry of Magic recommended this method for parents who needed to escape with their underage children quickly.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, this method is used by Hermione Granger to regularly transport Harry Potter and Ron Weasley from one place to another. It was also used in  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore brought Harry Potter with him to meet Professor Slughorn.

Side-Along apparition can be used by force, where one part is being apparated against their will. Fenrir Greyback used this method to transport Harry Potter to Malfoy Manor, and Yaxley used it to grab onto Hermione Granger’s arm as the group tried to escape from the Ministry of Magic.

Apparate Prevention

There are ways to magically prevent someone from apparating. An anti-disapparition jinx is used for multiple magical locations to prevent people from apparating in or disapparating out. This is used for all Ministry of Magic headquarters, prisons like Azkaban or Nurmengard Castle, as well as Hogwarts Castle and Malfoy Manor.

However, these restrictions do not apply to creatures who can apparate, as that apparition is a different form of magic. Fawkes, for example, could still apparate within Hogwarts when no witch or wizard could, and Dobby could apparate within Malfoy Manor. 

Apparate for Creatures

The age and license requirements to apparate only apply to witches and wizards. Other creatures regularly use the same type of magic to appear and disappear without the same oversight. This includes Fawkes, the Phoenix, and house-elves like Dobby. Phoenixs can disappear and reappear using a flash of flames.

Phoenixes are also not restricted from things like Side-Along apparition, so they can take anyone with them at any time. When Harry was caught starting Dumbledore’s Army, Fawkes flew over him, Dumbledore cut the Phoenix, and they both disappeared in a burst of flame.

House-elves regularly use their power to apparate and disapparate, sometimes alone and other times with people. For example, when Kreacher was told in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to find Mundungus Fletcher and bring him back to the headquarters, Kreacher did just that; he disapparated and, when he found Mundungus, he apparated back to Number 12 with Mundungus.

Similarly, when Dobby comes to rescue Harry Potter and his friends from Malfoy Manor, he disapparates with Luna, Dean, and Ollivander. He apparates back into Malfoy Manor and disapparates with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Griphook. 

Kreacher also used apparition to return home under direct orders from Regulus Black both times he went to the Horcrux cave. 

Who Apparates?

Dumbledore Apparate

Many characters apparate throughout the movies and films, including almost all of the adult witches and wizards like:

  • Albus Dumbledore
  • Elphias Doge
  • Arthur and Molly Weasley
  • Nymphadora Tonks
  • Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy
  • Severus Snape
  • Tom Riddle
  • Fenrir Greyback
  • Dobby
  • Fawkes
  • Kreacher
  • Gilderoy Lockhart
  • Mundungus Fletcher
  • Kindsley Shacklebolt
  • Alastor Moody
  • Harry Potter
  • Ron Weasley
  • Hermoine Granger
  • Fred and George Weasley
  • Percy Weasley
  • Charlie Weasley
  • Remus Lupin
  • Rufus Scrimgeour
  • Reginald Cattermole
  • Mafalda Hopkirk
  • Ludo Bagman

Apparition Appearances in Books 

Many of the older witches and wizards, as well as the teenagers who are of age, regularly apparate throughout the movies and films. Percy Weasley used it every morning to go from his room to breakfast just to prove that he could. Fred and George used it to pop into other people’s bedrooms to annoy them and interrupted their conversations. Dobby the house-elf used it to appear in Harry’s bedroom or in the hospital wing, even to rescue Harry from Malfoy Manor.  Adults used it to get around (except when they had to travel with their children). 

Apparition is discussed in the following books:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 

Apparition Appearances in Films

Harry and Dumbledore

Apparition is shown in the following films:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Apparate Trivia

Ernie Macmillan, Draco Malfoy, and Harry Potter were the only three in their class who were unable to take the exam because they hadn’t turned seventeen.

Harry Potter was the only one in his class who had participated in side-along apparition. 

Harry Potter never took the apparition test. He was not old enough when the first round of tests took place in April, and he left Hogwarts the following year to hunt horcruxes. However, he used side-along apparition with Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

Ron Weasley gets splinched when he, Hermione, and Harry are leaving the Ministry of Magic because Hermione was the one conducting the apparition while the boys were using side-along with her. Hermione got interrupted in her destination because Yaxley was holding on to her arm as well so she knew they couldn’t stay at Number 12, when they landed and that she had just revealed the secret location of the Order of the Phoenix to a Death Eater. So in an instant, she had to pick a new destination and apply her determination and deliberation, but in that chaos, Ron got splinched.

In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, each time a member of the Ministry of Magic apparates, a plume of black smoke shows up, something that is not discussed in the books. Similarly during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, when the members of the Order of the Phoenix arrive their apparition produces white pillars of smoke.

In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, apparition and disapparition are demonstrated as twisting and swirling the people traveling through a tiny vortex or tube, likely in honor of the description Harry Potter presence of feeling like being pushed through a rubber tube.

Quotes about Apparition

Dobby Apparates

A description of Dobby apparating:

“With a crack like a whip, Dobby vanished.”

An explanation of the laws regarding apparition:

Harry Potter: “You have to pass a test to Apparate?”

Arthur Weasley: “Oh, yes. The Department of Magical Transportation had to fine a couple of people the other day for Apparating without a licence.”

Wilkie Twycross explaining the rules to an apparition class:

“The important things to remember when Apparating are the three D’s! Destination, Determination, Deliberation!”

Harry Potter failing during his first class:

“Harry spun on the spot, lost his balance, and nearly fell over. He was not the only one. The whole Hall was suddenly full of staggering people; Neville was flat on his back; Ernie Macmillan, on the other hand, had done a kind of pirouetting leap into his hoop and looked momentarily thrilled, until he caught sight of Dean Thomas roaring with laughter at him.”


Question: Are Magical Creatures Required to Take the Apparition Class or Have a License?

Answer: No they are not. Many magical creatures like house-elves have their own form of magic, which they can use as they see fit (though regulated by the Ministry and not allowed to be used with a wand). 

Question: Do you Have to Apparate if you Have a License?

Answer: Absolutely not. Having a license to apparate is very similar to having a driver’s license; once you have it, it just means you are legally able to use that mode of transportation, but you are under no requirement to do so. Harry Potter, for example, doesn’t like that particular mode of transportation and prefers flying on a broom. 

Question: How Many Times can you Retake an Apparition Test?

Answer: It is clear that you can retake the test as many times as you need in order to pass and get your license. Fred and George passed their test the first time, with high praise, but Ron failed his the first time and had to take it again. There is no designated waiting period in between tests. 

Question: What is the Punishment for Illegal Apparition?

Answer: The Ministry of Magic issues a severe fine for anyone who uses it and is not qualified. 

Question: Can Parents use Side-along Apparition With Their Children?

Technically they are able to, but it is illegal. Nowhere in the books or films do any parents do that with their children. Instead, they use Floo powder or Portkeys to get around. Only Dumbledore takes Harry Potter when he is under age via side-along apparition, which is technically a crime. 



Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1999. Print.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2000.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2002.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Listening Library, 2003.

Rowling, J. K. (2010). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury. Chicago (Author-Date, 15th ed.) Rowling, J. K. 2010.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.

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