Is AppleCare Worth It?

On nearly all of their mainstream products, Apple offers an extended warranty program called AppleCare. From there, each AppleCare protection plan is priced accordingly based on the product that it covers, or protects. For example, an AppleCare protection plan for a 13-inch MacBook Pro costs $249.00, and a plan for a iPod Touch costs $59.00. In today’s post, we will cover some additional details regarding AppleCare protection plans, and list some tips to whether or not AppleCare is worth purchasing.

AppleCare Protection Plan

Buying AppleCare with your new Mac or iProduct (iPad, iPod, iPhone) will significantly raise the price tag. Although, it may be worth the money, right? Extended warranties are like insurance for your electronics and devices. In some cases yes, and in some cases no. AppleCare is probably worth it for some people, while it may not be for others, but before we get to that, let’s review the details of Apple’s extended warranty, in more detail.

Apple offers a free, standard warranty with every new purchase, which supplies a year of coverage on hardware. This basically amounts to: if your Apple product fails, Apple will repair or replace the product for free, within the first year upon purchase. The standard warranty also supplies you with 90 days of complimentary phone support for most Apple items.

The AppleCare protection plan adds two additional years of coverage for Mac computers and Mac displays. Combined with the standard warranty, 3 years total.

3 year AppleCare

AppleCare plans for iPods, iPads, iPhones, and Apple TV add an additional year of coverage to the product. Combined with the standard warranty, 2 years total.

2 year AppleCare

Deciding whether or not an AppleCare extended warranty is worth the cost depends on the individual. However, you can procrastinate on purchasing AppleCare for the duration of the standard warranty on a product, which is 1 year. In other words, you have a full year of standard warranty that comes with your Apple product purchase. AppleCare can be added anytime within that year.

The phone support is a nice addition, but don’t consider it as an asset when deciding whether or not to purchase AppleCare. With tech websites, you can Google your way to a tech answer faster than you can make a call to AppleCare phone support.

Apple’s AppleCare warranty may be a worthwhile purchase for:

- People who plan to keep their Mac products for several years.

- People who are not comfortable with repairing Apple products themselves.

Avoid purchasing an AppleCare plan if:

- You commonly upgrade to the latest and greatest of Apple products. Updates to nearly all Apple products are released on a quartered year basis, so there will likely be a better version of what you have in less than a year, which is the time limit for the standard warranty. If you are a person that sells their used Apple products so that they can purchase the newest model each time it’s released, AppleCare is not worth it. Also note, AppleCare does not significantly increase the resale value of Apple products. Thus, it’s probably wiser to not purchase AppleCare and save the money initially.

- You are tech savvy. If you have the skills to repair your Apple device yourself, AppleCare probably isn’t worth it, as you can simply buy any needed repair parts for cheaper than the cost of the AppleCare plan, and fix the device yourself. Of course, this is heavily dependent on what fails. If you have a MacBook, and the motherboard, display, and hard drive all fail. Then, it’s probably going to be quite expensive to fix.

An example of how AppleCare works:

I have had AppleCare on two MacBooks, both of which I did use the AppleCare for repairs and replacements.

- Top case on plastic MacBook started chipping and breaking. AppleCare repaired and replaced the top case.

- Charger for plastic MacBook broke. Apple sent me a brand new charger in the mail, which arrived in approximately 3 days.

- MacBook Pro (aluminum) battery tabs broke. Thus, the battery was not secured. Apple sent a replacement battery in approximately 3 days, and the laptop was repaired by a local authorized Apple retailer.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that AppleCare was worth it, as the plans for the MacBook and MacBook pro cost $250 each. I could have probably purchased a new top case, charger, and battery and done the repairs myself for less than $500.00. However, the AppleCare plan worked efficiently and speedily, so I had very little downtime without a computer.

Overall, AppleCare is a good buy depending on who is buying it. If money is not an issue for you, go for it because it’s always nice to have that insurance in case your Apple device does break. Do you have any experience with AppleCare? Leave a quick comment to help others who are considering purchasing AppleCare!

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Comments [8]

  1. Robert P says:

    I'm a freelance graphic designer, and I depend on my Mac as a primary tool of the trade. If you have easy access to an Apple Genius Bar (at Apple Stores), I highly recommend AppleCare. My MacBookPro received over $2,000 worth of replacement parts whenever anything went wrong with my it over a 3-year period. They replaced bloated batteries twice (bloating happens every 16-20 months, I've learned). They replaced the monitor half of the MacBook when the screen was doing a weird off register of the color red. For free with AppleCare. I've now had that MacBook for over four years now and it still works great (AppleCare has expired at this point). But my next MacBook will also have AppleCare.

  2. Robert P says:

    Note on bloated batteries: They bloat in 16-20 months when you use your MacBook as much as I do—all day, everyday.

  3. John S says:

    Bought Apple Care once and never again. I think Apple really needs to increase its standard warranty for phone support. 90 days of free phone support is a joke when you fork over $1500 for a Macbook Air as I did. In my experience I have never officially used Apple warranties of any kind. I had a White Macbook with a shutdown issue a few years back and Apple exchanged it. When you consider the cost for example for Apple care for my Macbook Air is $249. That is basically a typical repair costs in most cases. So your really paying for a repair the odds say you will never need. Plus, its not going to cover what Apple calls normal wear effects or damage from abuse or accidents. Typically I never buy extended warranties of any kind. The standard warranty that comes with a product is usually good enough to weed out defects or poor assembly issues which normally happen soon after purchase. Unless your paranoid I would recommend saving your money for more important things like your next Apple product.

  4. John S says:

    Robert P, isn't kind of sad you bought an Apple and Apple care and had to have so many repairs in such a short time? Your story makes Apple look as though they are selling junk and making you pay extra to get it fixed. If I had your experience I probably would not buy a Apple product again. Warranty or not. In your case I guess Apple care paid off, but to be honest your batteries would have been covered anyway as my Daughters White Macbook was out of warranty and Apple replaced them anyway. Part of a defective adjustment.

  5. Zara W says:

    I purchased AppleCare when I bought my white Macbook nearly 3 years ago. So far the only problem I have had with it is a charger failing – an Apple Genius Bar is local to me, and the total downtime I experienced on the computer was less than a day (probably less if the charger had not broken down on a Sunday). I work on the computer day in, day out, so for me AppleCare provided peace of mind, in case anything major – batteries failing, screen problems – went wrong. I would certainly purchase it again with my next laptop.

  6. Ron C says:

    The average person who buys AppleCare gets less than $250 worth of repairs from it–this must be true or Apple would be losing money on AppleCare.

    So, while there are certainly some nightmare scenarios in which AppleCare ends up being invaluable, for the average person, it’s a bad deal.

    The Macbook Air I bought in 2010 was my first Mac ever, and I let the salesperson talk me into getting AppleCare. It’s now 2012 and I have not used AppleCare once.

    I just ordered a new Macbook Air, and I chose NOT to buy AppleCare. Here’s why:

    - if a component fails in the first year, it’s covered under the standard warranty

    - if a component fails in the second or third year, I’ll have to pay for the repair out of pocket, but most repairs cost less than $250

    - if there are major and expensive repairs needed in the second or third year, I may regret not buying AppleCare. I don’t think this is likely based on Consumer Reports reliability ratings for Macs. But it’s a risk. In this case, it might be more cost-effective for me to just buy a new computer, I’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each option at that time.

    For me, it boils down to this: which is worse, losing $250 now, or bearing a small risk of losing a greater amount in two or three years?

  7. Brandon Nwakanma says:

    This may not be the best place to ask but, I have been looking for someplace to take my Mac for repair. Has anyone ever heard of this mac repair service? They’re right in West Los Angeles, which is near my home. It’s called – Mac Repair Los Angeles, 11322 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste B Los Angeles, CA 90025 (310) 966-9099.

  8. scott trimble says:

    I have purchased AppleCare on every Mac I have owned, three laptops and an IMac, and it has paid for itself everytime, and did cover wear and tear to boot. I banged my laptop and suffered a display issue, they replaced it. replaced motherboard, errors, a dented side panel that wouldn’t allow my DVD drive to open, when my iphone didn’t seem to have as good a range as it should, they suspected an antennae issue and replaced it. Whether it was my error or a flaw, they took care of it fast, been very happy with them.

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