Egg Freckles
Notes from my Newton

June 2016 | Should You Buy AppleCare?

Should You Buy AppleCare?

Should you buy AppleCare? Every Apple product comes with 90 days of complimentary telephone technical support and a limited one year warranty. AppleCare for Mac extends your service and support coverage to three full years from the date you purchased your computer. It gives you global repair coverage, and direct access to Apple experts for questions on a wide range of topics.

But at up to $349 per computer, AppleCare for Mac can be a considerable investment. That is why you should know what AppleCare for Mac covers, and what it does not.

AppleCare for Mac covers:

  • All included hardware and accessories.
  • One compatible Apple-branded display if purchased at the same time as your computer.
  • An Apple-branded mouse, Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger and keyboard if included with the Covered Equipment (or purchased with a Mac mini or Mac Pro).
  • An AirPort Express or AirPort Extreme Base Station, AirPort Time Capsule, Apple memory modules (RAM) and Apple USB SuperDrive if used with the Covered Equipment and originally purchased by you no earlier than two years before the Covered Equipment purchase.
  • Apple will provide technical support for the Covered Equipment, Apple’s operating system software and Apple-branded software applications that are designed to operate with the Covered Equipment.
  • Apple will also provide technical support using the graphical user interface for server administration and network management issues on Apple’s operating system server software.

In short AppleCare for Mac covers everything that comes in the box, and a number of Apple peripherals you may already be using with your Macintosh. AppleCare even gives you basic support for Apple pro applications like Final Cut, Logic, and Mac OS X Server.

AppleCare for Mac does not cover:

  • Installation, removal or disposal of the Covered Equipment.
  • Damage caused by a product that is not the Covered Equipment.
  • Accident, abuse, misuse, liquid contact, fire, earthquake or other external cause.
  • Operating the Covered Equipment outside the permitted or intended uses described by the manufacturer.
  • Service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
  • Covered Equipment with a serial number that has been altered, defaced removed, or modified.
  • Covered Equipment that has been lost or stolen.
  • Cosmetic damage, preventative maintenance, or defects caused by normal wear and tear.
  • Issues that could be resolved by upgrading software to the then current version.
  • Modification to the Covered Equipment, the Mac OS, or Consumer Software in a manner for which is not intended to be used or modified.
  • Third-party products or their effects on or interactions with the Covered Equipment, the Mac OS, Mac OS Server, or Consumer Software.
  • Apple software other than the Mac OS, Mac OS Server, or Consumer Software as covered under the applicable Plan.
  • Mac OS, software or any Apple-branded software designated as “beta”, “prerelease,” or “preview” or similarly labeled software.
  • Damage to, or loss of any software or data residing or recorded on the Covered Equipment.
  • Recovery and reinstallation of software programs and user data are not covered under this Plan.

In short AppleCare for Mac does not cover accidental damage, loss, theft, or normal wear and tear. You must use your computer and its software as intended. If you manage to deface your computer so that it is no longer identifiable, it is also not covered. AppleCare requires you to upgrade to the latest version of the software, but does not cover “beta”, “prerelease,” or “preview” releases of that software. Finally it is your responsibility to backup and reinstall your data and system software.

So should you buy AppleCare?

It depends on what kind of person you are, how often you replace your computer, and the price of the individual plan.

Are you a technically independent person, who always turns to an online forum before picking up the phone to ask a computer question? If the answer is yes, half of AppleCare's value goes straight out the window.

However, even if you are a technically savvy individual, no online forum, pirated repair manual, or iFixit set of screw drivers will help you repair your computer if you don't have the parts.

Today computers aren't fixed with soldering irons and bails of wire. When computers fail, their faulty parts need to be replaced. And with Apple's computers becoming smaller and lighter more functionality is riding on fewer parts. Replacement parts are even more expensive and proprietary than ever before.

You can't get replacement parts by walking into an Apple Store, or ordering them on Amazon. You have to go to an Apple Authorized Service Provider, who will charge you labor to install them. AppleCare is the only affordable option to get genuine Apple replacement parts.

When to always buy AppleCare

  • If you are purchasing a new Mac with a compatible Apple-branded display, or have a lot of eligible Apple accessories. AppleCare will cover them.
  • If you can get the educational discount. AppleCare can be discounted by over $100 if you work at or are attending an educational institution.
  • If you live far away from an Apple Store and plan on asking a lot of technical support questions after the first 90 days.
  • If you are buying a MacBook, and battery life is important to you. AppleCare now covers MacBook batteries that retain less than 80-percent of their original capacity within the first three years.

When to never buy AppleCare

  • If you are prone to accidents or theft. AppleCare does not cover loss or damage.
  • If you have a credit card insurance plan that doubles the manufacture's warranty of electronic goods like computers.
  • If plan on replacing your computer once a year. You can buy AppleCare anytime within the first year.

What about iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple Watch, and the Apple TV?

AppleCare for these devices only covers your purchase for an additional year. It does not cover accidental damage without additional cost, and does not cover theft. If you get a new device every year, do not buy AppleCare. And even if you don't, seek out alternative insurance programs that cover theft and accidental damage.