How to decide if AppleCare worth the price

Bradley Chambers for 9to5Mac:

Is AppleCare worth the price? Is AppleCare good value? These are questions I get asked a lot this time of year… I’ve never bought AppleCare on a device, and I’ve never regretted it.

Over the years, I’ve owned many Apple devices. It started with the 2004 PowerBook G4, then 2008 MacBook, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone X, multiple other Mac laptops, and numerous iPads. Personally, I’m not one to carry a lot of extra insurance. I have health insurance, car insurance, and term life insurance. I view insurance as something I need when a catastrophe happens.

Here’s why I don’t buy AppleCare: Statistically, you won’t need it. Apple only sells AppleCare because people will buy it, and it’s virtually free money for them… AppleCare is insurance. You’re betting you’ll need it, and Apple is betting you won’t.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve had every Day One flagship iPhone since iPhone arrived in 2007. We’ve never had AppleCare for any of them. We had to replace one iPhone 7 Plus for a display issue that wasn’t covered. The money spent on that device pales in comparison to what we saved by not buying AppleCard insurance.

For our portable Macs, which we keep for considerably longer (years), we do purchase AppleCare.

Only you can decide if AppleCare is worth the price for you. It depends on how you expect to treat your devices, your past history of accidents, etc. Before you buy AppleCare, though, it pays, as always, to do the math.

25 Comments

  1. Every Mac I have ever owned (since AppleCare came out) has needed, and thankfully had, AppleCare. Once it was a faulty logic board, two other Macs both had their hard drives fail after the first 12 months.

    In any case, I have always found that Apple has gone above and beyond expectations for service, whether before sale or for service.

    1. I think faulty logic board is just a general response they use when they cannot figure out what really is wrong with the computer. They said it about one of my MacBooks but it turned out to be a charging cable.

  2. When I buy a computer, I expect it to last at least five years. I buy AppleCare for laptops only. I had a PowerBook that required 4 repairs, so eventually Apple agreed to just replace the entire computer. My current 13-inch MacBook Pro is 6 years old. During it’s first 3 years of life, it needed to have the display replaced 3 times due to de-lamination of the anti-reflective coating.

    However, in the future, I plan to use my Costco Visa card to purchase Apple Products (not the silly AppleCard). Costco Visas give the buyer 2 additional years of warranty FREE. So, combined with the one-year hardware warranty that comes with the purchase of any new Macintosh, I will get 3 years of total coverage for no charge.

      1. Yes, I do know who will be able to service my Mac under my Costco extended warranty.

        I can get the Mac computer repaired by Apple Inc. under the extended warranty offered by the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi. I can take my MacBook Pro to an Apple store, have the item repaired. I will have to pay for the repair, but I can send the invoice to the CitiBank warranty processor, and they will send me a reimbursement check for my expenses.

    1. Just a friendly note: buyer beware. I bought the extra-year coverage from Costco for a new iPhone. I would never do it again. I did run into a problem – serious, but intermittent. Costco made it clear that if they could not reproduce the problem as stated during their small testing window – I just bought a second phone at full price. AppleCare+ for iPhone has always been better for me. No hassles, if you need to use it. A superior experience all-round. Apple may want your money for AppleCare, but they stand behind it fully. In my experience, Costco just wanted my money, and then did everything they could to discourage me from using the insurance.

  3. I get AppleCare on everything – it’s a cheap way to pre-pay for repairs. The products are good, construction wise, but I have had issues come up and I don’t always have the cash to replace the device, so I just smile while Apple takes care of the repairs.

    1. How often have you needed to use it though?

      How much have you paid?

      How much would those repairs have costed?

      Those are all things you need to consider with extended warranties

  4. I always buy AppleCare for my laptops, never for my iPhone or desktops. This has paid off as laptops tend to take a LOT of abuse and the AppleCare has come in handy (and easily paid for itself many times over). As for my iPhone, I insure it through my homeowners insurance and this works well too (it’s insured against damage and theft).

  5. I buy AppleCare on everything, if for no other reason than to show my support in real terms for the outstanding service I get whenever I call on the phone. I’m strong in maintaining my own Apple products, but sometimes I need the help that only Apple can provide. They are outstanding on the other end of the phone, and I recommend AppleCare to all of my friends and relatives. Period.

  6. I always get AppleCare. I’ve had Apple replace FIVE iMacs over the years. Mostly logic board issues. Electronics do fail. But, and I can’t stress this enough, what is it worth to pick up the phone and call them with ANY problem, issue or question that might arise for two or three years depending on the product?
    Try that with Microsoft or Google…

    1. On a desktop?!?!?!?!

      If Apple didn’t make unrepairable sealed iMacs with Chinese-soldered laptop components, AppleCare would not be needed. To get a properly designed desktop computer, Apple expects you to pay them at least $5k.

      Fire Timmy.

  7. I’ve owned a number of Apple computers, laptops, and one iPhone. I also worked in media for a company so became the Mac IT guy for media and graphics departments. I’ve purchased Apple Care for most my Apple products and at the company the graphics department Mac Pros all had AppleCare it definitely paid for itself especially for the Mac Pros. The all the Mac Pro had to have video cards replaced at least once including my personal one. I’ve had battery and drive issues on MacBook Pro. So to me AppleCare is worth it especially if you’re making your living with your Mac gear.

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