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. I used to buy AppleCare for my Macs because I also got 3 years of phone support. This was excellent because Apple could help me with quite some complicated issues and I often ended up at the highest level of support. I recently bought a new MacBook Pro and didn’t buy AppleCare because I find it now totally overpriced. As I found out calling for a problem with my Mac, phone support is now free and not part of AppleCare anymore. I also noticed that the quality of support has gone way down. For a certain problem I had, the first supporter simply hung up, the second one had no clue what I was talking about, the third one not much more either, the fourth one gave me a suggestion which later turned out not to be helpful and the fifth one finally understood the problem and new about the solution. When I noticed that the person was not skilled enough, I asked to transfer me to an expert. The reply was that this was already the highest level of support… – How did this happen? Did Apple let go of Apple savvy supporters? That phone support is free now, is great. But please have experts available for more complicated issues.

  2. I have always purchased Apple Care on every Apple product I have owned—7 iPhones, 3 iPads, 2 iPad Pros, 2 MacBook Pros, 1 iMac, 2 Apple Watch Editions, 1 Mac Pro, 2 Mac Book Airs, and 4 iPods. I can’t recall if I could purchase the Apple Care on the iPods or not, but if I could, then I did. I have never regretted it. In all cases except for the iPods, all have had to be exchanged at least once and several iPhones three times. The 1st Gen iPad Pro was replaced three times, the last being one week before the AC plan expired. I also do it for the outstanding phone support because I come up with questions that even the Senior Advisors can’t initially answer, but together we work it out together.

  3. Just bought a new 2018 Air from Best Buy for 850. Is paying 31% of the cost of laptop worth it for Applecare coverage? The fans kick in much more than on my older Air (non retina) and I’m concerned. I run an old TV tuner app that hasn’t been updated in years called EyeTV. Haven’t look at processing tasks just yet though even full screen YouTube can kick in the fans a bit. Just bought a cooling pad.

  4. True story; funny or maybe tragically funny; In the late 70’s and early 80’s I worked for a very well-know German car manufacturer as the Asst. Customer Relations for the Western US Region. I can almost remember it word for word. He said that he was in the process of buying one of our new cars from a dealer and, since if a problem is reported within the warranty that it will be covered after the warranty, no problem from our point of view. But here is where it gets funny or maybe tragically funny. He proceeded to put us on notice with a list over a hundred potential things that COULD happen, therefore, he expected coverage indefinitely!

    He then told us that he had sent the same letter to Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Volvo. Hopefully he never bought any of the cars.

    This, I swear on my mothers grave, was not a made up story. It happened. The fun part is that it came on an attorney’s letterhead. My guess is that he never became not a successful attorney, if he actually was one.

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