Should you buy the Applecare Protection Plan: A Guide.
The APP (Applecare Protection Plan) is somewhat of an extended warranty for Apple products. While it doesn’t cover water damage, theft, or blatant mishandling/misuse of the product, it can cover repairs that can be quite costly. Depending on the device you bought from Apple and a few other criteria will help determine whether APP is worth it for you.
If you bought a Macbook laptop; specifically any of the Macbook Pro line of laptops you should buy the APP without a second thought. With laptops that can go over $2400 in price, $350 is a small price to pay for 3 years of protection, unlimited phone support, and free repairs.
The base line Macbook (the “under” $1000 one) is a tricky one to decide on for coverage. On one hand this device’s APP costs around $250 or 25% of the sticker price. However if you are a student or educator you get an education discount shaving nearly $100 dollars off the price of the APP and $50 or so off the actual laptop. So if you are a student or educator it is worth it and most other Macbook users will benefit from it since like the Macbook Pros, this model is a portable computer.
The Mac Pros and iMacs (both desktop computers) buyers have more flexibility in deciding whether or not to purchase the APP. Since these computers tend to be set in one location such as on a desk they are subject to far less impacts, movement, and temperature conditions. Laptops move around often, desktops don’t.
Another thing to consider with the desktops vs the laptops is that the technology inside a small laptop costs more to produce and more to repair due to specially made laptop sized parts.
iPods are yet another story. The iPod shuffles aren’t worth buying the APP for as the cost to replace them is nearly the cost of the APP. The iPod Classics and iPod Touches can be placed under the protection plan but a lot of the common problems with these devices can be fixed with some internet searching, common tools, and a parts kit. This one comes down to personal preference.
The iPhone owners should strongly consider the Applecare plan because like laptops they have many small and expensive components inside and travel around even more than laptops.
Devices such as Apple TV and LCD screens can be covered under the same APP serial number as a computer from Apple as long as all items and the plan are purchased at the same time. This makes the APP a great deal if you buy a large screen, backup drive, and your Mac at the same time.
The considerations and details:
Applecare covers repairs and defects for up to 3 years from the purchase date depending on the item. Macs are covered the longest with iPods and iPhones having shorter time periods.
The reason that the laptops are important to cover under APP is because of the cost of repairs. A logic board replacement or screen replacement could end up costing close to $1,000 if you don’t have the protection plan. Plus Apple has been known to simply give a customer a brand new similar spec model of their Mac after multiple major repairs. However this has never been confirmed by Apple, rather reported by users on the internet.
Devices such as the iPods are often fixable at home or end up being replaced by a newer model before they need servicing, making the APP somewhat of a hit or miss purchase.
An important consideration is that Apple computers and laptops are covered for up to 1 year from the purchase date automatically; many problems arise within the first year meaning you are already covered. If you do decide to purchase APP to add an extra 2 years for your Mac computer you must purchase it and register it within 1 year of the purchase date.
Overall the choice to get the Applecare Protection Plan is a personal one. Some might call it risk tolerance. While replacing a broken iPod may only set you back one or two hundred dollars replacing a Macbook Pro can cost you upwards of $2300. The chances of something major going wrong with your computer within the first 3 years of ownership can vary from user to user and essentially buying APP is a way of protecting yourself against the chance of a costly repair or replacement.
If you are someone who calls tech support a lot or needs to ask questions about Apple software or your computer itself, the APP also gives you up to 3 years worth of unlimited phone support; you get 90 days complimentary after which point you must pay for additional calls. So if you think you’ll have questions about using iPhoto or about how to sync your iPods to your Macbook, the tech support is an added value.
To break it down by product and overall value to aid your decision:
iPod shuffle – Not worth it for APP.
iPod Classic/iPod Touch – Not worth it for APP (although education discount users get a big discount)
iPhone – Usually worth it as users tend to keep phones an average of 2 years. This is up to personal preference though.
iPad – Worth it because the iPad can cost upwards of $900 and has components such as a touch screen that can cost a lot to repair.
iMac or Mac Pro – Worth it for the iMac as it is hard to service yourself, Mac Pro is easier to repair and upgrade on your own. Comes down to personal preference.
Macbook – Worth it if you have an education discount, otherwise APP is 25% of the laptop’s sticker price. If nothing happens to laptop within first year you’ll likely not need the APP.
Macbook Pro – Worth every penny as these models run anywhere from $1200 to $2300 dollars and tend to be moved around a lot. Especially a good buy if you also have the education discount, Apple shaves nearly $100 off the APP price.
Macbook or Mac with purchase of other hardware – A good value if you buy a computer and an LCD screen or Apple TV as one APP purchase covers all of these items if purchased together.
Applecare is 2 full years for iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Applecare is a full 3 years for computers, laptops, and displays. Note that Applecare does not cover liquid spills or misuse. In addition you can get the latest prices and information on Applecare at the official website below as changes to the terms and pricing may occur: