Apple Care, is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by linbash, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. linbash macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2007

    I'm about to purchase a Macbook Pro, based on personal experiences would you think it is worth paying the extra hundreds for Apple Care? I personally dont think that I'll be needing someone on the other end of the line to help me with using it.

    This will be my first Mac so I'm not really aware of any issues that might come up with the computer. For instance I know that with some warranties for other products you still have to pay some money for repairs, is that the case with Apple Care or is it entirely covered?

    Thanks a lot in advance for your feedback.
  2. 119576 Guest


    Aug 6, 2007
    Buy it off eBay. I think it's completely covered for repairs and replacements (under the terms of the contract), but I've not had to use mine yet.

    I'd definately say it's worth buying for peace of mind though.
  3. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    It won't cover accidental/intentional damage. But you'll find that a lot of people here recommend it for laptops...repairs on laptops are expensive and many of them would be difficult if you wanted to attempt to do them yourself.

    If it's a covered repair, you won't have to pay anything.

    Also note that you have up to one year in which to purchase and activate AppleCare on a new machine. So feel free to go ahead and buy the machine and wait on the AppleCare decision until later.
  4. maestrokev macrumors 6502a


    Apr 23, 2007
    That's my thought too, buying off eBay is much cheaper. I have it for both of my laptops but not for my iMac.
  5. richardson.hila macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2007
    For a MacBookPro i would definitely recommend it. As previously mentioned laptops and iMacs are extremely difficult to repair, and a lot more pricier than the general desktop, because all their main parts are soldered to the motherboard. Problems with the screen inverter and over-heating are common with the MBP, so i'd definitely get it if i were you, it's money well spent if anything bad does happen, and if it doesn't then it's better to be safe than sorry. Just bare in mind that you only have to purchase the AppleCare within the first/only year of your warranty, not after the year is up, so anytime before then is good :)
  6. Shadow macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Keele, United Kingdom
    For me, AppleCare has paid for itself about 4.5 times over, so yeah, its a Very Good Thing™.
  7. CRAZYBUBBA macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2007
    Undoubtedly, like said before buy it from ebay or an authorized retailer it will be cheaper that way. You never want to put yourself in a vulnerable position when you depend on your electronics for school/work.
  8. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    So do you guys recommend buying it towards the end of the 12 month warranty so it's an additional 3 yrs? I most likely won't need the phone support after 3 months. I only want it for hardware failure or problems.

    And are ebay retailers reliable on this stuff and apple recognizes the purchase as legit?

    what is the cheapest out there?

  9. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    In regards to laptops and computers with integrated items, absolutely.
    I wish I had Apple laptop parts and the tools to replace them just sitting around my house. If you can afford the cost of the LCD if it should go bad within 3 years (LCD's are pretty pricey) plus the labor then I say don't get it.
    Also the cost of the logic board should it for some unseen chance decide to blow (another expensive item) plus the labor to replace it.

    All the more reason to get it. I normally do not get extended warranties but laptops are one major exception regardless of manufacturer.
    Provided it's not a user created issue (ie., you dropped your mbp from 2 stories or drop kicked it) they cover everything for 3 years.

    Look at it this way. Go search on eBay for the parts for the MBP then imagine any one of those going bad. You'll see how much MORE you'll be saving IF one does go bad. If you can live with not buying it then that's great. Soon as something goes wrong and you have to pay for one of those expensive parts, be sure to hit the "I should have had a V8" button on your forehead.
  10. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    It's more than paid for itself on my iMac G5 -- four logic boards and a power supply or two would have cost a lot more than the AppleCare.

    And for that matter, I had to get a logic board for my iBook. One logic board or comparably expensive repair is all it takes to make AppleCare worthwhile.
  11. thevibesman macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2007
    First of all. YES GET APPLECARE! (sorry for the caps, but most imporant computer advice I ever give people). Regardless of how great your Mac is, component failure is a reality for any computer. It can suck emotionally and be tough on the wallet, and AppleCare can be there to save the day (has for me many times). While some of my computers have never needed it, I would have been screwed without AppleCare on others. I buy it for every new Mac I get and reccomend it every time I hear a friend got a Mac.

    Now for the important info:

    I am pretty sure that regardless of when you sign up for AppleCare, it is 3 years of extended software and hardware support since the date your purchased the computer.

    This next thing I bring up could have changed since I ran into it four or five years ago, but I do believe you have the first 90DAYS since purchase to sign up for AppleCare, not the first year. This may have changed without me noticing since for the past few years I have purchased AppleCare at the same time as the computer. Like I said, I could be wrong on this, but I don't think it is worth waiting a year to find out you can't sign up unless you call Apple and they themselves tell you you have a year.

    Another reason to get AppleCare as soon as possible vs. waiting as long as you can is that when registering AppleCare, Apple uses your serial number to see how long you have had the computer. The only thing Apple really knows from your serial number is when they shipped the computer, not necissarily when you bought it from an authorized retailer. This happened to me ONCE, where a MacMini was sitting in MacMall's inventory for more than 90 days and so Apple showed me as out of time to sign up for AppleCare. Since I just purchased the computer that week, it was easy to fix, I just had to fax Apple a copy of my invoice for the MacMini. This is not an arguement for buying your computer straight from Apple, but why you should register AppleCare ASAP.

    Hope that helps.
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I have never purchased AppleCare, which is a good thing, because in over 20 years of buying Macs, I wouldn't have used it even once. Every repair I've ever needed was covered under the included one-year warranty. So I would have spent all that money for nothing. The fact is, extended warranties are notorious rip-offs. You could look it up.

    Note, the only reason Consumer Reports recommends AppleCare is because it comes with technical support. If you don't need that, then you are making what they call "a sucker's bet."
  13. iJordo macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2007
    Don't listen to someone just because they have had THEIR computers for 20 years and didnt need it.... Almost everyone could use applecare, it is a great investment and is WELL worth the money you spend, it really does keep you from worry when problems occur, I would almost suggest trying Pro Care....its an addiction and its 100 a year, but they treat you like royalty, they repaired my computer in 2 hours and then called me to pick it up.... Good luck
  14. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    It's a legit question, but virtually impossible to answer in a one size fits all formula. It's worth it, if you need it. Will you need it?

    Of the four family machines we have, I'm the only one with AppleCare which expires next year. I've had to use it once which resulted in a free Tiger upgrade since I sent mine in with Panther, and it came out and back with 10.4.6 so, in my context, it's been worth it.

    Our other machines vary from two G4 iBooks to a new, black MB for our son. His is still under the one year. The other two are not now under any warranty. So, we role the dice. Would we pay ~US$1300 to cover four boxes? Nope. The words of Clint Eastwood (aka Dirty Harry) come to mind. "Do you feel lucky, ****? Well, do ya?" :D
  15. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    Well, in 20 years of using Macs, I've NEVER had a failure under the period that would be covered by Applecare, so it would have been a complete waste of money for me (rather a lot of money given the number of Macs I've owned).

    If you look at it statistically, yes, sometimes it's going to be a big saving when something goes wrong, but in the long term (i.e. over several computers and a number of years) it is almost certainly going to cost you several times what you gain.

    This is a fact of life for all electronics retailers and the reason why they sell extended guarantees - they make far more on the sale of the guarantee than they do on the original hardware.
  16. kylep6190 macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2007
    It really all depends on the person. I personally am going to be a college student next year and am purchasing my first Macbook. AppleCare only cost $185 with the student discount, so it wasn't even a question for me. My brother has a PC laptop and he decided to get the warranty for it, and exactly 2 years after he bought it it died so TigerDirect gave him a full store credit for what he paid for it 2 years ago. Although I think that the standard $250 for AppleCare for a macbook is a little pricey, but check on Amazon as you can get AppleCare for a little under $200. For me, $185 for the peace of mind knowing I am covered for the next 3 years is well worth it.
  17. kjr39 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    I never buy insurance for stuff like electronics. Statistically, you are far better off not doing it.

    I'm on my fifth mac and would not have received the benefit of getting AppleCare on any of them...

    Companies love to push these on you because they are a great revenue stream. Apple is a public company so they have to disclose how much they make on AppleCare. I'm too lazy to look, but search their 10q to see how much $ they make in a year off of AppleCare. I imagine that it's not a little amount.

    I will say that after reading all of these opinions on insurance, I am really in the wrong business...

    In fact, off all of the electronics that I have purchased, the only things that has gone wrong in a 3 year period is a lost a HDD on a Windows computer, a $30 DVD player crapped on me after about 2 years of daily use, and my 1st Gen Nano puked after 8 months of use...
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    No kidding. Discussions on AppleCare pop up here regularly, and without fail, any number of people argue that it's an absolute "must have" and by all means, don't even listen to the other side of the story.

    I already spend about $10,000 a year on insurance, much of it on coverage I wish I was not forced to carry. Why I'd volunteer to buy even more, I have no idea.
  19. blipstutter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2007
    I'm not somebody who buys insurance on electronics, and I used to think Applecare was a bit of a scam. I didn't buy it for an old G4 desktop that's become a workhorse after something like 8 years or so. It was a replacement for an absolute lemon, and I had a horrible time with Apple to get them to replace it because I was one week out of my 14 day period, despite calling about the problems the first day I got it. Needless to say, once I got my replacement after going to Apple's legal dept. I wasn't about to spend more money on a so called replacement warranty.

    Year later I bought an Ibook, and read all the suggestions that Mac Laptops need Applecare. Knowing what I knew about Apple's quality control I listened and bought it off Ebay.

    Sure enough, about 14 months into owning my perfect Ibook, I had some random shut down/memory issues. The hardware slowly broke down another year later. It took some arguing with Apple, and it wasn't fun.... but long story short, after owning my computer for nearly 3 years (not all of which it was functioning, but still...) they replaced it with a brand new and superior current model. They shipped overnight too. They're even offering to credit me the difference in the Applecare plan. That's pretty amazing. Worth every penny, as well as peace of mind.
  20. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Correct. Regardless of when you purchase and activate AppleCare on the machine (as long as it's within the first year), it extends the warranty to three years from the initial date of purchase of the machine. So delaying the AppleCare purchase doesn't give you any extra coverage. But it does have a couple of advantages: 1) It puts off that expense...good if money's tight; and 2) It allows you to get a feel for how your machine is doing. If it's already been in the shop for a persistent issue, it might be a good idea to grab AppleCare to make sure you continue to be covered. Technically, an unresolved warranty issue should be covered until resolution even if it extends beyond the warranty expiration date, but I'd still want to be protected on a machine that has had some problems.

    This is (currently) incorrect. For as long as I've been using AppleCare, you've had one year from the machine purchase date in which to purchase and activate AppleCare on the machine. The one catch is that while the standard hardware warranty runs for one year, the included phone technical support only runs for 90 days. So if you have a problem with your machine between 90 and 365 days and you call Apple about it, they'll take your credit card info. If the issue turns out to be a warranty hardware problem, you're fine and everything is covered. If the problem turns out to be something else, they'll charge you for the call...something tells me it's $35, but I could be wrong.

    One solution to this is that if your machine develops a problem during that window between 90 and 365 days, you can quickly run out and buy AppleCare at that time. Register it to the machine, and you're good to's all covered.

    And for anecdotal information on my experiences: My AppleCare-covered PowerBook's keyboard went dodgy at the 16-month mark. Replaced by Apple...charge would have been $150. They also replaced my top case, which had seen some of the famous aluminum pitting...charge would have been around $80 I believe. I got AppleCare through the EDU store, which was a bit cheaper back then than it is today, so I'm slightly ahead.
  21. tingly macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2005
    From what I've seen over the years, generally speaking, AppleCare wasn't worth the roll of the dice (like most extended warranties) unless you needed tech support or bought during the bad capacitor plague. Only shoddy products put the odds in your favor for extended warranties. You'll always find people saying how awesome they are, but that is more the exception than the rule. My personal experience is I've had about $250 in repairs over 25 years, $50 was from me being a klutz, but that's all desktops, no laptops. Heh, one time I bought a video game in Best Buy for $6.99 and the cashier offered a $5 extended warranty. I started laughing and shook my head no.
  22. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    #22 about we look at things from a statistical perspective instead of an emotionally charged one?;)

    Fact: A macbook pro costs around $2000 +tax for the base model.

    Fact: Applecare on a macbook pro is $350 from Apple, and less if you buy via ebay. I'm going to be simplistic about it and assume $350.

    Fact: Hardware that is likely to fail is most likely to fail within the first year of a product's lifespan.

    Fact: Applecare is a product/service like any other; its end goal is to make money for Apple.

    Fact: Apple has a profit margin of around 50% on Applecare. The hardware margins are around 30%.

    Fact: Most credit card companies offer free extended warranties (mine does; one extra year at no cost to me-plus I get 2% cash back on my purchase ;)).

    Now, if we examine all of these facts objectively, we see that Apple sells Applecare on mbps for $350, with a profit of around $175 (50%). This is after having retail employees sell it to you, after creating the system which maintains records, and after the legal expenses involved (probably the highest cost of production).

    With these facts alone, we can surmise that you are statistically only likely to need a total of $175 worth of coverage on your mbp, for which you must pay $350. Sounds like a bad deal to me so far.

    Now, we all know how insurance works, so I'm not going to bother with actuarial science here (especially with the way I suck at math :p).

    The odds of your particular mbp needing extra work between months 13 and 36 are incredibly low. The fact is that because Apple only pays out $175/mbp on average, the odds of your particular notebook needing an expensive repair (or an entirely new machine) are low. If we do some quick math, we find that $175/$2000=8.75%. In other words, the odds of your notebook needing a complete replacement or extensive repairs is less than 9% (less when we consider the others administrative costs of Applecare).

    So, is it worth it? I'd say it isn't. With the free year of extended coverage I get, my odds of being covered are quite good. I feel no need to shell out an additional $350 of "insurance" that is statistically unlikely to help me.
  23. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    But as you allude to, the whole point of insurance to protect against the statistically unlikely events. ;)

    I'd say I'm a weak proponent of AppleCare, but it's a complicated decision. Yes, the point of it is to make Apple money, so statistically speaking, buying it will be a bad deal on average. So it's really up to the individual to assess their own tolerance for risk and decide accordingly. We can't possibly know all the details about an individual's situation and thus we can't really provide the "correct" advice for a given person.
  24. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Haha, true enough. But as MasterCard has so graciously offered to cover my bum for an extra 12 months, I feel no need to go around giving money to Apple. :D

    I think you really hit a true note here. If you're in a position where you don't foresee being able to pay for a repair that has an 8.75% chance of happening, Applecare might be a good idea for you. However, there are better insurance policies out there, especially for students. Many of them cover accidental damage and are priced better.
  25. drake macrumors 6502a


    Jul 5, 2005
    No. Macs have excellent resale value. Keep it for a year, sell it, buy another. Then you have another year's warranty, brand new computer with new technology.

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