Should you get AppleCare+ for your student's MacBook?
Best answer: Yes, most students should get AppleCare+ to protect their MacBook. It's peace of mind in case of an accident and can last as long as their education if you choose to pay the annual fee.
What is Apple's standard warranty?
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If you want to try and make it through school without AppleCare+, Apple does offer a standard warranty on every best Mac. This is what comes with a standard-level warranty for free:
- One-year limited hardware warranty
- 90 days of free technical support
So, if you're working on a giant paper that's due and all of a sudden something isn't working right in Pages or any of your built-in software programs aren't running the way they should during the first three months of owning your MacBook, you have access to Apple support. You can call 1-800-APL-CARE and get help over the phone or contact Apple online via the Support tab or app..
Of course, if something is wrong with your MacBook itself — the battery, RAM, hard drive, keyboard, mouse, or other parts — and it's not due to accidental or intentional damage, Apple will repair or replace it up to one year after the date of purchase.
For example, if the internal hard drive just goes kaput in the first year, Apple will cover the cost to repair or replace it, and hopefully, you'll be able to recover all your school assignments. Or, in another instance, if you drop your new 15-inch MacBook Air on the ground while trying to set it up and break the screen, you're out of luck — unless you have AppleCare+.
For any student that wants to make sure their MacBook will be protected for as long as possible, AppleCare+ is the best warranty you can get. For an additional cost, you can add AppleCare+ and get additional coverage for longer. AppleCare+ for your MacBook includes:
- A limited hardware warranty that lasts as long as your AppleCare+ does.
- Apple-certified service and support coverage
- Battery service coverage
- 24/7 technical support
- Unlimited incidents of accidental damage protection (subject to a service fee of $99 for screen damage or $299 for other damage)
You'll get technical support over the phone, chat, and in-store at your local Apple retail store for three full years. If you are having software issues with any built-in Apple programs or the operating system itself, you can call 1-800-APL-CARE or contact Apple Support online for assistance.
If your hard drive borks after two and a half years, AppleCare+ has you covered. If you drop your MacBook off of your standing desk ... multiple times ... and crack the screen, Apple will repair or replace it for $99 (or up to $299, depending on the damage) each time. You will have the option to mail in or carry in your computer for repair.
AppleCare+ service fee
If you go all-in with AppleCare+, your M2 MacBook Pro or any other Mac is covered for damages caused by accidents, but there will be a fee, and a hefty one in some cases. The standard service fee for accidents is:
- $99 for screen damage
- $299 for other damage
How much does AppleCare+ cost?
For students, Apple offers AppleCare+ as an annual fee, which will give you AppleCare+ coverage until you cancel it, or a flat fee which gives you coverage for three years.
Different models cost different amounts for annual fees or three-year coverage, meaning when you're searching for the best MacBook for students, be sure you take into account the repair costs should your student ever need it.
The table below lays out the prices for each MacBook model.
|MacBook Air (M1)
|MacBook Air (M2) 13-inch
|MacBook Air (M2) 15-inch
|MacBook Pro 13‑inch
|MacBook Pro 14‑inch
|MacBook Pro 16‑inch
Obviously, the flat fee coverage for three years means you don't have to pay every year for an insurance plan, but if your college degree is over three years long (many are) the annual fee is a good way to ensure your coverage doesn't expire before you're done with your studies.
AppleCare+ vs. credit card benefits
Some credit card companies provide additional warranty protection when you make your purchase using their card. For example, American Express Gold has a decent warranty extension for up to five years in most U.S. states. Each credit card company is different and has different warranty benefits for some states.
If you like the warranty that your credit card company provides, it might be the alternative you need. Keep in mind, however, that credit card companies can't offer technical support. It's usually what MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro owners end up needing the most.
Check out your credit card company's warranty policy and make sure you fully understand its benefits before choosing it over AppleCare+.
Our best MacBook recommendations
The MacBook Air has long been a popular pick for college students. Slip this lightweight beauty into your backpack and go. It sports the M2 chip, making it the most powerful version of the MacBook Air. Of course, it only has two USB-C ports, but they did bring back MagSafe charging, so you don't have to worry about tripping over your cord during those late-night study sessions. You can still get the M1 MacBook Air if you want to save more cash, or the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air if you want a larger screen without compromising portability.
Biggest and baddest MacBook
Students can opt for the most expensive option and will get a very capable MacBook to complete their education, particularly for those pursuing creative fields where a powerful computer is a necessity. It will also likely be a great computer to start their professional life with. The M2 16-inch MacBook Pro is a stellar machine.
M2 chip in an old design
If you want power and performance but want to save a little money and space in your bag, the new M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch is a great comprise. You do have to settle for an older design with a Touch Bar and no extra ports, but it's still a very handy MacBook for students who want the Pro moniker.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
- Karen S FreemanContributor