Is AppleCare worth it?

Anyone who has ever bought an Apple product has been confronted with the choice of whether to pay for AppleCare for their Mac or other devices. It’s a choice that may seem simple — after all, Apple products last forever, right? So, why pay for a service that is designed to take care of yours if it fails? Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. There are all sorts of reasons why AppleCare may be a good investment. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what AppleCare is and who might benefit from it.

What is AppleCare?

AppleCare is an extended warranty plan for Apple devices. It now comes in two different versions that offer several different levels of service:

  • AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss
  • AppleCare+ for iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.

Some plans are only available for specific devices, so the level of care you buy is not only dependent on the level of service you want but also on the device you have. In addition, if you want to cover multiple devices, say an iPhone, iPad, and a Mac, you will need a different plan for each. AppleCare is sold on a per–device basis.

Did you know?

Every Mac comes with a limited warranty — 1 year of hardware repair coverage — and 90 days of complimentary technical support.

What does AppleCare cover?

The answer to that question is dependent on the level of AppleCare you buy. There are several levels available, though only two for the Mac.

What is AppleCare+?

AppleCare+ covers iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple Display, HomePod, Display, Apple TV, iPod, and Beat by Dre. AppleCare+ covers accidental damage. So, if you drop your MacBook Pro or it’s damaged in transit, you can get it repaired under AppleCare+, though you will have to cover a service fee. Coverage lasts for either 1 or 3 years from the date you purchase AppleCare+, and you can claim for unlimited incidents of accidental damage. You also get phone and chat support. Coverage includes the power adapter, and if your battery drops below 80% of its maximum capacity during the period, Apple will service that, too.

How much is AppleCare?

The cost of AppleCare+ is dependent on the Mac you want to cover:

  • Mac mini: $34.99 annually or $99 for 3 years
  • iMac: $59.99 annually or  $169 for 3 years
  • Mac Pro: $109.99 annually or  $299 for 3 years
  • Mac Studio: $59.99 annually or $169 for 3 years
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro: $89.99 annually or $249 for 3 years
  • 14-inch MacBook Pro: $99.99 annually or  $279 for 3 years
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro: $149.99 annually or $399 for 3 years
  • MacBook Air (M1): $69.99 annually or $19 for 3 years
  • MacBook Air (M2): $79.99 annually or $229 for 3 years

There is a service fee to pay for damage depending on the type of damage:

  • $99 plus tax for the screen or external enclosure
  • $299 plus tax for other types of damage

You can pay the AppleCare+ cost upfront in one lump sum, or you can pay in monthly installments over the 24-month period. If you choose to pay in installments, you will end up paying more in total.

What if I didn’t buy a new Mac from Apple

The easiest and most common way to buy AppleCare+ is to buy it when you buy your Mac. However, that’s not the only way. You can buy AppleCare+ up to 60 days after you buy a new Mac. You can also buy it for refurbished Macs you buy from Apple and for Macs bought from third-party resellers. If you buy AppleCare+ after you’ve bought your Mac, you will need to complete a diagnostic test so that Apple knows what condition your Mac is in.

What if I sell my Mac?

AppleCare+ is transferable, so if you sell your Mac before the payment period is finished, the AppleCare+ plan goes with it. You will need to hand over the original receipt for your Mac, as well as the AppleCare+ paperwork, to the buyer. And you’ll need to tell Apple about the transfer of ownership.

How do I make a claim?

The simplest way to book a repair under AppleCare+ is to do it via Apple’s website. You will then be booked in at a Genius Bar if you live near an Apple retail store. If you don’t, you will be given other options, including being sent packaging, so you can send your Mac to Apple, using an authorized service center, or, in some cases, an onsite repair.

What is AppleCare+ Loss and Theft?

This is the highest level of AppleCare. It covers your device for everything that’s covered by AppleCare+ but also includes cover for when the device is stolen or lost. However, it is no longer available for Mac. 

Are there alternatives to AppleCare?

Yes! Many resellers offer extended warranties when you buy a Mac, and some provide it free as an incentive to buy from them. And your home insurance may also cover your MacBook for loss or theft when you take it out of your home. If not, you can probably add that to your policy. Many home insurance policies also cover accidental damage.

When it comes to repairing faulty parts, even if your Mac is out of warranty, you may be able to persuade Apple to repair it for nothing if you can show that the part failed within a short period of time after the warranty expired. Different territories have different rules covering the sale of goods, but many include an expectation that expensive products like Macs work for significantly longer than their one-year warranty period.

Tip: try fixing your Mac on your own

CleanMyMac X by MacPaw is an app often recommended on Mac forums. It won’t help you with broken hardware or damaged cables, but it may bring to life an unusable Mac. We mean a Mac that’s dead slow and overridden by junk.

You can fix these things with CleanMyMac X:

  • Delete junk on your startup drive.
  • Disable memory-heavy applications.
  • Optimize Mac by running Maintenance Scripts.

In total, there are 49 tools to do all kinds of MacBook optimizations. Check out the free version of this app — a download directly from the developer site.

Maintenance Scripts in CleanMyMac X

It’s important to bear in mind that while AppleCare+ covers you for hardware failure and accidental damage, it’s no help if your Mac runs into software problems or starts to run slowly. So, even if you do invest in AppleCare, it’s worth carrying out regular maintenance on your Mac to keep it running smoothly. This includes clearing out junk and running maintenance scripts. CleanMyMac X makes it very easy to do that.

Is AppleCare worth it for my Mac?

This is a difficult question, and the answer depends on several factors:

  • What kind of Mac you have.
  • How often you travel with your Mac.
  • Whether your Mac is critical for your work.
  • Your home insurance.
  • Your attitude to risk.

Is AppleCare worth it? The results of a poll on Reddit.

As you can see, there is no obvious verdict.

Things to consider about AppleCare+

  • 3 years of warranty vs. regular annual payment
  • The average life of a MBP is 8 years, but your battery may die earlier
  • AppleCare gives your peace of mind

Portable Macs are more likely to get damaged than those that sit on a desktop all the time. MacBooks that spend a lot of time in a bag being carried around are more likely to be damaged than those that are only taken out of the home or office occasionally. And getting your Mac repaired quickly is more important if you use it to make a living than if it’s mostly used for entertainment.

Aside from those factors, we all know that Macs run for years without a problem. They are well-built, brilliantly designed, and the parts they use are the best on the market. It’s rare that a part of a Mac fails during its lifetime. It’s also important to remember that AppleCare+ only covers you for 3 years from the date of purchase. And those 3 are the years when your Mac is least likely to run into problems. So, if you have a desktop Mac that you use mostly for recreation, then you might decide that AppleCare+ isn’t worth the cost.

On the other hand, if you have a MacBook Pro that you use every day for work and travel with regularly, then having insurance against accidental damage or something failing may well be worth it. Most of us, of course, are somewhere between those two use cases, and so the decision is more difficult. In the end, only you can make the decision about the peace of mind of knowing that if your Mac fails or is accidentally damaged, it won’t cost you much to have it repaired.

AppleCare is an extended warranty program for Apple devices, including the Mac. There are two choices for Mac users, annual payment and 3-year plan. Whether either of them is worth it for you is something you need to decide for yourself, but the advice above will hopefully help make that decision easier. Whatever you decide, a tool like CleanMyMac X can help keep your Mac running smoothly for years to come.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.