AppleCare Protection Plan, and do you need it?

by Milind Alvares

AppleCare Protection Plan, and do you need it?

by Milind Alvares on September 22, 2008

Apple products, both software and hardware, are known for their high quality. Sure, some people end up with defective products every once in a while, which results in a lot of noise about the same on Internet forums, but generally speaking, Apple makes good quality products. This doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t fail. They are, after all, hardware products made by man (and machine).

“I thought Macs were never supposed to give problems”, is a quote I’m very familiar with. Well, let’s set the record straight—Macs do have problems, both in the hardware as well as the software. And when that happens, AppleCare kicks in. 

What is AppleCare and why should I care?
Every Mac, iPod, and iPhone comes with a one year standard warranty, commonly known as AppleCare. This includes 90 days of telephone support and a full year replacement warranty for any hardware defects. Apple offers an additional two years extended warranty for Macs, dubbed AppleCare Protection Plan (APP), which extends that to 3 years of full telephone support and hardware replacement warranty. The same policy applies for iPods and iPhones as well, except that the warranty can only be extended to a maximum of two years in their case. This is global, labour-free warranty on hardware, onsite in case of the desktops, and includes web and telephone support. APP, however, excludes any battery repairs after the complementary one year.

One good thing is that you have a full year to decide on whether or not you want to get the APP because it can be activated at any time within one year from the date of purchase. 

However, like most things Apple, APP doesn’t come cheap. And that brings up the question, should I risk it?

How often do Apple products and parts fail? It depends. Some machines will run for years without any problems whatsoever, which means that your APP will go to waste. But there are those cases, where severe problems occur, like the logic board becoming faulty, the display getting weird, or some other major system issue cropping up. The problem is that Apple overcharges for parts. You might end up paying upto Rs. 45,000 to replace the MacBook Pro display, and there is no other way to replace it, so you have to fork out that huge sum. 

However, when it comes to phone support, Apple is very generous. There are so many cases where phone support is provided not only out of the 90 days, but even after the one year warranty is up. (Although you don’t really need it, considering we’re here to answer all of your Apple related questions, but it’s nice to have the option nonetheless.)

What’s the support like?
So how good is AppleCare anyway? There is a world of a difference between Apple support, and support from companies like, for example, Dell. The staff are highly knowledgeable, and replacements are provided very quickly. In my personal experience, my hard drive within just five days of my reporting it and a SuperDrive replacement arrived 15 days after I took the machine in (this was in the Christmas season). 

Our Editor-in-chief, however, didn’t have it so quick, being that he lives in some godforsaken land (God, here, refers to Steve Jobs, and not the one up there). He did get his MacBook Pro’s display, keyboard, and a whole lot of other tit bits replaced all cause of the magic power of AppleCare. [Ed note: To be precise, my keyboard’s keys were replaced because the colour had worn off on some of them!)

Is it worth it?
Now comes the major question: should you get AppleCare? If you want worry-free use of your Mac, and don't mind spending a little extra for it, get AppleCare. If you ever have any doubt in your mind about your newly purchased Mac, you can call the toll free AppleCare hotline at 1800 425 0744 and get all your queries answered. If there is something wrong with it, you will get it fixed instantly. If there is nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about in the first place. 

When it comes to the iPod/iPhone lineup, however, my recommendation changes. Apart from the iPhone or iPod touch, having extended warranty is pointless. The nano is a very hardy product, and it’s not like Apple will replace anything which is not a manufacturing defect (like dropping it in a bucket of tomato soup). And by the time that iPod nano gives up on you, there will be a newer model you’ll be lusting after anyway. 

Here are the prices of AppleCare for each product group. It also includes support for any additional accessories purchased along with the mac. For instance, the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro include warranty for an Apple Cinema Display as well. One Time Capsule or Airport Extreme Base station is also covered.

MacBook Pro - $349 / Rs. 18200
MacBook/Air - $249 / Rs. 13,300
iMac - $169 / Rs. 9700
Mac Mini - $149 / Rs. 7700
Mac Pro - $249 / Rs. 13,000 

iPhone - $69 / Rs. 4200
iPod Touch/Classic - $59 / Rs. 3300

*The Indian prices are approximate. iPhone/iPod APP extends only upto 2 years.

Discount deals on eBay
You can, however, find APP deals on Ebay and other shopping sites (use at your own risk). If you find the Indian rates for AppleCare excessive, you can arrange to have it bought abroad, because all you require is a code printed on the inside of the box. And since you have a whole year to arrange for it, the chances are pretty high of you stumbling across a good deal. For instance, you can get a Mac Pro AppleCare code for as low as $100, which is a huge bargain over the retail price.

[Ed note: I highly recommend buying AppleCare Protection Plan if you have an Apple notebook. Highly! I cannot stress this enough. The build quality of Apple products is not what it once used to be and I have yet to come across anyone whose Apple notebook hasn’t suffered from some serious defect within the first two years of purchase. The peace of mind that AppleCare promises makes it worth the price of entry. After all, you wouldn’t think of driving that new car you just bought without any insurance, would you?]

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Mehul

If someone is purchasing AppleCare here, please dont, try to get a deal from abroad. Prices are just outright expensive here to be frank. Apart from that, i guess its better to have an extended warranty in place rather than forking out huge sums for the part damages.

I really wish, that Apple looks into the prices first, no doubt when you got a mac you CAN afford to pay em!

   

tanner

You are right about eBay. I got my MacBook app for just $150 which is great. And since you don’t pay for shipping it works out really quick. Of course only purchase from powersellers or someone with good rep.

   

Piyush

I bought APP for my Macbook yesterday only. :-)

So far I’ve got my HD replaced.. I guess that was some permission issue.. i was trying to fix it.. but screwed up.. :( i think it could have got resolved if I would have burnt the data protection soft CD proactively.. but aalas.. :D

   

Ashwin Ravindran

My Mac’s warranty expired yesterday. And I didn’t buy AppleCare Protection. Keeping my fingers crossed that nothing happens in the short-medium term.

There is a world of a difference between Apple support, and support from companies like, for example, Dell.

I don’t have nice things to say. My support guy made me wait for 90 minutes (he only specified the time to collect my Mac) and took a week to replace my SuperDrive. The reason for the delay was the spare parts come from Bangalore. Won’t they keep some spares? Also when I called them on a Monday morning, the rep said: “Sir, our guys have not yet come to office (11:30 on my watch) since they were on a weekend getaway.”

You might end up paying upto Rs. 45,000 to replace the MacBook Pro display, and there is no other way to replace it, so you have to fork out that huge sum.

Ahhh! You scared the shit out of me.

And liike Mehul said, don’t buy the plan in India. It’s expensive. Get it from Apple USA store or from eBay.

   

Dinesh

When I bought iMac a month ago, I opted to pick it up from their warehouse and that saved me nearly 5000 rs on octroi. This sum I used to by APP(adding another 4000 rs).
Very nice article. I was really confused when to activate it. I thought if I activate after three months of tele support I will get more cover period. This article explains it well.

   

Milind Alvares

Glad you liked it!

I urge everyone to give a look at Ebay. Straight out 50% less than the official prices. I wish I had read my article when I paid 9 grand for my iMac APP. Same thing available for like 4k on eBay. And with buyer protection, you have nothing to worry about these days.

   

John.B

Good writeup mate. There’s a lot of confusion about Applecare, especially among new users. A lot of the time it is the name that is confusing. While others are called “two years extended warranty”, people wonder what this Applecare thing is.

And dammit, I didn’t realise eBay was so cheap for APP :(

   

Mr Darcy

Wel i didn’t buy apple care and i wish i had. my mac book pro has been full of bugs since i got it, unfortunately i was too busy when i first got the MBP ( using the computer ) to send it back, now 1 year on i have a very expensive but never worked 100% (and now even worse ) laptop. yes apple Do make good products but they also make a few which slip through the net and end up full of problems. for peace of mind BUY apple care , ( or a cheaper probably not as sexy looking but overall better PC from someone else. )

   

Eliptical, Torres

i recently bought a macbook pro. and fortunately i bought APP, because with in three months my entire system kept glitching on and off on me. it was so simple, taking it to a apple retailer they will either fix it for you or get you a new system all together(like in my case). So if you are undecided i highly recomened it. for such and expensive piece of hardware a few extra hundred bucks makes a world of difference in case your system does bite the dust.

   

Miriam

I NEED HELP. i bought the apple protection plan for my ipod but my warenty is expired . can i still registrate it?

   

Milind Alvares

@Miriam: Unless you know the people at your Apple Store, I don’t think you can do it after the warranty has expired. Although, how long has the iPod been expired? If it’s more than two weeks then I don’t think it will be possible.

   

Sanket

My Headphone jack is messed up !!! Need help !!
Actually what exactly happened is, I was playing music on my speakers and when I took the audio in pin out of my mac, by accident the front part of that pin got stuck in my mac headphone inlet. I went to Apple store n those fuckers are now charging me 800 $ n they say u have the replace that specific section of ur mac and this accidental is neither covered in warranty nor with APP. My mac is working but i m not able to listen ane kind of music fron it …….. guys if aneone hav any kind of suggestion plz help me out ……

   

Armitage

You gloss right over the iPhone and only really focus on Macs. DAMN YOU GOGGLE, give me relevant results!

   

Karan

I purchased my Iphone 3Gs from Australia but i didnt buy a care package from there since it was limited to Auz only. Can i buy a care package from the US and will it be honored in India??? I dont think Apple India has a care package for the 3Gs yet. I went to an apple store and they didnt have one.

   

carra

i just got an iphone? just looking for recommendation if i should purchase an apple care for it? is it worth it?

   

Vijay

I have a MBP 15.4 refurbished which I purchased from US online Apple Store in mid August 2009.
Planning to get a APP for it, which costs 18,300/- here in iStore.
Question is, if i get a cheaper option in Ebay, should I go for it? Will it be problematic? Dont want to spend money and find out what I have brought from ebay is not valid.
Any help in this regard is greatly appreciated.
Thanx
Vijay

   

Milind

@Vijay: For most part, I’ve only heard good things about APP from eBay. I myself have bought from eBay (twice) and both times it worked flawlessly. At the end of the day, it depends on how much you trust the eBay system. It’s possible to get a bad deal, but the risk is worth taking.

   

Bob

so this is basically warranty right? b/c i bought some best buy warranty and they keep sending me new ipod touches after mine breaks until my warranty is over. is this the same or is it just a 1 time use. ex: i break my ipod touch, use APP and if i break it again i cant use APP even though my 2 years isnt up yet

   

imthewritegirl

Apple is no different from PC. The Protection Care Plan is a joke! BEWARE!

I bought my first MacBook (the first generation Air) from Apple two and half years ago and have had nothing but trouble. After the first year, the Air had to go in for a full logic board replacement (despite the fact the the computer was noted by Apple Store reps as “fine” and had no water damage, had not been dropped and did not even have one scratch. After about two years, the Air had to go in for another major repair and the second logic board had to be replaced along with the top cover, display and eight other repairs. Less than four months after that it is now at an “authorized Mac retailer” (Core Mac in Rochester, New York which resembles a dirty, abandoned building) for a complete hard drive replacement. In the meantime, Apple just keeps sending me in for repairs rather than admitting that I purchased a damaged machine or “bad Apple” and giving me a replacement. I have lost critical data from the latest malfunction and have not had a working computer for almost one week. This is my first Mac and I am extremely discouraged. Basically they do not stand up for their products and throw up their hands (same as the other less expensive PC manufacturers) when it really comes time to help. Do not waste your money buying either a MacBook or the costly Apple Care Protection Plan unless you have the time and gas to schlep it from retailer to authorized retailer, trying to get it repaired. It is impossible to get a replacement for bad equipment and this part of the Plan is a complete fraud. SAVE YOUR MONEY AND BEWARE!

   

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