If you recently bought a new MacBook Pro, you might wonder whether you should pay extra for AppleCare+ or not. This guide will help you decide by telling you more about AppleCare Protection Plan and AppleCare+. We will also go over the cost and why you might consider spending extra for AppleCare+ coverage.
Beware of low MacBook repairability
Notebooks are getting ever thinner, and to make this happen, something had to eventually give in, like repairability. If you didn’t know, repairability isn’t high on Apple’s priority list.
As per iFixit, the newest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max scores a 4 out of 10 in repairability (with 10 being the easiest to repair). For the previous-generation M1 MacBook, iFixit says, “they are less accessible for upgrades and repairs, and honestly they are going to be very difficult to repair at all outside of Apple’s network.” Earlier, MacBook Pros have been worse, getting 1 and 2 out of 10 on the repairability score!
In these modern MacBooks, nearly everything is soldered to the logic board. If your SSD breaks, you’ll need to replace the whole logic board. If the CPU fails, a logic board replacement is inevitable. That gorgeous Retina display with True Tone technology? You won’t be able to service it yourself because it’s bonded into the lid of the machine.
You get the idea! DIY repairs of MacBook Pros are virtually impossible. Should the logic board or the keyboard itself bite the dust, you’re looking at one expensive repair.
All Apple products, including MacBook Pro, come with one-year hardware repair coverage. To extend your coverage further, you can purchase two types of extended warranty protection for your notebook:
- AppleCare Protection Plan
AppleCare Protection Plan
AppleCare Protection Plan extends the 1-year warranty for Mac computers to three years. It can be purchased at any time within the first year from the date of Mac’s purchase. This service is not available everywhere. An Apple Support representative said this when I asked for a support page giving more info about AppleCare Protection Plan:
“I would love to send you a link for the AppleCare Protection Plan, and in fact, I was trying to find it. However, this is a limited service (not available for all countries or regions), so this information is not public on our websites for now. We apologize for this. For now, our websites are offering information for AppleCare+.”
AppleCare+ gets you three years of hardware repair coverage for your Mac and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage every 12 months, each subject to a service fee.
The cost of AppleCare+ for MacBook Pro with Apple silicon (M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max) is:
- MacBook Pro (13-inch): $249
- MacBook Pro (14-inch): $279
- MacBook Pro (16-inch): $399
You can add AppleCare+ to your cart during the checkout process when you purchase your new MacBook. Or, you can buy AppleCare+ later within 60 days of your purchase. For that:
- Click on your Mac > About This Mac > Support
- Go to mysupport.apple.com/add-coverage
- Visit an Apple Store with your Mac
- Or call Apple at 800-275-2273
AppleCare Protection Plan vs. AppleCare+
AppleCare+ for the MacBook Pro family gets you three years of hardware repair coverage like the standard AppleCare Protection Plan and it also adds two incidents of accidental damage coverage, every 12 months, each subject to a service fee. These service fees are:
- Screen damage: $99
- External enclosure damage: $99
- Any other damage: $299
Add applicable tax on top of these prices.
AppleCare+ : Doing the math
Sebastien already ran the numbers on why getting AppleCare+ for Apple Watch and iPhone may not be the smartest idea, but the MacBook Pro is different due to, as I said, its extremely poor repairability and relatively high price.
Let’s say the display stops working in your second year of ownership. With AppleCare+, you’re looking at the upfront cost of the plan ($399) and that service fee of $99, resulting in the total cost of $498 to have the display replaced by Apple.
This isn’t the most affordable price for a notebook display replacement, but it’s not the most expensive either. Don’t forget you’re getting a genuine part, which has to account for something, and you still have one incident of accidental damage left for that year (again after paying the $99 service fee).
If you don’t have AppleCare+, the repair cost of a new display will be quoted by the Apple Store after inspection. In most cases, the display cost can be something around $455 (tier 1 accidental damage), $555 (tier 2 accidental damage), $655 (tier 3 accidental damage) up to $755 (tier 4 accidental damage).
Now let’s pretend a few months after servicing the display, you send the machine flying on the floor after tripping over the power cord. Maybe something broke inside, and it won’t power on. Or perhaps some keys on that problematic keyboard got stuck. Expensive damage like that would certainly require an out-of-warranty replacement of the logic board or the whole top assembly containing the keyboard, which doesn’t come cheap. At this point, without AppleCare+, you might as well buy a new notebook.
If nothing breaks during the extended AppleCare+ coverage period, you gave Apple an extra $379 for nothing. Then again, aren’t you also paying for your car insurance, health insurance, home insurance, and all those kinds of other insurances you think you need?
AppleCare+ is insurance for accidents, and we all know accidents happen when you least expect them! Given the relatively high price and poor repairability of Apple’s “pro” notebooks, you’re wholeheartedly recommended to get AppleCare+.
Does AppleCare+ offer good value for money? Have you ever purchased the AppleCare Protection Plan or AppleCare+ for any of your devices? If so, for which ones? What do you think? Do chime in with your thoughts, observations, and AppleCare+ math down in the comments.
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