Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a 17" MacBook Pro. I bought it in November 2010, so it is still under the one-year warranty and thus I have the ability to buy AppleCare and extend the warranty. Thing is, I'm having second thoughts as to whether this is worth it, or if there are other third-party warranty services that might be just as good at parts replacement for a lower cost.

Everyone I've talked to has touted AppleCare as being great, just walk into the Apple store and they help you with anything, etc. etc. But I can say pretty confidently that I'm never going to have a software question for the people at the Apple store. So I guess the only thing I would ever use it for is if there is a hardware issue with my MacBook Pro. Is this worth buying AppleCare for?

What are my options in this regard, and what else would I get from AppleCare that I might care about?

share|improve this question
1  
Not really an answer, but anecdotal evidence in support of AppleCare. I had a MacBook Pro 15" and used AppleCare many times over 3 years: 2 new batteries, a new logic board, a new hard drive, a new super drive, and 2 new fans... Basically, stuff happened and they were always willing to take it in a fix it for free. They hardly every argued (I had to visit twice prove the super drive issue since it would play DVDs but wouldn't read the Snow Leopard installation disc) and it was just nice to know they weren't just trying to rip me off with a warranty I'd never use or be able to use. –  Jeshii Mar 10 '11 at 19:46
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

In general, extended warranty plans are a healthy-sized profit center for the company offering them. This implies that unless a product turns out to be less reliable than predicted, on average (mean average) customers will be better off paying for their own repairs without the warranty. However, if one can't afford to self-insure for abnormal or even normal deviations from the average, something like AppleCare will lessen the downside financial risks.

Thus, I suggest (and buy) AppleCare only if an Apple product seems to be getting numbers of reports of below average reliability (e.g. the Duo 2xx and PowerBook 5x00 product lines). For other Apple products, maybe put the money in a savings account instead, and there is a good likelyhood that you'll end up ahead after a decade or two of Apple products.

share|improve this answer
    
Suppose I were to go this route and a part in my laptop were to break, where would I buy individual replacement parts? It makes sense and sounds good in theory but I just don't know where to buy the parts... –  Ricket Mar 10 '11 at 21:01
    
You can still have Apple repair (for a price) your computers even without AppleCare. –  hotpaw2 Mar 11 '11 at 0:07
add comment

AppleCare is totally worth the money. Case in point: I recently had to take my older MacBook Pro in for service. It seemed I qualified for that Nvidia video card recall (the one where they shipped cards that died after a couple years of use), but never actually did anything about it. The card finally died on me and I had to take it in.

While I was there, the tech noticed on my keyboard that one of the keys had the numbers worn off and I mentioned that another key had gone "soft" and wouldn't work every time. Because the laptop was under warranty, they replaced the card and the keyboard free of charge.

I used to fix laptops way back in the day, and the keyboard was the worst because you typically had to take out the entire innards of the laptop to replace it. if laptop design is still the same, then that work was money in the bank as far as I'm concerned. My laptop is like new again.

share|improve this answer
1  
When I took my iBook in to be serviced one time they replaced the keyboard because it was dirty. (Granted, iBooks have an easily-removable keyboard, but still.) –  CajunLuke Mar 10 '11 at 20:38
    
Don't they do it for free for the Nvidia recall, even though you don't have Apple Care ? –  garikapati Mar 10 '11 at 21:05
    
The card itself was free because of the recall, but the keyboard would not have been if the laptop was out of warranty. –  Philip Regan Mar 10 '11 at 21:22
add comment

I always bought AppleCare for my MacBooks and I never regret it. If there was a problem (and in 2 of 3 cases there was), the support folks repaired my device without any problems. Even smaller problems (not working key on the keyboard) are very expensive on a laptop, I think.

As I am writing from Europe, it is much cheaper to buy AppleCare via ebay.com (at least it was about two years ago), than to buy it in the online shop. And the alternatives... some resellers have their own warranty plan. I hope that helps!

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.