Saturday, November 26

Getting AppleCare for my new 2021 MacBook Pro was surprisingly confusing

I just spent $ 2,799 on a new 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021), so you might not be surprised to learn that I wasn’t going to let that investment go unprotected. This means that I was also going to buy some Apple Care, the warranty coverage that guarantees you repairs and support (even against incidents of accidental damage).

Unfortunately, I was a bit confused by the options presented. Apple offers you not one, but two ways to buy AppleCare Plus for Mac, both of which left me asking questions. Your options, as presented at checkout, are “Annual coverage until canceled” for $ 99.99 per year and “Three years of coverage” for $ 279.

Instead of just thinking about short-term protection and moving on, I started wondering how it all works. This is probably because I think of a laptop (especially an expensive one) as a long-term project. So I dove into the intricacies of it all to figure out the ins and outs of AppleCare Plus for Mac.

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AppleCare Plus annual explanation for Mac

AppleCare Plus anual para Mac 3-year AppleCare Plus for Mac
Price $ 99 per year $ 279
Option to renew Annually You can switch to the annual plan after three years
What is included? 24/7 support, Apple-certified repairs (including mail-in for MacBooks) 24/7 support, Apple-certified repairs (including mail-in for MacBooks)
Accidental Damage Protection Up to two incidents every 12 months Up to two incidents every 12 months

The proverbial sirens started flashing in my brain once I read “Annual coverage until canceled”, due to the lack of explanation of two things. Who is canceling? I asked myself, before thinking “how long can this coverage last?”

When I first tried to get help from Apple support through text message and phone representatives, I spoke to a few people who weren’t sure. One seemed to think it could go on indefinitely and another started talking about monthly payments. I started wondering if there was a new level of Apple One subscription package that I hadn’t heard of (AppleCare Plus for iPhone has a $ 9.99 per month option).

(Image credit: Apple)

When I started poking around on Apple’s own site, I came across the following language on this page about Extend your AppleCare Plus coverage:

If you prepaid for an AppleCare + plan for your Mac, you may be able to purchase new coverage that renews annually.

So, I went to my local Apple store, made an appointment, and waited for responses, which I actually got. Knowledgeable Alison explained that Apple devices can stay in AppleCare as long as Apple has the necessary parts.

Once a device’s repair parts are no longer available, a piece of Apple hardware goes “vintage” (Alison’s word), time can vary greatly, but California law requires Apple to enable “service and parts may be obtained longer, as required by law, or up to 7 years.” subject to parts availability. The window for a long battery-only repair is wider, as Apple claims “up to 10 years.”

AppleCare Plus for Mac 3 Year Explained

This is easier. Apple is offering you a $ 30 discount for purchasing three years of AppleCare Plus for Mac in advance.

And while Apple’s payment page didn’t explain this, you’ll be able to move to the annual AppleCare Plus for Mac plan once you’re outside of this three-year window.

For what it’s worth, I followed this plan. My last MacBook Pro lasted 9 years, but it required some maintenance along the way, so I know I will be supported for at least the next three years.

How the annual AppleCare Plus for Mac ends

All that said, there’s the question of how your AppleCare Plus for Mac plan ends. If you have the three-year plan, it will simply end at the end of that time (although you can contact Apple to change it to annual).

If you choose to cancel your plan, it will end when you cancel the service.

But if your AppleCare needs to end due to the parts problems mentioned above, you will be informed about it within 60 days. Then you will be awarded a prorated refund based on the amount of time remaining on your plan.

This is understandable and all, but I wish this was all a little more clearly written on Apple’s website.

  • Read next: Check out our MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) review

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