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Does Applecare care about my Apple?
January 31, 2011 12:44 PM   Subscribe

I have a potentially rather silly question about Applecare as I purchase a new Macbook Pro.

My job is sponsoring my next computer - and I'm going up from a Macbook purchased in February 2008 to a 13-inch Macbook Pro. Work is covering the most basic cost of the most basic Macbook Pro, I'm paying for anything in addition to that.

Rather than pay the extremely high Apple prices for extra RAM or an SSD drive, I was going to install the extra RAM and, eventually, a SSD, through Crucial.com. Am I am risking my Applecare warranty in a serious way by doing so?

Speaking of: if I'm reading Apple's materials correctly, I have the entirety of the one-year limited warranty to transfer over to Applecare - however, they "strongly [recommend] that you purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan when you purchase your Apple product to maximize the additional benefits provided under the plan." Am I making a serious mistake to get the limited warranty first and transfer over to AppleCare in a few months? I don't believe work is covering any warranty aspect, and the budget is a bit tight at the moment.

Thoughts? Thanks!
posted by Ash3000 to Computers & Internet (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Am I am risking my Applecare warranty in a serious way by doing so?

Not really. You will have to swap the ram and drives back out if you send it in for any reason. They won't touch it otherwise.

You actually have to have a hard drive in it if you send it in, they will return it unfixed if you send it without a hard disk. So, retain the orginal drive for that.

That being said, there are many apple resellers who do repairs and won't care a bit about those things.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2011


Am I am risking my Applecare warranty in a serious way by doing so?

No. RAM upgrades are totally fine.

strongly [recommend] that you purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan when you purchase your Apple product to maximize the additional benefits provided under the plan

They just want you to part with your $$ asap. You don't have to though. You have one year from purchase date to purchase the additional two years of apple care (you can verify dates through the Apple site using your serial #). You can also buy this through ebay (although I have heard that it has become rare of late) for a fraction of the price (I paid $105 for two additional years of Apple care on my 15" MB Pro).
posted by special-k at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2011


My experience is that AppleCare isn't worth the paper its written on. Do what feels right and befriend a computer fixer.
posted by gonzo_ID at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I making a serious mistake to get the limited warranty first and transfer over to AppleCare in a few months?

Edit fail. Sorry

No, it won't make much difference. Sometimes Apple does fail to tie the warranty to the machine if they weren't bought together, but that is usually resolvable with some phone calls and some faxing. Other than that, it won't matter.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2011


As far as I can tell, they only "strongly recommend" buying Applecare right away so that you don't forget about it later, costing them a sale. (However, I believe the limited warranty only gives you 3 months of phone support. This could be what they mean by "maximizing additional benefits".)
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I am risking my Applecare warranty in a serious way by doing so?

I was coming in here to give you a straightfoward "Yes," but Pogo makes an interesting point - you could just swap the old stuff back in, as long as there's no way for them to tell that you've been messing with the hardware.

Is there any way for them to tell that you've been messing with the hardware?
posted by Dasein at 12:51 PM on January 31, 2011


Awesome - thanks everyone.

So long as I'm here: I have my eyes on the 2.66 GHz Intel Core Duo, which is $300 more than the 2.4 GHz version. As someone who does some graphic design for work and likes having a bunch of flash programs open at once (e.g. Tweetdeck AND pandora, etc.), is this worth doing? Or are we talking about a negligible difference with 8GB ram?
posted by Ash3000 at 12:51 PM on January 31, 2011


My experience is that AppleCare isn't worth the paper its written on.

Well, my experience was that is saved my ass when my hard drive failed, two weeks out of warranty, and they extended the warranty, replaced the hard drive and recovered the information from the old drive when I was stuck away from home with no way to do that on my own.

But then, I was an idiot and hadn't been backing up my data. If you're not an idiot like me, and you have the ability to swap in a new drive, then maybe save yourself the money on the theory that the things that are going to fail (does anything other than the HD fail within the warranty?), it'll be cheaper to just replace it than pay for the warranty.
posted by Dasein at 12:56 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Buying AppleCare was worth it to get everything dodgy fixed on my PowerBook just before the warranty expired. I am sure that paying out of pocket to replace the DC input board and display would have been way more than the price of AppleCare.
posted by mkb at 12:56 PM on January 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you don't get AppleCare, you'll have to pay to talk to tech support after 90 days. If they determine your computer is actually broken and is eligible to be fixed under the 1 year warranty, they'll refund whatever you paid, but it is a bit of runaround.
posted by zsazsa at 1:00 PM on January 31, 2011


is this worth doing? Or are we talking about a negligible difference with 8GB ram?

IMO, the difference is too small to be worth 300 bucks.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:01 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd recommend Square Trade for a warranty instead of AppleCare, fwiw.
posted by December at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2011


There's no problem with purchasing AppleCare in the first year as long as you don't forget to do it... I do know a few people who remembered at month 13, 14 or so. No good.

Apple suggests it immediately as 1) they get the revenue immediately, and 2) you get 1 year of telephone support (instead of 90 days during the first year).

RAM upgrades are fine with AppleCare.

The coolest thing that I have found about AppleCare is that it works worldwide now. Any AppleStore, anywhere, anytime.
posted by nickrussell at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2011


Supposedly a lot of the ebay Applecares ended up being dodgy so if you go that route and the price seems too good to be true...
posted by ghharr at 1:16 PM on January 31, 2011


If you decide to get Applecare, consider getting it from Amazon, where you can get it at a significant discount off list price.
posted by adamrice at 1:17 PM on January 31, 2011


Supposedly a lot of the ebay Applecares ended up being dodgy so if you go that route and the price seems too good to be true...

mine wasn't (I did research every seller's feedback before buying). I've used it twice (has paid for itself) and checks out on the Apple site (it shows validity dates). Ebay has great buyer protection and you can always chargeback if it doesn't work (you should know right away once you enter the code on the Apple site).
posted by special-k at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2011


Installing ram is fine and won't void your warranty (basic or extended). You will need a small phillips screw driver. To open bottom plate and gaining access to the drives and ram slot.

Upgrading the drive on a Mac Book Pro requires unscrewing a piece of plastic that keeps the drive in place.

Here is a guide: iFixit HD Replacement on 13" MBP

I always pay the extra money to buy Applecare. Mainly it's because something will break, batteries burn out, logic boards fail... with apple care you can often times set up an appointment, walk in, and have it repaired quickly.

Finally, you can save money buying your apple care by buying it online. I just bought my wife's MB and a Mac Mini apple care from BH Photo for 174$ plus s/h. If you buy it in store and locally you'll pay 249 + state tax. Here in california that means 273$!
posted by pntbttr at 1:38 PM on January 31, 2011



My experience is that AppleCare isn't worth the paper its written on.

Applecaare gave me a new intel iMac when my G5 iMac could not be repaired. Plus they prorated the existing AppleCare to purchase Applecare on the ne iMac.
posted by Gungho at 1:40 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


As someone who does some graphic design for work and likes having a bunch of flash programs open at once

Photoshop might be a tiny bit faster at some operations with a slightly faster processor, but I doubt it'd be significant or even noticeable.

Having a bunch of programs open at the same time is more a RAM thing than a processor speed thing.
posted by ook at 1:44 PM on January 31, 2011


special-k: this issue has been discussed many times here, at MacRumours and over at the SA Forums. The heavily discounted Applecare codes on eBay do work insofar as you can register them on Apple's site. You can often use them for repairs too. Many people have no problem and get great value out of them.

The problem is that they are not legitimate codes; they were generated via a keygen or stolen credit cards. Unless you have a valid Applecare proof of purchase, Apple can cancel your Applecare at any time or refuse to carry out repairs. And crucially, they will cancel it without warning if someone else around the world happens to buy a legitimate Applecare that has the same code as you (which apparently happens quite frequently).

The secondary problem is that this usually happens outside eBay's buyer protection period. So you pay for the code, it registers ok so you think you're fine, then 5 or 6 months later when you come to use it, you find that Apple has cancelled it without warning. You cannot get a refund or lodge a complaint against the eBay seller. It's kind of the perfect scam.

That's why the sellers have almost 100% positive feedback. No-one usually has problems until well after the feedback period is over.

(Additional complicating factor is that once you buy one of those dodgy codes, Apple won't let you de-register it. You're stuck with it and don't know if your Applecare might be cancelled in one or two year's time without notice.)
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:51 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


i've used my Applecare extensively (optical drive, motherboard, plastic case) on my now 4+ year old MacBook. I never had any problem with it, despite having replaced the RAM and the hard drive.
posted by jindc at 1:54 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not really. You will have to swap the ram and drives back out if you send it in for any reason. They won't touch it otherwise.

They might care about the HD, but they aren't going to do this over a ram upgrade. I've sent laptops in with 3rd party ram many times and never heard a peep from them. If the ram tests bad, presumably you're on the hook to replace it, but in my experience they will certainly touch your machine with non-Apple ram inside.
posted by zachlipton at 1:55 PM on January 31, 2011


Am I making a serious mistake to get the limited warranty first and transfer over to AppleCare in a few months?

There is no difference until the 94th day (or so) when you pass your 3 months of free support. If, like me, you never use the support then there's no reason to buy it before year's end. Unless, of course, you forget.

Now, the chance that you'll forget is slim since APPLE WILL HOUND YOU REPEATEDLY VIA EMAIL as the deadline approaches. But you might miss the mails or not have the cash at that moment, so you can make the case that it's best to just get it done when you can.

I'm on the fence about whether it's worth the convenience. I ended up getting it because I have access to educational prices and that made it more attractive, but from a financial point of view self-insuring is the only move that makes sense.

Current price for AppleCare on a 15" MBP is $284 at Amazon. As a percentage of $1708 (Amazon's cheapest price on a 15") that's a 17% increase in price betting that you'll have an issue you didn't cause yourself (which woudn't be covered). That's a pretty sketchy return on investment since what you're getting is pre-payment on keeping an older slower computer rather than keeping the money for your own use and using it to buy something newer IF you have an issue.

You say work is "sponsoring" - does that mean you get to keep this for yourself? Given that you might look at it as a $248 bet on $0 vs $1708 rather than a premium on top of an expenditure. If it's their property? I think that's a strong argument AGAINST buying AppleCare.
posted by phearlez at 2:04 PM on January 31, 2011


On the topic of Applecare warranties, one thing to be very wary of: They normally do not your screen breaking as it is considered negligence and thus "out of warranty." The say concept can apply if it's obvious you dropped your laptop breaking the shell and try getting it fixed. Point is, if you decide to get it, be sure not to assume it's a license to not care about your laptop's well being.

It's also worth noting that any laptop repair out of warranty will charge for labor ($100 an hour, which is typically a minimum) plus supplies (power supply gone bad? That's another $100 or so there). Point is, one incident can cover the cost of repairs if you're not into DIY.
posted by jmd82 at 3:24 PM on January 31, 2011


My experience is that AppleCare isn't worth the paper its written on.

Apple just did $1,400 worth of work on my 2008 MacBook Pro for free, thanks to AppleCare.

I've had two previous Mac laptops and in both cases, I've gotten more repairs under AppleCare than the cost of the product. Also, it's worth noting that Mac laptops have a persistent problem with logic board failures. All three of mine, across three different lines (iBook, PowerBook, MacBook Pro) have had the logic board go at least once. AC is definitely worth it.

Regarding your follow-up question, Ash3000, RAM should matter a lot more than the small bump in speed.
posted by Georgina at 3:27 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


nthing the advice to buy from Amazon. Worked for me, saved a few bucks.
posted by kenliu at 6:58 PM on January 31, 2011


I love Macs, but I wouldn't buy one without AppleCare. As a student, it's just a great bit of peace-of-mind—knowing that if your machine has trouble they got your back. I paid about $200 for the AppleCare on my old MacBook, and used it three times (hard drive, screen inverter thing, and a battery that had gone pear-shaped). The parts and labor covered by AppleCare probably would've cost me around $500.
posted by blueberry at 11:17 PM on January 31, 2011


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