Linux need not apply.
January 6, 2010 2:11 AM   Subscribe

Will Apple Care if I'm using Linux?

I have been using Macs now for almost 10 years. I know the ins and outs of working with Apple when I need their help. I have learned to always get a computer with AppleCare because the few extra bucks are worth the attention they give you when you have a problem. For some people, thats not a big deal, but for someone who doesn't want ANYTHING wrong with his computer, its worth it. So I'm well versed in what to say and more importantly "not say" when dealing with the "Geniuses" at the store or their reps on the phone.


This is the only question remaining before I make the move to a full linux system from a os x/linux system.

What happens if I have a computer, its covered by applecare...and my only OS is a type of linux? Will they say its not covered since linux controls the hardware differently than OS X? I'm not talking about "My pixels are dying" or "my keys are loose", I'm talking "My computer is dead issues".

I can reasonably guess...but I do not know for sure.

Does anybody have experience regarding this? Like I said, I can make a reasonable guess, but I DO NOT KNOW FOR SURE.

Any help?
posted by hal_c_on to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
If you're concerned, pull the HD & wipe it.

Of course, this can be a tad tricky on a mac sometimes.
posted by pharm at 2:39 AM on January 6, 2010

The iCenters in my neighborhood are comfortable with Linux-only systems, as long as you only bug them about real hardware defects. If they need to run diagnostic OSX tools they will boot up a custom CD anyway, even with native OSX installations.

Otherwise, you do not need to "pull the HD"; you can simply make a back up of your drive; then install a password on your linux bootloader (or better, and EFI password). The Apple service teams should never attempt to use your software to troubleshoot your computer, and the password is making this clear. They don't need to know what is past the password.

That said, there was a time (maybe not over) when the power management features of Linux distros would not make optimal use of the power management unit in the iBooks/MacBooks, resulting in increased battery usage/wear. If you go to the Apple service center complaining about poor battery performance with a Linux system, they may annoy you for this, and with reason. YMMV.
posted by knz at 4:02 AM on January 6, 2010

They will not care.
To check the hardware, they will boot the computer from an external hard drive (running the latest version of Mac OS X, of course) and attempt to reproduce your problem. If it reproduces, great, off to repair. If it doesn't, they'll likely blame your linux install and put the problem back in your court.
posted by browse at 5:42 AM on January 6, 2010

A small partition with OSX on it will suffice. However for the most part they won't care unless you are trying to determine, for example, why the USB or FW or NIC is not working. Then they may insist that they can't properly diagnose w/o a Mac OS on it.
posted by Gungho at 7:30 AM on January 6, 2010

I know that they don't care if you dual-boot and, unless you have space issues, I'd recommend that setup anyway. (It's good to have options, after all.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:19 AM on January 6, 2010

I'd recommend a small OS X partition anyway in order to install firmware updates.
posted by Mwongozi at 10:05 AM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Keep an OSX installation on a Firewire or USB drive, just so that if Apple does turn you down the first time, you can clone the external and have a working OSX installation.

Of course, you'll also want to back up your Linux installation, but that's just good practice. If you're not doing that, you probably should. I'd recommend a 500 GB external (they're cheap these days), and partition off 30 GB or so to install OSX, and use the rest for backup. You can even run from the OSX partition if you hold down ALT while booting up, without losing your internal disk space.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:02 AM on January 6, 2010

If you're concerned, pull the HD & wipe it.

No...I'm worried about the computer failing with the linux on it. Then turning the computer into apple...and then having them tell me "sorry, we don't support what linux did to your computer".
posted by hal_c_on at 1:38 PM on January 6, 2010

You're fine. You can have Windows on it and they'll fix it (unless, possibly, if it's a Windows problem.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:04 PM on January 6, 2010

You're fine. You can have Windows on it and they'll fix it (unless, possibly, if it's a Windows problem.)

I'm not particularly swayed by this argument, as Windows is officially supported through Boot Camp.

I think I'd just keep a tiny little partition around with OS X on it for instances such as these, and when you want to update firmware.
posted by floam at 7:55 PM on January 7, 2010

Obviously, it's possible the OP actually wouldn't consider the few gigabytes he'd have to give up as trivial, if he's got something a bit older without plentiful storage.
posted by floam at 7:56 PM on January 7, 2010

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