Should you get AppleCare+ for your student’s MacBook?


MacBooks in a circle on pavementSource: iMore

Best answer: Yes, most students should get AppleCare+ to protect their MacBook. It’s peace of mind in case of an accident — especially for students who need their MacBook for their studies.

What is Apple’s standard warranty?

If you want to try and make it through school without AppleCare+, Apple does offer a standard warranty on every best Mac. This is what comes with a standard-level warranty for free:

  • One-year limited hardware warranty
  • 90 days of free technical support

So, if you’re working on a giant paper that’s due and all of a sudden something isn’t working right in Pages or any of your built-in software programs aren’t running the way they should during the first three months of owning your MacBook, you have access to support. You can call 1-800-APL-CARE and get help over the phone.

Of course, if something is wrong with your MacBook itself — the battery, RAM, hard drive, keyboard, mouse, or other parts — and it’s not due to accidental or intentional damage, Apple will repair or replace it up to one year after the date of purchase.

For example, if the internal hard drive just goes kaput in the first year, Apple will cover the cost to repair or replace it and hopefully you’ll be able to recover all your school assignments. Or in another instance, if you drop your MacBook Pro (2021) on the ground while trying to set it up and break the screen, you’re out of luck — unless you have AppleCare+.

AppleCare+ extension


For any student that wants to make sure their MacBook will be protected for as long as possible, AppleCare+ is the best warranty you can get. For an additional cost, you can add AppleCare+ and get additional coverage for longer. AppleCare+ for your MacBook includes:

  • A limited hardware warranty that lasts as long as your AppleCare+ does.
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Coverage for two incidents of accidental damage in a 12-month cycle (subject to a service fee of $99 for screen damage or $299 for other damage)

You’ll get technical support over the phone, chat, and in-store at your local Apple retail store for three full years. If you are having software issues with any built-in Apple programs or the operating system itself, you can call 1-800-APL-CARE for assistance.

If your hard drive borks after two and a half years, AppleCare+ has you covered. If you drop your MacBook off of your standing desk … twice … and crack the screen, Apple will repair or replace it for $99 (or up to $299, depending on the damage) each time.

AppleCare+ service fee

MacBook Pro 2016

If you go all-in with AppleCare+, your MacBook Air (2022), MacBook Pro (2022), or any other Mac is covered for damages caused by accidents, but there will be a fee, and a hefty one in some cases. The standard service fee for accidents is:

  • $99 for screen damage
  • $299 for other damage

How much does AppleCare+ cost?

For students, Apple offers AppleCare+ both as an annual fee, which will give you AppleCare+ coverage until you cancel it, and as a flat fee that gives you coverage for three years. The table below lays out the prices for each MacBook model.

Device Annual fee 3-year coverage
MacBook Air (M1) $69.99 $199
MacBook Air (M2) $79.99 $229
MacBook Pro 13‑inch $89.99 $249
MacBook Pro 14‑inch $99.99 $279
MacBook Pro 16‑inch $149.99 $399

Obviously, the flat fee coverage for three years means you don’t have to pay every year for an insurance plan, but if your college degree is over three years long (many are) the annual fee is a good way to ensure your coverage doesn’t expire before you’re done with your studies.

AppleCare+ vs. credit card benefits

Some credit card companies provide additional warranty protection when you make your purchase using their card. For example, American Express Gold has a decent warranty extension for up to five years in most U.S. states. Each credit card company is different and has different warranty benefits for some states.

If you like the warranty that your credit card company provides, it might be the alternative you need. Keep in mind, however, that credit card companies can’t offer technical support. It’s usually what MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro owners end up needing the most.

Check out your credit card company’s warranty policy and make sure you fully understand its benefits before choosing it over AppleCare+.

Our best MacBook recommendations

Biggest and baddest MacBook

14 Inch Macbook Pro

MacBook Pro (2021)

Students can opt for the most expensive option and will get a very capable MacBook to complete their education. It will also likely be a great computer to start their professional life with. The MacBook Pro (2021) is a stellar machine.

M2 chip in an old design

16-inch MacBook Pro

M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch (2022)

If you want power and performance but want to save a little money, the new M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch is a great comprise. You do have to settle with an older design with a Touch Bar and no extra ports, but it’s still a very handy MacBook for students.

Just in time for back to school

MacBook Air (2022) in Starlight

M2 MacBook Air (2022)

The brand-new MacBook Air is coming just in time for back-to-school time. It’s light and sports the M2 chip, making it the most powerful version of the MacBook Air. Of course, it only has two USB-C ports, but they did bring back MagSafe charging so you don’t have to worry about tripping over your cord during those late-night study sessions.

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