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AppleCare or No?


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#1 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 12:33 PM

That is the question.

The story behind it is my mid-2011 27" iMac was an overheating fire hazard that repeatedly kept melting itself damaging even the glass covering the screen. It's a wonder the thing didn't spontaneously combust. The video card failed of course. The SuperDrive failed. The hard disk began to fail. Two screens were replaced, glass as well each time. They replaced one other thing as well but I forget now what it was. When it was time for in-home service visit number 4, I told them I felt it was time to give up and replace it and they graciously agreed.

I got a brand new late-2013 replacement sent overnight with a free external SuperDrive as well, 2 years and one month after purchasing the mid-2011. I was offered multiple warranty options and chose to take a prorated refund on my outstanding AppleCare on the old system and a new 1 year standard warranty on the new system with option to purchase AppleCare any time during the first year from delivery.

Well, I have a month now to decide if I want to spend the money to get another 2 years full coverage including on-site.

Here's the thing. Unlike the old lemon, this machine is wonderfulness. It has been completely trouble free. Of course it warms up and the fans kick in gaming but that happens at 95 or 96C CPU temp and it never goes above that. The GPU never gets above 95C.

I am thinking it isn't very likely I'll have a disk or GPU failure in the next couple years but of course there are no guarantees in life. I have no idea what a repair on this thing is for either of those but I imagine it is expensive.

Based on your experience with Macs over the years, what would you do?
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#2 macdude22

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 01:24 PM

I always buy applecare because the OOW repair fees are astronomical. There's few things I think extended warranties are worth it, these things, yesh. I'd pony up, make some random dum calls to apple about photos if you want to get your money's worth ;)
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#3 Frigidman™

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 02:08 PM

Dislodge your ram, and get to walk into an Apple store free of charge to have all the blue shirts fawn all over you... priceless!

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#4 Matt Diamond

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 04:33 PM

My very first Mac repair was a logic board problem on a 128k Mac. It was flaky, the university shop couldn't even repro the problem, but since it was under warranty they swapped the board and I was up and running the next day.

After some years of doing without I generally buy Applecare now. I justify it two ways.
a) That savings from that first repair paid for the next few extended warranties I bought. :-)
b) I'm ultra-sensitive to flaky logic boards, as I've been hit twice with them over the last 30 years and I know others who have been hit, one of whom had the warranty, the other didn't. It's not just the cost of the repair, its the time saved in diagnostics. The shop can swap in a part or even a whole new machine if they strongly suspect a failure even if they can't quite prove it.

Having said that, I had the opposite experience too: my son's iMac (officially it was white, but they should have painted it lemon-yellow) crashed randomly only when using its wireless antenna. I isolated the problem before I contacted them, AND it was under its original warranty. But Applecare made me jump through hoops for weeks before trying to replace anything. The tech put in a new board and that actually made it worse, so we finally got a new one.

Two lessons I learned from that BTW. 1) Applecare works better if you live near an Apple Store. We didn't have one then- now we do thankfully. They have been known to swap a bad iPhone or iMac on the spot. Apple specialists who aren't the Apple Store can't do that.
2) Try to always talk to the same Applecare tech if you have to call back. When one disappeared and stopped returning my calls my next tech started the troubleshooting over from scratch for some reason, even though he had access to my case history. If a tech tries that, don't go along with it like I did, yell loudly and get it escalated.

Anyway... If you have easy access to an Apple Store and it's an all-in-one machine-- and pretty much all of them are now :-( -- and your time is worth more than your money then it's an easy decision IMHO. If any of those isn't true then it still might be right for you, but it's not quite a slamdunk.
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#5 BifBologna

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 04:39 PM

Several years ago, I had 1.6GHz G5 tower. One year and a couple weeks after I purchased it said "I don't like the way you use me. FU! Goodbye!" and then promptly locked itself up. No matter how gently I caressed it or how sweet my salutations, it refused to ever reboot. I took it into the shop, and after several weeks of them ignoring it, they finally told me the processor and the motherboard. both, were phtttt. I did not have Apple Care and because I was past the warranty expiration, my options were to pay $1200 to fix it or bury it and go buy a new one. I've purchased Apple Care ever since 'cause, you just never know.

#6 Frost

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 06:16 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 04 June 2015 - 01:24 PM, said:

I always buy applecare because the OOW repair fees are astronomical. There's few things I think extended warranties are worth it, these things, yesh. I'd pony up, make some random dum calls to apple about photos if you want to get your money's worth ;)
So much this.

Every iOS device I've had except my iPad mini 2 has ended up needing to be replaced, and two of those were after the 1 year warranty. Macs have been better about it, but there's still the factor of the MBP I just bought got a service battery warning despite having over 90% life (or supposed to have, anyway) and thanks to the original owner having gotten AppleCare, I got a new battery free two weeks ago.

Apple's out of warranty repair prices are just batpopsnizzle crazy. It's worth it, I think. I've saved about three times more than I've spent on AppleCare through the years.
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#7 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 08:52 PM

Yeah, it was a foolish question really. Anything happens to an iMac and are you pretty much screwed without it. I am not up for dealing with a computer that has the screen glass glued onto it before the real fun even begins.

The nearest Apple Store is closer than I thought at about an hour and fifteen minutes away.

Thanks for the war stories and bringing dumbbell to his senses. I appreciate it. You have succeeded in instilling the appropriate level of fear all iMac owners should have at all times when not covered by warranty.
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#8 Matt Diamond

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 05:03 AM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 04 June 2015 - 08:52 PM, said:

Thanks for the war stories and bringing dumbbell to his senses. I appreciate it. You have succeeded in instilling the appropriate level of fear all iMac owners should have at all times when not covered by warranty.

But it's weird when I stop and think about it. One of my mantras is that stuff from Apple "works better" and is more reliable than other PCs, but here I go recommending Applecare?

I guess I've just seen a lot in 30 years. Certainly I've seen plenty of Windows PC problems in that time, but I wouldn't get an extended warranty for one. They are cheaper and noone thinks twice about replacing them. And if someone has a bad experience with Dell, say, they can switch to a different vendor and feel better for a while. With Apple, you are stuck with them, and you are "stuck" with each machine for longer.

Ugh, I'm starting to ramble. Anyway, I'm still pro-Apple, but I feel better with the Applecare warranty these days. Macs are more of an investment and I expect/need them to last longer. If that makes me a hypocrite then whatever.

Another way to look at it: offsetting the extra cost of the hardware protection is 30 years of savings from not having to subscribe to virus protection.
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#9 macdude22

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 06:12 AM

View PostFrost, on 04 June 2015 - 06:16 PM, said:


Every iOS device I've had except my iPad mini 2 has ended up needing to be replaced, and two of those were after the 1 year warranty.

WAT R YOU DOING BRUH. :huh:
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#10 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:28 AM

My mentality has always been to never, ever, buy extended warranty. My thinking is that they are clearly making money off of it, and therefore the majority of devices never need the extended warranty. That said, I change devices quite frequently, so I usually never make it to the extended warranty period :teehee:  

Changing the logic board in an iMac or MBP will be a $1000+ dollar repair, but I've saved well over $1000 over the years in not purchasing extended warranties.
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#11 macdude22

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 10:17 AM

Of course they make money off it, dem bean counters have it down to a science. Expected # repairs, expected repair costs, 25% margin, spit out per warranty fee. However in the case of Apple products the whole support package included with Applecare is arguably of more value than your average 3rd party warranty. As long as you have Applecare on something, they will help you out on all your Apple Ecosystem popsnizzle. I have called in with airport or other software questions. Oh you have applecare on something, lets get that figured the frak out.

From a purely financial perspective I've probably broke even on repairs vs. amount spent on applecare (i.e. had an iMac that needed a number of repairs, other devices that have never had a single issue). However it would really suck to get bit with a Tier 4 OOW repair on a rMBP from a financial perspective too.

So yes, they are making money on them but the consumer value on Applecare is much much higher than on popsnizzle like appliance or automotive extended warranties. Especially when they are 3rd party warranties. It really is a service plan rather than an extended warranty. Kind of like how organizations pay for vendor support of lots of things.I have no qualms calling apple for the dumbest of questions because if I'm paying for it I'm going to use it. YMMV value-wise if you're not willing to take advantage of all the available services.
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#12 Frost

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 02:44 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 05 June 2015 - 06:12 AM, said:

WAT R YOU DOING BRUH. :huh:
Having bad luck? My mobile devices generally end up looking new for years, so it's not abuse.

So far: one device with a bad pixel, one with a dead pixel, a loose home button, one that refused to allow the OS to be restored on it, and an iPod touch with a piss yellow tint on the screen.
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#13 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 05:27 PM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 05 June 2015 - 05:03 AM, said:

But it's weird when I stop and think about it. One of my mantras is that stuff from Apple "works better" and is more reliable than other PCs, but here I go recommending Applecare?

I guess I've just seen a lot in 30 years. Certainly I've seen plenty of Windows PC problems in that time, but I wouldn't get an extended warranty for one. They are cheaper and noone thinks twice about replacing them. And if someone has a bad experience with Dell, say, they can switch to a different vendor and feel better for a while. With Apple, you are stuck with them, and you are "stuck" with each machine for longer.

Ugh, I'm starting to ramble. Anyway, I'm still pro-Apple, but I feel better with the Applecare warranty these days. Macs are more of an investment and I expect/need them to last longer. If that makes me a hypocrite then whatever.

Another way to look at it: offsetting the extra cost of the hardware protection is 30 years of savings from not having to subscribe to virus protection.

I can understand what you are talking about there. I come from many years in the PC world, basically all of them. If I had a problem with a PC, I opened it up and fixed it unless the cost gave me pause and I decided to total it instead. At that point, I'd strip out everything working and toss it in the closet for future use (which would never happen) along with the even older stuff I did that with previously, etc. I amassed quite a collection of useless, obsolete computer parts that way, not quite enough that would match up to build one out of them but a lot. They are gone bye bye now.

Anyway, every so often it would simply be time to build a new one and so on.

It is an entirely different ball game now with Apple. The days of fixing it myself are over. The thing is, I still could but I am not willing to bother to work on laptop designs where the replacement parts are still going to cost me an arm and a leg anyway. It's kind of like the way in which I no longer am willing to get on my back underneath a car anymore either. Those days are over too. I had my fun and I am so done with all that.

I get the idea of seeing an Apple system as investment one wants to see working well for a long time because it is not so easy or cheap to deal with it if there are issues. Sure the odds are in my favor or at least I should hope so for this kind of money but I'm not fond of playing Russian Roulette even if I could with a chamber that held a large number of bullets and just one missing. I have already pulled the trigger on a loaded one with my first iMac before this system.
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#14 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 05:38 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 05 June 2015 - 09:28 AM, said:

My mentality has always been to never, ever, buy extended warranty. My thinking is that they are clearly making money off of it, and therefore the majority of devices never need the extended warranty. That said, I change devices quite frequently, so I usually never make it to the extended warranty period :teehee:  

Changing the logic board in an iMac or MBP will be a $1000+ dollar repair, but I've saved well over $1000 over the years in not purchasing extended warranties.

This had always been me too until I bought the 2011 27" iMac. I just remembered something kind of funny. No it isn't. The very first time was another Apple product, an iPod for my daughter. This turned out well. It died during the extended period. The replacement was fine. It's been the same thing here. My first iMac was a lemon. This one is a peach.

So I'm running a 50/50 average so far. I feel stupid for even asking you guys about this now although it is interesting to get your views about it and what they are based on just the same.
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#15 ozzy

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 08:31 AM

Just had a long post typed up and seemed to lose it for some reason.  Short version is I've saved a ton of money not getting AppleCare.  I've never gotten it except once where it was basically free since I got a student discount and they replaced my Airport Extreme under it which I was going to just buy a new version of anyway.  Otherwise between a number of iPhones, iPods, iPads, iMac DV, iBook G3 (original white one), PowerMac G5, Mac Pro (2006), MBP 15 (2007), MBP 15 (2009), MBP 15 Retina (2012) I have never gotten it, and never paid for any repairs out of warranty on the computers.  I've paid for a few on the iPhones, but by the time they are out of warranty even a completely new device under repair is £100, so it's never worth getting AppleCare.  If they would replace lost/stolen devices on the other hand, then I would definitely get it!

#16 macdude22

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 11:12 AM

View PostFrost, on 05 June 2015 - 02:44 PM, said:

Having bad luck? My mobile devices generally end up looking new for years, so it's not abuse.

So far: one device with a bad pixel, one with a dead pixel, a loose home button, one that refused to allow the OS to be restored on it, and an iPod touch with a piss yellow tint on the screen.

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#17 Matt Diamond

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 06:04 PM

View Postozzy, on 06 June 2015 - 08:31 AM, said:

Just had a long post typed up and seemed to lose it for some reason.  Short version is I've saved a ton of money not getting AppleCare.

Yeah, there are good reasons not to get it. I didn't use to. Maybe its different now that I'm the tech support for the family. I can live without a computer for a while while I try to fix it, but not the whole family.

I think for iPhones they cover lost & damaged phones too, so if the phone is for someone who isn't careful with their phone, that's another consideration.
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