Free AirPods: Here's where you can get them in Apple's Back to School promo

AirPods Pro 2 on a mosaic table
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple's Back to School promotion is back underway, this time in the Southern Hemisphere. And despite Apple previously giving students gift cards when buying a qualifying service, that's all changed.

Apple had historically offered up a free pair of AirPods to students who bought other Apple gear via the Apple Store, either online or in person. Then it switched things out to give students more choices — they got gift cards that could be spent on anything at the Apple Store.

Now, it's back to AirPods. Or 2nd-generation AirPods, to be specific.

Sounds good to me

Macworld reports that the promotion is now live in Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Korea. In fact, it's been live for a while now — the Southern Hemisphere's Higher Education Offer kicked in on January 18 and will run until March 13, after which the freebies will stop.

Students will need to buy a 24-inch iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPad Pro, or iPad Air to get their hands on a new pair of AirPods, which should cover most back-to-school needs that students have. Students can also get their hands on AppleCare+ with a 20% discount, while free three-month Apple Music and Apple TV Plus trials are also offered.

Now might be a good time to read up on which might be the best MacBook for students, while there's a case to be made for any of them that also gets you a free pair of AirPods along the way.

The move back to AirPods will no doubt be a disappointment to some, however. The gift card option always seemed like the better option because it allowed students to spend the money however they wished. But perhaps Apple has a lot of older AirPods it needs to move on, what with the arrival of the 3rd-generation AirPods a couple of years ago. 

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.