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If you've added a MacBook Air to your cart and you're just about to check out, you've likely been prompted to add AppleCare+ to your bag. You may be thinking, "I've already spent at least $1K, that's a lot of money," or you may be thinking, "what's a few hundred more going to hurt?"

Does Apple's standard warranty — the one that comes with your MacBook Air for free — cover everything you think you might need? Or should you break down and take it to the next level? Here's what you need to know about purchasing AppleCare+ for your MacBook Air (or any Mac laptop).

What is Apple's standard warranty?

Every MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro comes with a standard-level warranty for free, which includes:

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

If something isn't working right or your built-in software programs aren't running the way they should during the first three months of owning your MacBook Air, MacBook, or MacBook Pro, you can call 1-800-APL-CARE and get help over the phone troubleshooting your issue.

If your physical computer, the battery, RAM, hard drive, keyboard, mouse, or power cord fail, and it's not due to accidental or intentional damage, Apple will repair or replace it.

For example, if the internal hard drive just goes kaput in the first year, Apple will cover the cost to repair or replace it. If you drop your MacBook Air 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 an additional cost, you can add AppleCare+ and get additional coverage for longer. AppleCare+ for MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro includes:

  • Three years (total) limited hardware warranty
  • Three years (total) technical support
  • Coverage for two incidents of accidental damage (subject to a service fee of $99 for screen damage or $299 for other damage)

You'll get technical support over the phone, via 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 Air, MacBook, or MacBook Pro 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

If you go all-in with AppleCare+, your MacBook Air, MacBook, or MacBook Pro is covered for damages caused by accidents, but there will be a fee, 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?

The additional cost of AppleCare+ varies depending on what device you want to cover. Here's a quick breakdown of how much it costs for the MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro models.

  • MacBook Air: $249
  • MacBook: $249
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (without Touch Bar): $269
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar): $269
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro: $379

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, which is 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+

Who shouldn't get AppleCare+

  • If you are pretty darn good at troubleshooting software issues on Mac and you shop savvy enough to know how to get a killer deal on replacement parts, you might be able to repair your MacBook Air, MacBook, or MacBook Pro for cheaper than the service fee. Keep in mind any modifications not done by an Apple certified technician will void any warranty (standard or AppleCare+) you have.
  • If you purchased your MacBook Air, MacBook, or MacBook Pro with a credit card that has an extended warranty policy and you're pretty darn good at troubleshooting software issues on Mac (remember, credit card companies don't provide technical support), you'll probably skate buy without needing to actually use AppleCare+ over a three-year period.

Who should get AppleCare+?

  • If you feel better knowing that your MacBook Air, MacBook, or MacBook Pro is covered and someone will be around to help you whenever you need it, get AppleCare+.
  • If you're accident prone, get AppleCare+. The service fee to repair or replace something on your device will be far less expensive than doing so out of warranty.
  • If your credit card company doesn't have an extended warranty policy or if you don't totally trust that your credit card company will follow through with its promise, AppleCare+ is more reliable.

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