AppleCare: The Caring Side of Apple

As my readers are aware, I recently sold my 2018 15″ MacBook Pro (2.6Ghz, 6-core i7, 16Gb RAM, 1Tb SSD) to make away for the 2019 16″ MacBook Pro (2.3Ghz, 8-core, 32Gb RAM, 4Tb SSD). I sold it to a work colleague for what I think is a decent buyer’s price – especially when you consider it also came with over a year of AppleCare remaining.

What is interesting is that my colleague lives in another country, and there was some initial confusion with the AppleCare team in Ireland as to whether it would be valid there. At first I was told yes, then no. But that was okay – the machine was in good working order – had lasted me a full year without any problems whatsoever, and we agreed that if it did go wrong, I’d sort it out here in the UK.

Three weeks later, I hear from the colleague to say that he spotted a dead pixel. Fair enough – I usually use the MacBook Pro with the lid closed, external keyboard and mouse, an external monitor, and the machine always plugged into the mains.

So he took it to an Authorised Apple Reseller in his country and they both noticed that the machine wasn’t sitting flush on its rubber legs. It turns out the battery had swollen too, and was pushing the aluminium case out of shape.

And the very nice people at the Authorised Apple Reseller replaced the whole screen, the touch-bar, the keyboard and trackpad, battery and bottom of the machine. For free. The AppleCare warranty WAS valid there. So effectively my colleague has got a 70% new 2018 MacBook Pro (only the main logic-board, SSD and RAM hasn’t been replaced) which should hopefully last him 3-4 years beyond that of the AppleCare warranty (assuming the battery doesn’t swell again – design fault, maybe)?

This kind of makes me a bit worried about my recent purchase – but at the moment there are no known reports of 2019 16″ MacBook Pro batteries swelling up. Given that the keyboard and system internals have been given a complete redesign, maybe that won’t impact the Lithium Ion battery as much? At least I have AppleCare+ on this new Mac in case things do wrong. In fact, I have AppleCare on my iPhone 11 Pro Max and the AirPods Pro because in all the years/decades I’ve been using Apple kit, it’s been well worth it.

But I do wish Apple would do a better job with selling AppleCare+ outside of the US and Canada. For example, paying monthly like the US would be good – the cost of AppleCare+ for this thing is fairly eye watering. And it wasn’t until fair recently that AppleCare+ for Macs was introduced. It didn’t exist back in 2018. And the issue of trying to figure out whether a warranty bought in the UK is valid in another country is a bit of a bugbear too. The parts are all the same – it all ships from China, so I can’t see why the warranty shouldn’t be valid elsewhere where there are valid Apple Stores or Authorised Apple Resellers.

Finally, AppleCare+ would benefit from onsite support as well as having the ability to take it to an Apple Store/AAR. You won’t get any kind of onsite support from Apple unless you have bought hundreds/thousands of machines from them – in which case, you get onsite repairs from IBM. But if you’ve only bought one or two £50k Mac Pros and loaded them to the hilt – you’ve still got to drag them to your nearest Apple Store/AAR for repair. And this is partially why I have never bought another iMac because I don’t want to drag a bloody great machine half away across Surrey to a London Apple Store for repairs. Dell absolutely lead the way here with their next day on-site repairs. And Dell offers 4 year warranties whereas Apple only go to a maximum of three.

But do I still recommend AppleCare/AppleCare+? Yes, absolutely – this is another case where Apple and/or their authorised partners go out their way to fix things. But it’s still a long way from the likes of Dell and other PC manufacturers.