Let’s start another topic about Applecare! This time it’s about Applecare+ for the Mac mini. When it comes to laptops, phones, screens, etc (basically anything you carry around with you and/or which is fragile) it seems evident that most people recommend buying Applecare+. Fair enough.
But I think the Mac mini warrants a separate look, given that it sits still on or under your desk and I wouldn’t exactly call it fragile either. Of course, that doesn’t mean it can’t break, but if it does, it is very likely to be something covered by the warranty anyway.
So, I think it’s fair to say that in terms of hardware defects, Apple care is basically a one year warranty extension (I live in Europe, where you’re covered for two years), right? And if you have a credit card that gives you a one year warranty extension, the only thing that’s left is that “peace of mind” that things will (likely) go smoothly and hassle free when disaster happens.
One thing that might still be worth it is if you’re treated differently as a warranty customer/ self-paying customer compared to an Applecare+ customer. Like: do they give you a replacement device while you’re waiting for the repair/replacement to arrive?
But let’s not forget the support hotline. When my new M1 mini wouldn’t complete the MacOS setup, I called them in the middle of the night and was blown away by how seriously they took the issue and how they actually listen to you and answer your questions. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere. But then again: even after hours, they were not able to get the thing to work. That was me, although I’m a complete Mac noob, but while on the phone with support, I had learned enough to figure out the rest (or, let’s say, to dare try things - like deleting the entire HD partition - that I would not have done before).
My second time with Apple support was via chat, when I had enough of Safari crashing on me while entering certain URLs (it crashes a lot in other situations too, but this one could easily be reproduced so that I thought it might be worth a try with support. And, again, they clearly try to help you, not get rid of you in various ways. But after one hour we hadn’t solved it yet and I had to put my daughter to bed and I’m not sure I want to continue the process (which, they said, would be as easy as mentioning the case ID in a new chat) because it seems unlikely to me that this will be resolved by doing the kinds of exercises they make you do in that process. It seems more like a bug to me and the internet is full of similar reports dating several years back, so even if we solve it this time, it’s likely to return within weeks (because that’s how long it took it to appear after I purchasing the device). It makes more sense to me to use a different browser.
So, yes, the support is great, and as a new Mac user I might indeed need it. But those two examples also indicate that using Apple support doesn’t necessarily give you the kind of “peace of mind” that I would be looking for.
But when it comes to support, I understand that we’re talking about the full three years of support that you are paying for. Because you’ll hardly get any support otherwise, right? (For the Safari case, I had to say that I recently purchased MacOS and while that is true now, the meaning of “recently” can only be stretched so far… There were some other exceptions under which you would get through to support, and I don’t remember what they were, but it seemed clear to me that software support will end rather soon.
So, these are my preliminary thoughts on Applecare+ for Mac mini in a nutshell: if you buy Applecare for a Mac mini in Europe with a Credit Card that extends your warranty to three years, what you’re paying for is basically (1) access to support for three years and (2) hassle free resolution of hardware issues. Right?