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AppleCare Experiences
Old 12-21-2013, 11:48 AM   #1
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AppleCare Experiences

I rarely purchase extended warranties when I buy electronics because they tend to be overpriced and the products tend to become obsolete long before they show signs of any hardware malfunction. It was a rare exception when I purchased AppleCare last year on a Macbook Pro Retina Display laptop. It was my first Mac, and they were quite expensive (around $2500), so I figured it was worth it to extend the hardware coverage from one year to three years for an extra $250.00.

This week I began to have some erratic behavior on my Mac which was making it unreliable. I scheduled an appointment at the local Apple Store Genius Bar, and they told me I had a corrupted operating system and they would have to wipe the laptop clean and reinstall it. I do backups on a Time Capsule but they suggested I reinstall applications from scratch to minimize the possibility of restoring the corrupted files from the prior backup.

I knew this was going to be time consuming, but I had no idea how many problems I was going to encounter trying to rebuild applications, retrieve data from the Time Machine, and get everything back to normal. I am also fairly new to the Mac, so I don't have the same level of expertise that I've had running Microsoft operating systems for 20+ years. Sure enough, I struggled with issue after issue trying to rebuild everything. When I realized I was in over my head, I figured I better call the AppleCare tech support line and ask for help. Based on my prior experiences with computer tech support, I was not looking forward to this.

I was quite surprised when I made the call. I gave them my serial number, they confirmed I had tech support (you get three years of tech support as well as hardware warranty when you buy AppleCare for a laptop), and within about three minutes I was speaking with a technician. What was even more amazing was the technician spoke English, and was not in India. In fact, he was in Portland Oregon! And, he was really knowledgeable on Macs.

Over the course of the next two days, I needed to make about six more calls to tech support, and spent collectively over 8 hours on the phone as they walked me through everything. Never once did they rush me off the phone or suggest that I was asking for too much support. In fact, each time they ended the call they asked me if I would like a follow up call a few hours later just to check in and make sure everything was OK. And when I said I would, they called back consistently each time.

They also emailed me their email address and direct phone line to Apple. And when I needed additional help, I emailed the senior tech that was assigned to my problem, and within five minutes he called me up to continue trouble shooting. After two days, I finally had my Mac back to where I needed it to be.

While I was doing this, I also needed help from Parallels. When I called their tech support line, I was immediately routed to India. You can guess how that went. I also learned that when you wipe out a Mac that has Windows running on it, you can't reinstall Windows using the same product key, because it still thinks you are running the old version and thinks you're trying to get an extra copy for free. It took me 30 minutes on hold to speak with someone from Microsoft in India to clear up that problem as well.

Having spent much time over the past two decades speaking to computer tech support, I have to say I have never experienced anything like what I saw at Apple. Almost everyone has moved their support to India, where their job is to confirm that you don't know what you're doing and whatever you need from them is not covered by support. I don't think I ever would have figured out how to get this computer back up and running without their support, and now that I've experienced it, I will never buy another Mac without AppleCare. And for that matter, I will never buy another Windows PC, because I am not aware of any Microsoft based PC company that offers this type of support.

Just thought I would share this for anyone who has struggled with trying to fix a tough PC problem at home and wondered if there are any better options that calling India and being told that there is nothing we can do for you.
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Old 12-21-2013, 12:07 PM   #2
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I've purchased AppleCare with my iMacs. I'm glad I did with the first one. I went through 2 or 3 hard drives and a motherboard. My current Mac is almost 6 years old and has never had a problem. DW had AppleCare on her iPad and she just swapped it for a new one when her first one quit. My experiences with Apple and the Genius Bar have been positive so I'll get AppleCare on my next iMac. They have been helpful to me far beyond the repairs
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Old 12-21-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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The conventional wisdom is that extended warranties are a bad idea, and financially, on average maybe they are, but my experience (and those I've known) with AppleCare have generally been fairly positive. It does provide a period of additional technical support as well as just the extended warranty.

Our last Apple Store experience wasn't under AppleCare, but a few months ago DW's iPad gave up the ghost and she took into an Apple Store. The "genius" looked at it, ran some tests and decided it was shot. They could replace it for $249, I think he said, and it was an older model (an iPad 2) that they were selling for $349 (I think) at the time. We sooner would have bought a new model than pay $249 to replace an older model, but then while she was mulling it over, the guy said, "You know what? I think it's a battery problem." (He said this with almost a nudge and a wink.) "We can replace it for $99 under our battery replacement program." Well, OK, *that* we can do.
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Old 12-21-2013, 12:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ready View Post
While I was doing this, I also needed help from Parallels. When I called their tech support line, I was immediately routed to India. You can guess how that went. I also learned that when you wipe out a Mac that has Windows running on it, you can't reinstall Windows using the same product key, because it still thinks you are running the old version and thinks you're trying to get an extra copy for free. It took me 30 minutes on hold to speak with someone from Microsoft in India to clear up that problem as well.
Yes, I feel your pain. My Mac is running VMWare Fusion and has a dedicated Boot Camp partition to Windows. If I need to do a couple of quick things in Windows, I just use it in a virtual machine, but if I'm going to have a longer session or do some Windows gaming that needs all the performance I can squeeze out of the computer, I boot natively into Windows. If you don't do things in the right order, Windows gets confused about licensing because it reads different "hardware IDs" or something like that. The software comes with tools to get around that and make Windows realize that the copy you use in the Boot Camp partition is the same one that you are using when you are running a VM booted into the Mac OS.

Office 2010? Remains confused, so I never run that under virtualization otherwise it would think the Boot Camp partition's "copy" is unlicensed.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 12-21-2013, 12:32 PM   #5
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My old MacBook did have a hard drive failure (no Apple Care on it), so I took it to the Apple Store where a 'Genius' spent about 20 minutes running a diagnostic. He told me my drive had failed, offered to get it fixed for about $125, and then told me for the same money or less, I could install a new HD and double my computer's memory if I did it myself. He gave me a quick primer on what I needed to do and pointed me in the direction of several very good repair videos on Youtube.

That 'free' trip to the Genius Bar helped me add several years to the life of my MacBook. What amazes me is that the old MacBook still works very well despite being over 5 years old. Other non-Apple laptops I have owned had various software and hardware issues that either made them inoperative, or crippled their ability to operate in a more modern environment. My MacBook is still going strong, though a bit slower than modern machines, but it runs the latest OS and does everything I tell it to do.
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Old 12-21-2013, 01:41 PM   #6
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Been a Mac user for 25+yrs (remember the 'toaster' Macs like SE?). I have always bought AppleCare for my laptops, but never for desktops. Had a few laptop issues over the years (inc the quirky 5300) which were always fixed promptly @ NC under AC. I've never had a prob with any Apple desktop. My main laptop is '06 vintage MacBook Pro & desktop is '07 iMac. I still keep an old G4 around for running a few OS9 legacy apps, and my stable includes an ancient-but-still-working working 165c.

I also use Windows, and find 7 & 8 to be major improvements over older versions. But generally I find cheaper Windows machine (lap & desk) do not seem as solidly built as Macs. And Microsoft makes is a major PITA if you need to re-authorize your old copy of Windows after a major repair. FWIW- Never had a Windows laptop last >2yrs.
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Old 12-21-2013, 02:51 PM   #7
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I also use Windows, and find 7 & 8 to be major improvements over older versions. But generally I find cheaper Windows machine (lap & desk) do not seem as solidly built as Macs. And Microsoft makes is a major PITA if you need to re-authorize your old copy of Windows after a major repair. FWIW- Never had a Windows laptop last >2yrs.
I've been a Mac user since 1996 (System 7.5.x) and I've had fun poking fun at Microsoft for even longer than that. That said, they finally started getting it right with XP, and 7 is what Vista *should* have been from the get-go. And now that 8.1 is out, even if you don't like the new tablet/phone interface being pushed by Windows 8 initially, the much faster startup of 8 over 7 is nice, too.

That said, it's still my secondary OS; we're primarily Mac users. But using Windows is not as painful compared to using a Mac as it was in the Windows 95/98 days.

My main beef with Macs today is that Apple refuses to see a market in a midrange headless desktop unit. They have the Mini--underpowered, very little ability to expand or upgrade the hardware. They have the Mac Pro -- sure, very expandable and upgradeable.... but *starting* at $3,000, and also more power than most users need today. And then there's the iMac -- midrange specs for the most part, but components can't be upgraded and it forces you to buy a display you may not want or need. The huge missing puzzle, as for the last 6-7 years, is no midrange headless desktop model.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 12-21-2013, 02:55 PM   #8
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We usually buy AppleCare with our laptops. B&H PhotoVideo often offers a really good deal on AppleCare when you buy an Apple laptop.

But even if you don't have it, it often only costs about $350 to repair a laptop which includes overnight delivery of a shipping box, overnight to factory, and overnight back. We have never dealt with an easier company when it comes to hardware repairs. We've often replaced things (screens, batteries, etc) on really old hardware too - no problem and not that expensive.
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Old 12-21-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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Apple = just better. Why are you surprised that real smart techs based here in the US are available 24/7 to take your call? Perhaps just because no one else does?
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AppleCare Experiences
Old 12-30-2013, 12:15 AM   #10
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AppleCare Experiences

Great insight on the Apple. I am new to the apple systems so feel encouraged with the testimonies. I did have a great experience with The ms team in India howeve. I had major issues that took 3-4 days of work and found that team very exceptional. At times there was a communication barrier, however it was on my end, I laughter at myself several times. MS team is in India and the windows team is in who knows. My encounter was with both and we got through it all. I learned a great deal as well. This must be getting better as the past experience yrs back was not so good with HP & MS, windows. 7 devices and 4 are apple. 2 i4s / 2 iPads reticules : )
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:51 AM   #11
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I bought AppleCare with my iMac in early 2011. Earlier this year both the display and the hard drive had to be replaced (the display developed dark spots and the hard drive was being recalled by Apple). I had a very nice chat with an AppleCare representative and they sent a third party technician to my house to do the necessary repairs, free of charge. I was back up and running in no time.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:40 AM   #12
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I have had 4 Mac laptops. 3 of them via my employer. Those 3 have all broken once or twice each, but each time I just took the Macbook to the nearby Apple Store and they got fixed without hassle.

I help with customer support at my company which OEMs Dells and Macs with things we sell. I wish our service guys were as "unblaming" as the Apple Store employees when our equipment breaks.

OTOH, one time I had a problem with some Mac software. The techs did not even know it was an Apple product. "Oh, that's not an Apple product, you will have to go the vendor that gave you that software." Well, duh, it was you! "Oh, really? Sorry, we cannot help you."
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:11 AM   #13
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Just to let you folks know, all is not bad on the Microsoft side. I bought 3 HP laptops over 5 years ago and all three are still running fine. This includes two for college kids. The only problem was a broken screen on my daughter's when she shut the screen on her cell phone and then put a pile of books on top of it. I bought a new screen for about $100 and it took a few hours to replace it using a detailed how-to I found on the web. I am using one of these laptops now.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:44 AM   #14
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AppleCare Experiences

Just got AppleCare on my new Mac last week. Salesman also asked DW where she worked and we got a corporate discount on the Mac and AppleCare
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:54 AM   #15
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We have an iMac and a Mac Pro laptop and we did not purchase the AppleCare. We have had them for a few years now and have not had any problems. However, I would have purchased the AppleCare, if I had read this thread before purchasing them.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:58 AM   #16
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This thread was helpful, as I'm contemplating moving to a Mac from my XP desktop before support for XP ceases. I seem to recall reading that Apple support was rated best (Consumer Reports??), so this didn't come as a total surprise to me. Now I need to decide on iMac, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and whether there are some Open Office apps that can replace my MS versions and how one would port over existing files to the Mac.

I had a 512K Mac years ago, but there is no relevance to todays machines.
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:05 AM   #17
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This thread was helpful, as I'm contemplating moving to a Mac from my XP desktop before support for XP ceases. I seem to recall reading that Apple support was rated best (Consumer Reports??), so this didn't come as a total surprise to me. Now I need to decide on iMac, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and whether there are some Open Office apps that can replace my MS versions and how one would port over existing files to the Mac.

I had a 512K Mac years ago, but there is no relevance to todays machines.
Once you try the retina display on the Macbook Pro, it will be difficult to go back to anything with a lower resolution. The difference is amazing. I won't even buy an external monitor for my Macbook Pro because while the screen would be much larger in inches, the resolution would still be significantly lower than the built in display. The whole world just looks fuzzy after using the retina display.
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:18 AM   #18
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Once you try the retina display on the Macbook Pro, it will be difficult to go back to anything with a lower resolution. The difference is amazing. I won't even buy an external monitor for my Macbook Pro because while the screen would be much larger in inches, the resolution would still be significantly lower than the built in display. The whole world just looks fuzzy after using the retina display.
I need to visit the local Apple Store, as I have not yet seen a retina display model. Did you get the 13" or 15" model? Coming from a 21" display, I'm not sure I'd like the 13", although the price is more to my liking.
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:20 AM   #19
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Very helpful thread. I'm shopping right now for a MacBook Pro for DW. We'll get an external display and AppleCare for sure.
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:20 AM   #20
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I have the 15". I can get away with no external display on it. If I had bought the 13", I don't think it would have worked to make it my only display.

If you qualify for the educational program, you can usually get about a $200 discount on the Macbook Pro through Apple. You don't have to necessarily be in school to qualify. Check it out on the Apple Web site. The AppleCare price is usually much lower through the Educational Program as well.
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