How do I register my AppleCare Protection Plan Online?
I just bought a MacBook and am excited at my shiny fast new computer, but people keep telling me to get AppleCare too, so that Apple takes care of my computer for three years, instead of just one. Okay. But do I have to buy AppleCare from Apple, and when I do, how do I register my computer with the AppleCare Protection Plan program?
Your friends are giving you good advice. I dont' buy a major device from Apple without paying the additional money for an extended warranty. It's just a great benefit as components fail, things get dinged up and other accidents befall the machine.
My last MacBook Pro I accidentally dropped onto a concrete floor and even though it was in my computer bag at the time, there was insufficient padding and it actually bent the chassis of the unit. Not so it was unusable, but an unpleasant cosmetic ding. If I would have had AppleCare, they would have fixed it for free, but instead they wanted $1500 for the job. Yeah, it still has the ding on it and I was reminded why AppleCare is such a smart investment for a multi-thousand-dollar device.
Here's the thing, though: You don't have to buy AppleCare through Apple. Just like you don't have to buy an extended service warranty for your car through the dealer at the time of purchase (though they sure don't want you to know that) you can actually save a few dollars buying your AppleCare plan from Amazon.com instead. Used to be, they were 30% less than through Apple, but, alas, that seems to be no more.
Regardless of where you buy the program, you only need to acquire AppleCare and register your device within the first year of ownership of your iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPad, or iPhone. That's handy, you don't have to get it the same day you get the computer.
Once you do, you'll have a box with a booklet and sheet of paper within, and on the sheet is a sticker that has your unique AppleCare registration number. Mine is actually considerably longer than what's shown in the below screencaps, it's 15 characters. Complicated. But you only need to enter it once.
To start, go to apple.com/support/applecare and you'll find this:
Save yourself a bunch of hassle by making sure you have that page with the sticker handy, and either have the serial number of your computer or actually be using that computer to proceed. Click "Register"...
Yeah, yeah. Got it. Click "Continue" to, well, to continue...
I already have an Apple account that's tied into the support system, so I just log in. If this is your very first Apple account registration, try your iTunes Store account credentials (seems that Apple can link them together) or sign up for a new account.
Then click "Sign In" and you can start specifying details of your AppleCare agreement, starting with exactly what you're registering:
Since the serial numbers are different, I believe you could pick the wrong one and the system will self-correct, but most likely you've bought the "Protection Plan" not the "Premium Service and Support" plan. The booklet in your box probably says on the front which you have.
Pick the correct one and continue, at which point you'll need to enter that agreement number and serial number:
The system should pick up your serial number automatically but if not, go to the "About This Mac" window off the Apple Menu, click twice on the second line under the Apple logo and it'll show you the serial number:
Handy feature to know about, eh?
Now, with your agreement number and serial number both carefully entered into the online form, click on "Continue"...
If you're not familiar with what is or isn't covered by AppleCare, it's a good time to read what's here. Then again, you just bought it so I'm not sure you could return it if you didn't like the coverage here. You could certainly make a good case, though. Anyway, read it as desired, then click "I agree with the Terms and Conditions" and the "Agree" button on the lower right.
Apple then wants to know your preferred address and contact information. Keep this updated if you move, so you don't have any hassles in an Apple Store down the road.
Note at the bottom of the screen it asks how you want your coverage proof sent. I always opt for Email, but if you prefer a printed document, chose that option prior to clicking "Submit".
Done. Here's what the last screen should look like:
That's all there is to registering your computer with AppleCare. As you can see, mine is now covered against a wide variety of problems and hiccups. A nice safety net when I just spent over $2000 on the device.
Hope that helps you out. If you're still unsure about the value of AppleCare, I suggest you do a Google search for something like "Is AppleCare Worth The Money?". There are a zillion opinions... :-)
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