Apple prides itself on the fact that it doesn’t do sales, especially on its hardware. Nevertheless, if you know where (and when) to look, you can score deals on Apple products.
Some of them are advertised on Apple’s website, while others actually require you to walk into a brick-and-mortar store and ask a human. However you swing it, a discount on Apple hardware is well worth the effort.
1. Apple GiveBack
Apple’s trade-in program, GiveBack, lets you trade in your old devices. You can get some money back, either in the form of an Apple Store gift card or putting that refund towards the purchase of a new device.
By design, the program works best for trading in your old iPhone and putting that money towards the purchase of a new phone. The website even has a rundown of what you can expect in terms of monthly cost differences if you do a trade-in.
Keep in mind that the working condition of your device will affect how much Apple pays you for it. Obviously, a working phone with minimal wear and tear will fetch a better price than one with a cracked screen.
Though the trade-in process works most seamlessly with iPhones, Apple will accept and pay for any Apple device, plus some third-party devices. As an extra bonus, Apple will recycle your old device at no cost to you. Not that you need an extra incentive to be ecologically responsible.
Best deal for: People looking to upgrade their iPhone.
Where to get it: Apple GiveBack online or at an Apple Store.
2. Education and Government Discount
If you’re a teacher or student at a qualifying educational institution or an employee of a government agency, you can get an ongoing discount on some Apple hardware and AppleCare. This is a modest discount; usually about six percent off.
All iPad and Mac models are included in this discount. The iPhone, Apple Watch, and most other accessories are not.
To redeem this, bring your student or faculty ID to an Apple Store and present it at checkout. Or online, go to Apple’s Education Store portal and select your institution.
Additionally, in the summer, Apple tends to announce a Back to School deal for qualifying students. For the past few years, customers have received a free pair of Beats headphones with a qualifying purchase of a MacBook or iPad Pro.
Best deal for: Broke college students and government employees.
Where to get it: Both online and in an Apple Store.
3. Company Discount
Similar to the Education discount, employees of participating companies who have a corporate relationship with Apple are eligible for a discount. You can usually redeem this through an online company portal, or by going into an Apple Store and showing your corporate ID.
Best deal for: Corporate employees of participating companies.
Where to get it: Both online and in an Apple Store.
4. End of Life
Apple frequently announces new flagship products (like the latest iPhone) a few weeks ahead of when they become available. However, a few times per year, Apple does a product refresh for some of its lineup.
Usually, this means a new model of MacBook with a faster processor or more storage. These enhancements aren’t exciting enough to warrant a big event in advance, so they’re usually announced right when they become available.
What does that mean for you? It means that a lot of stock at your local Apple store just became outdated overnight. Those products are still most likely in a back room somewhere and available at an EOL (End-of-Life) discount. This can be a bit better than an Education discount, depending on the product.
These discounts aren’t really advertised and are only available in-store. All you have to do is walk into an Apple store, find a helpful employee, and ask.
Best deal for: People who don’t need a state-of-the-art device.
Where to get it: Apple stores only.
5. Black Friday
Apple usually participates in Black Friday, although the deals are modest. If you want to get the newest model as a holiday gift, it’s worth waiting to see what discounts are on offer.
In the past, the company has done everything from light discounts on entry-level products like the MacBook and iPad to Apple store gift cards with purchase. You typically won’t save much more than $100 per purchase, but it’s the best deal you’ll get from Apple on brand-new products right before the holidays.
Best deal for: Gifts.
Where to get it: This varies year to year, but usually in Apple Stores and/or online.
6. Apple Certified Refurbished
The beauty of an Apple Certified Refurbished product is that you can get some nearly top-of-the-line hardware at a good discount, and it all adheres to Apple’s strict hardware standards.
Refurbished products come with the most recent version of macOS, plus full packaging and accessories. They also come with the standard one-year limited warranty and are eligible for free delivery and returns.
These discounts are often better than anything offered through Education or Corporate, although the selection is limited and fluctuates all the time. Usually, Apple will have some options from the current generation as well as some from a generation or two prior.
You can get every kind of product in the lineup refurbished, from a Mac to the Apple Watche. Certified Refurbished devices are also still eligible for the extended AppleCare warranty.
Best deal for: People who aren’t students or eligible for the corporate discount, but still want to save.
Where to get it: Online only at Apple’s Refurbished hub.
7. Third-Party Refurbished
Other companies sell refurbished Macs, complete with their own warranties. Often, the discounts on these machines are better than Apple’s Certified Refurbished prices, but the trade-off is that you’re buying a machine under a different company’s warranty.
Depending on how much of a risk-taker you are, this might be worth it.
Best deal for: People who are willing to take a chance for the best savings.
Spend Your Savings on Protection Instead
Just because you bought your new MacBook at a discount doesn’t mean its safety is any less valuable. You might consider using your newfound savings to invest in AppleCare+, which will protect it from physical damage and malfunction.
Find out if AppleCare+ is worth it for you.