You can still get limited support from Apple, but only for a little longer

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Apple routinely phases out service eligibility for older devices, and this month it added another nine devices to the list.

Six MacBook laptop computers are now considered vintage, including the 12-inch MacBook from early 2016, the 13-inch MacBook Air from early 2015, and several MacBook Pro models from 2015 and 2016. There are also two iMac desktop computers added to the list of vintage Apple products (opens in new tab), both from late 2015. Finally, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro from 2016 is also considered vintage going forward. 

Yes, it might be time to upgrade to one of the best MacBooks or best iPads. But before you do, here’s what vintage means for you. 

What does it mean when my Apple device is ‘vintage’? 

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(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

Having a device last forever is a nice problem to have. I still haven’t had a smartwatch last longer than two years. Luckily for Apple users, Apple devices often last for years due to a high standard of build quality.

In fact, they can often last so long that Apple cannot keep maintaining their hardware. Apple currently has four stages of service eligibility: in warranty, out of warranty, vintage and obsolete. Vintage devices are devices that have not been sold by Apple in more than five years, but less than seven years.

If you have a vintage device, you are not totally ineligible for service. Apple still offers limited service and parts for these devices, though this is sometimes subject to local laws and regulations. For example, French Apple users who bought a new iPhone or MacBook after December 2020 are able to receive parts and service for up to seven years because of French law.

A final wrinkle regarding service eligibility is that select Mac notebooks may be eligible for an extended battery-only repair for up to 10 years from when Apple ceased selling the product. Still, when in doubt, consult Apple’s list of vintage and obsolete products regarding service eligibility.

Is there a difference between vintage and obsolete? 

Going “vintage” is the third of the four stages of service eligibility for Apple products. Once a product goes vintage, it only has another two years at most before it becomes “obsolete”.

An obsolete Apple product is one that has not been sold by Apple for more than seven years. These products are not eligible for service or parts from Apple or its third-party partners, with the sole exception of select battery-only repairs on Mac laptops (as previously discussed). Additionally, all Monster-branded Beats products are obsolete by default.

If you have an Apple product that is approaching seven years old, it may be time to get a new one, even if yours still works well. Once a device is obsolete, you have no choice but to go to a third-party service provider that is not affiliated with Apple, or repair it yourself. Luckily, we have all the resources you need to find a replacement, including a MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro guide to help you pick the right laptop for you and a best MacBooks for college students guide. The last thing you want is a device that won’t work. 

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