I noted a few weeks ago that, given the ultra-low repairability of the new MacBook Pro, I was buying AppleCare for the first time. Pretty much anything going wrong with the machine – RAM, SSD, Touch Bar, even the power switch – is likely to require a whole new motherboard. And given that the screen is bonded into the lid of the case, we can also forget about repairing that.

So I bit the bullet and handed over the cash for an AppleCare policy. What we need when buying AppleCare is the 15-character registration code. What we actually get is a cardboard box containing not just one but two separate booklets totalling 92 pages …


Booklet one has a semi-rigid cover and is 66 pages long – or 72 if we count the six blank pages at the end. Booklet two is all-paper and 26 pages long. Plus the carbon cost of the process of delivering the pieces of paper to our door.

This is clearly nuts from an environmental perspective. Why is Apple sending all these dead trees when a simple email would do the job? I get that it has a legal obligation to supply the terms & conditions in a bunch of different languages, but given I can insure my house and car without any physical bits of paper, I can’t believe there’s a legal requirement for the small-print for a computer insurance policy to be in paper form.

But AppleCare also fails a basic usability test – the one thing you’d expect Apple to get right. There are three different barcodes and numbers printed on the box, none of which are the one you need. The actual registration code you need is badly printed in the tiniest of characters on a sticker on the front of the less official-looking of the two booklets.

Not only that, but we’re not done yet. To actually activate the policy we just bought – the one Apple knows we just bought – ‘you must register to activate your Plan.’

Now, I fully accept that Apple sells AppleCare policies through third-party companies as well as directly, so it wouldn’t necessarily be aware of all sales. But when we buy direct from Apple’s own website, as I did, would it be too much trouble for the company to register it for us?

Do you agree? Or do you prefer to have everything in paper form and to register the policy yourself? Let us know in comments.

Update: It appears there are three separate processes in the UK at least, depending on when and how AppleCare is purchased. If purchased with the machine, it is electronic with auto-registration. If purchased via a retail store, it is electronic and the employee registers it for you. If bought from the online store after the machine, it is paper based and you have to register it manually when the system can’t tie it to a Mac purchase.

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