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Apple back-to-school: Best deals and what to expect in 2021

Save up to $200 on select products, plus get a free pair of AirPods.

Apple rarely offers significant markdowns on its products, making the back-to-school season one of the best times to buy everything from MacBooks to Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and more. Here’s what you need to know about stocking up on name-brand Apple tech — starting in June 2021.

When is the Apple back-to-school sale?

Apple’s back-to-school sale usually runs from mid-June through October. Last year, the exact dates were June 15 to October 12. While the exact dates of this year’s Apple back-to-school sale haven’t been announced yet, we’ll update this page ASAP when we know more.

If you’re in a pinch for time, you can shop Apple’s special prices for students and teachers right now — known as Apple education pricing — though the deals won’t be as good as during the back-to-school sale.

How do I shop the Apple sale?

To be eligible for Apple’s education pricing and back-to-school discounts, you need to fall into one of these categories:

  • K-12 teachers, staff and administrators
  • Homeschool teachers
  • Higher education students, teachers and staff, parents of students

If you’re eligible, head to Apple’s Education Store online or your local Apple Store to shop the sale.

What kind of deals to expect

Apple has a history of running similar deals year-to-year, which typically include freebies and other perks when you buy select MacBooks and iPads. Last year, it offered a free pair of AirPods with select Mac and iPad purchases. You can also save up to $100 on an iPad and get 20% off AppleCare.

Some of the top deals we’ve seen during Apple’s back-to-school sale in past years include:

  • $400 savings on the Apple iMacPro
  • $150 savings on the Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • $100 savings on the Apple MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro
  • $50 savings on the Apple iMac and iPad Pro
  • $10 savings on the Apple Pencil
  • Free Beats wireless headphones with purchase of select laptops and iPads
  • 20% off AppleCare+
  • Extended six-month free trial of Apple Music for students, and $4.99 reduced subscription cost after trial

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Apple education pricing

Discounted Apple products are available year-round to college students along with staff, faculty and homeschool teachers in every grade, from kindergarten to grad school. Seniors in high school who have recently been accepted to college are also eligible for these lower rates.

In addition to cheaper products, educators and college students can trade in their eligible Mac to get credit for a new one. Students can also get Apple Music at a discounted rate for up to four years — and may be eligible to get Apple TV+ for free, too.

Prices

In the market for new merch? Here’s what you can get through Apple Education:

  • MacBook Air from $899
  • MacBook Pro from $1,200
  • iMac monitor from $1,249
  • Mac Pro from $5,600
  • Mac mini from $650
  • Pro Display from $4,600
  • iPad Pro from $750
  • iPad Air from $560
  • iPad from $309
  • iPad mini from $380

More ways to save money at Apple

Finding a discount on Apple products takes some research, patience and a little bit of luck. Fortunately, we’ve found some solid ways to save if you missed or don’t qualify for the back-to-school sale:

  • Get a military discount. Current and veteran members of the US military, National Guard and Reserve and their immediate family members are eligible for special pricing on Apple products.
  • Buy last year’s models. Brand-new releases of MacBooks, iPads and iPhones carry a hefty price tag. But if you can stick it out a few more months or settle for last year’s model, you could potentially save hundreds.
  • Take advantage of Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards perks. Use your Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards credit card to cash in on no-interest financing for up to 18 months, plus earn rewards points with every purchase.
  • Get 3% Daily Cash with the Apple Card. Instantly earn up to 3% cash back with every purchase you make on Apple products using your Apple Card. There are no annual or late fees, and you won’t be charged any interest for the first 30 days.

Earning credit card rewards with Apple products

Apple products are expensive and rarely discounted by Apple, so buying your Apple product with a credit card is one of the few ways you can “save” money on your purchase. Aside from Apple’s own Apple Card, there aren’t many credit cards that offer accelerated rewards on Apple products directly. Your best value play in this case is a flat cash back card: we recommend the Citi® Double Cash Card.

You’ll earn 1% back on your initial purchase and another 1% back after you pay your balance. This is greater than the 1.5% you’d find on most other flat cashback credit cards.

Apple products are also a great opportunity to spend toward earning a card’s signup bonus. For example, purchasing a new Apple computer is enough to fulfill most of the spend requirement for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which features a welcome offer worth $1,250. You might think of this as a direct discount on your Apple purchase.

Apple sales at Best Buy, Target, Amazon and more

The Apple store can be stingy with its discounts. It’s usually easier to find discounted Apple products at these sites:

  • Best Buy runs Apple Shopping Events throughout the year that often coincide with Apple’s own back-to-school sale. Right now, we’re seeing:
    • $300 off select iMac models
    • $100 off the iPhone 12 mini
    • $100 off select iPad Pro models with Student Deals
  • Amazon often has similar or even better markdowns on MacBooks, iPads, Apple Watches and more.
    • 32% off Beats by Dre Solo 3 headphones
    • 25% off Apple AirPods with Charging Case
    • 21% off Apple AirPods Pro
    • $30 off the 2020 Apple iPad Air
  • Walmart usually offers small deals on iPhones and accessories like AirPods, smart keyboards, charging cables, Beats headphones and more. Here’s what you can save right now:
    • $22 off the Apple AirPods Pro
    • About $685 off the 21.5-inch Apple iMac
    • $100 off the Apple iPhone SE
    • $30 off the Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS
  • Target often has deals on beats headphones. Right now, select styles of the Powerbeats wireless earphones and headphones are on sale.

Top Apple deals online

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Buy Apple iPhone XS and XS Max today

Ends

Bottom line

Bag up back-to-school bargains on the latest Apple products — and earn freebies too — when you shop Apple’s yearly sale for students and educators.

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