What Does Apple Mean By Vintage and Obsolete?

If you hear that your Mac or other Apple product has become vintage or obsolete, then it doesn't necessarily mean that Apple has cut off all support for it. While hardware repairs will be more difficult in some cases because Apple won't stock those parts, macOs and other software will still be provided for those devices for some time. And the Genius Bar can still be helpful for many issues.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: What Does Apple Mean By Vintage and Obsolete?.

From time to time you may hear that an Apple product officially becomes vintage or obsolete. Apple uses these two terms to describe the age of a product and how much support it gets. Now what it really means is, for vintage, that a product hasn't been made in five years. So, for instance, say you buy a MacBook. Say that MacBook is actually manufactured for an entire year before a new MacBook replaces it. When they stop manufacturing it that's when the clock starts ticking and after five years it's vintage. After seven years it's obsolete. What's the different between vintage and obsolete?

Well if you're anywhere in the world except California and Turkey there are the same thing. Vintage and obsolete mean the same. In California and Turkey vintage means one thing and obsolete means another because of consumer laws in those areas. So does that mean that Apple stops supporting your Mac after that time? Well not necessarily. It actually means something very specific.

This page goes into detail describing exactly what Apple means by vintage and obsolete. It even goes and looks at specific Mac models, iPhone and iPad models, and all sorts of things. Even the Apple II is listed here. What it really means is that Apple doesn't supply replacement parts anymore.

So let's say you have a vintage or obsolete Mac and you take it to a repair shop and it needs a new part if it's not vintage or obsolete then that repair shop can go to Apple and order a replacement part. But once it's vintage or obsolete then they can no longer get replacement parts from Apple. It doesn't mean that they can't find replacement parts somewhere. It doesn't mean they can't take an off the shelf part, like for instance hard drives are made by a number of manufacturers, but something like maybe a specific part of the case is something that is only made by Apple. You still might be able to get it repaired, especially if the part doesn't come from Apple, but it's going to be a lot harder to get Apple specific parts at that point.

However, it doesn't have anything really to do with software. When you think about it there certainly are machines that are older than seven years now that actually will run High Sierra. So Apple is supporting them with providing new operating system updates, providing updates for Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and all of that and these machines support that and the software developing will run on these machines. So software support is still there. Of course at some point those machines are too old to run the most current systems. But it usually goes much more than five years.

Apple still also provides support in things like the Genius Bar. Certainly you get software help there. You get help with any of the current software or issues you may be having with using iCloud, things like that. So even though your Mac may actually be vintage or obsolete you can still go to the Genius Bar and ask questions and get a lot of different kinds of help from Apple.

So it really only applies to specific parts for repair. It's a pretty good system. I mean after all Apple manufactures these machines and then they move on to new designs and new interior parts and all of that but they still keep enough parts around to provide repair shops with those parts if they need them for five to seven years afterwards.

Comments: One Response to “What Does Apple Mean By Vintage and Obsolete?”

    9 months ago

    Great explanation of this topic. Very thorough and concise. As you said, it’s nice that Apple still provides free diagnostics and software help for vintage and obsolete products. And for parts or hardware repairs, I find ifixit.com to be a great resource.

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