Life Expectancy of Macs

New Contributor III

Hi Mac Admins,

I wanted to ask what are the Life Expectancy of Macs in your company? When do you start replacing the devices?

I am currently planning with a life expectancy of 4 years. After 4 years, the user is free to choose a new one. After 5 years it will be exchanged.
Do you have similar values ​​or how do you do it?

thx! :)


Valued Contributor

5 years, no choice given. If something happens inside that window (broken screen, spilled pumpkin spice latte, left out in the rain) we'll give them a replacement from the same make/model/year if possible so their 5 year window doesn't change.

Esteemed Contributor

@Nick1403 What is your repair strategy for your Macs? If you're using AppleCare+ (or AppleCare for Enterprise if your environment is large enough) then you'll have warranty coverage for 3 years, and given the lack of any user serviceable parts inside today's Macs some companies prefer to align the replacement cycle with the warranty period. Not that a Mac in year 4 of its life isn't usable, but the repair costs are prohibitive given the residual value at that point.

Honored Contributor

We are 5 years as well, all of our computers are given a 5 year depreciation. Someone is free to request a new computer early, but in order for the request to be processed their department has to be any remaining depreciation of the device they currently have before the new one is ordered. After 5 years we do not actively upgrade the devices, but more or less the user is free to request a new one; "if it aint broke done fix it". We do require all macs within our environment support the current macOS, once a Mac falls off that support list Support will actively replace it. Mac's older then 5 years old will not be redeployed under any circumstances, regardless if it supports the current macOS.

We get Apple Care on all our Macs, and the competing warranties for our Windows devices. Any out of warranty repair costs on devices are billed to the department for accidental damage to devices, warranty repairs are obviously covered. The gray area is once the warranty is out, we evaluate the cost of repair on a case by case bases. If the cost of repair is too high the device is replaced waving depreciation.

Apple's Apple Care is a bit on the short side at 3 years, especially due to the lack of reparability of Apple Products. Our other venders have 4 year warranties on their workstations. Being a financial institution our accounting is fairly married to 5 year depreciation, we have tried to get it adjusted to the warranty period and "charging" more each month but accounting wont have it.

New Contributor III

Thanks for your feedback. :)
Our standard users do not have the high-end configuration. Most of them have a normal MBA. Here I also notice that the devices are getting slow after 5 years. The upgrade surcharge at Apple is so high that it is hardly worth it for a year or two.

And we don't have a repair strategy or Apple Care. Depending on the device, age and defect, it will be repaired or taken out of service. Okay, maybe this is our repair strategy :D

Contributor II

Just FYI in case you want to look into it, back when we were purchasing AppleCare for lab machines (we don't anymore, although we still do purchase it for individual machines, because, well, faculty...) Apple offered a 4-year plan for Education.

We used to cycle on a 4 year schedule. With the current situation, we are on an austerity campaign, so who knows how long we'll keep these. I have one lab that is full of Minis that won't run Big Sur, so hopefully we'll be able to update that come summer.

Contributor III

In my org, our Windows machines were on a 3-year tech refresh plan. Because of the cost difference, we pretty much ran the Mac's until they died completely. We still have a user in our environment on a 2012 MacBook Pro. There is a push now to get all the older Mac's replaced, with either a MacBook Air, or 13-inch MacBook Pro, and for some groups, 16-inch MacBook Pro.

New Contributor III

Currently, I think this greatly depends on whether your fleet of machines is primarily laptops or desktops, and the disposition of your users.

If you have some variety in the needs of your users with some needing high-end systems and others having more basic needs, you can potentially upgrade the high-end users more often by employing a hand-me-down strategy. You might be surprised how well a machine that is no longer up to the rigors of software development or design will still work for the average customer service or sales rep. Almost all of our users seem satisfied with the strategy. Even if they aren't getting a brand new machine every 3-5 years, they're getting an upgrade to a machine that seems significantly faster. As long as the machines continue to meet or exceed their needs, it works well.

In addition to that thought, currently if you have any 2012-2014 Mac Minis in your fleet, don't underestimate how much swapping the drives out for an SSD and maxing out the RAM can make the system feel like a new machine. We did this with about 35 minis, and the 2014 machines are definitely snappy. The 2012 machines are definitely serviceable for documents and web surfing, as well. That change has allowed us to stretch out replacement a bit more, and has really panned out now that the M1 mini has been released with a lower price than the 2018 mini and arguably better performance.