should i buy a macbook or an ipad for college

Apple Back to School

If you want a new Apple product, the Apple Back to School sale is the perfect time to buy it. Right now we’re seeing some incredible deals geared towards people heading back to school – whether high school or college. And we’ve listed all the best ones here. 

As lockdown measures ease, the prospect of a normal return to school in September is a reality, and people will be needing their kit. Others will still want to take the opportunity to stock up on the best gear to make the most of schooling from home. Either way, if you’re a fan of  Apple’s brand of cutting edge, beautifully designed tech, this is the article for you. Below you’ll find everything you need to make sure you resume your studies well-kitted out.

It’s rare to find deals directly from Apple itself, but the tech giant does occasionally feel generous, and now is one of those times. The Apple Back to School sale is underway and looks set to continue until October 2021 (and we will be covering it and reporting back here every day). The 2021 sale is one of its best yet, with Apple giving away free AirPods worth around $160/£160 with every purchase of a Mac or iPad.

Below you’ll find the best Apple back to school deals that we can find right now, both at Apple and at other retailers. Be sure and check out our wider selection of the best Apple deals available around the world too. You should also check out our guide to getting Apple student discount and our breakdown of the very best iPad cases out there.

Top deals

In one of the best deals we’ve seen from Apple for a long time, the tech giant is giving away free AirPods with a huge range of tech devices, from iPads to Macbooks and iMacs. Considering that these fantastic earbuds retail at around $160/£160, it’s a great saving to take advantage of. Click on the links below to get this deal on the product that you’re interested in.

Apple Back to School sale 2021: US

Apple Back to School sale 2021: UK

MacBook deals

Apple Back to School: The best Mac deals in the US

Apple MacBook Pro 13in:


$1,099.99 at Best Buy

Save $200:
At Best Buy, you’ll find a number of excellent deals on the Apple Mac range, including $200 off the latest model 13-inch MacBook Pro. There’s also $200 off the 512GB version.

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020):


$799 at Best Buy

Save $200:
If you’ve got a school email, you can sign up to the Best Buy newsletter for free, then use the promo code to get the MacBook Air for $799. It’s the best deal we’ve ever seen on the laptop, which boasts a stunning 13-inch display and Apple’s super-fast M1 chip.

Apple Back to School: The best Mac deals in the UK

Apple MacBook Pro 13in:


£1,129.97 at Amazon

Save £169.03:
The Amazon UK summer sale includes some great savings on Macs. With its super-fast M1 chip, the new Apple MacBook Pro will whizz through college work.

Apple MacBook Air 13in:


£897.97 at Amazon

Save £100:
The best price on the M1-chipped MacBook Air in the UK right now is £897.97 at Amazon – a saving of £101. The machine boasts 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD plus retina display and up to 18 hours life.

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020):


£898 at Curry’s

Save £101:
Curry’s also has £101 off the new MacBook Air. With a brilliant Retina display, Magic Keyboard, super-fast processors and plenty of storage, this is a go-to laptop to use all day every day.

iPad deals

iPad Air and iPad Pro

Buy an iPad Air or iPad Pro and get free AirPods


Buy an iPad Air or iPad Pro and get free AirPods
If you’re after a new iPad Air or iPad Pro, this is cracking deal from Apple. Purchase any spec of either model and get a brand new pair of AirPods thrown in for good measure. Nice one.

Apple Back to School iPad deals: US

iPad Air (2020):


$539.99 at Amazon

Save $60: Boasting a A14 Bionic chip this is a fantastic iPad, and is also really light and portable, with 64GB RAM and 10.9-inch screen. If you’re looking for a tablet that covers you in both work and play, this is the best iPad out there, in our opinion.

Apple iPad Pro (2nd Gen):


$749.99 at Best Buy

Save $150:
This is a good deal if you want the power of the iPad Pro, and the storage that comes with the higher-end version of this 2nd Gen model. The 11-inch model comes with 256GB storage and a beautiful LED Retina Display.

Apple iPad Pro (4th Gen):


$949.99 at Best Buy

Save $150:
Students can get $150 off the fourth-generation iPad Pro at Best Buy, both the 11in and the 12.9in versions with immersive, edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display and support for Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

Apple Back to School iPad deals: UK

Apple iPad Air (2020):


£521,00 at Amazon

Save £58.00:
The fourth-generation Apple iPad Air is a powerful and extremely portable 10.9-inch tablet with enough battery life to get through a day’s lessons. Amazon has 10% off right now.

Apple iPad Pro (2021, M1):
Save £54.95:
The 2021 iPad Pro is a stunning tablet with the power of a computer thanks to Apple’s M1 chip. With its liquid retina screen and Apple Pencil support, this will have you flying through coursework in no time. Amazon has 6% off.

Apple Pencil deals

Apple pencil deals: UK

Apple Pencil 2:


£115.97 at Amazon

Save £3.03:
This is the pencil you’ll need for the newest 4th generation iPad Air (2020), the first generation 11-inch iPad Pro (2018) or later and the iPad Pro 12.9-inch third generation (2018) and later – including the brand new iPad Pro M1 2021 models.

Apple Pencil:


£84.00 at Amazon

Save £5:
The original Apple pencil is supported by the iPad 10.2-inch (2019), iPad mini (2019) and iPad Air (2019). Snap one up now with a discount at Amazon.

iPhone deals

Apple Back to School iPhone deals: US

iPhone 12 Mini:


from $529.00 at Best Buy

Save $200
If you verify with Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, you can get $200 off the 5.4in iPhone 12 mini, which packs a lot of features into its pocket-friendly size. Perfect for keeping in touch during your studies.

iPhone 12 Pro Max:


from $999.00 at Best Buy

Save $100
You can also save up to $100 on the top-of-the-range iPhone 12 Pro Max, which gives you huge power and an awesome camera to work with.

Apple Back to School iPhone deals: UK

Apple iPhone 12:


£679.00 at Amazon

Save up to £120:
Apple’s latest flagship phone is its most powerful yet with a 6.1-inch Super Retina display and insanely good cameras. Start the new school year well kitted out by grabbing a fantastic 15% saving at Amazon right now.

Apple iPhone 8:


£199.99 at Appliances Direct

Save £75:
If you’re not bothered about having the latest model iPhone, the iPhone 8 is a brilliant option. The still very powerful device has everything you need to surf the web, make calls and texts, all for a super low price.  

Apple Watch deals

Apple Watch deals: US

Apple Watch 3 GPS:


$169.00 at Walmart

Save $30:
It’s been difficult to find Apple’s Series 3 smartwatch in stock of late, but Walmart now has it in stock and with $30 off. It’s a good deal to grab if you want a great budget watch to get to class on time.

Apple Watch 6 GPS:


$355.00 at Amazon

Save $44:
If you want the newer Series 6 watch and want to make a bold colour statement on campus, Amazon has $44 off the GPS version right now. You can take calls and reply to texts from your wrist and check all your vital signs.

Apple Watch deals: UK

Apple Watch 6 GPS:


$389.00 at Amazon

Save £20:
It’s not a massive discount but £20 off Apple’s Series 6 watch is not to be sniffed at when there are books and other supplies to be bought ahead of the new academic year. The red wristband stand out on this quality smartwatch.

Apple AirPods deals

Apple Back to School AirPods deals: US

Apple AirPods Pro:


$197.99 at Amazon

Save $52:
In the US, you can get the AirPods Pro at under $200 right now with a hefty saving of 21% off the standard price. It’s a great opportunity to get these iconic noise-cancelling earbuds with Siri and everything else you’d expect.

Apple AirPods with wireless charging case (2nd Gen):


$159.99 at Best Buy

Save $40:
You can also get $40 off the wireless charging AirPods (just place the case on a qi mat) at Best Buy. The earbuds offer 18 hours of talk time, 24 hours of listening time, Siri and one-tap, always-on activation.

Apple Back to School AirPods deals: UK

Apple AirPods Pro:


£189.99 at Amazon

Save £59: The AirPods Pro are incredible ears with fantastic sound. They’re also highly flexible, with active noise cancellation mode to shut out unwanted noise and transparency mode so you can hear what’s going on around you. Now under £190, they’re hard to resist.

Apple AirPods with wireless charging case (2nd Gen):


£156 at Amazon

Save £43:
With wireless charging (just place them on a charging mat), 18 hours of talk and 24 of listening, one-tap activation and Siri assistance, these AirPods are a bargain right now, at one of the cheapest prices we’ve seen.

Apple Music deals

Apple Music:

3 months free then just $4.99/£4.99 per month
One of the best back to school deals going, prove you’re a student and get three months of Apple Music for free, then pay just $4.99/£4.99 per month for access to 60 million songs – what are you waiting for? Sign up and start making your playlists today!

How to get a student discount at the Apple Education Store

In order to qualify for the official Apple Back to School sale deals, you need to make sure you can get an Apple student discount. This is available to the following people: 

This may differ slightly depending on your location, so be sure to check Apple’s terms and conditions for full details specific to your area. Once you’ve identified that you qualify, you then need to verify that. Again, how you do this varies in different regions. 

1. Visit the Apple US Education Store (from your university network, if possible).
2. Make sure you have access to some for of ID, such as a student ID card, which proves you qualify for the education discount.How to get an Apple student discount in the UK

1. Visit the Apple UK Education Store
2. You’ll be asked to sign up for student discount website UNiDAYs, which you will need to do in order to access Apple offers.
3. Here you will need to provide your email address, a password, your name, place, subject and length of study.
4. Once completed and registered successfully, Apple offers will become available.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to go through Apple directly, there is also the option to use its Apple chat online feature, visit an Apple Store or call Apple, where staff can guide you through the process. 

Beren Neale is the deals editor at Creative Bloq. After editing several creative and design magazines – including the graphic design mag Computer Arts – he found his home on the biggest global art and design website, helping digital creatives get the best deals on the kit that they need. 

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